In Search of Sackboy

As far as I can remember we have had a rubbish year and this past Sunday was the sunniest day ever. This being the case I decided to leave my darkened hovel and venture out onto the streets of London. A to Z in hand and a mission to meet Sackboy in mind, I inflicted myself upon the world.

This weekend hailed the opening of Sony’s LittleBigPlanet space in Covent Garden. I was wooed in by the promise of live entertainment, music and arts and crafts, but failed to discover any hint of the first two. The venue was a little tricky to find hiding in a small shopping centre and I was a touch intimidated by the emptiness of the place. There were plates of free sandwiches strewn about but as I was one of only about 4 people in there I felt too self conscious to eat any. Really not a good start for me.

Welcome to LittleBigPlanet... where is it??

Looking around I saw there was a free console awaiting my attention so I jumped on and began to run through the beautiful world that is LittleBigPlanet. I have no idea what level I was playing, but the only element to it seemed to be jumping over dinosaur-like things, not much of a challenge, and I quickly became stuck with nothing to inspire me. To my relief a very friendly Sony bloke came and joined me to take over and show off the game. In his command we were soon placing snake like level design objects around the screen and gave my character a very appealing makeover. I have been a little worried that the game seems to be hugely creative but maybe does not have enough pre-created play time. I was told that I should not worry about this as everyone has the potential to be creative and this game will unleash that. I’m still worried.

After my quickie on the game I took another look about and mentally scored the arts and crafts creations adorning one of the walls. I chose this one as the best:

Staples for hair, what could be better than that?

Before leaving, a photo shoot with Sackboy and one of the Sony team was required and then I ran off back into the blazing sunshine of early October. It sounds like a fleeting visit and indeed it was. I was disappointed by the emptiness of the session and felt really self conscious trying to play a game with a dozen Sony reps mooching about behind me in a bored state. Had the place been packed out I would have fought for my spot on the game and then stayed there until I was hauled off for hogging it, but in an environment where I felt unable to even eat the free food, I certainly couldn’t do much else. It was a cute experience, the venue is decorated nicely, and the children’s activities bring a certain warmness to the whole affair. I quickly grew to like the team, who were there after my initial fear of them. They knew the game well, were very happy to answer all my stupid questions, (including ‘so it’s a bit like Far Cry on the 360 then?’ which got a pretty odd look and needed some explanation on my part), and even happily took my photo without calling me a weirdo.

If you can get a group to go with you I totally recommend crashing in on this place for a visit. However if you are a born loner like myself, it’s maybe one to miss. I’m looking forward to the general release of the game a little more now, and really wish I’d had the balls to eat a free sandwich!

Blurry t-shirt for teh win.







19 responses to “In Search of Sackboy”

  1. arc14716 avatar

    OK, now we have all THREE OF YOU as part of! It’s like a FDUK reunion of sorts!

    Interesting blog. I imagine once Little Big Planet hits the shelf, that place will get a bit more crowded. It’s probably good that you went now so that you know what to look forward to the next time you go. At least now there may be more people and you can mingle in with the crowd.

    Anyway, like the photos. The one with the mall reminds me a bit of the malls back here at home. Was that a guy dressed as Sackboy or just a statue? Glad to see you’re looking good these days.

  2. Lorna avatar

    You didn’t eat the FREE sandwiches…that’s disgraceful?! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d have felt massively self concious too though…in fact I probably would have lingered outside wondering if it was closed or not and then slunk in trying to find the nearest corner. I’m sure it will be busier when the game hits though..then you’ll wish you had a handful of those sandiches ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Tony avatar

    Hmmm. I’m headed into taaaaahn tonight so if this place is still there I could take a look.

    Is this shopping centre the one just off Neal Street? If it is there’s an excellent bar there with a back door that leads right out into the shopping centre…

  4. Simes avatar

    Maybe it would have had more people if it had been more widely advertised. I’d certainly never heard of it before.

  5. Kirsten avatar

    It must have been bad. I’ve never known you to turn down food, El… ever.

    I’ve been playing the LBP beta and I find the creative openess of it quite overwhelming. I’m not very good with Lego and I think this bares similarity. The pre-created levels however are fantastic.

  6. arc14716 avatar

    She turned down free food? I must’ve missed that part.

    Well, she did feel a little indimidated. If there was a crowd, I’m sure she would’ve partaken of the free food. I kind of feel the same way at times, unless I see someone else taking the free food, then I’ll eat it.

    Gotta agree with Simes. How much promotion did they give this little shindig?

  7. arc14716 avatar

    What kind of sandwiches were they anyway?

  8. Lorna avatar

    *Ready Uppers descend with carrier bags to cart away the free sarnies*

  9. Tony avatar

    Actually, Lorna, you joke, but me and John are going to be 5 minutes from there tonight for another Ready Up related event (post coming soon), so we’re going to pop by and check it out.

  10. Lorna avatar

    ๐Ÿ˜€ Superb, Tony ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you have fun and don’t be afraid of the freebies, though follow the old rule and watch anything with seafood in it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Let us know if it was any busier.

  11. Eleanor avatar

    I saw it advertised in the Metro, and that led me to the site. I didn’t see it anywhere else.

    It is still on Tony, but I’m sure you have noticed that by now. Let us know what it’s like on an evening!

  12. Michael avatar

    Free food? Like, it’s there, people have spent ages making it and you turn your nose up at it? Who cares if there’s hardly anyone about?! (I actually would be self-conscious in any social setting like that – regardless of numbers – but, y’know, food!)

    Oh, and I think it’s great that everyone focussed on that…

  13. Martin avatar

    First up, welcome Eleanor good to see you. Secondly I’m quite jealous that you got hands on time with LBP, I just can’t wait fot the game from what I’ve seen and played, it’s awesome!
    I think the whole creative aspect of the game will give it great longevity, I look on myself as quite artistic but not even I could compete with most of the Forza 2 cars. So to think of people with that full on artistic bent creating levels to play and share makes me all giddy.
    The secret with the free food is to remove it discreetly from the venue and eat it at home at your leisure! Tastes so much better.

  14. arc14716 avatar

    I think after reading these comments, I think she’ll be more encouraged and comfortable in grabbing the free food next time.

    I didn’t really get into the artistic thing with the cars from Forza 2. I don’t think Little Big Planet would be for me, though I wouldn’t mind trying it.

    And in case I didn’t say it, welcome to Ready-Up.

  15. Scott avatar

    Hi Eleanor, welcome to the site! Sorry to hear that you didn’t get an extensive hands-on with LBP; I’ve heard amazing things from a couple of friends about the levels in the beta, so hopefully your fears about a lack of exisiting-content won’t translate into a real issue, even if said content is provided by the users instead.

    I had a similar experience when I first tried out the Nintendo Wii. I qeued up for a good hour in a shopping centre, only to get 5 minutes of heavily-monitored playtime with Twilight Princess and Wii Play. I still had a blast, at least, but I would have enjoyed the experience much more left to my devices.

  16. Tony avatar

    Well, myself and John found about twenty minutes to drop in on the LittleBigPlanet store yesterday.

    We really didn’t have enough time to get into the whole “Create” part of the game, but we did have a quick blast at customising our sackboys and then play a simple level.

    Two comments:
    1) I was surprised that Sackboy can’t doublejump
    2) The layout of the demonstration area was awful. The controller was on a retracting wire so you had to lean forward to hold it. The chair was nailed to the floor, and too far back to sit in comfortably while holding the controller that was being pulled constantly forward by the retracting wire. And then I was about 6″ from a 42″ TV and got neckache trying to play.

    I’m looking forward to being able to play this in the comfort of my own home, and to have the time to really investigate the “Create” side of it…

  17. Simes avatar

    There’s no doublejumping but there is “hold the jump button for a higher jump”.

  18. arc14716 avatar

    At least you can sit. There’s a demo unit of a 360 in Wal-Mart where you’re standing while looking up at the screen. Play too long and you could get a sore neck.

    Then again, they don’t want you to be playing on the unit all day.

  19. Uzi avatar

    w00t! Glad to see you at Ready Up!

    I totally echo your impression that it’s a bit like Far Cry, assuming you’re talking about the level editor.

    Absolutely shocked that you didn’t snag a sandwich. Well, it’s the thought that counts.

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