Monday, March 26, 2012

I want it my way!!!!!

I think there's only a few things in life that you should custom order and get the way you want. Bras and hamburgers being two of them. Everything else should be taken as it comes.

That includes video games.

While I appreciate the convenience and "add on" nature of DownLoadable Content (DLC) too often I find that the part you need to download is actually some computer code that unlocks what is already loaded on the disk in the first place. If I purchased the disk I should have access to file on the disk to play a game so why am I asked to pay more for what I've already bought. But the problem is more than just DLC.

It's now about endings.

While I own Mass Effect 3, I haven't played it yet because I've just started playing the second one. From everything I've heard from friends, the game packs one hell of a whopping ending. What I read online is another matter.

There are so many people out there that are lodging complaints with the FCC about how the games ends in ME3. They've filed lawsuits and petitions and bombarded websites that allow people to review products with negative reviews. BioWare at first came out and said it was a great ending and they were sorry gamers didn't see if the way the developers did. Now they're coming out with a different story.

They're listening to people's "constructive" comments and just recently released a statement that they are working on "fixing" the ending so gamers can have a more enjoyable experience with the game. Really?

Is that what's our society has come to now? I remember when video games came out in a static format. Cartridges that couldn't be changed. All content created for the games was INCLUDED with the game when it was released. If there were bugs you dealt with it or moved on (and there were many games that were killed because of all the bugs). There was no opportunity to change the ending of a game.

Since when has it become acceptable to whine like a little baby to the point that a developer has to change the outcome of a game from the way they saw things happening to the way a few gamers wanted things to be? Even a Choose Your Own Adventure game had predetermined endings for the protagonist. If you want more leave it up to the developers to design a sequel or a "shadow" series like Orson Scott Card did with Bean from the Ender's series.

And what does this all mean for those of us who haven't played the game yet? Will there be an automatic game update that will change the ending whether we want to or not? Will we be able to see the "original" ending at all? Will we be forced to deny any game updates (and thus be regulated to playing "offline" for the whole game) to avoid those updates in order to preserve the original ending?

And why do we look down on Geroge Lucas for fiddling with his Star Wars Saga when a select few gamers are asking . . . no demanding . . . BioWare does the same thing with their franchise?

I know Mass Effect tauts the gameplay of making choices that effect the outcome of the game. But people need to understand that BioWare can't take every possible outcome into consideration when designing the game. Did you persuade here but intimidate there? Did you place nice right up to the end? Did you "accidentally" kill someone you shouldn't have because the dog just peed on your carpet and you took your frustrations out in the game? Come on people, get real.

If you're lactose intolerant you're not going to want cheese on your hamburger. If you're the proud owner of a pair of jugs that would make the Baywatch lifeguards jealous with how much they can bounce, you're not going to want to squeeze them into an A cup. Stop your whining and let's play video games the way they were meant to be played. ALL the game content available when it's purchased AND with the original endings. That's the way it should be. And that's the way I want it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Destined for Failure

It's gone.

No more.



I've been spending a lot of time playing Final Fantasy VII and I've been very proud at how well I've done. I've spent 40 hours and 42 minutes, reached level 50, had one Materia mastered and was within 3-4 battles of mastering another plus 1-2 hours more of mastering 1 or 2 more. And I still wasn't to the point in the story where I was before all my stuff was stolen. I was playing smart. I was being careful. But not careful enough.

On Sunday, I turned the PS on and tried to load my game file when I got an error message that said the "File is ruined". Not a nice polite "you game save is corrupt" or "can no longer read saved file". But a quick short little "you are fucked" type message.

I was being careful in the game in how I played and managed characters, but not with my save file. That was the only save file I was using. I've played and restarted this game enough to know exactly what I had to do and where I would have problems. I carefully saved before those moments. And once again right after. But all on the save file slot. It never crossed my mind that my save file would somehow, some way become "ruined" and I would be out of luck.

After a brief moment of stunned silence I tried looking at the file on the PS dashboard. Nothing wrong there. I even tried copying the file to another memory card. No such luck. Even putting the card in my PS2 and trying it from there didn't matter. I was screwed.

And I was pissed. At myself.

The first feeling I had when I realized it was a lost cause was that I was robbed all over again. The first time I missed all my stuff but what I missed the most was my memory cards. Hundreds on hundreds of hours of gameplay in hundreds of games lost. All that work would have to be repeated and more hours would be lost that I could be playing other games but instead had to sit and replay games and levels I had already done.

But this time it was worse because I had done it to myself. Through my own stupidity I had doomed myself to Murphy's Law. I made a conscious effort to replay this game and finish it (after all this is one of the reasons I started this blog many years ago). I didn't learn my lesson about loosing a game save file before and I did nothing to prevent such a problem from happening again. Although this time it's by mechanical/electrically failure instead of theft.

And now, if I want to complete the challenge I have with my brother, I'm left to start all over again. It took a couple of days before I could call dain and commiserate about my fate. I had briefly considered asking him if I could copy one of his game saves and just start from there (I was further along than him so I wouldn't have to repeat as much). But that felt like cheating and I would never know what he did earlier in the story that might effect things later on.

So the more I think about starting again the more I also have to wonder about what happened. Why did the file get ruined? Was there a spike in the power that corrupted the file? Did that spot on the memory card finally burn out or something? Is there a flaw in the disk that would have made any save file corrupt at that point in the game? What if I play all the way to that point again (The Temple of the Ancients) and the same thing happens? I could create a backup file but wouldn't that file be ruined as well?

Yes, I've started the game again. I blew up the No. 1 reactor in Midgar for the hundredth time (it sure seems that way) and finally got to a save point. I save the file. And saved it again in another slot. I didn't save it to another card but I think the next time I put the game in I will. And maybe a third card as well. But I'm beginning to wonder if I'm destined for failure with this game. Are the fates (or the Ancients) trying to tell me NOT to play (or at least finish) this game? If I do finish it maybe that's when the world will end. Either way I feel destined to fail.