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The good the bad and the patches….Oh, the patches…

Games are a dynamic being, they have been since they’ve been able to have access to the internet. But quite recently, it’s gotten ridiculous. Especially in ways of the patching culture. It used to be, that a good game was simply well thought out, well designed and executed. Bad games on the other hand, were pits of despair meant for the careless wanderers. I get why this has changed. It all has to do with marketing (or maybe marketing). After all, it’s very important to hit a certain street date.

If you release your game just before a holiday, like now with the upcoming Christmas etc. you extend the shelf life for your game. But do we really want an escort service who promises to put on make-up at a later time? After all, we’re still paying full price for the service. Especially since we seem to in fact be ‘borrowing’ a license instead of actually buying a tangible object. Which is good for the analogy as slave trade is outlawed (for the most part).

The fact that it seems to be spreading to hardware is a bigger problem though. As we all know the Red Ring of Death / Three Red Lights incident has been a problem. Although I admire Microsoft for how they have handled it. It doesn’t take away that they dropped their Q&A testing to put their consoles on the street quick enough. Despite the great customer service they provided in solving it, the fact remains that Microsoft made a doo-doo.

In software land steps are being taking, thankfully. As all of us know, the [echo] ‘Gamers’ Bill of Rights’ [/echo] would help with it. If people would actually take it on, it would mean that we would get a finished game on the shelves. Not one where the first couple of hours are OK, but after that we get the feeling the game is trying to deny us the candy. Then there’s the Fable that we call Fable II (apparently the pub games were a foreboding). Yes, it’s a good game. But would we have the glitching problems as it stands if they play tested the game well enough? They’re now promising to sort out the problems with patches. When Peter Molyneux wholly declared the game to be finished some while ago. Of course you should take everything Molyneux says with a couple of Mountains of salt, but still.

Patching wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. If we got meaningful content. Again, I point to that which I have carved out in my soul: The Gamers’ Bill of Rights. At first it could be argued that removing glitches can be considered as ‘meaningful content’, which it is of course. But not if the game was finished on release. Best examples are of course MMO’s. Those are always a work in progress, but that is the nature of the genre. Other games should really be finished when they hit stores. Patches should be fixing content that actually could be missed with play-testing, as well as introducing new features/gimmicks, stories etc.

In a way the industry is realising that they can’t continue as they are doing. So they introduced episodic gaming. Although it does sometimes feel like you’re watching a soap opera, it gives developers just that little bit of more time. They can divide the content over a longer period of time, giving them more time to make sure the games are finished, but it also means you don’t get to play the entire game at once. Most notably of course the Starcraft II trilogy announcement. I’m not saying it will be bad thing. I just hope they provide value for value as well as don’t copy Valve. I’d like to play the Protoss campaign somewhere before I’m on the wrong side of the grass occupying six shelves.

All in all, there’s a lot wrong with the games industry as it stands. Not that surprising as it’s still a relatively young market. But as problems arise answers will be provided…eventually. Maybe the fact that they’re corporations brings the problems. But, the fact that we pour a good amount of our lives into their products does not warrant our demands. After all, the customer is not always king. Sometimes, they’re just snivelling little mud covered beggars. Not saying that accounts for everyone of course…
But this does still raise a question of irresponsible purchasing. Almost everything gets sold because all of us, to a certain extent, believe:.
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About Vrynixone of us since 3:00 AM on 10.22.2008

Vrynix, never here. Forward to the next blog.