A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yay Sony! Corporate Speak for the Lose!

Some backstory: I bought a Playstation 3. I bought it used for 30 bucks more than a new smaller machine that uses less power and has a smaller form factor yet a bigger hard drive all so I could have a model with backwards compatibility letting me play my 60 or so Playstation 2 titles I have bought for the machine since I got it in THE YEAR 2000.

Well thanks to toy collectors having far too much cash on their hands I am selling stuff I choose no longer to have out of lack of space, lack of love, and embarrassment for having toys in the first place at my age I have lots of money for fun things.

So as I have a good 20 arcade styled PS2 titles ranging from classic SHMUPS to Fighters to arcade retrocollections I decide that 150 dollars for a good PS3 arcade stick is a nice thing and its a great time to do it.

My first mistake was not doing enough research on either of my 2 stick purchases. My first for 150 and since returned was the Tekken 6 Limited Edition box with game, wireless stick, and a pretty art book. Reports on the stick said it constantly cut out on people, the buttons died fast, and it was certainly not worth its cost as part of the box. Time wasted on 40K day to return it and I didn't get to play 40K at all. Oh, and the manual with the stick THAT WASN'T MENTIONED ON THE BOX AT ALL said it didn't work with PS2 games at all.

So I spent more time getting the stick everyone seems to respect if not love (hardcore fighting game fans are SCARY PEOPLE), the Madcatz Street Fighter 4 Tournament Edition stick. Which is 150 bucks just for the stick. (The Tekken 6 threw a nice artbook and the game in the box. )

I had heard people say it did work with PS2 games but on Madcatz website after I had it in my home it said it did not.


So I sent myself a little email to Sony customer support asking for any info. Below is my message and the wonderfully corporate lamespeak I got in return. (I'm bold. Sony's response is in Italics.)

Ok. I have a 60 gig backwards compatible PS3. I have a decade's worth of PS2 titles I would love to play on the machine. But fighting games just don't work well with the Dual Shock controllers and never have. So I bought a Madcatz Street Fighter 4 TE joystick for a 150 dollars, a VERY substantial amount of money for me.

And.. it will not work with PS2 games with no visible reason, and Madcatz' FAQ says "maybe when Sony does an update".

When is this update due? It should take a programmer about a half hour or LESS to make the joystick work as it works on my iMac with NO issues whatsoever, and it works fine and dandy on PS3 and PS1 titles on the machine.

So do you guys have a date for this?
If not I need to return this stick as I bought it to use with PS2 titles. I have 20 PS2 games that would work wonderfully with this arcade stick yet for some reason it does not.

If I am gonna be forced to play my arcade favorites on MAME I certainly won't bother with a 150 dollar PS3 stick!

I have a LEGITIMATE collection of games, an expensive console, and an expensive joystick.

So when will I be able to use it?

Ok. Seems like a fair question right? I am a consumer who wishes to know why something so goshdarn SIMPLE isn't working as it should. I mean, is there any reason for a USB stick my iMac picks up and plays without any issues to not work on the system it is dedicated to? I mean the stick has toggle switches so you can use it as any of the 3 directional controllers present on the PS3's Dual Shock/Sixaxis controllers which work fine with PS2 games. Is there any logical or valid reason the stick is ignored by PS2 software?

None anyone with half a brain can see. Maybe some programmer out there could tell me why not. (Of course for 150 bucks the stick should work on the 360 as well but Sony and Microsoft have little proprietary shenanigans going on so the USB controllers have to be properly vetted for each machine. Meaning if you want to play on both you either need to buy 2 150 dollar sticks, or spend some time and money getting fan made circuit boards and some skill with soldering irons and power tools to mod it yourself. Oh for the days when almost every system but the NES and PCs used the same joystick port and you at least got single button and stick control on them all..)

But here is the wonderful corporate BS reply Sony sent me I have been promising for a couple paragraphs now:

We apologize for the delayed response regarding your request. We apologize for the inconvenience. Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has not released any details concerning the product, project, or development referenced in your email. SCEA and its affiliated companies are regularly engaged in extensive research and development in many areas of the computer entertainment industry. Hence, we cannot comment on future PlayStation(R) developments, projects, or products. We appreciate your enthusiasm and continued interest in our products, and hope you understand our position. You may however, visit our website at http://www.us.playstation.com/ and view our current press releases and future updates.

Yeah. That sure helps you buttweasels. I had to go to the Playstation website for the contact info in the first place. I don't read Kotaku for its intelligent commentary. I go there because its all the dumb game news I might want. No I do NOT understand their position. Either tell me "we have no plans for this in the foreseeable future" which while annoying is at least HONEST, or if they are working on it or mulling it over "We are working on this issue but do not currently have an arrival time for it".

That's clear and not a pile of nonsense which tells me nothing and pisses me off more than a simple "we have no plans to correct this issue". (Which while INCREDIBLY DOUCHEY OF A SOLUTION, its at least at least calling a spade a frakkin spade.)

So now I have a 150 dollar stick which I can use for a handful of PS1 arcade type games that don't look like a mess of 2nd generation polygon barf (something PS1 3D games are entirely wont to be), and a handful of fighters on the PS3 I really don't want (outside of the upcoming Street Fighter 4 2nd edition game with more dudes and dudettes I won't play because I refuse to use anyone other than the first lady of fighters Chun Li!), and a handful of Playstation Network purchases of old arcade games I already have on collections that run on my PS3 but Sony has decreed I should be forced to use their mediocre control pad for. While the Dual Shock series have a fair D pad and decent enough face buttons (and now really nice shoulder buttons), its not good enough for fighters or a proper home arcade experience. And for general modern gaming their analog sticks are unsatisfying to be generous. (The 360 has far superior analog sticks. Your thumbs rest in them. Which I prefer. Concave is superior to convex.)

I am 35 and I love classic arcade titles and my tour in the Navy was the early 90s when thanks to Street Fighter 2 arcades had their final glory days. I want to bring that experience home and am happy to pay the cash to do so in a satisfying and easy experience. (Its why I mainly use Macs for computing and consoles for gaming. I aint got time for nonsense!)

But as it stands I either return the stick and feel like a doofus, or I keep it and use the Mame emulator to play games I already own, but have to deal with the questionable legality of downloading ROMs that don't always friggin work.

Instead of say, popping Fatal Fury Archives into my PS3, selecting Fatal Fury 2 or Special, and kicking patootie with my homeboy Terry Bogard. Or throwing Namco Museum in and getting some Rolling Thunder, Dig Dug, or Galaga action in. Or Taito Legends 1 and 2 and getting my Bubble Bobble, Bust A Move, and Elevator Action fix.

This is the future dammit. I have a pocket sized supercomputer that can take pictures, play music, surf the web, make phone calls, be a GPS roadmap, and play games of near Dreamcast level quality and technical sophistication.

Is it really THAT hard to make a dedicated console joystick that works with every type of software that console runs and its default controller is happy with?


I guess Dark Helmet was right.

"Even in the future nothing works!"

PS: Its sad when NINTENDO seems to let almost everything be playable on the Wii. Nearly every Gamecube game and Gamecube accessory works on the Wii plus most games and their Virtual Console retro catalog of downloadable games not only work, but you have multiple control options for most of them. I'm hoping the Madcatz lower end fighting stick will come out for the Wii as they have planned. Not only can I use it to have Tekkaman Blade fight Mega Man, I should be able to play NES Contra and Castlevania with it. If they can just make old Gameboy titles playable either via purchased download or a new Gameboy/DS player like the Gamecube had. Hell do both! I've been wanting Game Boy Donkey Kong since I first played it on an original DEATH TO YOUR EYEBALLS V1 Gameboy.

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