If Consoles Were Boys
[Disclaimer: Take this piece with a pinch of salt. If you don’t know what that means, it means don’t take this seriously. I doubt the views reflected below are even my own, I am probably just being contrary.]
We are all overly attached to our consoles. Some people, having conducted non-scientific research, seem to think that some console fanboys are more overly attached than other console fanboys. But for the majority of us (and this is a sad truth) our journey with our consoles is probably the longest relationship we have ever been in. And so, for the sake of personification and good fun, (because I am a girl, and I am the one writing this, and I am not lesbian), if consoles were boys this is what I think they would be like:
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The Xbox 360
I have never owned an Xbox, and probably will never own an Xbox. These are probably the reasons why. Microsoft is great. Everyone loves Microsoft. They made a screensaver with a 3D maze. How could you not love them? Most people, when it comes to relationships, have a conscious and a subconscious list of criteria which they look for in every prospective cuddle partner they meet. The conscious list is all the “important” stuff: is he upwardly mobile, does he come from a good family, is he a professional, is he mentally stable, does he have known drug problems? Sometimes you will meet someone like this, his name is X.
X: Hello, my name is X.
Deshni: Hello, I’m Deshni, nice to meet you X.
[X and Deshni have a long conversation and Deshni establishes that X is a chartered accountant at KPMG, owns immovable property in Illovo and loves Steph Weiss beer.]
You see, X meets all the ticks, he says all the right things and does all the right things. He was decent enough, bought you a glass of wine and walked you to your car. The thing is, X, although meeting all the ticks, just does not seem interesting enough. Maybe if he told you he ate ants as a child then that would have spiced things up, but you and X don’t seem to have that much chemistry. But you will see X again, because meeting a professional with no known drug problem really is quite the feat, and Illovo is a lovely area in which to own immovable property. Maybe you will date for a while, you may date for a long while, and then after a few years that dull ache you felt in the pit of your stomach, which was your yearning for adventure and risk, gets mistaken for biscuit cravings, and then you get married. You have 2.4 children and appease yourself with a Porsche Cayenne (which X paid for).
The PlayStation 3
Sometimes you will meet someone who doesn’t want to cuddle. This person however will meet the ticks on that other list, the subconscious one I mentioned. He finds your alarming lack of simple geography knowledge endearing, calls you out on your hipster bullshit when you are outraged that mainstream bars sell craft beers, and his affection toward you dances on the line of adoration and disdain. You can never be sure of where you stand, and sometimes you think that he just doesn’t care (has a massive announcement, shows you a controller). His name is PS.
You will chase after PS for years, and PS knows that irrespective of everything he does, you will still be there. PS isn’t a bad guy and he does love you, but he has all these other things going on in his life. You are but one thing.
PS: Deshni I am working late, I won’t be able to come over.
Deshni: Okay, should I bring you sushi for dinner?
PS: No thanks. I just want to finish this and go home.
Deshni: Alright, I love you, bye.
PS: Talk to you tomorrow. [hangs up]
No-one can really be sure whether you and PS will live happily ever after. Your emotions during your relationship vary from extreme depression to happiness that makes you giddy. At times you think that you are bipolar. Possibly psychotic. Then you just remember that you are in love.
The Wii U
Everyone has that one male friend they have known since they were a toddler. You played together, shared peanut butter sandwiches and promised that you would always be best friends for ever. You both started to grow up, and maybe he was even the first boy you ever kissed. Let us call him WII.
You decide at some stage that you are at that age where people have boyfriends, and maybe you should have a boyfriend. WII seems like the logical choice. He knows that you don’t like eating peas and empathises with your indecision over which Power Ranger you like best, and whether Crash Bandicoot or Sonic the Hedgehog is better.
So you and WII date. WII is lovely. He knows you, gives you everything you want and treats you like a princess. It feels though, like you and WII are playing boyfriend and girlfriend rather than being boyfriend and girlfriend. There are no difficult conversations because WII agrees with everything you say. WII wants to send the boys to St Stithians, you want to send the boys to St Johns. The boys go to St Johns. You are happy, or you think this is what happy is but you have no real conception of the word because WII has been around all your life and you really could not ask for better. You figure that being challenged is not worth the drama it brings with.
Bonus: The iPad
We all know that situation where you go out for drinks one evening and end up hooking up with someone you didn’t even know you were attracted to. In fact you wake up in the morning wondering if it was all a dream and then realise that you are not in your own bed. Mistake! Apple and you were just something that should have never happened.
Or so you think. You forget about Apple but then you see him around six months later and bam! Mistake! Apple however is non-committal, full of shit, constantly needs to update, and will not work for no apparent reason other than to cause you and your Wi-Fi grief. But how do you say no to Angry Birds? You just cannot.
The moral of the story is that we all want different things, and different consoles cater to those different things. Maybe one day I will decide that having to listen to tirades about balance sheets isn’t such a bad thing if I get a Porsche Cayenne as a trade off, or maybe I will decide that all I actually just want is something casual, and Apple is perfect for that. Or maybe, just maybe PS will be the console who sticks around for life (as it has been since the PS1 days) and I will finally learn, and remember, which countries are actually in South America.
I wrote this column before E3, so it would have been premature to make judgement calls on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 before the conferences. I am now happy to report that after having stuck it out, PS finally came around and realised that if he wants me to stay around, he needs to give me what I need. And he has. He also cuddles and makes crumpets for breakfast now.
And what about X you may ask? Well remember that known drug problem which he didn’t have, turns out he was just a drug problem waiting to happen. That Porsche Cayenne was sold to pay off debts owed to drug dealers, and you are are stuck in a loveless marriage because he made you sign an ante-nuptial contract and you have no marketable skills to start a career again.