I come from an era of 8-bit games. The advancements of video games has been a beautiful sight to behold. Visually stunning graphics, realistic sound, music that rivals what you hear on the radio, controls that makes you feel like you’re really in the game and content that will have you playing for hours on end. This appreciation can only be held in high regard by a true Gamer. I am a Gamer. Not necessarily “Old School” or “New School”… but I like games. Games that work.. I’ve played video games for over 20 years, and boy-do I see some great (and not-so-great) changes.
It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Pac-Man or Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare… you expect your game to be good enough to entertain you for as long as you’ll play it beginning to end. You expect your money to be spent well on a completed game. You expect your game to work!
Since the first pixel landed on a television screen in video game format, there have been glitches of all kinds. Graphical, programming, loading, sound-you name it. I can’t think of one game that does not have a glitch. Back in the cartridge days, gamers were stuck one way or another to either enjoy a game’s glitch or be haunted by it. On very rare occasions, if a video game company learns of a glitch, they would fix it and release the fixed glitch in future copies of their cartridges. Now with the ability of our consoles and games connected to the internet, any glitches of any kind can be patched. That’s a great thing, but many video game companies are taking advantage of your Ethernet connection in some unfair ways that would not benefit you in the future.
Alright-so tell me. What is a Patch concerning video games… or computer programs in general? In my words and understanding, a Patch is computer code that is compiled to modify existing computer code. Patches are generally released to fix problems in computer code or to enhance features within it. If you never installed a Patch, it wouldn’t mean you couldn’t use the program.
Patches are released everyday to fix or enhance computer program functionality. Sometimes when you purchase a game, you may be prompted to download and install a “Day One” Patch for it after loading the disc into your console. That’s a great thing, but what if the Patch… isn’t a patch? No-it’s not a virus or anything bad like that, but it could be your game. In other words, the game you paid for is not on the disc. You are downloading it as a Patch. You have an incomplete-made game from the video game developers. They didn’t finish making it yet and they sold the game as “complete” on the store shelf! Sadly, this means if you don’t have internet access, then you will never get to play the complete copy of your new game.
If you have internet service, then this isn’t a problem for you… at least not now. Meaning, if you just bought a game today, you could quite possibly download available patches and stuff for it. If you let ten years or so pass, the downloadable content (DLC) may not be available on the video game company’s server. This does not make for long-lasting games that are made to depend on internet connections for its extra content.
Video Games have always been a thing of entertainment and fantasy for the end-user (that’s what they call us), but the companies as well as some developers have always looked at it as a business. When dollar signs reign supreme, it’s the people who get the short end of the stick. Being able to put out 15 games a year on a store shelf, regardless if the game is good or even completed, is more business sound than taking your time to complete 5 decent games a year. Gamers are suffering from this lack of commitment from the video game industry.
I know it is unrealistic to say to everyone, “Hey! Stop going online updating your firmware and playing with your friends!” However, should there be campaigns to ensure that games and consoles are 100% completed with all functionality and content when bought off the shelves, these mediums can last well into the future when you may want to feel nostalgic or your kids want to play the games you’ve played.
“The internet is a wonderful thing. It has easily become a part of peoples’ work and personal lives. However, should the internet ever go down, many things won’t work. You may not be able or even want to foresee a future when that could happen, but it’s easy to take the things we have everyday in our lives for granted. The internet is one of them… and we’ve grown so dependent on it.
Technology marches faster than Father Time himself and leaves itself obsolete in its own trails of dust.” – Michael Sommerville, Jr.