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From the Archives: P.O.A.: Patched on Arrival

Having written quite a few random articles over the years for various tiny, short-lived blogs and web sites nobody has ever heard of, I have a number of articles lying around my hard drive.  Some of them are actually worth reading.  Maybe.  This is one of them.  It was originally posted to an old blog of mine on February 25, 2007.  It has been slightly cleaned up, but is otherwise untouched.  There are plenty of things I could have tacked onto it to make it a little more relevant, such as the PS3’s need to actually install bloody everything now on top of downloading it, but I resisted the temptation.  Enjoy.

Welcome to PC Land, console kiddies!

The day has come at last!  The cute little consoles have finally grown up to experience the glory that their hairy, adult, deep-voiced big brothers, PC gamers, have been basking in for so long.  No longer shall the TV-tethered entertainment boxes be deprived of the brain-shattering wonder that has been dangled in front of their faces like the prospect of anything resembling a decent Sonic game before dazed Sega fans for so long.  No longer shall the land of mind-numbingly confusing keyboard layouts; innumerable Civilization rip-offs; bloated, aging Windows installations screaming to be put out of their misery; graphics cards priced in small children rather than dollars; and enough driver updates to choke an innocent 60 GB hard drive have bragging rights over those poor, simplified, outdated children’s toys cursed with lower prices, more consistent user experiences and a significantly reduced chance of catching one of those nasty email viruses that translates your documents into Swahili and erases all of the Easter Eggs off your DVDs.

Yes my friends, the day has indeed come.  Finally console gamers the world over can open the shrink wrap on their shiny new game disc developed by a friendly marketing department near you, pop it into their system of choice, turn the console on with the power button on the controller instead of the system itself because Jesus-in-a-hair-metal-band it’s so much cooler that way, and enjoy the sight of a glorious download progress bar before they even glimpse the title screen because the developers couldn’t be bothered to actually finish the game before shoving it into our greedy, greasy, impatient hands.

I’m sorry little Timmy.  Your game never stood a chance.  There was nothing we could do to save it.  It was P.O.A.:  Patched on Arrival.

We’ve been able to see the dark cloud of downloadable evil floating our way for quite a while now, ever since that blasted Internet thingy started creeping its insidious way into our beloved boxes of isolated joy.  All we could do was hope that maybe we could be spared the fate of those poor bastards the PC gamers, who have had to go through this shit ever since 28.8 Kbps modems became the coolest thing since fried ice cream.

Alas, it was not to be so.

Crackdown is just the most recent offender.  Many before it in our new generation of orgasmic high-definition awesomeness have undergone last minute digital surgery, if not right at launch, then soon thereafter.

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” I can hear you whiny little bastards protest from the sidelines.  Well of course it’s not you little pricks, but that doesn’t make it good.  Don’t shovel unfinished crap on me and then expect me to act as your beta tester.  If I’m going to be a game tester I want to work 27 consecutive 24-hour stress-filled days fueled by pizza, soda, and self-loathing like the real thing, not have the task forced upon me when I’m expecting a finished game.

It’s a snowball effect that’s going to be damn hard to stop, too.  Once one lazy developer sees they can get away with it, news of their success is going to spread quicker than that of Alisha breaking up with Adam at the 12-year-olds’ gossip convention until every game on the shelves will be a half-finished pathetic excuse for a real game just waiting for a magical Internet transfer of ones and zeroes to make it whole (or ¾ anyway; whole is probably stretching it a tad).

So sit back and weep, gamers.  The day has come and, alas, it is a dark one indeed.

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