“You are average!”
That’s what the virtual host of “Buzz! Quiz World,” the latest in the Buzz! series of quiz games for the Sony PlayStation 3, told me recently, with sarcastic English humor.
With the Sony DigiDads project winding down, the Sony PlayStation team decided to extend the program by lending us PS3 gaming consoles to review. Disclosure: I’ve long been fascinated by gaming psychology, though I am not a video game aficionado — far from it, in fact. I enjoy the Wii at our start-up, so was delighted to finally try the PS3.
The PS3 arrived Thanksgiving eve with the Buzz! game so we could gather the family and test it together. My kids (one and three years old) are too young to enjoy it, though three-year-old Julian is obsessed with the controller and keeps hiding it. Fortunately, we hosted Thanksgiving at our home and had lots of other family to play.
The Gear: Sony PS3
My philosophy on gadgets and technology is that simplicity rules. I have little time or patience to configure confusing wires, learn new interfaces or hassle with extraneous log-ins or other unpleasant frictions. Devices that set up easily and work right out of the box simply work better. The PS3 did all that. I plugged in the AC power cord, then connected the HDMI cable to the Sony 46â€³ BRAVIA Z Series LCD HDTV. We were rolling from there. Again, I’m not a game-console expert, so I’m not sure how this compares to other consoles. Regardless, set-up was easy and that means a lot. (For a nerdy feature and competitive review, you should go to CNET.)
In addition to being a bad-ass gaming console, key PS3 features include:
- The Free PlayStation Network, which includes a store, online gaming, chat, game previews, and movie and television video-download service. Importantly, the PS3 now is compatible with Netflix streaming, and that’s a huge plus.
- It’s a Blu-ray DVD player, and plays your regular DVDs as well.
- It plays CDs and MP3s (in case your iPod breaks?).
- The hard drive can store all sorts of multimedia, including videos, music and photos.
- Sony emphasizes DLNA compatibility so the PS3 can share and exchange media with other DLNA-compatible digital devices. Sounds good in theory, though DNLA has yet to make a meaningful impact on my gadget usage, and I have many gadgets.
Final thoughts: If Sony’s goal is for the PS3 to be as much of a digital multimedia center as a gaming console, I sure hope it will integrate Boxee, the open-source media center software. I’ve had a Sony VAIO VGN-FW465J laptop on loan for a few months, and I’ve kept it connected to the Bravia to work solely as a multimedia theater center, running Boxee, with occasional use of the laptop’s internal Blu-ray player.
Buzz!: Quiz World is hosted by the obnoxious, UK (I think) game show host Buzz. The goal is to become champion by scoring as many points as possible through a series of game rounds. Each player (up to eight) gets his own wireless buzzer (connected to the PS3 via USB antenna) to answer questions and control on-screen options. Rounds focus on multiplayer interaction, including customized player profiles and returning play options. It reminds me of a cartoon version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, on steroids, with witty humor and all. It was a ton of fun. Good for the family, though also for adult parties as well.
Additional features Sony emphasizes:
- Over 5,000 new general knowledge questions including hundreds of pictures and videos.
- Enhanced â€˜Sofa Vs. Sofaâ€™ mode to challenge others online.
- Extra downloadable premium quiz packs.
- Ability to create your own quizzes!
I hope Sony will let us review the Buzz! Junior and other childrens games, so Julian can experience the PS3 as well.
This post is part of series called the â€œSony DigiDads Projectâ€ by Sony Electronics where a group of dads, including C.C. Chapman, Jeffrey Sass, Max Kalehoff, Michael Sheehan, and Brad Powell, have been given the opportunity to test and review Sony gear. If you want to know more about this project, visit the Sony Electronics Community.