My "old" PS3 is sitting on the shelf of a friend, and it has been sitting there for the past several months. I love the PS3, but with the PC, PSP, and DS taking up all of my time, I wanted to give the system a loving home instead of letting it collect dust.
So, I gave away my PS3. Don't worry: the kid owes me, but that isn't the point. My point is that I'm going to buy another PS3 this year, and the singular reason for that is my girlfriend.
See, I'll be honest with you. I don't need a PS3 this year. I have plenty of opportunity to play all of the PS3 games that I want. Despite the fact that I don't "own" a PS3, I have been able to play and beat virtually every big game out on the PS3 these past 12 months, including Uncharted 2, God of War III, and Red Dead Redemption. So, I'm not buying one just because I can't play the games elsewhere. I can. I'm buying one because my girlfriend wants one.
It was an easy sell. A trailer of Little Big Planet (which she has already played and beaten on my PSP) and a trailer of EyePet was all it took.
But the ease of this decision got me thinking: how do we decide to buy our consoles and our games? Brand loyalty aside, doesn't a lot of it boil down to the relationships it will build?
I mean, c'mon. When you got your launch-day 360, did you spend the whole first week alone, or did you invite your friends over to show it off? When Smash Bros Brawl came out, did you play the single-player, or did you scrape together every single Wavebird controller you could find? For many of us, our first gaming experiences were also our first multiplayer experiences. 2-player on Super Mario Bros, Versus mode in Tekken 2, or Battle mode in Mario Kart 64.
The relationships and conversations that come from our video game consoles has a lot to do with the gaming choices I make. Another girlfriend story: I rented the latest Professor Layton game on DS for her, and she loved it. Naturally, she was sad when we had to bring it back to the video store, so - being the softie I am - I suggested the Phoenix Wright series. And now, she is absolutely hooked on them. Not only that, but she is asking questions and sharing her triumphs with me, even though I've already beaten that game series.
Similarly, many of the games I play are because of relationship. I'm currently playing Peace Walker. I'm playing it because I love the series, but also because I have three fellow MGS fanatics as friends who are playing Peace Walker.
That is why I'm buying a PS3 this year. Yeah, I'm geeked to play infamous 2, Killzone 3, Dead Space 2, and LBP2 (and so is my girlfriend on that last one). But I'm also excited for the relationship stories it'll produce. See, when my girlfriend describes a game to a friend, she doesn't say "my boyfriend and I beat such-and-such level, unlocked 55% of the game, and got a score of 125,000". No. She says things like "he's a jerk when we play Little Big Planet because he always hits me and knocks me over" or "he and I just raced in Mario Kart and I kicked his butt".
She could care less about high scores and unlockables. She just wants to have fun.
And it's a reminder that I - as a gamer - should be thinking the same way.