This is the season where time seems to pass like its falling through molasses. Last year it was Balad, Iraq, now it’s Helmand Province, Afghanistan… the feeling is the same. In spring communications slow to a crawl, as listless as the sun overheard, a blazing hot sun that got an early jump on summer here while the folks back home are enjoying spring breezes and birdsong.
During my short time off back in February, my wife and I spent hours playing Final Fantasy Tactics. Yes, it’s old, PS One old… it still rocks like nobody’s business. It wasn’t the most traditional way to vacation, but once you get “Gained JP Up” you really can’t stop yourself. Me, my Ramza was a lancer jumping on people’s heads with a subskill pedigree of thief that was so sick I could leave a foe with nothing but drawers on his ass and a frown on his face… and I could even steal the frown if I felt like it.
Vacation over and freshly back to the suck, I delight upon a great idea. They made Final Fantasy Tactics for the Playstation Portable, an updated version with even more options, job classes, and an overhauled story (BIG perk for a storyteller like me) complete with cutscenes. That’s how I get through the molasses time. Get some of that Tactics action out here.
It was time for me to break down and get my game on. And not just a PSP, I was gonna upgrade with the hottest thing out… the PS Vita. I told my wife what I wanted, and she was thrilled that I was finally asking for something out here instead of just doing the time in my standard minimalist manner. She went out and got it like the very next day.
The Vita doesn’t have Final Fantasy Tactics (it came out years ago for PSP). But it supports it, all I needed to do was download it. Simple enough… so I ask my wife to do it. I couldn’t see her expression when I asked her to take that PS Vita out of the box, turn it on and download my game on it… but I’m sure it looked like this:
Bless her heart, she’s great at a million things, but her and technology don’t see eye to camera lens. I provide IT support and all, but walking her through a system I’ve never physically seen is the stuff of nightmares. It’ll be slow and painful with my bandwidth, but I can just download it myself.
The Vita gets here and its shiny and cool and devoid of the sole reason I bought the thing. So I go online, well, more like crawl online to the Playstation Store. I buy my beloved Tactics, but I can’t download the game directly. First I need to download and install Media Go on my laptop.
Media Go installed, I download the game file, which easily takes an hour and a half for 200 MB. Note that I’m not fudging the numbers. Also factor in the download was done at 3 a.m. when no one else was using the wi-fi. But I finally get it and with a victory cry, I plug my Vita into my laptop…
So I go (well, crawl) to the site and download and install Content Manager. I’m thinking why the hell do I need Content Manager when I’m capable of managing my own content? If Content Manager wants to help me, find markets for my unpublished stories… that’s content management. Rant aside, victory’s at hand. I plug my Vita into my laptop…
Unlike the 200MB gamefile, the Vita firmware update will reset if the connection breaks at any time. The time limit before I get kicked off the network and have to sign in again is 30 minutes. Getting kicked off causes a break in the download. I try to skirt the 30 minute limit by downloading at 4 a.m.
I get the Vita updated using by commandeering a USO system, installing all of Sony’s crap software like Content Manager, plugging the Vita in and praying that the USO staff won’t kick me off before I finish the download. But I finally get the Vita updated! Woo-hoo!! Time to play!! I plug my Vita into my laptop…
And there’s no visible file. That’s when I learn the unadvertised truth.
Sony supports PSP games on their new Vita. But they don’t support computer assisted downloads. You have to directly download the game to the Vita or a networked PS3. Out here, doing either one of these things is like getting tasked to capture the mystical Mountain Unicorn Goat.
I sent Playstation an email, explaining my situation, my connectivity, my earnestness to use their products! I said, “Please Playstation folks, can’t you do anything other than send me a well-dressed sorry, can’t help you?”
Me, being more familiar with rejection than your average bear, recognized the “no” right off the bat. They dressed it well, for the prom even, with the tech thanking me for my service. Wish I could’ve returned the favor. Guess I got myself a new side quest.