Adventures in Playstationland
My boyfriend gave me a Playstation and Final Fantasy 9 for my 30th
birthday. It's the perfect celebration of my passage into maturity.
I feel like standing up before fandom with the Playstation and saying,
"Now I am an adult..."
Because owning a Playstation is a symbol of coming into one's own
in fandom, isn't it? It's expected. It's natural. A gaming fan has
a bed, a desk, a bookshelf, a TV, and a Playstation. My dedicated-gaming-products
dearth has been a source of embarrassment for me, covered up by
snobbery toward people so shallow that they would play a game on
a "computer" that didn't even have a keyboard.
But now I have a Playstation. I can hold my head up high. I am a
And I have Final Fantasy 9.
Kuja's thong is in my grasp.
But before I can lay my digital hands upon Kuja's pearlescent, pixelated
flesh, I must plug the Playstation in.
Boyfriend and I spent some time on my birthday trying to plug the
machine in. Unfortunately, both of my TV's--the little one that
works and the big one that barely works but is exactly the right
height to be a stand for the little one--are too old to have the
right kind of jack, so an adaptor must be found. The day after my
birthday was a day of Korean food and shopping, so no adaptor was
to be had. Forgoing FF9 for an entire day wasn't hard at this point,
as the Playstation had not yet had a chance to lure me into its
Monday--I stand in the electronics department of the local Target,
watching a beautiful woman beat drums while demanding that we bring
her men with empires in their minds. I identify with her. I am also
grateful to her because while she is on the wall-length bank of
TVs, I do not have to look as though I know what I am doing.
Then an interview with Kevin Smith comes on. He's rather pallid
after the beautiful woman's video, so I have to return to my normal
scheduled pretense of electronic competence. I wander the aisles
at random, looking for game machine adaptors. Boyfriend told me
the name of the specific adaptor, but the acronym means nothing
to me, so I don't remember it.
A wall of adaptors! Ah! A short wall! Praise the heavens!
And look, something which sounds vaguely like what Boyfriend told
me to get! It has a pleasing round shape. More importantly, it has
what looks like the right kind of ends. I buy it and take it home,
where it connects cheerily to the various bits of machinery now
daisy-chained to my ancient television. My cable plugs into my VCR
plugs into my Playstation plugs into the TV.
Perhaps I can fit a DVD player in there as well. With more adaptors.
How far can a signal stretch, anyway? Is there any point at which
it gives up and says, "Hell with this, there's no TV attached to
this mess, I'm gonna hang out in your stereo"?
I plug in the cordless controller and the memory card, and turn
the Playstation on.
The Playstation turns on. The game does not.
I turn the Playstation off, a little frisson of terror running up
my spine. One does not turn off computers without warning the computer
first. I am not yet used to how cavalierly one can--must!--flip
the Playstation on and off.
I turn it back on.
The game starts!
The controller does not work.
I switch to the corded controller, another little frisson of terror
running up my spine. One does not change peripherals on a computer
without warnnig the computer first, then turning the computer off,
then turning the computer back on. The Playstation, however, is
happy to take anything I throw at it. Is this because it is such
a hardy piece of equipment that it will cheerfully endure anything--a
dandelion to the computer's fainting violet? Or has the Playstation
merely taken so much abuse that it will bow its head and endure
I worry for my poor Playstation.
I name it Dandelion and forge on.
The corded controller works! My Playstation is fully functional!
Next: I actually get
to play the game!