I bought my overpriced Playstation 3 during the winter break of my collegiate Freshman year. In late October of this year (2013), it finally died when my girlfriend and I were using it to watch Netflix. The yellow light of death. It was heartbreaking at the time, to tell you the truth.
I hung onto the machine for a few more months, turning it on every week or two to test it and make sure it was really gone for good – one of those pure instances of denial. Yesterday, I finally decided to be done with the thing, and took it out to the trash. Holding the device directly above the garbage shoot, though, made me pause and consider how the thing had affected my life over the last seven years. I turned around and, console in hand, walked back inside. This makes no sense, I know.
It’s weird to think about, but the PS3 has been a pretty important part of this latest phase of my life, and because I like to read into these things, and am too reflective for my own good, I feel as if saying goodbye to this generation of gaming is symbolic of my transition onward in life.
In a way that Spike Jonze’s movie Her is hinting at – I imagine anyway, since I haven’t seen it – this generation of gaming has provided me actual relationships with virtual, computer-generated characters with whom I have “played.” It’s odd to think about, but I’ve spent way too many hours in Tall Trees not to have love for Red Dead Redemption‘s John Marston; I’ve heard way too many wisecracks not to have affection for Victor Sullivan in the same manner as Uncharted‘s Nathan Drake. The next generation of gaming isn’t “backwards compatible” – you can’t play PS3 games on a PS4- which means these specific games are likely out of my life forever. I will legitimately miss them, and the personalities and events contained within. For those of you unfamiliar with first-person gaming, this might sound a little farfetched, but it’s no different than the way in which we view television; Bunk from The Wire isn’t a real friend of ours, and yet we talk affectionately of him as if we know him intimately anyway.
Beyond that, of course, I’ve built memories with real friends while using the PS3, either from specifically gaming, or from using the platform’s capacity for Netflix or syncing up to an external hard drive. The summer after my Freshman year, my hometown friends and I spent hours battling on Mortal Kombat: Armageddon in The Firehouse, our group’s home base. This playstation-fueled environment also led to our most legendary Fifa match, when my friend Eric challenged my friend Russ to a match, with a ride home serving as the stakes – it was a game in which Eric was massacred, forcing him to face the several-mile course on foot at 2 or 3 in the morning.
Back at college, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was all the rage, and let me tell you, my UAV was fully online (lahadamalahalaf!). For over a semester, the majority of my fraternity was completely obsessed with four-way split-screen multiplayer chaos, leading to some great inside jokes and some lengthy arguments over just how much Brian Hu was screen watching. Quick ship, anyone?
After college I lived in D.C. with fellow Blogcatter Bullets, and this is when the PS3 became a fairly crucial part of life; after all, when two dudes live on their own with limited budgets and unlimited laziness, there are a lot of weeknights and Sunday afternoons to kill. We blew through every Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed game killing thousands of people, put up quintuple-doubles with a suped-up gigantic black Turkish dude in NBA2K, and took Joel and Ellie on an epic journey to find the Fireflies and save The Last of Us. We also leaned heavily on the system’s capacity to read .avi files off an external hard-drive; virtually all of our time spent watching Nucky Thompson, Tony Soprano, Buster Bluth, Jimmy McNulty, Leslie Knope, Phil Dunphy, Hodor, Walter White et al engage in their various shenanigans was due to our possession of a PS3.
Beyond the specific memories the platform has brought me, what’s interesting is that it represents a specific phase in my life. In the gaming world, “generation” is the term used to describe the progressing stages of technology, and that term seems fitting, because these advancements have synced up nicely with the micro-generations of my life. Even the earlier iterations of Sony’s Playstation series function well in this context. I came across the original Playstation when my age was in the single digits, and I can’t remember playing too much other hopping around with Crash Bandicoot, trying to master Yoshimitsu’s 27-string (or whatever) combo on the original Tekken, or bingeing Final Fantasy IX – which, by the way, is still one of my most beloved games (Sir Fratley, Noooooo!). Having a PS2 in high school brought me hours of Fifa, sick days blasting through NBA Street, and undefeated seasons of NCAA Football using only one play on offense (HB Circle) in my friend Russ’ basement. Damn, were those some good times.
It’s fitting that I got my PS3 soon after I left for college, as it represents the stage of my life when I was gradually figuring out how to live independently from parental control, getting my feet underneath me as I tried to figure out how to survive on my own as a semi-adult male. It’s also fitting that my PS3 died shortly after I moved into an apartment with my girlfriend. This is a different phase in my life. I’m now trying to figure out how to be a different kind of adult (apparently, it’s one who has to be more thorough when washing dishes).
Fitting is again the right word, then, that I unwrapped a shiny new Playstation4 for Christmas this year. A more mature technology for a debatably more mature individual. I’m moving forward, on to the next generation.
As sad as it is to say goodbye to my old console, and the dog days of independent male living, it’s exciting to move on to the next generation of gaming and life. I imagine that both will bring me much joy – especially since the graphics are pretty spectacular.
So. Farewell, PS3. Hello, next gen.
As Jay-Z would say, On to the Next One.
P.S. This is one of my favorite commercials of all time. It seemed fitting to end with this, since I’ve played like 395 of the games referenced in it: