I know nobody cares, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted, so apologies to the two people who read this.
“Maisie, you incredibly sexy son of a gun, what have you been up to that keeps you away from this weekly session of mediocre writing and soapbox lecturing?” I hear you ask. Well, I’ve been working as a Sound Technician, Mixing Desk Operator and Assistant Stage Manager on a production of Much Ado About Nothing. It was a wonderful experience where I got to work with a fantastic director and some incredible up-and-coming actors, and really I would love to just wax lyrical about the whole thing, but instead I’m going to talk about video games once again and how corporate developers annoy the ever loving shit out of me so much that I’m surprised I haven’t just crapped my intestines out by this point.
You know, it occurs to me that I’m not entirely sure where to draw the line between “developer” and “independent developer”. Surely they’re all developers right? It seems like a term marketing departments come up with to mean anything that isn’t triple A. For the sake of argument, when I’m talking about dick head corporate developers just assume I’m talking the likes of EA, WB, Sony and Microsoft, they seem like the big four.
But anyway, this week I’m annoyed about what has happened to all my game saves on my X-Bone. You see, the show ran for five nights and we had a pretty intensive rehearsal schedule building up to that so I didn’t actually go on my X-Bone for about two weeks. The day after the final show when I finally had a couple of hours to myself to sit and relax, I thought maybe it would be good to plug in WWE 2K16 and have some homo-erotic men in tights fake fighting time. Much to my horror, however, I find that due to my absence from being logged in to X-Dicks live, all of my saves were initially unavailable to me. After spending far too much time trying to unsuccessfully download the cloud save, it told me I could run from the hard drive. Except apparently I don’t have access to that either.
So, in summary: I lost my save game, all of my custom wrestlers, my career mode and all of the DLC. This alone was devastating, but what really got to me was that looking further it was ALL STILL ON MY FUCKING HARD DRIVE.
I couldn’t access it, but it was still there. It physically existed, just refused to load. I tried re-downloading the DLC (which was a combined £30, nearly the same price I played for the game in the first place), but apparently that’s not a fucking option.
That’s when I realised- I’m done. I’m fucking done with this bollocks.
Launch day DLC that costs as much as a full price game? Done.
Data that I’ve spent time, money and energy to obtain disappearing because I’ve not been able to play it? Done.
Greedy people making it happen so they can make money off of the backs of artists who probably hate this as much as I do?
I love console video gaming as a hobby, but I can’t deal with the corporate side of it anymore. I’ve probably done this particular subject to death at this point, but that’s only because I feel like I’m losing something that is a big part of my life and has been since I got a Super Nintendo for my 5th birthday. And £300 I could have spent on something worthwhile.
Do you remember what console gaming used to be like? The whole point was that you could just put a game in and play without lengthy installation times or loading. Anyone who is 25 plus will probably remember that soul crushing disappointment of getting a hot new PC title and finding it wouldn’t run even though you had all the right specs. Desperately trying to find patches and fixes at a time before broadband. It was horrible.
Console gaming was the solution to that. Maybe it didn’t look as pretty or have all the new innovations, but when you got it home you knew you could just plug in and play. And seeing as there were no patches or expansions, developers were under more pressure to deliver a complete, working experience. Sure, there were plenty of examples of times this didn’t work out exactly, but more often than not if you paid £40 you got a full fricking game that didn’t feel rushed. Nowadays with services like Steam and Good Old Games giving quick, easy, streaming access to PC titles it is like there has been role reversal in the market.
Slight tangent: I’m not against DLC per se, but if you are going to cut 30 minutes of gameplay from the disc and then charge £15 or more for it then that’s bullshit (looking at you Arkham Knight and Mass Effect3!). And at least give me the option to download it again if it fucks up.
Independent gaming isn’t perfect either. There are a lot of people out there who will “acquire” pre-made assets and try to flip a profit, and sometimes you do come across some real stinkers. But then you also get solo-developed projects like Undertale that do more for the medium of gaming than Call of Duty Eleventy-Billion Naval Buggery Edition ever could. Companies like Telltale who are relatively small but are being handed these huge licenses and doing great things with them despite a relatively small amount of resources, these are leading the way to the future and picking up the pieces that the big four won’t touch.
I could be wrong and would love to hear opposing views, but I truly believe the best experiences in 21st century video games are coming from small/solo developers, like Toby Fox and Lucas Pope.
Speaking of Lucas Pope, I’ve been checking out dystopian document-checking thriller Papers, Please these past few days. Simple but effective art style, simple mouse drag-and-click gameplay, but an incredibly deep story is there beneath the surface if you care to go looking for it.
So that’s my rant over for this week. For music, I give you a song I heard recently that has reinvigorated my interest in the hard rock genre, Florian Saucer Attack by Black Mountain. Definitely worth some attention if you like psychadelic music or heavy bass riffs. Or both.
Until next time, my loves xx