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Have you ever wanted to work in video games? Well that's what the guys at GameBizCo Inc. do. Literally.

Join the cast of Another Videogame Webcomic as we peek behind the curtain to see what exactly goes into bringing your favorite video games to the small screen. It may be a job in video games, but it's still a job.

PlayStation Home

Platform: Playstation 3
Price: Free! (with Playstation 3 $399.99)

Is it really fair to review something like PlayStation Home? After all, it's not a video game in the traditional sense. Or in any sense, really. There are no objectives in PlayStation Home ... unless you count trying to figure out which girl avatars are actually girls and which ones are guys pretending to be girls.

What PlayStation Home reminds me most of is a chat room circa 1994. (Do chat rooms even still exist? They must... right?) It's all there. The aforementioned guys posing as girls, lonely guys flocking around girls (or fake girls), guys trying desperately to get girls to come back to their "private space". Hmm... I never realized until just now how much that sounds like regular Friday night. Without the guys posing as girls, I suppose (or at least, I would hope).

Anyway... Home features a pretty robust avatar creation system. You can manipulate the minute details on your avatar's face, ranging from how far apart your eyes are to how deep your wrinkles are. But in playing Home, it seems like that level of detail barely even matters. You never see another user's avatar as close up and as big as you see your own in the avatar creation screen, so does it matter that my mouth is slightly wider than someone else's? There may be "millions of combinations" for avatar creation but what differentiates one avatar from another are the big details like clothes. Out of the box, Home offers a handful of clothing options with more available for purchase which leads to the hilarious situation of everyone wearing the exact same thing.

It's important to note that technically PlayStation Home is still in beta, which means that it will be constantly evolving and growing. But as of right now, there isn't much to do. Each of the different regions gets slightly different spaces to interact in. In the North American version, we get a theater, a mall and a bowling alley as well as a few third party spaces. But even within those spaces, I can't see spending more than a few minutes in each one. (Although, I have to admit, I am kinda addicted to the Carriage Return arcade game in the bowling alley...)

When Home was first announced in March 2007, it seemed fresh and innovative. It's hard to tell if I'm disappointed by Home because the 21 month wait built up my expectations unreasonably high or if Home simply fails to deliver what it initially promised. Stepping back a bit, some of Home's shortcomings are result of the users and not the software. Interacting with other users can be challenging but only because most users don't have either a keyboard or a headset to communicate with. Sure, the PS3 offers an on-screen keyboard, but trying to type out a full sentence on that thing makes conversations move at a snail's pace.

But some of Home's shortcomings are purely it's own. Instead of having each of the spaces connected to feel as if it were one giant world, a load screen makes each space feel like discrete rooms. Each of the spaces needs to be downloaded initially before it can be accessed, which just means a lot of waiting around in your apartment the first time you launch Home. And sometimes you'll need to redownload a space you've already downloaded which only leads to more waiting.

That being said, there is a lot of potential in PlayStation Home. I'm actually excited more by the possibilities that Home offers than what is currently available. While playing Home, I thought to myself on a number of occasions "this would be better if". And if I idly thought it, I'm sure that the developers have thought of it way before I did and have it on a list of things they'd like to implement. If the updates to the PS3 firmware are any indication, PlayStation Home will be updated regularly and my "this would be better if"s will become "this is awesome"s.

Rating

Since PlayStation Home is free to anyone who owns a PS3, I'm not sure how I would rate it. Essentially, to "buy" Home, you'd need to buy a PS3. So, is it worth buying a PS3 if you don't have one just to play PlayStation Home? No. If you already own a PS3, is Home worth a download to check out? Yes. So I guess to break from my normal rating system, I'll give PlayStation Home a "Try".

Recommendations

World of Warcraft - If you're looking for a persistent online world that you actually play, you might want to check out this diamond in the rough. Sure, you can't make your avatar look exactly like you and the graphics aren't nearly as pretty but you can ride a bear. (Not like that, perv.)

Player Two

After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

Player One

Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!

Damsel I. Distress

Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet

Final Boss

Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record

John Minion

John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

Middle Manager

Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

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