Over Christmas, Kim welcomed a new addition to her family: a PlayStation 4! Her stepson is over-the-moon but she owes an apology to her other half…
My other-half Pete has wanted a next-generation console since Microsoft and Sony made their initial announcements back in November 2013. He’s been playing video games for over twenty-five years now and has owned more machines than I’ve touched, but hesitated when the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 were released as his friends are no longer regular gamers. He started to sway towards the latter however after being introduced to Ben and Phil as it would mean he’d have others to play with (and I think he secretly wanted to take part in an episode of The Bromance).
As for myself, I’ve always had a slight preference towards the PC as it tends to support my favourite genre – adventure – more in terms of availability and functionality. When I moved into my current apartment I treated myself to an upgraded machine and ‘the beast’ has provided many hours of entertainment for just over a year now. After paying so much for a computer it seemed irresponsible to shell out for a console also, and I wasn’t particularly bothered about the Xbox and PlayStation anyway; so I left the next-generation to the 1001Up lads.
That didn’t stop Pete from dropping hints about how we needed one. When we were out with his son Ethan one weekend, he pointed out an advert displayed outside a shop showing Minecraft on the PlayStation 4 – an extremely sneaky move. I’ve written before about his obsession with the game and seeing the ad sent him into overdrive, resulting in both dad and stepson putting forward their best ‘if we had a PlayStation’ arguments for the rest of the afternoon.
Once we’d bought our new place, I’d get Pete and Ethan a PlayStation as a house-warming present.
Things got worse when Ben and Phil were roped into the situation, and I was the recipient of many ‘let Pete buy a console so he can play with us’ messages over the next couple of months. Eventually they wore me down and I proposed a compromise to my other-half: once we’d bought our new place, I’d get him and Ethan a PlayStation as a house-warming present. Little did Pete know that I was actually being sneaky too…
I spent so much time trying to put him off purchasing a machine, using guilt-trips about having to save up for a deposit on a new house to maximum advantage, as I was planning to surprise my boys with a PlayStation at Christmas. I had to queue up in a GAME store for over 45 minutes one evening at the end of November and eventually managed to get my hands on The Uncharted Collection and LittleBigPlanet 3 bundle. Hiding the box at home however wasn’t so easy.
I started getting worrying about the console being faulty. If Pete and Ethan unwrapped it on Christmas day and it didn’t work, I’d be so disappointed – and that’s not to mention the additional hassle of trying to sort out a replacement during the holiday period. Eventually my paranoia got the better of me and I let my other-half in on the secret so we could make sure the PlayStation worked. The response when he found out what his present was: “You shouldn’t have! You said we had to save… but I’m really glad I’ve got one.”
As is the case with such situations, what was meant to be a ‘test’ turned out to be a semi-permanent. First it was turning on the console to make sure it was working ok. Then it was turning it on again to enter new PSN account details. Then it was checking it to download any necessary updates so it would be ready to play at Christmas. And then it was using it to take part in an episode of The Bromance with Ben and Phil, to ‘help them out’. I didn’t mind though: it was great to see that Pete was pleased with his present, and we agreed he could have it early as long as Ethan didn’t find out before the day so it would still be a surprise for him.
I wrapped LittleBigPlanet 3 and hid it in my stepson’s stocking on Christmas Eve, knowing full well he’d notice the ‘PS4’ logo on top of the box. When he opened it he said: “I’ve always wanted to play this game! But it says it’s for PlayStation… and we don’t have one…” I pointed in the direction of the television stand. His head turned, his eyes grew wide and we got such a lovely reaction from him: “Oh my god we’ve got a PlayStation oh my god I’m so excited oh my god I want to play it!” When he asked whether it was from me or Santa, I had to explain that I’d had a word with the man in red and had arranged for it to be delivered before our house-warming.
We spent the majority of Christmas playing on the console (as well as with copious amounts of LEGO), with friends and family popping up on Twitch while Ethan was streaming his game so they could say hello. His first attempt at LittleBigPlanet 3 can be found in the video above; there were a few short moments of gamer-rage but on the whole he picked it up pretty quickly. I’d never touched the franchise before and was surprised at how great the soundtrack was – check out the dreamy I Only Have Eyes For You and 1950s Pink Shoelaces.
Ethan was like a coiled spring when we collected him on Friday evening: he’d clearly been thinking about LittleBigPlanet 3 for the past week.
All fun aside, I think I owe my other-half an apology. You see, Phil was kind enough to let us borrow some titles for our new console before Christmas and one of these was The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO). Both Pete and I had a week off work but unfortunately he came down with flu and spent most of the time drifting in and out of sleep. In between tucking him up in bed, bringing him more paracetamol and making him cups of tea, I thought I’d pass the time by checking out the game because I’d loved The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim so much.
From that first moment I was hooked. I spent many more hours playing TESO over the holiday period even after Pete recovered, racking up around ten hours a day. We’d never intended on going out to celebrate New Year’s Eve and so stayed in with a takeaway, travelling through the land of Auridon and picking up skill points until after midnight, while fireworks were exploding outside our window. With me on the controls and my other-half ready with advice (and Phil on Twitch chat offering puns on a regular basis), there wasn’t a skeever or imp that wouldn’t fall to my High Elf’s blade.
And so it turns out I’ve spent more hours playing with the Christmas gift I got for my boys than they have themselves. You know, that next-generation console I thought I wasn’t particularly bothered about originally. I take it all back.
Pete: I’m sorry I’ve spent more time on your PlayStation 4 than you have. And also for telling you off for using up all of my soul gems that time when I handed over the controls. Thank you for being the map-reader when I’m terrible at directions, for reminding me to press ‘up’ for health potions I get into battles, and for helping me stay calm when too many higher-level enemies come at me at once. There’s nobody else I’d rather be adventuring through Auridion and beyond with.