Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Features for PS Vita

On: PS Vita
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7Out of 10
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vitalife1 -
vitalife1 -

I have a fairly lengthy commute into the VideoGamer.com towers: 50 minutes on a good day, well over an hour and a half on a bad one. So, I make the most of it by getting lost in Drake's Golden Abyss, or rolling giant balls across the cosmos.

The problem is, taking out a dedicated handheld gaming device on a packed commuter train still appears to be frowned upon. In the two weeks that I've tried gaming on the go, I've regularly received those odd, disapproving looks from all walks of society. You know the kind of look I mean, that type of glance where you can tell they're thinking, 'isn't he a little too old to be playing games?'

It doesn't seem to matter if other commuters are gaming on their mobile, either. Playing Angry Birds or Solitaire on your iOS device, it seems, has been accepted as a social norm. But attempting to play Uncharted on your Vita still appears to be seen as a relative abnormality. I dread to think what kind of looks I'd get if I were to pull something as big as a 3DS XL out of my bag.

But why is it still considered odd for an adult to play games in public? Is it because I, a 26-year-old guy on his way to work, am playing on a dedicated gaming device, and by extension clearly a socially awkward nerd? Should I know better at my age?

"Whenever I see someone playing a handheld on a train, it's usually a kid," Editor Tom Orry said when I questioned him on the subject. "It's very rare to see an adult playing on a dedicated handheld.

"I'd be much more comfortable watching a film on my tablet than playing a handheld game around other people, but that's more my problem than anyone else's".

Maybe that's the point entirely: That gaming is still seen by some as juvenile, children's entertainment. A medium that people will happily enjoy in the comfort of their own home, or play online with a tight group of friends or under relative anonymity, but are scared will damage their image when playing in public.

vitalife2 -

But that still doesn't answer my question as to why gaming on a multi-functional, lifestyle device appears any more appropriate than playing games on a dedicated handheld.

"There have been times when I've had Vita in my bag and not played it for fear of looking like a dweeb," Reviews Editor Martin Gaston added. "I would immediately think someone playing their Vita in public was a dork. I wouldn't have a problem playing games on my phone, though."

For balance, I questioned a couple of other non-gaming friends on the subject, both being the typical sort of professionals that you'd expect to find on the 7:38 into central London.

"People would probably say most people who play games in public are geeks," said one of them, adding that the person's look and fashion sense contributes fairly heavily to his overall opinion of the player.

"Looking scruffy with a handheld isn't a great look," he told me, saying that those dressed smartly wouldn't be deemed quite so 'geeky'.

A second friend, however (five years younger than the other it's perhaps worth pointing out), said that he "wouldn't really think twice" about someone playing on their 3DS or Vita in public.

"I don't think its particularly unacceptable," he added. "You get people doing all sorts on trains: full size laptops, DSs, Kindles, books, iPhone games...

"To be fair, most people probably just don't know what it is. Vitas are slightly weird looking, and they aren't particularly well known."

Fair point.

But no matter how much headway the industry has made in getting gaming accepted into the living room, there's a clear indication that dedicated handheld gaming still has a fair way to go until it's seen as a social normality. And given the state of the handheld market right now, there's a considerable risk that it never will be.

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Highest Rated Comment

munkee's Avatar

munkee@ Woffls

Moving to Woolwich, working in Holborn.

Yeah, I've visited London a LOT these past couple of months and the underground is a strange environment. So many people, but so little social interactivity. I entertain myself by smiling at people and saying hello, then waiting for their blank, confused gaze back at me. There's a wonderful tension in the air and western style glances around the carriages. Every ride is like a mass Mexican showdown with everybody waiting for something (bad?) to happen.

As for talking to girls.. Do it! Talk to anybody you feel like talking too. The worst that happens is you'll feel like a twat for a few minutes. I always end up talking to strangers about something. Some people are really funny, some talk about themselves relentlessly and some are really interesting. A lot are ignorant, rude and uninterested. ***** those guys. Life is too short for those people. Say "hi" to tramps as well. You don't have to stop. But, feeling like your invisible amongst thousands of people must be one of the most depressing feelings in the world.

Yup, I'm likely to get stabbed one day.
Posted 16:05 on 22 June 2012

User Comments

WaterrDrinker's Avatar

WaterrDrinker

I agree with the whole being called "clearly a socially awkward nerd" when pulling out a gaming device, or usually doing anything related to gaming around older people or people who don't play as much.
Its okay though, they'll all soon be dead.
Posted 06:14 on 23 June 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ reynoldio

When I lived in Norwich it was very different to London, yeah.

I miss Norwich.
Posted 20:48 on 22 June 2012
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Dave, what are you normally playing on your Vita during these awkward trips? It occurs to me that you might be playing a game where words appear on the screen.

If so, that might explain the hostility from Croydon locals: they're terrified of anything that looks like it might involve reading; it's like kryptonite to them.
Posted 20:00 on 22 June 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive@ mydeaddog

it's not even a southern thing, just a London thing.

Down 'ere in the Westcountry it's all very pleasant on public transport, just not as cheap or easy.
Posted 19:18 on 22 June 2012
thedanyrand's Avatar

thedanyrand

I dont have a Vita but a few years ago when I would take the bus to work I would play my PSP all the time. I may have gotten a few looks but nothing to noticeable. The one thing I will say is there were a few times after work I would head to a happy hour and meet a few people and id be finishing a level or something as I walk in and got a few "dorky" looks followed by me showing them it and everyone taking a turn and being super into it.
So maybe its just nerd jealousy haha.
Posted 18:35 on 22 June 2012
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio

Apologies, not read all the comments, but just wanted to quickly note that I often play my Vita when I get the bus to work, which is about half the time (whenever the weather is anything less than awful I cycle) and I never feel even remotely awkward or notice others paying attention. Norwich different to that London?
Posted 18:18 on 22 June 2012
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker

No more less socially awkward than talking about using croissants in sex, really.

Over here in America you have more...privacy I suppose you could say since in most cities you take a cab ride or carpool or drive your car to work. But I have been on a couple of trams in my life, and I can say I wouldn't hesitate to pull out a Vita or 3DS if I had one. Look at Japan as well. The social norms are different there than here on in the UK. I think the issue is more a factor of public intimidation or awkwardness. You need to just be comfortable with who you are and not care so much about what people think of you. Only then will you make a difference. If everyone did that I doubt it'd be a social "oddness" anymore; much the same way why nobody takes a second glance when someone starts gaming on your phone anymore.

Personally, I don't game all that much on trying to game on the go simply because I just don't enjoy doing it all that much. Anything that takes more concentration than a simple mobile game I find myself just wanting to wait till I get home and experience it without any interruption or outside influence. But yeah I'm pretty much on the same page with what Gaston said in his last post. And ditto munkee! I love talking to new people whenever I get the chance haha

Great article Dave enjoyed reading it.
Posted 18:06 on 22 June 2012
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH

I think it is less to do with it being socially unacceptable but more to do with the fact, most people on public transport (especially in here in London) either have short commutes, or long commutes requiring them to change trains and tube lines at different stops to get to work. You never get enough time to play a game for long enough session to get anything done in it. So when ever I see anyone giving another person a dirty look for playing a game I just think they are thinking "why are they even bothering" rather then "isn't he a bit to old".

I generally find that you guess less of this, (if at all) on trains and buses that aren't crowded. If they are crowded then you will probably be getting the awkward look because gaming is seen as a leisurely activity. People rightly perceive that when you want to be comfortable when do things for leisure. So if you are playing in an awkward position due to a lack of space in crowded place, you will get a dirty look because a) You obviously aren't doing something for leisure comfortably and b) you look awkward because of that.
Posted 17:33 on 22 June 2012
Billb's Avatar

Billb

This is such a poor article. The writer is self-conscious. End of story!
Posted 17:19 on 22 June 2012
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Heh.. as I said in the spoiler, I was only kidding with the North/South jibes. I think the North is great - especially Newcastle, which is an utterly mental place in the best possible way.

I think the hostility of London is slightly exaggerated sometimes; I've certainly had plenty of friendly chats with random strangers over the years, though admittedly a lot of them were genuinely crazy - including one guy who claimed to have co-invented The Big Issue, and then tried to cut my friend's hand off.

Mind you, I'm quite jealous of Lee's description of knowing all his neighbours. I've always wanted that, but it's never quite happened - certainly not to that extent!

@munkee You'll have to join the mid-week drinks club. Woffls can vouch for it, though it's been a bit quiet lately...
Posted 17:01 on 22 June 2012
munkee's Avatar

munkee@ Woffls

Moving to Woolwich, working in Holborn.

Yeah, I've visited London a LOT these past couple of months and the underground is a strange environment. So many people, but so little social interactivity. I entertain myself by smiling at people and saying hello, then waiting for their blank, confused gaze back at me. There's a wonderful tension in the air and western style glances around the carriages. Every ride is like a mass Mexican showdown with everybody waiting for something (bad?) to happen.

As for talking to girls.. Do it! Talk to anybody you feel like talking too. The worst that happens is you'll feel like a twat for a few minutes. I always end up talking to strangers about something. Some people are really funny, some talk about themselves relentlessly and some are really interesting. A lot are ignorant, rude and uninterested. ***** those guys. Life is too short for those people. Say "hi" to tramps as well. You don't have to stop. But, feeling like your invisible amongst thousands of people must be one of the most depressing feelings in the world.

Yup, I'm likely to get stabbed one day.
Posted 16:05 on 22 June 2012
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ munkee

You're moving to London?? Where will you be living? Also, good luck with saying "hello" to literally everyone. I pass hundreds of people a day >_<

London commuting is pretty miserable. I was next to a really cute girl on the train yesterday but didn't say anything because, even if she'd said "Oh haiii you're not strange", there's still a few dozen people eavesdropping because they're all being quiet and then it gets really awkward. It would also have been twice as bad because there was a signal failure at Camden Town (surprise!) and the train got stuck for ages >_>

When we can communicate over adhoc local networks with our phones, bypassing Wifi and 3G, people will start talking a lot more. Sounds backwards, but I think it's true.
Posted 15:37 on 22 June 2012
munkee's Avatar

munkee

Loving all this London bashing.. I'm moving there in 3days, haha :P

It's cool though. I'm still gonna act like I'm a local in a small town. I'm going to say "hello" to everybody I walk past.

"hello"
"hello"
"hello"
"hi"
"hello"
"how's it goin'?"
"hi"
"hello"

Every journey, every day!
Posted 14:54 on 22 June 2012
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ CheekyLee

Quote:
and even stayed in the houses of some.

you made friends by squatting - Wow! it is friendly up North - lol!
Posted 13:56 on 22 June 2012
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga

It's actually got nothing to do with the North specifically. It's more to do with being further away form that miserable sh!thole called London.

LONDON: Lots to do; full of cumts.

PS. Chips with gravy rules.
Posted 13:54 on 22 June 2012

Game Stats

Release Date: 22/02/2012
Developer: Bend Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 1,372 66
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