“No one ever said on their deathbed, ‘Gee, I wish I had spent more time alone with my computer.”
Sportsfriends is a collection of four couch co-op games (Hokra, Johann Sebastian Joust, Super Pole Riders, BaraBariBall) that hit a couple days ago, and like Towerfall before it, I immediately called up my brothers and told them I had a little “somethin’, somethin’’ for us to play. After giving them a very vague description of what Sportsfriends was, “bruh, it’s like four Towerfalls, kinda, maybe. I’ll be over in a little, and you can just see it,” I immediately went to procure some uniforms after getting off the phone, because playing sports without uniforms is kinda like drinking non-alcoholic beer at a party, everyone knows you’re no fun. Since I have bills that need to be paid, the idea of spending more than ten bucks on uniforms is pretty much a non-starter with the esposa (wife). So, I went where most people in my tax bracket go, Family Dollar. Six red and green, child-sized Roman chest-plates, three velociraptor hats, three tyrannosaurus hats, and a packet of gold medals later, I had everything I needed for the festivities. We set up a tournament bracket, picked teams and suited up; before the download was complete, Sportsfriends was already serious. After a heartfelt speech about the importance of competition given by yours truly, our night with Sportsfriends began.
There’s something about being in a room full of smiling faces dressed in a Roman chest-plates, wearing a dinosaurs skulls on their heads. It’s that certain tingle you get when you realize you’re making memories. When you realize no one is on their phone. When you realize this is truly what sharing a moment is.
Look at any PlayStation commercial, lately. The lot of them are constantly drilling the idea of sharing into your head. Not sharing in the traditional way, but sharing in the form of social media. I can’t fault Sony for making this mistake; we have all succumbed to the idea that posting a picture of your latte is in some asinine way sharing something. Sony has even created a platform dedicated to sharing moments, not memories. News updates, moreover, easily consumed morsels of entertainment; a fancy RSS feeds curated with your friend’s latest gaming achievement. Sure, I enjoy seeing a dope combo every once-in-a-while. Hell, I even enjoy a stream or two, but neither of those two things are memorable to me. I’ve never once said to a friend, “remember that one time you landed that 96 hit combo with Folgore.” Online gaming is a closer approximation to sharing an actual experience, it even leads to some everlasting memories like I’ve written about before, but it’s still a bastardized version of human interaction.
My issue isn’t with Sony’s persistence that sharing is the future. Trust me, I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even the PlayStation app installed on my phone; I understand the importance of social media. I, however, don’t understand why Sony has chosen to parade Destiny around as its ‘share-pony’ — I’m sure it has something to do with co-marketing bucks. Sportsfriends is a fifteen-dollar game that is not only a vehicle for creating and sharing memories on their platform. Show families and friends dressed like idiots playing Sportsfriends with Lou Reed’s Perfect Day playing in the background, not some boring Destiny trailer that doesn’t fit the theme or messaging of their sharing campaign outside of some vague shots that allude to the game being co-op.
I would never expect Sony to run a Sportsfriends commercial during, let’s say, the Super Bowl, or at all for that matter. It’s unlikely and illogical. Nevertheless, I do reserve the option to be upset that Sony is missing a huge opportunity to market Sportsfriends as the flag ship titles for their sharing campaign. Sportsfriends is a game that takes advantage of ol’ fashion memory sharing/creating, and can also take advantage of the PlayStation 4’s sharing capabilities. A stream with four people people dressed like idiots booty-bumping in Johann Sebastian Joust is what I want to see populating my PlayStation 4 news feed, not ‘sick headshots’.