It’s true, I might not like most of the changes to the XMB since the latest firmware, but animated XMB themes could be a huge plus point for me. I don’t really like the LittleBigPlanet theme, and as an introduction it really should have been free, but thankfully Sony have seen sense and given us a stunning Afrika one for absolutely nothing. Yes, you’ll need a Japanese PSN account, but who doesn’t have one of those these days?
So, anyway, just log on to the Japanese PSN Store and it should be right there under “what’s new”. It’s completely free and only 5MB, so grab it and then head back to your normal PSN account, unless of course you’re Japanese in which case you can skip that step and feel particularly smug with yourself. If you don’t have a Japanese PSN account then you can try to follow the instructions in this blog from IGN, but it’s really quite straight forward.
Go to the Theme options under “Settings” on the XMB, and scroll down to the new Afrika one, and apply. Yes, the icons are white and get lost a little bit amongst the zebras, but you can use the Background settings to dial down the brightness a notch to make things easier to read. It’s really, really impressive – the zebras are nicely animated, the grass moves in the wind, it’s like having a real life safari park right inside your PS3. Well, it’s not, but it’s certainly cooler than Sackboy running ad infinitum on a little globe.
Let us know if you find any other cool stuff like this, especially if it’s free.