"That looks like a giant PSP," said Johnny as I eased the PlayStation 3D Display out of its cardboard coffin and onto my desk, immediately coating its glossy piano-black back and glass screen with fingerprints. "You fool!" I said. "It's clearly more like a Vita."
"No, it's a PSP Go minus the buttons."
"You didn't say PSP Go, you said PSP. Besides, how you would you know? You've never even used one."
"I've used your mum before, and--let me tell you--I know where her buttons are."
Clearly, this man was insane. But he was also a fountain of random technology knowledge. And in the world of 3D Display reviews, I needed a man like that--even if he had an unhealthy sexual fascination with my mother.
I let the comment slide and dug out the display's stand. Its two pieces slid together with a satisfyingly solid click, forming a firm base for the display to sit on. And as it stood, its black monolithic face reflecting the contents of my desk like some kind of unholy mirror, I realised Johnny was right--it did look like a PSP Go.
"It's a bit studenty," I said.
"Isn't that the point?" asked Johnny." Besides, I think it looks nice."
"I dunno. It's all a bit curvy for me. And those speakers on the side--it's like the Dumbo of displays."
"I'm not sure Disney could design something as sexy as this."
"What about the Little Mermaid? She was sexy."
"She's a fish. Fish aren't sexy."
"She has a seashell bikini. That's hot."
"So if I slapped a bikini and a wig onto a mullet you'd call it Sally and take it out to dinner?"
"It'd have to be a damn fine mullet."
He's probably thinking about me having sex with a halibut, I thought. First my mum and now fish. He needs help. Fortunately, the subtle orange glow of the standby light was enough to distract us from thoughts of fish fornication and move us on to more pressing matters. "We should probably test this thing out," I said. "What DVDs have we got?"
Johnny pulled out a copy of Max Payne from under a pile of crumpled papers on his desk. My heart sank. GameSpot UK's entire film library consists of only a single copy of Max Payne and a battered UMD of Spiderman 3--I wished to be subjected to neither. But this was for the greater good; the good of the Display-buying public. If it meant watching Mark Wahlberg make a tit of himself for an hour, then so be it.
The film looked good--even upscaled to the display's ample 1080p resolution. It handled motion smoothly, and the noir-influenced visuals looked suitably dark and the scenes suitably moody. They'd have been even better if not for the crystal-clear reflection of Seb slacking off and reclining in his office chair. The harsh, fluorescent glow of the office lights was not kind to shiny glass objects.
"Time to see what else this baby can do," I said. "Where's the Alienware?" Danny walked over and dropped off the 11-pound behemoth that is the MX17 on my desk. There was a dull thud sound as he placed it. I grabbed an HDMI cable, and--feeling my way past the display's component input--I snugly inserted it into one of the two HDMI ports. The other end of the cable clicked into place in the Alienware. I opened the laptop up, revealing a large, white, suspiciously shaped stain on the left palm rest. Danny said nothing.
The laptop booted, and a less-than-sharp Windows desktop appeared on the display. Games looked better: they were sharp, and the colours were vibrant, and the black levels were deep. There wasn't a hint of input lag either, at least to my non-pro-gamer eyes. By now Johnny had picked up a pair of the bundled 3D glasses, and he wasn't enamoured with their design. "These are well '80s," he exclaimed, before putting them on and parading around the office doing his best Geordi La Forge impression. It wasn't very good.
I picked up a pair and put them on. They lacked style. But, when you're wearing glasses over your glasses as I was, having style is an impossibility. At least the glasses' deep shape and sharp corners fit effortlessly over my own specs. And they worked well, instantly syncing with the display, itself instantly recognised by Nvidia's 3D Vision software, leaving me free to ponder why anyone would want to play a game in 3D in the first place.
"This is balls," I said to Johnny. "Everything's so dark now." The once vibrant colours on the screen had been filtered through a veil of muddy browns and greys. In a vain attempt to counteract the effect of the 3D specs, I booted up Gran Turismo 5 and picked the brightest car possible--a hot neon pink Lamborghini--but even that couldn't cut through the thick veil of darkness cast by the 3D specs. It was, at the very least, mostly smooth and flicker-free.
"Fancy trying out some Simulview?" I asked Johnny. "Sounds like a fun way to watch porn," he replied. Johnny was getting worse. We donned the specs again and raced a few laps around the Nurburgring, each of us enjoying the novelty of two-player racing with a whole screen to ourselves.
"This is damn clever actually," said Johnny.
"I know," I said, "very."
"Kinda saps the fun out of split-screen, though. I mean, what's the point if I can't cheat by looking at your screen?"
"Maybe you shouldn't be cheating?"
"No, I know, but it is part of the charm isn't it?"
"I suppose so."
"Still, I can see where this'd be useful."
"You know, on small TVs."
"You mean like this one then?"
"You're just nitpicking. It's pretty good, and you know it."
"I wouldn't want to play in 3D on such a small screen. Kinda defeats the purpose. Besides, it only works with six games."
"It's cheap, though, right? I mean, students and kids can't afford dick-all."
"It's four hundred and forty nine pounds."
Johnny put down the controller and calmly folded up his 3D specs and slid them back into their soft velvet case. "You'd have to be insane to pay that, or--at the very least--very, very high." I nodded. After all, this guy was insane. That left little hope for anyone else.'