"So I Gotta Rant" he says. He says it's the first in some brand spankin' new series. Well, where's the rest of it if it's such a great new series, by gar?
Well, dear hypothetical reader who only exists in my head, I'm here to answer that question for you, because today, So I Gotta Rant gets its second installment. Rejoice! Or don't...either way, enjoy.
Over an hour. That's how long I've been sitting here, waiting for LittleBigPlanet 2 to finish updating. I put the game in over an hour ago fully intending to play the game, and yet, now, I've somehow lost interest in it. Somehow, the giddy excitement of dressing up a cute little Sackboy and cavorting off on a magical platforming adventure has lost its luster. Is it because I've been sitting here waiting for the empty, boring install screen to finally go away?
Yes. It is because of that.
Whatever happened to the days when I could just pop in a game and play it? It used to be that you could buy a game, take it home, pop it in your system of choice (or the system you got whether you wanted it or not, depending on your childhood) and it was ready to go right out of the box. Nowadays there are games that literally get patches the day they land on store shelves. Did they not have time to finish? Did they not care because they knew they could patch it? What happened to the days when game developers either shipped complete games with almost no bugs and glitches or else suffered the wrath of a thousand angry gamers, critical lambasting, and the expenses of several returned copies?
You know, these days.
But, alright, let's back up a little bit. There's nothing inherently wrong with patches and updates - I mean, if we'd had them in the Atari days, E.T. could have been made playable. It's actually great that some developers care enough about the community to listen for problems and actively attempt to fix them. But it also means that developers can get away with not finishing their games before release because they know they can just patch them later. Of course, most developers don't do this (because most developers aren't Terminal Reality) but the point still remains that patches have made it all too easy to turn the players into your quality control team. And when your player has to wait anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour (or more) just to play the game, they're not exactly going in with high hopes. I mean, don't get me wrong, sometimes it's well worth the wait, but other times, well...
Don't mind me, just trying to find my AI.
"So you have to wait for some patches. Big deal! It makes the game more stable/playable/better/etc." you might say. But the point is that in doing so, I have to wait quite a while just to even play the game, depending on which game it is. But, fine, have it your way, patches are wonderful and great and I'm thankful we have them. That still doesn't excuse install data. Mandatory install data as most games tend to have. Because, once you've finally gotten done with the patches and your game has finally started, the first thing you should want to do is wait some more. Let's take Metal Gear Solid 4 for an example. In the 2 or 3 times I've played through the game, I never had my PS3 online, so I never downloaded any patches. Not that I needed them, since the game ran fine as it was. Regardless, I still had to sit and wait...and wait...and wait while the game installed it's massive data at the beginning and after every chapter or so. I get it, MGS4 was a huge game and wouldn't have been possible without this, but, seriously, THE WAITING. Once again, it had me pining for the days when I could just put a game in and see the title screen seconds later, not minutes/hours later.
It's me again.
Not to mention that some games that have optional installs don't really seem all that different with or without the data installed. So why bother? Why not make them all optional? At least then I could start playing the game immediately...immediately after the patch is done downloading, that is.
So, needless to say, it's getting to be rather annoying to have to wait to play a game that I might actually be pretty excited about playing. Excitement can only last so long, and sometimes it doesn't last as long as a patch download or data install. Yes, these are necessary evils in today's gaming world, but they are an evil that I will continue to rant about, because when I grew up the worst waiting was waiting to get home from the store to play the game. Now it's waiting for the patch to finish downloading, and that will never cease to bother me.
On a related note, it took me about 45 minutes to write this. The LBP2 update is at 94% now. Make your own conclusions about the validity of my annoyance.