There were many games on display but I had come for one game and one game only: LittleBigPlanet. My eyes scanned the room until I found the game being demonstrated on two televisions that were set up against the back wall next to the redesigned PSP. Alex Evans, co-founder of Media Molecule and creator of LittleBigPlanet, was giving a demo to three of my colleagues. All the people involved wore big smiles on their faces. They laughed as they slapped each other, placed stickers, and created objects within the game; it was clear that they were enjoying themselves. I watched as Alex created four tanks with fully mobile wheels affected by physics for each player to ride on. Like a kid in the electronics department of Target, I looked on anxiously awaiting my turn to get my "hands-on" and play.
When it came time for me to sit, I accepted the PS3 controller from another journalist with much enthusiasm. I found myself sitting next to a friend of mine from a major online publication and we exchanged hellos. He decided to hang out and play LittleBigPlanet with me.
The setup seemed perfect: getting to experience the collaborative free-for-all gameplay with the affable and gregarious creator of the game and my friend sounded like the ideal scenario.
Unfortunately, before I had even settled into my seat, a Sony rep walked up and said, "Alex, we really need you to do interviews now."
"Oh, ok. Should I shut this game down?" Alex replied.
My heart momentarily sank but my hope rose again when the Sony rep said, "No, we've got somebody else coming to demo it."
Okay, even with someone else running the demo, I figured I'd still have a good time. My eyes drew back to the screen in front of me. My fellow editor had created a sticker the size of a jumbo jet, causing the graphical prowess of the PS3 to be pushed beyond its limits. Heavy clipping occurred and many items onscreen began to disappear. Normally, this would be disheartening but in LittleBigPlanet, this sort of thing seemed like it was just par for the course. Of course, I wanted to join in on the fun and was just about to start wrecking creative havoc when the demo began its trek down the slippery road to Hell.
"Are you guys trying to break my game," a voice said from behind us. We turned and saw that the rep who was going to take over for Alex Evans had arrived. He seemed annoyed by the "damage" we had done to his game. "Now, I'll have to reset the whole PlayStation."
While we waited for the PS3 to restart, the rep began to chat with us about the game.
"So, have you guys played before?" the new rep inquired. He could have been from Sony but from the way he claimed LittleBigPlanet as, "my game," I guessed he was from developer Media Molecule.
Obviously, we had played before, considering we had been slapping each other around, jumping, creating objects, and having a great time just a moment ago. We told him as much.
"Well, we're going to start off slow," the rep said. "You've got to walk before you can run, and run before you can sprint. We'll start with the Game Developers Conference level."
I turned to look at my friend with questionable brows. The first thought that came to my mind was this: isn't LittleBigPlanet about freedom and having fun? Isn't it meant as a game where experimentation is not only necessary but integral to the game? So why in the world were we going to start off slow? Why not give us a brief tutorial on the game's core mechanics, and then set us loose to do what we wanted? After all, wasn't that the entire point of the game?
Still, the GDC level sounded like it would be pretty fun, so we sat back and waited for our "walking" lesson to begin.
The level loaded and immediately, I began pressing buttons. All of the options were there except the button to bring up the creation inventory. The rep opened a debug menu and I saw that the option was disabled. That explained things. He changed the option to character-customization only and I immediately took advantage by putting a silly top hat and snazzy vest onto my character. Seeing this, the rep immediately jumped back into the debug menu and disabled the inventory option, nerfing my ability to edit my character's appearance.
I looked over at my fellow editor and saw that his face was squished behind the same sense of growing frustration that must have been obvious on my own visage. What the hell was going on? Why was this rep holding us back in our attempt to enjoy the game?
I decided to ignore the fact that I couldn't play or experiment with what was arguably the core concept behind the game. We followed on as the rep continued to "walk" us through the demo at a snail's pace.
"Oh!" I suddenly shouted. "These are the arches where the mushroom stickers were placed at Sony's GDC presentation. Can you turn on the stickers, please?"
The rep gave me a stone-faced look. "Again, you really need to walk before you can run."
I was now officially ******. I looked once again at my fellow editor who was, at this point, also completely fed up. The demo had done nothing but sap our enthusiasm for the game. But determined to salvage what we could from the demo, we momentarily ignored the rep and started slap-fighting with our characters. Now, we were starting to have some fun. I smiled for the first time since the demo started.
"Come on, guys," the rep says, the note of annoyance clear in his tone. "Let's get this level finished."
Was there any room for enjoyment in this demo? With our hopes rapidly deteriorating, we began to follow the rep again. His character was waiting for us at the top of a high platform that was only accessible by grabbing onto a couple of nearby stars. I easily made my way up, but my fellow editor was having a hard time. After multiple attempts, he was suddenly teleported to our location. What just happened?
"Sorry," the rep said. "I have to keep this demo moving along."
"I'm out of here," the other editor responded. Clearly, he has reached the end of his rope. "See you at the Rock Band event, Moses." He put his controller down and walked away, never once acknowledging the rep.
I felt the urge to follow him, but I decided to stick around, hoping against hope that things will somehow get better. Moments later, someone from Sony walked up and informed the rep that a journalist from a major national newspaper wanted to join in on the demo. This was fine with me: having another player along for the ride meant I wouldn't have to go one-on-one with the rep.
The reporter from the newspaper, a young woman, approached the demo station, took a seat next to me, and picked up the controller.
The rep looked at the new journalist and said something that I still have trouble believing: "To play LittleBigPlanet," the rep said, "you must learn to walk before you can run, and run before you can sprint."
Say what? This guy has obviously been watching too many episodes of Kung-Fu.
"Can we play with the stickers on this time?" I requested, trying one last time to have some damn fun with the game. "I'd really like to play with them."
My request was, of course, completely ignored. By this point, I was ready to walk away from the demo but the decision was made for me when the Sony rep who had brought the newspaper reporter returned. There were two more editors from the same newspaper that had requested a demo as well.
This is when the rep from Hell slapped me across the face with the ultimate insult. He turned to me and said, "Can I have the controller?" By his tone, it is obvious that he was not asking but telling me to give up my spot.
Despite his incredibly asinine behavior, I maintained my professionalism and passed the controller on. I got up and walked away from the demo station with my mind racing. What had just happened? How had the demo gone so terribly wrong?
Wasn't LittleBigPlanet about freedom and having fun? Wasn't it meant as a game where anyone could create a world based on their own unique creative vision? A game where everything was shared?
It was, without a doubt, the most inconsiderate and rude demo I have ever had to suffer through. Hopefully, I will soon have another chance to play LittleBigPlanet and this time, I hope that the person running the demo will focus on what is most important: letting us have fun with the game. :scared:
Reps for the most part are idiots they like to think they have power of some kind but when it comes down to it they have none and know little or nothing about what is going on other than what they are told the rest they make up themselves that's why releases dates facts etc by one rep is different from another.. that's why i ignore anything a Rep says it's best waiting for those who do know.
I can imagine if this report is completely true, that the saying, "You need to walk before you can run" etc etc, would really wind me up too.
The whole point of the game, is just to pick it up and create. You learn by your mistakes and will probably eventually have to read the manual on how to achieve things, if there is such a thing.
We have seen so many trailers of the demo level, that we want to hear what the game is like to play. Getting fed up of the demo level and want to really see what the game is capable off. Just that point, where they created a really large art piece that supposed to have slowed the PS3 down, or given it more than it could handle, we will have to wait and see if that is true, because the game is still in development, or if there really is a limit to the size of items you can move around the screen.