I did not mean to buy my Playstation 3. Eight years ago I was perfectly happy with my Playstation 2. It had followed me from Los Angeles to Ann Arbor to East Lansing, one of the few pieces of “furniture” to follow me along on my wild adventures.
The Playstation 2 was there when I was single and when I fell in love and when I got married and it saw the birth of my first child. So, it may seem crazy to say this, but it felt a little like family. And that remote in my hand, could sometimes feel like an extension of myself.
Then on Christmas Eve my house was broken into. It was our first Christmas as a family with a baby, and we returned home to find all of the presents and electronics gone. I lost on that stolen computer a novel I was working on and a new finished screenplay.
….and I lost my Playstation 2. I cried for it as much as I cried for my writing.
When I began looking for a new Playstation, I was terrified of getting one of the 3s that was not backwards compatible. I loved my Playstation 2 games! I didn’t want to lose Final Fantasy X or Kingdom Hearts (Yeah, I am a RPG and Disney nerd, nothing new there). Every store I contacted were out of the limited backwards compatible system, except one.
Sam’s Club had it, but it was a display unit, which meant I was buying a system already with some wear and tear. When I arrived at the store, the system did not look pretty. It had price stickers attached directly to it and it looked like it had been treated roughly. Basically, I was looking at the last puppy in the liter at the shelter.
This Playstation 3 was the lame puppy no one wanted.
And yet, after the robbery, after losing my friend the Playstation 2, I saw something in that system. We had both been through hell (him, a thousand teenagers pounding away on its remotes/me, my heart broken by some jerk thieves), but maybe we could find some heaven together?
…And be Batman and destroy the Joker as well while we were at it. Because that is wicked fun to do.
I took on the entire Final Fantasy XIII trilogy on that system. I fought alongside Batman for three games. I rebuilt and destroyed numerous LEGO worlds, and I introduced my own children to the joy of gaming with the help of Mickey Mouse and a world of infinite possibilities.
My greatest experience though with the Playstation 3 was when I got to play along with my favorite band. Of course, technically, they could be called everyone’s favorite band.
I owned Ringo’s drums, Paul’s bass, and a microphone. I had even bought every additional Beatles song in the store. I would lose evenings just performing all of Abbey Road, struggling to finish each of the finale’s guitar solos perfectly. I was in awe of McCartney’s bass playing, and struggling to hit the right notes with Lennon’s voice.
I had two songs I was good at, “Dear Prudence” and “Girl.” Man, could I rock those songs, being so good that I could play Paul’s bass and sing the song at the same time, getting over 90 percent in each performance.
Yes, there is some things I would never get done in that game. Ringo’s drumming would always allude me (he was a much better drummer than we give him credit for), and I just don’t have the right key to sing alongside George. But, for a time, I was a Beatle. And Beatles Rockband was one of the few games that I would return to every few months or so. It was always there like a friend waiting to cheer me up on a bad day, bring a smile to my face, knowing I had done it with the fab four and we were awesome.
But those days are gone and they can never come back. Because, Playstation 4s are not backwards compatible and on Saturday (day before Easter) at around 10 AM, my Playstation 3 breathed its last.
My kids were having a Disney Infinity Easter. What this meant was each were getting new Disney Infinity characters. This worked out well for me too, since I got to play the game with them and they became little bonding experiences for us.
I never would have considered before Disney Infinity how much a video game could be a learning experience. But, while playing with my son, I see him problem solve and I see teamwork. Yes, that might be me stretching to find something positive in a video game, but, gosh darn it, I think it has been good for him.
And it has been good for me too.
But on that Saturday morning, playing in a Frozen land with his little sister (he was kind enough to be Anna so she could be Elsa and pretend they were the sisters- he is just an amazing big brother), my Playstation flickered, groaned and died.
I would turn it on. It would buzz for a second, blink yellow and then red, and then stop.
Yellow, blinking red, stop.
Yellow, blinking red, stop.
The problem is that no one really fixes Playstation 3s and with the 4 out, why bother? I called six stores on that Saturday and each gave me a no. Even the local Geek Squad at Best Buy gave a little laugh. It was like trying to revive an old dog that was blind and missing three legs.
It’s time has come, they each said to me. Many even offered a deal on a 4.
I wanted to scream, but this was my system, my friend! He had been there for me on late nights with two babies. It saw me through the hard time like when I lost my literary agent. It helped me recovery after the break in. And what makes this harder, so much harder, is the little tombstones that go along with it.
For each of the games I loved on my Playstation 3 are going away as well. Thirty games, collected over almost a decade are going into a little tupperware coffin in my basement, where they will spend the rest of their days gathering dust alongside my Beatles instruments.
You may laugh my readers, but a part of me is really devastated by this.
I’m sure Sony has a good reason to not look back, to abandon backwards compatible systems. And I’m sure in time, in their online store they might even allow downloads of older games. But for right now, it is silence.
…Just like the last word spoken by Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
My Playstation 4 came with a free game. It is called The Last of Us. It’s a zombie game. The graphics are amazing, but the game is brutal. This is honestly more than what I am used to. The game even begins with the murder of the lead character’s teenage daughter.
There the character sits on the ground crying and covered in blood, holding his daughter as she dies in his arms. Welcome to the new age of video games.
In time this may prove to be a good game and not another zombie bloodbath (I don’t even like The Waking Dead honestly), but I feel thrown into a new and bleak and harsh world and I’m not sure I am ready for it.
I will miss you, my wonderful Playstation 3. I hope you rest well in your green tupperware container, my dear old friend.
Each time, I level up or vanquish a end level foe, I will think only of you….
My latest novel Permanent Spring Showers was just published by 5 Prince Books. You can find out more about my novel as well as my other books (including A Jane Austen Daydream and My Problem With Doors) and grab a copy via my author page on Amazon.com here.
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