Is there no middle ground with Home?
The sharp responses from both sides of the spectrum to my written experiences in Home have suggested this. Either you understand Home or you don't. Either you spend a lengthy amount of time within Home or you don't use it at all.
For more than a year, I was on the latter side. My Life In Home is about trying to understand what makes Home tick with the users who defend it. If I'm not a Home devotee by the end of this (whenever that is), that's not a big deal. I want to understand why other people are so into it.
Home does inspire devotion in some users. In some cases, it's a slavish attention to detail when it comes to costume manipulation. In others, it's about constructing a nearly 80-page online magazine dedicated to covering the cultural side of Home and the people driving its creation.
No, I'm not kidding.
HomeStyle Magazine, currently on its 78-page second issue, is a virtual publication launched last October by user NJRAMAL. The magazine promises "engaging, entertaining and comprehensive articles that cover all aspects of PlayStation Home through insider insights, fashion tips for our avatars and user reviews." Based on my perusal of the latest issue, HomeStyle Magazine provides keen insight into what Home users are actually doing with their time in Home. For a service that's been maligned by most of my peers, it's fairly shocking.
Who knew there were DJ competitions (with PSN card prizes), friendly rivalries over having the best "Home crib," fashion shows between community members, and controversies over glitch removals?
"Sony cant [sic] keep a good glitcher down, as the 1.3 update ended many of the old glitches that some of the Home community enjoyed," reads a section about the known glitches in Home, followed by an interview with a so-called leader of the glitchers, Elite_Shadow_AC. "Although the community adapted found [sic] new ways and glitched on. Glitching was not dead as so many had feared."
According to Elite_Shadow_AC, there's an "art of glitching" that's learned by observing the ability for others to find themselves doing things within Home that shouldn't be allowed (i.e. popping up on the roofs of buildings, standing on benches, etc.). Elite_Shadow_AC's online name is actually related to his glitching hobbies within Home, too. "Elite Shadow" refers to a specific group of glitchers. "Gods of Glitching" and "Exodus" are apparently two other organizations within Home dedicated to glitching.
There are even temporary "jail cells" that Home moderators can dump glitchers into, which Elite_Shadow_AC dismissed as a lost cause, as the user is only detained for 20-30 seconds.
If you're interested in learning more, HomeStyle Magazine includes several essays outlining the recent patch's effects on glitchers in the latest issue, each penned by a known glitcher in the community.
"After the 1.3 update hit the glitching community we knew it was the end of glitches as we knew it," wrote Home community member kev99gh in one commentary, "and a new way of glitching was born."
HomeStyle Magazine also includes humorous advertisements for the wares Sony's sells in their stores.
If I've learned anything the last few weeks, just wandering around Home doesn't appear to do the service justice. That's Sony's fault. The amount of effort spent producing HomeStyle Magazine highlights a selection of users expanding what's capable of Home, even if Sony doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot to encourage or highlight it. If users will do it for them, however, maybe that's the point. But if you, like me, wondered what going on beneath the surface in Home, this is your answer.
You can keep up with HomeStyle Magazine through the official website.
- My Life In Home, Vol. 1 -- Coming Back After A Year Away From Home
- My Life In Home, Vol. 2 -- The Chat Room Theory