Gaming the System

Being a lazy man, as well as one who wants to use the best possible television in the house but is too spineless to actively ask for it, I picked up the PS3 memory card adapter this week. If I want to save money this holiday season, the best way to do so is to burn through some PS2 backlog, and the best way to convince myself to do that is to be able to play them upscaled on the PS3 downstairs. However, since I have to share the remote with my housemates, sometimes the upstairs CRT is the only option. The adapter makes the dream a reality, and also means I don’t have to re-unlock all the goodies in my old fighting games.

It turns out that buying the adapter also sparked another idea in my mind. I can transfer saves between my consoles, but what about getting saves off the internet? I know that Gameshark and Action Replay used to make hardware for just this task, but the PS3 (Computer Entertainment System) should make it easier, right?

Turns out that it does. Sites like Gamefaqs now host saves for PS2/3 games in simple, memory card compatible formats. With only a thumb drive in hand, I was able to unlock all the characters in King of Fighters XI, and get all the cars in Gran Turismo 4. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

Now, some of the more diligent gamers out there will yell at me for cheating. I say that I don’t care about how good I am at Gran Turismo. I just want to take 2 million credits and use them to rice the shit out of a Toyota Yaris (and proceed to tease my friend who just bought one in real life).

In my digging for cool PS3 features, I also discovered that it might be possible to take screen captures if you use a USB keyboard and hit the print screen button. Until Sony’s future firmware update makes this an official feature, it seems like a great alternative. It may only work for a handful of future articles, but I like the idea of knowing I can grace our PS3 reviews with screenshots that I find striking and pleasing.

So if you are out there wondering if a PS3 is right for you, just remember: It isn’t about the games. It is about the stupid, frivolous features that are simply by-products of the console’s computery nature.

6 thoughts on “Gaming the System”

  1. That print screen support option is actually really cool. It gets me wondering (and hoping)… do you know if the PS3 can support a drawing tablet? It’d be pretty great to plug my wacom in and actually be able to make something decent in Graffiti Kingdom. Maybe even great enough to tip the wavering scales in my mind toward a system purchase, wallet be damned. It might sound like a small detail, but I’m almost embarrassed to admit how excited I am at the prospect of (easily) making quality decals in Armored Core or whatever.

    Regardless, I’m looking forward to home-cooked PS3 screenshots in the future 🙂

  2. Well that’s pretty cool. I can’t decide if it’s because we’re weak meatsacks that we seek shortcuts we’d never dream of in the past, but then again I used to have to hide my playboys in my treefort and that wasn’t fun either. The great thing about having access to pre-saves on the internet is it’s a choice. You can pretend to be an extra from Fast and Furious like Christian and Rice your Yaris, or you can earn it like a hard working American. And isn’t that what this election was all about!

  3. It’s too bad all this obscure functionality isn’t really being taken advantage of for actual games. It’d be a treat to see someone mine all of the PS3’s ancillary functions to come up with unique gameplay gems, like Cing has done on the DS.

    As far as the taking shortcuts stuff goes, for me at least, with older games (particularly on a console or series I’m already familiar with) it feels ok because I’ve already done my time. I spent hours playing tekken bowl to unlock every conceivable thing in TTT 8 years ago so I don’t feel that dirty at the prospect of having everything unlocked at the get start in Tekken 5 without having to touch devil within mode.

  4. This thread could be a holy war if some game designers found it.

    Some designers will say “You’re supposed to ~progress~ to having that riced to hell Yaris, you’re supposed to learn and know what it’s like to drive a stock Yaris. You’re supposed to learn skills that will help you as you progress. And, the biggest point, you’re supposed to appreciate the difference between the stock car and the one you wind up with.”

    Or for a fighting game, perhaps they want you to be exposed to a number of different fighting styles on your way to having access to characters who use those styles. From their end, it’s about controlling the user’s experience of the game, what they come up against, and when. This is, I think, meant to force the player to learn how to play the game and make the user appreciate the full experience.

    On the surface I really appreciate that. But there’s a part of me, probably a much lazier part, that argues that games are ~created~ to be fun, and fun is something that you can’t really say works the same way for everyone. If you download a save file and start driving that riced out Yaris and enjoy the hell out of the experience, you haven’t “cheated”. You have not had the same experience as the guy who worked his way up to it, but you’re just enjoying the product that you paid for in a manner that pleases you, what’s really wrong with that?

    This, I guess, applies to games or even other entertainment media. I’m dubious that “cheating” in a videogame using god mode or something similar is bad if you enjoy the result of what you’ve done (this wouldn’t apply to cheating in an online competitive game where everyone is expected to work with the same set of abilities with personal skill being the differentiating factor).

    But there’s a possible rub with that. You may be enjoying that riced out Yaris, but would you be enjoying it more if you had worked for it? Ultimately I say as long as you’re enjoying a videogame, whether that means playing it exactly as the designer intended or by walking invincible across hordes of demons with unlimited ammo in your shotgun, it’s all good. We make these things to be ~enjoyed~, after all.

  5. All good stuff Bruce, from a general perspective. Allow me to clarify more, since my examples are a bit special. Our car in Gran Turismo 4 is purely for jokes. My roomate is a car nut – we just want to jack it up, spend maybe a night tuning, and then show it to our friend one night for kicks. We have no plans on racing it, using it to beat the computer, or anything. Its a gag that would have taken too much time to earn for it to be worth it.

    As for King of Fighters XI, the two characters I had left to unlock are overpowered boss type characters that are making cameos from other games. I’d never use them in competitive play. Still, one other character I unlocked by hand is Geese Howard. He isn’t hidden because he’s too powerful (well, he is, if you’re good). It is because it is tradition for console fighting game ports to lock up characters who aren’t in the arcade version. It isn’t a matter of earning but one of habit.

    So yes, I agree that most unlockables are such because they are meant to be appreciated by those that can earn them. I’d never dream of cheating my way to all the vehicles in Burnout Paradise. But these saves are perfect for when you just want to goof around (like in GT4). They’re also useful in situations when I feel the developer is just giving me busywork. I’m spoiled by old, outdated games like Tony Hawk 2 and the N64 WWF games that gave me most if not all options for custom characters right off the bat. So when a game like Rock Band or Virtua Fighter 5 decides I need to spend 25+ hours of play to unlock all of the clothes (of all things), all my guilt goes out the window.

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