By John C. Ardussi, President of Game Mechanics LLC
“Toys galore scattered on the floor.” So go the words to a song sung by the misfit toys from the 1964 Christmas special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as our meandering travelers find themselves on the Island of Misfit Toys. This is a place where toys that are not quite right can hang out with other toys that are not quite right and cry themselves to sleep imagining that they would be wanted if only they were a little better. If you are thinking I am now going to compare the people in PlayStation Home to the misfit toys, you are partially right. Actually I see the entire population of the planet as the misfit toys and PS Home as an island – The Island of Misfits.
To stay on the Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph’s story, you have to get permission from King Moonracer. Home’s island resides on the PS3, so in our story King Moonracer is played by Sony. While you do not have to get permission to stay, you can be asked to leave. Those who are asked to leave can be described as too misfit to fit in with the misfits.
In the story, it is easy to see that the toys are not quite right – a Charlie in the box, a polka dot elephant, a bird that swims, and a boat that does not float. The implication of such “flaws” is that the creator made a simple mistake that they easily did not have to. But because of that mistake, the toys were now separated from the rest of the world to spend the rest of their days reminded by their separation that they are not quite right.
My conjecture is that we are all “flawed” in some way that can make us feel like we are misfits. I remember high school as the awkward time where girls always rejected me. At a high school reunion the same girls admitted rejecting me because they thought they were “flawed” and were intimidated by this guy who had his stuff together asking them out. That was me they were talking about. I was always confused because when I saw who they ended up going out with, I could never figure out why they would say “no” to me and “yes” to them. This added to my belief that I was “flawed” even more than I realized. I mean, some of these guys were nasty enough that the word “jerk” was not strong enough to describe how awful they were. And if they said “no” to me and “yes” to them, I must be worse. Right?
My feeling from being in Home for a few years is that the community is completely accepting of everyone who is a positive influence. They have no idea of your name, where you are from, what you look like, your skills at hibachi cooking — these things are left as gaps that can be but do not have to be revealed to become a part of the community. With many of my Facebook friends who are from Home, I do not even know their real first name. But they are good people, so I like to converse with them.
Do you remember in school when there were people who sat at the back of your class and never got it? Even the easy stuff seemed out of reach for them. They would often disrupt your class until they got thrown out. When in school, I asked them why they would show up at class if their goal was to get thrown out. They said their goal was not to get thrown out, but to disrupt the class until the rest of us realized how stupid it was.
Sound familiar? They are grown up now and have become Trolls. They are the misfits among misfits trying to disrupt things they do not understand.
For lots of us, Home has become a way to live and spend time in places that if we ever got to in reality would be a blip on the timeline of our life. I can spend the afternoon at the beach, then pop over to my big city penthouse, take a helicopter ride to my mansion, then finish my day in the hot tub at my ski chalet. And I often do. That makes Home for me an island paradise in my living room.
Home is truly a place where toys galore are scattered on the floor. It is a free playground where there are even more experiences you can buy if you choose to do so.
But what are we to think about all these misfits that populate Home? In the Rudolph story, the misfit toys at the end get delivered by Santa to kids and the kids love them. What is interesting about it is one thing I think they got really right – there is someone for everyone, even the misfit toys. Never assume you are unwanted.
So forget whatever reason you think you are a misfit, and join the rest of us misfits out on our island! Cheers!