As Things Happen
I froze. In panic or terror I wasn’t sure. But I froze, stopping myself right there in the aisle; my eyes fixed on the plastic cases in front of me as they stared back at me in silent accusation. They knew what had happened, they knew and they reveled in it. Those familiar green cases simply watched me as I stared fixedly upon them, unable to turn my head slightly to the left. I couldn’t do it. If I did it then it would be true, I’d stare face to face with the madness that had just passed through me. Maybe I could just not look, turn the corner and escape this aisle never to return. I could pretend that this had never happened at all. Alas it wasn’t that simple so finally my head turned and there I stood, aghast, face to face with the entire section of PS3 games I had simply passed up, dismissed them without even a thought. Much as I had done the Wii games further down the aisle. I don’t own a Wii. I do own a PS3. What the hell just happened here?
I’ve had a PS3 for a while now, I’ve had lots of fun with it and feel I’ve managed to squeeze way more than my money’s worth out of it. Several months ago I pulled the trigger and picked up a 360 as well. It was a great deal when I got it and it worked out because shortly after I made my purchase the PS3 had all those pesky network problems. Timing was everything, I quickly became very familiar with my new console. I used it to watch Netflix now instead of switching over to the PS3 and going through the network sign-in screen (and subsequent failure) repeatedly. Not only that but now I shared a console with several people I knew would be on and willing to play games at the same time as myself. One of the first games I picked up for the new system was a game I already owned for both PS3 and PC. It was all about having people to play with now, couldn’t do that with the network down on the PS3. But I hadn’t turned my back on the device yet, it still played my Blu-rays and cleaned up my DVDs to look all nice and shiny on the TV, and I picked up L.A. Noire on the PS3 while everyone else I knew with the game had it on 360. So what’s changed since then?
I’m all about multiplayer games, ever since I first conned a bunch of friends into sitting down to play Risk with me I’ve been completely enthralled with the idea of getting friends together for a good fun game. The PS3 has offered a few good times here and there with Demon’s Souls, Borderlands, Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Settlers of Catan (the last I’ve only played with random people online since I don’t have any friends that own it). But nothing compares to the all night run and gun fests that became four player Borderlands on the 360, and the way those eventually led to nights of Left 4 Dead or Street Fighter Third Strike. Or the game that came out of nowhere, TNG3K (not really a game per se, we just make a party and watch episodes of Star Trek together while commenting and cracking jokes MST3K style). I even picked up Third Strike on the 360 without even considering it might be on PS3, after all I knew that with the 360 I’d have at least four other people to play the game with compared to the one on PS3.
How about some ease of use and available content? Sure PS3 has Netflix capability on it now, but I can watch episodes of The Guild on my 360 thanks to Zune. Not to mention the upcoming fall season of new programming. The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Walking Dead? All of them in HD and with season passes so I immediately get access to the new episodes. That’s paying for them instead of torrenting them as well, so immediately a huge bonus in supporting things I like and not doing anything illegal to get them.
So, let us return to the scenario at hand. I was at a store looking for games for my son, he’d been playing LEGO Harry Potter all weekend and if I had to hear the theme from that game one more time I was going to Leviosa the TV out a window. In my search I found the so-called “greatest hits” section of cheap games, and I walked right past the PS3 games to the 360 shelf without even a thought. It struck me then and there, these things don’t happen to normal people. Normal people look for games, get games, play games. But us nerds? We stop and realize we’ve just shifted gears completely from one console to another. I still have my PS3, and I occasionally brush off the dust to watch a good Blu-ray or two, but if I’m playing games or just browsing Netflix I’ll be on the 360. This was one of the moments our name comes from. This was something that just happened. It was my first conscious nerd occurrence. And ya know what? I kinda liked it.