An ordinary summer evening, weekend, provincial county N. The animals fried on the grill, ranging from partridges to wild boar, have been eaten, and the wine and conversations that were flowing like a river a moment ago suddenly stopped flowing. And at this moment in the company there will always be a person who is a little pleading or, conversely, with great enthusiasm, declares:
– Let's play something!
Further reaction depends on the audience. The first question is, of course, 'what time?', Then work with objections, heated discussion and choice goes on. Popular options in this case are something simple and suitable for people who have somewhat dropped their degree of social responsibility due to heavy libations. For example, the popular version of the game Alias ('Say otherwise') for smartphones or the invincible classic – 'Crocodile'.
But suppose you want something different, fresher and more interesting. Manufacturers of home consoles have long offered their solutions for social entertainment, because, according to their version, the console should be the center of all home entertainment, let alone games in the first place. I've always loved the concept of offering games to big companies, and I think it can be a lot of fun. But, as always, the real world makes its own adjustments even to the most rosy projects, and in the end, everything may not look so great for various reasons.
So what did the game developers offer us to entertain a group of adults or not so people who have childhood in a famous place? Textbook examples are series like Guitar Hero, Just Dance or Rabbits. All of them offer several players to perform simple actions together, and, in general, they can be quite fun with the company. Only now they have some disadvantages – the need for additional devices that cost money (musical instruments, cameras, motion capture), and also a sudden disadvantage for owners of a small living space – to play the same Just Dance, you need a lot of space. The latest trend is the availability of subscriptions (as in the same Just Dance, where a number of songs have to be paid for separately or pay for a subscription), which further increase the cost of such entertainment.
If I'm not mistaken, a little over a year ago, Sony offered their own version of companionable entertainment for the PlayStation 4 – a technology called Playlink.
Actually, the main feature here is the use of players' smartphones as controllers, which equates the cost of entertainment in general with the cost of a game created for this technology (well, plus the price of a console, TV, acoustics, electricity, smartphones, but these are, of course, trifles) . I got a couple of games as a PlayStation Plus subscriber and decided to try them with my family and friends. By the way, the scenario with a summer weekend on a weekend is not the only one – you can entertain a bored child, show adult parents modern games, maybe something else. In general, a thing to strengthen social and family ties.
There were two games we tried – 'It's you!' and 'Knowledge is power'. To start, you need to install the game on the console, and on each of the connected smartphones – the corresponding application from the Play Store / AppStore, applications can be easily found by the search query 'Playlink'.
All devices (PlayStation and smartphones) must be on the same Wi-Fi network, you can connect to the network from a router or use the console itself as an access point.
We launch 'It's you!'.
It is proposed to add a question filter (apparently for young users) and choose the duration of the game according to the mood. All players are asked to give themselves a name and take a selfie, which will be used as a portrait. After everyone confirms that they are ready to play, you can start.
First of all, we were transferred to a location with a tent. Kind of like we went camping.
Then the actual action begins. Everyone is asked a question like 'Who would do this in a certain situation?', For example, 'Who will take more food with them on a hike?' The questions are thematic and correspond to the location on which the players are currently located. From time to time, the question concerns a specific player, and everyone has to answer except him. When several players answer in the same way, they receive points for this, which can be increased by using special tokens (jokers). There are other types of tasks for a change – to draw on the player's photo (rather inconvenient on the phone screen, it seems that nobody liked it, although the drawings sometimes come out funny, especially with captions), imitate the photo on the screen (fun, and the best imitation, according to other players are awarded) and … it seems, everything.
In this game, the players need to be more or less familiar with each other and not hesitate to pin each other up – you can see who answered how and how. Although the questions are quite harmless. It is also worth noting that as the number of players grows, it becomes more fun – but this is perhaps generally one of the basic principles of social entertainment. The winner is the one with the most points.
After the round in 'It's you!' decided to try 'Knowledge is Power' right away. The game is organized like a quiz with mini-games – three questions on selected topics, then a small mini-game in which you also have to answer questions, but in a different format. First, a name and an avatar are also selected (take a hot dog, a man-sausage, call it what you want – just take it all, you will not regret it, he is the best).
Topics are chosen by the players themselves, and if opinions differ, a random topic is chosen. Questions – strange, sometimes too easy, sometimes those to which no one knows the answer. You can slightly interfere with other players – cover the screen with cute green slime, freeze it or throw bombs on it, remove letters from words. The mini-games were also surprised – one demanded to distribute phrases from the songs by performers, suggested Viktor Tsoi and Yuri Antonov as musicians, and the phrases from typical ('Blood type on the sleeve') quickly turned into quite typical ones, and had to be chosen at random. Perhaps this is an omission in localization, but not very cool – everyone, except for the older generation, floated in Antonov's songs.
In the final, the players are waiting for a pyramid, to the top of which you need to climb to win. The starting position is calculated based on the number of points scored per game. Similarly to regular questions, you can put spokes in the wheels of other players. Naturally, the one who climbed the highest suffers most of all. In our case, it turned out that the one who started from the bottom won in the end. The speed of movement along the pyramid is determined by the speed of giving correct answers. That's all.
The bottom line: Playlink itself is an excellent technology, easy to use, undemanding in terms of some additional conditions (devices and place), just convenient. But the games, in my opinion, let us down – playing them is boring, and we ended the session without feeling euphoric. Yes, in some moments it can be fun, but mostly the projects did not give any outstanding emotions. 'It's you!' the players liked it more, there was more laughter in the process and the overall impression was more positive. 'Knowledge is power' a little boring, with oddities, I liked it, respectively, less. For a separate category of people who like to watch others play, it is not particularly interesting to watch both games, the players periodically bump into smartphones, and, accordingly, nothing happens on the TV screen. The opinions of those involved, by the way, were not divided – yes, great, yes, convenient, but without fireworks. Other Playlink games like Hidden Agenda or Frantics may be more fun, but I'm not sure about that.
What do you think such games should look like? Or maybe they have no right to exist at all and it is better to play Basque pelota?