Sitting before me now is a Vita. It is very shiny. Two weeks ago I didn’t know I even wanted one, but then the GAME Group’s little financial problem happened.
You see over the course of the last two years I’ve been saving up in preparation for the next generation of consoles, whenever they may be. This saving hasn’t taken the form of a mattress stuffed with used notes however, mine has been in the form of a Gamestation trade-in card. Every time I was done with a game, I’d trot down to the store, trade it in for whatever I could get for it, and keep it stashed away on their loyalty card hoping that when the Xbox Next and PlayStation 4 arrived I’d have enough for one or the other.
As of Saturday morning, I had £250 sitting on that Gamestation card. Not an inconsiderable amount. And not a stable one, if you heed talk of the Administrators being called in as appeared on MCV’s website late on Friday afternoon.
At this point they became my Northern Rock: I needed to get my cash out whilst I could.
I’m not the kind of man who can have a pile of games sitting there waiting to be played – I just don’t have the time – so getting half-a-dozen or more new releases wasn’t a financially sound way to go. I have all the home consoles, it didn’t look like they were going to stock the iPad 3 any time soon and so only one viable avenue was left open to me.
Around the office I have actively pooh-poohed the Vita in recent weeks, ridiculing Sony’s latest over-priced memory cards, the kitchen sink approach to input devices and the lack of eye catching software. And yet there I was in the middle of Birmingham trying to figure out how to get the best for my cash.
After a large amount of (hasty) research and digesting all the permutations of offers Gamestation had up, I not only ended up walking out of the store with a Vita (complete with FIFA and Uncharted) but with a surprising sense of glee. Whether or not this is my subconscious trying to reassure me that what I was doing was right, I feel I had actually been sold on what I was getting. This was no longer a desperate purchase to get something for those dozens of trade ins over the last couple of years, but a device I was actually looking forward to embracing.
It’s been in my possession less than a day and, to reiterate my opening line, it’s very shiny. And I mean that in a Firefly sort of way. The graphics are stunning, the input responsive and it just feels so nice; and best of all they’ve gotten rid of that ridiculous cross-media bar that leads me to hate my PS3 so.
Of course it comes down to the games and merely peaking at what is on the PlayStation Network Store has me hopeful; Sony’s online marketplace has to me always provided greater variety and quality than Microsoft’s solid but generally uninspiring offerings. If the likes of Escape Plan and Super Stardust Delta can be backed up by output from studios in the vein of Pixel Junk and ThatGameCompany then I’m going to be a very happy panic purchaser.