As you can see, we’ve made some pretty nifty changes around here. A slick new layout, better integration with our awesome forums, and my butt doesn’t look as big. It’s the PlayStation University you’ve come to know and love, only better in every single way.
In the spirit of totally badass redesigns, we thought of some awesome redesigns throughout gaming’s past. Bask in the increased awesomeness of the site and check them out below!
Let’s start with one that’s personally near and dear to my heart. When the first Genesis first came out when I was a kid, it was extremely unappealing to me. Not only did it have the deck stacked against it when put against Nintendo’s pedigree, it looked horrendous.
But when Sega released a more streamlined version of the system, I wanted one BAD. It didn’t have a headphone jack like the previous version did, but I didn’t mind because I like sitting more than two-and-a-half feet away from the TV when I play games. I mean, just look at how sleek this bad boy was!
And thus began a love affair that flourishes to this day, as I still dust off my controllers for some sweet, sweet NBA Jam action.
We’re all aware of the ridiculous contrast between Bomberman’s lovable cartoon form and his grotesque “realistic” form, but we feel that the transformation doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves.
What’s that? Jesus, no! We’re not talking about the change to Bomberman Act: Zero. That was an affront to everything that is good with video games. What we’re talking about is the B-man’s switch from realistic form on the NES to what we came to know and love in the 16- bit era. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Check him out below:
As you can see, Bomberman wasn’t exactly straying from his roots with Act: Zero … at least not artistically. Wait, did I just use the word “artistic” while discussing Bomberman Act: Zero? BA-HAHAHAHA! *Ahem* Really though, don’t play it. There have been reports of 360s spitting the disc back out at dangerous velocities.
PlayStation 2 Slim
Like so many hardware manufacturers before them, Sony has been pretty keen on redesigning their systems to draw in people that have been holding out and, just as importantly, tempt early adopters into buying in all over again.
In the PS2′s case, the slimmed-down model came just four years after the console’s release. If the size difference between the above-mentioned Genesis models is significant, then this was downright biblical.
Granted, the redesign came at the cost of no longer supporting the hard drive add-on, but that was more than OK; that’s what you get for playing Final Fantasy XI in the first place. A built-in ethernet port was a worthy trade-off if you were a SOCOM addict, although it definitely didn’t do FFXI players any good.
And why not the PS1 or PS3 redesigns? In the PS1′s case, retailers couldn’t stop shoving attachable LCD screens in our faces whenever we’d walk by the games, so it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, while the PS3 Slim has zero PS2 backwards compatibility.
Remember when the PS3 first launched 4 years ago, and everyone was wondering why Sony wanted them to wave their controllers around instead of giving us rumble? We sure as hell do.
Sony insisted that their wacky-ass Sixaxis was the future of games, taking us to places we could only dream of while telling us how archaic rumble was; instead we got Lair and a controller that felt like it was ready to crumble under the lightest of grips.
Not too long after, Sony swallowed their pride, sorted the mess with Immersion that they kept saying didn’t matter, and gave us the DualShock 3. All was right with the world as Sixaxis functionality, while still built into the DS3, all but disappeared from PS3 games altogether.
Xbox 360 D-pad
I’ve already mentioned a lot of hardware at this point, but it’s hard not to. After all, these are the things we have to count on to enjoy the games we love in the first place.
So why mention the 360′s controller? Easy — it’s a damn fine piece of work. The sticks are in the perfect place, the triggers are superb, and it’s comfortable as hell to use. But if you’ve been reading any of my articles over the past year, you may have noticed that I like me some retro gaming. Mega Man, Bionic Commando, Sonic … these are all games that require precision inputs that are best provided by a proper d-pad. These games were all bought and played on my PS3, sight unseen, because of the smushy piece-of-crap disc thoughtlessly plopped onto the 360′s otherwise immaculate pad.
It only took them five years to figure it out, but Microsoft finally rectified the problem by giving players the ability to switch between the boogey-board d-pad and a more traditional input. It’s actually kind of cool, and it makes it possible to play classic games in the XBLA library without wanting to break your Xbox over your knee. Let Xbox shill Major Nelson show you what it’s about:
While we’ve still got the PS3 launch fresh in our minds, take a moment to think back at what PSN used to be like — a total lack of trophies and messages couldn’t be read without quitting out of your game. Absurd!
What strikes me as the biggest difference, though, is how much better the PlayStation store has gotten over the years. Out of the gate, the store’s layout was terrible; even with just a small handful of demos and games to download, navigation was a mess. Worse yet, there was no background downloading. I’ll never forget the day I went to my cousin’s house as we downloaded Gran Turismo HD onto his PS3 — not helped by his shitty DSL, the 600+ MB file hijacked his console for hours and we were stuck playing SNES all night instead.
As it stands now, the PS Store is pretty awesome. Every week, a flood of new content reaches across all different kinds of gamers, while the overall quality of said content also growing exponentially. Remember when we’d go weeks without so much as a demo? Now the store even brings you a reality show (don’t even pretend that you don’t enjoy The Tester).
What are some of your favorite second takes? Be sure to let us know!