Revolution: Imperfect

A perspective near the end of PSO v2. For the Dreamcast

"The first attempt at anything is rarely perfect, sometimes disastrous, and always a good lesson."

In order to fully understand what is happening in PSO today, it must be understood what PSO really is. PSO is a revolutionary game, literally the first of its kind for a home console system. No one could have asked for a better first party developer then Sonic Team. The name Sonic Team stands for excellence in graphics, solid gameplay and games that can set new industry standards. You need only to look at their past achievements for evidence: Sonic 2 on Genesis--nothing was faster. Sonic adventure on Dreamcast-- the graphics set the bar high for future games and sold lots of new systems in the process. And perhaps, only Sonic Team would have the ambition to try and make a game of this scale and scope.

As a video game development team, Sonic Team succeeded quite will with PSO. Graphics, gameplay, music and challenge are all excellent for this point in time, and technology. However, as with most first efforts it is not perfect by any means. It is apparent that Sonic Team did their best to prepare and guard PSO for international online use. The most well noted being the word select system, which has won several awards. With their selection of a server maintenance team, and a fairly solid game, PSO was released to the world. However, no developmental factor could have ever prepared Sonic Team for the all-out assault to be carried out on the game a few short weeks after its release. While they made efforts to rule out pre-existing game-altering devices such as the Game Shark and X-ploder, these devices proved to be much more versatile then expected.

As systems have gotten more complex, the devices used to alter their games have become more adaptable, complicated, and powerful as well. Home console systems of the current generation rival or one-up most personal computers (gaming ability vs. cost). For PSO, both expert and amateur code creators took an interest in its gameplay. Normally, for an offline game, this wouldn't matter, but in the online aspect of PSO your actions can affect the experiences of others--the entire point of the game. Perhaps, this is what helped to drive the ‘hackers’ to go to such lengths to create game-altering codes. As for the motives behind them, the ability for others to see what you do and be impressed, the ability to harm other people for your pleasure, the ability to carry out torment on thinking, feeling, people on the other end of the line, all without fear of retribution, is extremely tempting.

In all, PSO for the Dreamcast has been fairly well ruined in the eyes of the developers. Only the most basic structure of the game remains, everything else has been stripped away through codes. Original goals that were intended go ignored, interaction with others becomes more difficult every day, as danger to hard work increases with every new destructive code. As the separate servers for the Xbox and Game Cube editions of PSO prove, the first game is being left behind as a diseased relic, lest its infection touch the new goals, gameplay and interaction of the next generation of PSO. Was this turn of events expected? Does it disappoint Sonic Team that so many people attracted to their game are so destructive to it? There is no way to tell, but something like what has happened -should- have been anticipated, and must be put into proper perspective by players and developers alike. The first attempt at anything is rarely perfect, sometimes disastrous, and always a good lesson. Yes it’s the first try, yes things are going to get totally out of hand, yes they’re gonna think of stuff you never even conceived, but that’s what it’s all about. And the fact that PSO is still considered to be fun by so many players around the world, despite all that’s going on with it, is testament to this excellent game, as well as all future updates to it, no matter the time and no matter the system.