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Anatomy of a Game Episode 3

Posted by Canis Minor , 29 September 2010 · 945 views

"They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To"

I enjoy sick days (aside from the being sick part). They're a wonderful opportunity to catch up on all the time wasting crap I usually do. Naturally, with all that free time, I end up with some kind of video game controller in my hands. Be it the Wii, GameCube, Dreamcast, NES, whatever, I'll pick it up and play it. But today I was in a Pokemon state of mind. Call me what you want, but the endless hours I spent playing that game while I was much younger has left me with periodic urges to play it. So, I plugged in my copy of Sapphire Version into my DS and clicked the power on. I had to restart twice, oddly enough, but eventually I got to the main screen and hit 'Play GBA game'. But just as soon as the game loaded I received a message about my game file being deleted and this infamous digital ultimatum:

"The internal battery has run dry. The game can be played. However, clock-based events will no longer occur."

I wasn't angry, so much as I was agitated. I thought, "How is it that I have NES games that are almost 20 years old and run fine, but this thing that I bought in 2003 won't?!?" I looked up the aforementioned error message online and found that I wasn't the only one. This problem had been plaguing players of this game for years. And then it dawned on me how many games had been having issues. Games today break all the time! Back in the days of the NES it was almost impossible to break a game. You can drop an NES cartridge off of a two story building and it will still run. Try doing that with any game on a disk.

Now I'm not saying that every newer game is breaking. Nor am I saying that all older games were nigh indestructible. What I am saying is this: as technology got newer and smaller, it got easier to break. One or two scratches on a disk and you might be suffering for as long as you keep trying to play the thing. Games today break, get lost, and in general get screwed up far more often then they used to.

The upside is that you can store far more data on a smaller item. You can now fit an absolutely massive game on a DS cartridge less than 1/10 the size of the old NES clunkers. Heck, they fit all of Super Mario 64 onto the DS, and even managed to throw in extra material! Games are smaller, faster, lighter, and have way more storage capability.

So then, what's the solution? Does there need to be a public outcry? Should we return to the days of sturdy cartridges, and use modern technology to improve them? Should we pressure companies to come up with better ways of preventing damage? Is there even a problem in the first place?

Maybe...for now, just put your games somewhere safe when your not using them, and it'll be almost a non-issue.

...until you get that error message...
\n/ :angry:\n/ -CM

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