If you told me to make a fully functional, perfectly working, top class video game I would stare at you blankly, throw sand in your face and run off and hide.
That isn’t my job and I am really, really unqualified for pretty much every aspect of the task, yet people are qualified to do that job, they get paid probably an obscene amount of money to do that job, it just sometimes doesn’t feel like they’re doing it right!!
I am of course talking about… THE GLITCH!!!
Whether it is a minor irritation or a game-breaking pain-in-the-arse, glitches are as welcome in my house as Gary Glitter is at… well, anywhere I would imagine!
Yet they are an ever-present problem, lurking in the game code, waiting to ruin your day when you are just about to beat the final boss but you just need that one last item that never appears!
I have suffered very few game-breakers throughout my gaming life.
Sure, there were the times where the Spectrum tape would clog up or go a bit odd, but that was part of the appeal in a strange way and was “just one of those things”!
In the current generation however, I have suffered more glitches than I ever have in the previous 25 years (which makes me sound really old when I put it like that!).
The first major games I had problems with have been a few of the Lego titles on Xbox 360.
These are kids’ games, yet these are the games with which I have struggled to fully complete due to problems.
Lego Indiana Jones 2 left me with one blue box away from 100% completion because a statue that was supposed to appear on the final hub stage never came into being.
Lego Harry Potter left me 1 gold brick away from 100% completion as apparently, I may have done something in slightly the wrong order which caused it to not appear, even though I was in the right place, with the right characters and did the right things to make it work!
And now, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean seems to be suffering from A LOT of freezing which requires a full power-down, or strange glitches that should have been ironed out in the 9th game in the Lego series!
There have been times where characters have somehow ended up stuck behind scenery and there is no way to get them out or kill them to reset them somewhere else.
There was the great occasion where 30 seconds away from finishing that same level, one of the characters that you have to kill got stuck in an eternal loop of falling in sand and dying and being rebuilt with no way to stop it, thus being unable to finish it!
It made me turn off the game and leave it for the rest of the day when I was planning on playing it through to the end of the story mode.
When I restarted it to play through a couple of levels, the first one froze, I rebooted the Xbox, got through that one and then the next level froze.
The Xbox stayed off for the evening.
The levels in Lego Pirates are not small either, so the thought of playing through a level for 15 minutes just for it to freeze and lose all your progress is not an appealing one for myself, and I imagine it would annoy young kids who the game is aimed at.
I thought I would restart Lego Indy 2, but when I cleared my save game and started again, I realised how much work I actually put into it to clear all the levels twice and open up all the parts of the hubs and the different coloured bricks for 100%.
Needless to say, I played 3 levels and haven’t gone back.
Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue was a game I really enjoyed playing because I really enjoyed the first one, yet when it came to getting the ONE item I needed to defeat the end boss, the enemy I had to get it from wasn’t there.
Internet forums were searched and the answer that came most was “restart the game”, something I was not really willing to do as it had taken around 7 or 8 hours to reach that point.
It is only recently when The Baconing was released that I wanted to properly finish it and clear up those last few achievements to 100% it.
So I did, but not before creating a duplicate save game on a memory stick at various points so that I could try and work round the glitch if it came up again.
It just seemed like a chore though.
It truly felt like I was working towards a goal that I knew there was a chance of not being able to achieve.
And I don’t want to play a game where that may be the result.
I wouldn’t have been prepared to play through 48 hours of Dragon Age 2 if somebody had said to me “I played it right to the end, but I couldn’t finish it because it glitched and it’s happened to loads of people”.
Why should I invest my time and money in a product that I can’t fully utilise.
I wouldn’t buy a television that turned itself off when it reached the last 5 minutes of a programme.
I wouldn’t buy an oven that stopped cooking things just before they are outside the risk zone of explosive diarrhea!
Can we really be expected to buy games that we can never be 100% satisfied with?
In this day of internet gaming and ease of forum use, it isn’t hard to identify problems and try create work-around patches for games that are heavily glitched.
There are updates for games all the time that don’t really seem to do anything, so the possibility is there to fix games for those people who paid time and money for them.
Like I said at the start, I am in no position to criticise how difficult it is to make a video game, I’m sure it is very difficult and takes a lot of time and effort, and things are going to slip through the net with problems, but I am in the position of paying for these games and I expect to get my money’s worth.
I have pre-ordered the Star Wars Kinect 360 Bundle which has now been put back to next year because it “needs work”.
This is a good thing so that they can be happy with a product.
I understand they need to stick to release dates so they can set projected sales targets for their revenues and so on, but if Modern Warfare 3 comes out in November and there is a game-breaking glitch just before the end, it will not go well!
It’d be like the riots all over again!
Just maybe with a few more 13 year old boys!