Brilliant! You’ve finally completed all your domestic duties. You’ve put the kids to bed. You settle down with your partner to watch some abhorrent CGI crapfest when your significant over gestures to you with her outstretched arms and involuntary yawn, indicating that they’re going to bed for an “early night”. “Oh yeah!” you exclaim with great relish having read the subtext in their sudden prostrated admittance. It’s been too long since we’ve spent some quality time with one another, and such intimacy has to be utilised whenever the rare opportunity arises, to sustain a deeply connective relationship with your spouse. “Are you ready to be turned on?” you coo. With a quick peck on the cheek, a nurturing exchange of pleasantries, ensuring that they sleep long and comfortably, waving your other half good night, safe in the knowledge that they couldn’t possibly leave you for a more affectionate consort….as you remain downstairs to play your neglected PlayStation (or whatever your preferred means of gaming is) until you awake at 3am greeted by the static words “Game Over” etched across the screen of a long since passed battle. “My how I’ve missed you darling”. Of course there is a far greater threat to gaming than mere marital or parental concessions. Oh yes there is a far more assertive danger that lurks in the furtive servitude of your consoles inanimate dormancy. An enduring hindrance that provokes world-wide agitation with its protracted obstinacy. The compulsory interference of the dreaded software update! How I loath them!
As necessary as some of these patches can potentially be their automated intermissions can be incredibly disruptive, refuting the whimsical spontaneity associated with gaming. The ability to casually select a game to play is compromised because of an expanded update that could take up to an hour to implement! If you have a limited window to indulge in games like me then this is an unacceptable restriction. Now you have to manage, delegate or even prioritize other content just to free up time to install a patch for the game you wanted to play. My favourites are the ones that ask you if you’d like to continue without first downloading the requested update. You respond with a yes but are then prompted that you can’t until the necessary update has been implemented. Great. Thanks. Why bother asking me then? Games now become inaccessible, forcing you to yield to its data consuming whims. Sure most software updates require marginal space to facilitate the downloaded amendments, but when there’s 1, 2 or even 5 separate games in need of updates then all of those auxiliary space soon accumulates, exceeding the internal storage facilities by a ridiculous margin. Data consumption is mercifully a negligible thief for me thanks to some genius foresight on my part, with the installation of an expanded capacity in the form of a 2TB HDD. Having replaced the default storage system mitigates concerns regarding the allocation of game storage as well as updates, but still doesn’t help the speed or consistency of them. You can of course alleviate the problem by downloading updates in the background while you play an alternative game, but unless it’s a single player game that doesn’t require Internet connection then you’ll have to share your router. Besides you shouldn’t have to compromise what game you want to play! By far the worse thing about updates and patches to my mind is that the majority are generated to fix specific systemic issues within the game. Surely the game shouldn’t suffer such persistent maladies in the first place?
I accept that there are a number of variables that you can’t always predict nor adequately prevent. A game as expansive and interactive as Skyrim for instance is understandably going to suffer a few innocent textural blemishes. But a recent update on the PS4 and Xbox One version had to be generated to swiftly correct a glitch that forced the game to crash after 5 minutes?! A problem that didn’t exist until a previous update. So what, is was added? Evidently quality control is a minor consideration and resolving disputes as well as issuing a sizeable reparation seems to be reserved for after it has been mass-produced and distributed? Is it ignorance, laziness or just an acceptable practice to permit the release of a game riddled with bugs with companies only feeling obliged to redeem their credibility with belated initiatives to remedy the issue. I may sound old, bitter, nostalgic and perhaps even a little medicated, but forgive me if I yearn for the days that I could play any old game – regardless of how long ago it was since I last played it, without being concerned about game breaking glitches and intrusive updates that consume precious gaming experience. Functionality is a distinct advantage long since humbled and it’s funny how a modern game can be praised simply because it works. When has that ever been an acceptable barometer for a games quality?
How do you deal with updates? And do you think companies deliberately ignore glitches just to get the game out? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
We’ve all got “those” friends we’ve known for years that you just can’t get rid of. The kind that phone you on a Saturday night face-down on some viscous, urine soaked carpet in a club asking when you’re going to pick them up. Whose exuberant mischief – influenced by hours of gregarious intoxication – has concluded with a overnight tenancy at the local police station. That show up at your house at 6 am (still drunk) begging you to forgive them for defecating on your sleeping grandma that one time at some family BBQ. Then there are the anonymous ones you’ve never met, that contact you regularly with virtual invitations to games you haven’t played in years. Yes that O so cumbersome friends list on our respective games receptacle, comprised of the most socially virulent contemporaries. These compulsory yet all too fleeting companions that can become a conflicting nuisance on consoles. On the one hand they are an invaluable resource for subduing enemy combatants in COD, or crucial companions that placate the need to waste your own valuable inventory in GTA: Online. They command respect, but also your sustained compliance, contacting you with invites to a game you don’t necessarily want to play. Now your left with an awkward decision to make. Do you join them and make a half arsed effort to participate in any number of objectives they wish to complete? Do you contact them and politely decline their persistent requests for support, owing to some personal endeavours you wish to complete, potentially alienating yourself from any further collaborations? Or comply to a method that I have been extensively testing for almost half a decade; feigning ignorance to their communications and maintaining that my faulty PlayStation didn’t notify me of their generous offers.
The whole idea of recruiting friends is a logistical cluster buck anyway. For the most part many of the people you befriend are recruited because of their respective proficiency’s in a single game, limiting their relevance as accomplices to any other games. From a personal perspective I find that playing the same game for huge lengths of time rather boring. Participating in varied content enables me to break the monotony of repetition, so absconding the advances of these supplementary friends is the only way that I can suitably cultivate a much more congenial gaming experience. But because I indulge so regularly with various genres means there are several extraneous friends I’ve accumulated through years of extended exposure, with my friends list now clogged up with some of the most absurd pseudonyms that can’t possibly been chosen with any hint of sobriety. For years I’ve regarded their perennial visitation as a comfort. That somehow retaining their services – even though I don’t utilise their skills as often as I could – was beneficial. Now I view them with curious indifference, like fellow passengers on a bus. I can see them but feel no proclivity to interact with them. There are some with whom I’ve shared hours of exhilarating victories, forging a potent alliance in Resident Evil 5 for instance, and others I haven’t interacted with for almost 5 years?! Due to extenuating circumstances such as life, maturity and predominantly nappy changes (my daughters, not mine!) I’ve become a far more casual gamer, reliant on the complicity of domesticity. As such I’m reduced to either single player campaigns that I can jump in and out of without too much interference or very brief online excursions with say Uncharted 4 multiplayer. I’m not permitted extended periods to appease every invite I receive to aid a friend. I don’t exchange regular dialogue with any kind of routine for my presence to even be acknowledged to most. Many of these superfluous comrades consist of participants I haven’t played beside for years, with games I either don’t play or don’t own anymore.
Perhaps it’s time to reduce these residual compatriots. To clear the cache as it were. To say a fond farewell as I bid hours of collaborative frivolity adieu, with a quick nonchalant click and delete all permanent trace of their vaguely familiar tenure. It was fun guys, however brief. God speed…..Oh wait, I haven’t got any friends? Huh! I guess that’s what happens when you don’t respond for almost 5 years…….damn that’s cold!
How do you deal with your friends list ? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
I’ve just pre-ordered Skyrim Remastered on the PS4 (yes I’m immediately aware of the controversy surrounding Sony’s refusal to incorporate mods into their version and I don’t care…..much). It’s been a number of years since I last explored the vaguely racist continent of Skyrim and though I own the PS3 version, I felt like this was an opportune moment to revisit the verdant pastures, snow peaked mountains and subterranean musk of Skyrim. With my knee suitably healed from an arrow wound sustained from a previous adventure and the allure of improved environmental visuals and additional features I missed from its initial release, the compulsion to once again establish myself as an aggressive, woodcutting, book collecting pyromaniac, betrothed to some tavern wench with ample *cough* “dragon tamers” and flays his own adopted children was too much to resist. I am once again relishing the challenge of the adventure. That is until it gets too challenging and I finally decide to reduce the difficulty in tiny increments at regular intervals when the challenge will be easier than surviving a Marvel movie. For me in my twilight years of gaming buying a remastered game with proven credentials is a far safer purchase than new unproven material. The limitations related to my depleted resources belies my eagerness to engage with every and all original content released, but sadly I’m constrained by the bonds of parental responsibility. I have to be certain that what I’m buying is not only good but great. There are no guarantees, no quality control and I cannot afford to squander what little finances I have on an insufficient game. The wounds of games riding high on the crest of expectation yet failing to capitalise on it, conferring only brazen complacency are all too frequent. Rather ironically applying a degree of cynicism is an invaluable asset in the ever damaging fight against consumerism.
The trend of recyclable content, regurgitated for the purpose of expanding and consolidating residuals on an already established product with little effort is something I’ve been eagerly critical of in the past. And Skyrim adheres to that formula. But like I’ve said money is the priority and the certainty of liking a game increases exponentially if you’ve played it before. So it is easy to understand why so many popular titles have been “remastered” and also why they sell so well. Most new games require a great deal of risk. Convincing potential candidates to part with their hard earned money necessitates that the buyer is fully complicit in the generated marketing. Whether a game is good or not is of secondary consideration for the publisher and probably for the developer too. Beyond Good And Evil was a great game, that financially flopped. As was Okami, a game of considerable originality, sadly ignored. So we as consumers have to participate in this theatrical parlance with significant caution, yet a willing desire that the product might actually be good. I’ve made questionable purchases purely on a whim and liberated by uninhibited ambition. But with Skyrim, despite the repetition of playing a game I’ve already completed (not that you can ever really finish a game of this scale) I know it will be as good as I remember. Having said, that opinions expressed here are subject to drastic revision.
Do you think there are too many remastered titles released? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
Oh you git Karma! You absolute, conniving, duplicitous, vindictive, smug little git! Irony really isn’t wasted on you is it? I blame myself really, and my own brazen complacency that has initiated the passive cajoling of my currently irritating predicament. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, this type of recompense afflicts me on an all too regular basis. Anything I commit to writing often comes back to bite me on my perfectly formed ass cheeks, and this grievance is gnawing on my hide like a dog chewing a toffee. I’ve analysed the differentiating variables to precisely calculate the probability of this specific scenario occurring at such a conveniently erstwhile time and, let me just check my sums again here; “add the number of cups of tea I consume a day with the number of times I swear…..that comes to around 56. Add the number of funny jokes in a single episode of Family Guy which equates to…..56. Subtract the number of times my girlfriend reprimands me for shouting at my PlayStation and multiply that by the number of Pidgeys I catch on my way home and…..yes……uh huh……yep, got it. The percentage is exactly 100%. Yep, 100. Infallible”! Now you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m babbling about, well let me enlighten you. What I am in fact referring too is just this little off the cuff remark I made in my previous article regarding my objective view towards purchasing the PS4.5….
“It’s like a PS4, but shinier” appears to be the incentive. But considering that my PS4 still works fine, I’m not sure how enticing a new hat really is?
Now having read that extract, take a wild Jason Vorhees stab in the dark as to what happened no more than 48 hours after publishing that? Yep. Exactly that! I can’t express just how much expletives and by extension phlegm vacated my mouth when my PS4 died to death! “Oh well done Karma. Chuckle chuckle, guffaw!” Now to be fair it didn’t so much as die as say refused to accept any discs. Having applied my own astute observations to this sudden hardware affliction and employing correct procedures to remedy the issue; such as turning it on and off again, shouting, unplugging everything, turning it on and off again, searching online forums for similar problems, turning it on and off again, blaming my girlfriend. Nothing worked! My diagnostic appraisals had only verified my suspicions; the PS4 was buggered. More accurately the device felt compelled to eject games despite there not being any disc in there? There was an audible grinding noise accompanying it’s regurgitating predilections that were so loud that it sounded like Robocop was having a vigorous mechanised wank in there?!
Reluctantly I consulted Sony who, after clarifying that my warranty was “probably up” informed me that they could repair the damaged unit for a mere £120! I had to double check to make sure it wasn’t in yen?! Nope, sterling. Yeah, no worries. I’ll just rifle through my sofa for that kind of chump change! Instead my girlfriend, grudgingly at my behest gave the faulty PS4 to some random guy who claims he can diagnose the issue, repair it and return it for only £40. I’m probably not going to see it or my 2TB HDD again. I also can’t shake the feeling that this is all Sony’s doing. Perhaps it’s merely them purging the availability of its formative devices to encourage us to buy the PS4.5? Conspiracy theorist, I hand it over to you.