October 20th, 2008

If there’s one thing I can say for Sony’s LittleBigPlanet, after demoing it at PAX and then getting my hands on a fellow reviewers’ copy last weekend, it’s that it’s frickin’ adorable. Yes, that’s a wildly obvious statement. Just look at Sackboy. Doesn’t he just make you want to hug and squeeze him until he bursts at his stuffing-filled seams? However, there are a couple finer points re: LittleBigPlanet’s cuteness we gamers may be overlooking by simply fawning on its aww-inspiring (yes, that was bad) aesthetic:

1) LittleBigPlanet appeals to our love of the hardcore cute.
As I pointed out back in March, the game’s intensely realistic graphics only heightens its adorableness. Instead of using the PS3’s technical prowess to present the player with lifelike explosions or breast physics, Sony has made platforming stuffed animals a success by tapping into our soft spot for the hardcore.

2) By appealing to our inner hardcore gamers, it gives us the green light to like something girly.
Seriously, without its graphics and big-name release, would a game about building levels through which adorable, fluffy avatars can roam — jumping on toys and other cute objects — have made such an impression on the gaming community? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to see manly men wield their controllers in the name of good (that good being to apply stickers to all possibly surfaces) instead of evil.

3) That means LittleBigPlanet turns everything — including being girlie — hardcore.
What makes the game fun, besides its super cute graphics and platforming gameplay, is its customizable nature. Specifically, it swaps customization for something much “girlier”: craftsiness. Sticker stickers or photos to any flat surfaces. Dress up your avatar doll. Arrangement objects into levels. What we have here is a high-res, extremely details arts and crafts project.

Have I mentioned how sad I am I don’t have a PS3 of my very own? Wait, I take that back. I’m just sad I don’t have LittleBigPlanet. Not that I wouldn’t spend the majority of my day bitch slapping my opponents. Now what does that say about me?

Tags: aesthetics, cuteness, gender expectations, new games

2 Responses to “LittleBigPlanet appeals to our love of the hardcore cute”

  1. soulofaqua Says:

    I still think he looks like a woolen gimp.

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I can totally see it! All he needs is the zipper over his mouth instead of his tummy :).

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