Introducing feel-good gaming

Wednesday 18 July 2007
Sohere we are, drinking weak lager and being fed chocolate cookies by a very persistent waitress at Sony Europe's low-key cocktail reception in Los Angeles. David Reeves, Sony's President has just told the assembled press and hangers-on that, unlike the US, he won't be pulling a fast one and pretending to cut the price of the Euro PS3. Kaz Hirai (who was on the table behind us) has exited out the side door, sharpish.

No-one knows where to go next. We're in Venice Beach, an area our cab driver referred to as 'a bit rough' and the DJ is playing dodgy mash-up remixes as the party thins out. It's a bit of a low point in the evening.

Meanwhile, one of our esteemed mag editor friends (from PSM3) decides to cheer us up by dragging us over to one of the game pods across the bar where a Sony producer is demoing LittleBigPlanet. Mr PSM3 says it's the best thing he's played at E3. Okay, we'll give it a go.

The first thing to note - actually we didn't note anything, we're in a bar, with no pen or paper -is how much it looks like the screenshots. This is somewhat rare these days. The 2-and-a half-D dioramas are crisp, candy colourful and, while not drawing anything particularly complicated, have a highly stylised appearance - like a big budget animated film. Check out the video for further evidence.

The hook to LBP is the ability to create platform based levels using simple building blocks, objects and backgrounds blended with user generated textures and images. You can share them online as well, for others to play through. While we were shown a few different character models and the way you can bring photos into the game and set them as 'stickers' on in-game furniture, this demo was predominantly a run-through of the game.

Played co-operatively in this instance, our two little rag characters were able to manipulate their surroundings with resoundingly satisfying physics. Approaching a pile of blocks, you can grab and pull them down causing them to cascade to the floor, knocking you over in the process. In some cases levers need to be pulled which require the weight of both characters - the interplay between the two dolls as they clutch on to each other to balance a see-saw is irresistibly animated, and cute. Verycute.

I hate the 267.