Stuck in the Dark

I’m sure that fat PS3 owners threw their controllers up in disgust over Sunday’s infamous 8001050F error, and I was with them – I actually finished up my weekend homework assignments early, and was so ready to get the last couple thousand of experience points required to achieve Rank 70 on Modern Warfare 2. In my experience, error messages are an exercise in futility. The meager explanation doesn’t help, and the place they often send you to for more information may not give any clues. For 24 hours, I and every other early adopter of the big black box that only does everything learned that everything includes not making a lick of sense.

Of course, PSN was gone without a trace, so I figured, “Okay, I just won’t play online.” Before I could even highlight Spec Op’s Mode, I was sent back to the Xross Media Bar dumbfounded. “I can’t connect to my trophies, so I won’t even be able to play at all?” When faced head on, these types of “Too bad, you can’t do anything about it” types of error messages only serve to piss off the reader. In hindsight, it poses an interesting, if not scary possibility.

In the previous generations our game consoles were independently functioning organisms. The Dreamcast introduced the idea of expanding where we could play to the Web with others… if we chose to. Let’s go even further back: If I wanted to dig out my SNES here in 2010 and stomp Bowser again, it’ll be the same experience it was in 1990. There’s no special, mandatory behind the scenes connection to be made with Nintendo Headquarters in order to let them know I effortlessly defeated Mario’s archenemy, nor will there be an incoming message with virtual points awarding me for the endeavor. What really scared me about the 8001050F error was that due to the mishap, every trophy enabled games was unplayable.

The point that I’m trying to make here is, in fifteen or so years when videogames have evolved into something that is so far out there that we today can’t even imagine what it could be, will we still be able to enjoy the Playstation 3 when it is considered a relic like the SNES is now? If trophy-enabled games require some connection with PSN/Sony just to be played, what will we do if Sony ever pulls the plug?

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