There was a time when I would line up at 11:30pm, standing outside in the cold with a bunch of other dedicated poor souls just to get my hands on a game at 12:01am. When I was young, I would get my mum to drive me and my friends. I still remember the drive home, game case in hand, flipping through the instruction manual back and forth, utterly excited for the new world I was about to enter.
I would stay up ’til early morning playing through the game and would shut my eyes for a few short hours before jumping out of bed to play again. My fondest memory of this is when I got Halo 2. It was something I had been looking forward to for a long time and it totally delivered on my expectations. I genuinely miss the days when putting the disc in the tray meant you were just a minute or so away from playing the game.
Now things are a little different. Games are so big and complicated nowadays that it’s getting harder and harder to fit all the data on a disc…I assume? Putting the disc in the tray means you are anywhere from 10-40GB away from playing the game. For those of us in Australia that can take hours, days even. My girlfriend and I share a love of Halo, so when Halo: The Master Chief Collection was announced, we pre-ordered it, bought another controller and took the day off in anticipation of going to the midnight launch and spending all night playing through the remastered campaigns. What actually happened was we got home, put the disc in, got slapped with a huge update which was broken anyway, stayed up for 4 hours not touching the internet to make sure every precious megabyte was sent to said update, only to have the game still be broken. To this day that is the worst experience I’ve had with a game.
Assassin’s Creed Unity and The Crew deserve a dishonorable mention here too I think.
Part of me has started to look forward to 3DS games more than console games just because I know I can put the game in and off I go. Likewise with The Elder Scrolls Online. As of me typing this sentence my console has been updating and installing for nearly 4 hours. The tile says “ready to start” but what that really means is ready to load the menu, not the game. Lame.
I had been looking forward to this for a while now, since getting signed on to Bethesda’s media list I have received all of the emails about this game and I will admit that the hype got to me. I’m excited to let go of Destiny and start a new MMO style game, hopefully with more story and less senseless grinding. Instead of spending 7 hours trying to decide what colour hair my character should have, I’m sitting here bitterly whining to the internet about my ultimate first world problem. I’d much rather be partying up with fellow adventures to kill level 1 crabs. Sigh.
This got me thinking, is this the future of gaming? Are midnight launches done? Is the excitement of finally holding that disc after months of watching trailers and E3 announcements over? What does this mean for gamers? I for one think that a good portion of enjoying video games is in that excitement.
When Halo 5 comes out I will be at the midnight launch. I will be there, hoping that I get to play it when I get home. Unfortunately, I am not so sure that I will…
Does this bother you or are you fine with waiting? Are you in a place in the world that has a kick ass internet connection so you don’t even notice? Let me know in the comments or get at me on twitter @pikalew