March 17, 2006

Arsenic and Old Saves

by peterb

Hi. Glad you could drop by so we could have this little chat. Have a seat. Yes, that one there, right next to the Playstation 2 console. Here, have a cup of coffee. It's my special blend.

Now, if you could pick it up — no, don't put that in your mouth — and look at the front. Yes, the front. That's the part with the buttons. Right. Good. Take a look at the lower left part of the console. Do you see that piece of plastic sticking out?

Why yes, that is a memory card. I'm glad you recognize it. This is so exciting! I can see why you were top of your class. Now, can you see what's right next to it? Yes! Right again! That's another memory card! You're two for two so far.

Now, about this game you've developed. It's quite fun. No, no, I'm not teasing you. Yes. Yes, really! I especially like the lava level. And the way you spaced the save points so far apart, to increase the difficulty. Excuse me? Yes, the coffee is quite good, isn't it? Oh, yes, that bitter almond taste is quite distinctive — I believe it comes from the roasting. Well, about this game of yours, there's just one problem. Oh, it's hard to explain it in words. I happen to have your game right here. Let's turn it on and I'll show you.

Now, here, let me just take this memory card out of the first slot, and just leave the one in the second slot. And now just watch...loading...splash screen. Ah, here we are. Main menu. Continue game.

Now, notice that your game freaks out because it can't find a memory card, even though the card is right there, in slot 2. Your game, in other words, only works if a memory card is in slot 1.

Oh my, you don't look at all well. Here. Another cup of coffee should perk you right up. Bottoms up!

What? Why would I only have a card in slot 2? Well, there are quite a few reasons. First off, it's not immediately apparent to a user which slot is which. But if you insist on a more practical reason, many Playstation 1 games, which aren't compatible with PS2 memory cards, were also written by retarded developers, and require a PS1 memory card to be in slot 1. So if I want to switch between PS1 and PS2 games, I need to constantly be switching cards back and forth. Because you, like a disturbingly large number of developers, are too much of a twit to write a game that recognizes a card in either slot. Today. In 2006. In the twenty-first century.

You still don't understand what I'm getting at? Well, to tell you the truth, I suspected that would happen. But don't worry. I have no doubt that by the time you've digested my message fully, you'll never write a game that doesn't use either save slot again. Oh my, you really are looking quite peaked. I've called you a cab. It should be here quite soon.

Here. Have another cup of java for the road. Isn't this stuff wonderful? It's just to die for.

Posted by peterb at March 17, 2006 09:32 PM | Bookmark This

What kind of coffee? You know that's the most important question here -- fuck all that console stuff --

Posted by green LA girl at March 17, 2006 10:56 PM

That is the most aggravating thing in the world. A while back, I compiled a small list of -basic functionality- that I expect every game to implement. On the list:

* Support for a memory card in every slot a card can be plugged into
* Music, Video and Voice on separate sliders in the volume control.
* Subtitling can be turned on or off as required.
* All cutscenes can be paused and skipped.
* Repeated cutsces (ala summonings), should have a 'short play' option after the first one.

Those are the ones I recall; but they were basically intended as a list of -basic functionality I expect adult developers to include in their software-.

Posted by Mike Collins at March 18, 2006 09:17 AM

Bitter almond taste... Cyanide?

Posted by Thomas at March 18, 2006 10:59 AM

* Save anywhere

(this is too much to hope for though)

Posted by psu at March 18, 2006 12:18 PM

Just picked up Fatal Frame 3 the other day. I totally agree. The necessity for a memory card in the first slot in order to achieve simply game play is effin' retarded. This game, besides featuring hours of wandering empty, creepy halls and rooms for the occasional and barely defendable attack, also manages to hide its save spots miles from each other (again). And, so far -- and I'm not too far in, but far enough where I should be able to tell by now -- it seems they've forgone plot altogehter.

I'd like to add something to the wish list, though, regarding cut-scenes at the end of the game. I just finished Onimusha (I know. I know. I'm a boot.) the other day, and the cut scene at the last boss battle is ridiculous. And the boss is, of course, brutal, and requires several attempts to kill. Throughout the game, one has been able to skip through the cut scenes, after the first run. But since this is the end of the game, you can't do that. You have to reload and sit through the bad voice acting for four minutes over and over again.

Posted by pghgirlinexile at March 25, 2006 09:23 PM

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