Bandai-Namco announced today that, starting tomorrow, Japanese users of PlayStation Home will be able to enjoy casual chats with viral marketers and Sony employees in a room decorated with beloved Namco game characters.
Eschewing the "inverted pyramid" structure of newspaper journalism, right here at the top of this story I'm going to tell you that Bandai's Gundam could not be reached for comment.
Screenshots indicate that the "Tekken / Soul Calibur Lounge" will look eerily like a high class club pulsating with life inside your hopefully high-definition television, only they won't care if you're wearing sandals, or no shoes at all. The screenshots also indicate that there are plenty of chairs arranged around the club with obsessive-compulsive straightness. When the lounge opens, the ultra-sterile, cotton-swab-clean avatars of some fourteen dozen employees of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan will no doubt be working overtime to clog your television screen real estate with burbling chat bubbles indicating that you can open the menu and choose "sit" to sit down.
After sitting, you will be able to enjoy reading text bubbles in which Sony Computer Entertainment Japan employees inform other players that they can open their menu and choose "sit" to sit down. If you're super-special, the employee of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan who told you to sit down will say something "exciting", such as "it's so nice to be able to sit down". If he's had a bad day at work and/or maybe tied his tie too tight this morning, he might simply turn his back and see about ushering other players to seats.
If you decide to stand up and perform that jumping-jack-like dance in front of a piece of virtual Tekken or Soul Calibur art, chances are a Sony Computer Entertainment Japan employee pretending to be another PlayStation 3 owner "just like you" will walk up behind you and use literally 900 words to say "Hey there good sir; I find myself unable to fully appreciate this piece of art (COPYRIGHT BANDAI-NAMCO 1998); could you please move out of the way?"
Within the Bandai-Namco special lounge, players will also be able to line up at virtual arcade machines to play several Namco Museum classics that have also been available in the loading screens of original PlayStation games since around 1995.
Have you noticed? I'm being kind of mean! Full disclaimer: I find PlayStation Home terribly silly. Worse than that: I consider it about as hip as a virtual Scientologist convention. It would have been decent, I guess, if it'd been an unexpected extra on the PS3 at launch. As-is, I don't know, man. The moment they started giving me the quick-travel tutorial in my own "apartment", I started to get the chills. I always say, when my "Game Designer Sunglasses" are on, that if you feel compelled to put "fast travel" in your game, chances are your slow travel sucks.
"Home" isn't even a game, I know, though if you're going to incorporate one game-like element snatched from the pantheon of game design, why would you choose Oblivion's "fast travel" over, I don't know, Super Mario 64's jumping? Wouldn't Home be so much fun if you could jump? . . . Maybe?
Oh, also, they're apparently selling goods in the Japanese home now. Nippon Ichi has made several Disgaea-themed avatars available, and Namco is selling a Pac-Man T-shirt. The product description for the Pac-Man T-shirt is especially clever: "Pac-Man T-Shirt #1". There will be more! You will buy all of them, or you will not be a true fan! You will buy this shirt, you will put it on your avatar, and you will sit in the Namco lounge with your "Away from keyboard" message floating over your head twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!
Did you know: Famitsu is more or less a mouthpiece for press releases. It is very seldom that the actual words written in their articles express anything less than turgid enthusiasm for the games on display. Usually, the articles are written by the game companies themselves. Even when the articles are written by Famitsu staff, said staff is usually "polite" enough to just say things like "Wow! We're excited!"
That said, it's looking at the caption beneath the photo of a downloadable Santa Claus suit, it's hard to imagine the author wasn't rolling his eyes at least internally:
"Sony Computer Entertainment will be making all kinds of Christmas-themed items available. Might PlayStation Home become jam-packed with Santa Clauses?"
Man, I hope so.
[via Famitsu Dot Com]