Sunday Thoughts: 01/03/09


Yesterday I decided I was already bored of Killzone 2.  I’m not going to play through the single player again, and the multiplayer just now is a clusterfuck of people having no idea what they’re supposed to be doing – I never got a manual, but I can still work out that Defend The Target doesn’t mean run off and do your own thing.  It’s a Catch-22 situation: I either slog it out with the hordes for a couple of weeks, or risk getting so far behind that I’ll never have a chance as everyone else ranks up around me.  But it doesn’t really matter: due to the nature of what I do here I’ll be forced down another route soon enough: whatever game is next.

See, when you run a site like TSA it’s always about the next big thing, and whilst dropping in and reading the news is all we ever ask of our visitors, behind the scenes we’re always playing something, reviewing something, and I’ve already switched back to my other PSN profile to catch up with a couple of games left in Killzone’s wake.  This requires much more effort than you might think: I don’t have the time, literally, to continue with Killzone 2’s multiplayer and dedicate the time that these other games deserved.  Sure, they might not have had 4 years developement, but real people have slogged their hearts out in getting them out, so if my attention goes some way to making their time worthwhile, it’s the least I can do.

So, whilst Clan TSA continues to roll, I’ll be elsewhere.  There are plenty of diversions, for sure, and as I switched off Killzone 2 last night I had a quick scan down the TSA Towers’ list of unloved PSN games; and Echochrome stood out.  I realised I’d not started the cute little puzzler since it had received a Trophy patch, so thought perhaps I could bag another couple of Trophies before getting on with everything else I call my life.  But what’s this: a 10MB patch?  Really?  For Trophies?  So almost 10 minutes later, the download is done, but the installation is next, and although relatively swift it then decides to a) delete my save game and b) spend another 3 or 4 minutes ‘updating’.  Updating what?  All you have to do is add the ability to give me a Trophy or two.

And then it turns out that Echochrome’s Trophies don’t come easy, so I gave up.  15 minutes, wasted.  And then there’s the Sega MegaDrive Collection – stunning disk full of wonderful Megadrive-era games, but also one that forces you to sit through a ‘Updating Trophies’ progress bar each and every time you switch it on.  What is this, some kind of cruel joke?  How did Sony get the implementation of these virtual trinkets so horribly wrong?  Why does it take minutes to show me someone else’s Trophies?  Why do I need to manually sync them with the server?  Why do I even care about them when Sony hasn’t mentioned beyond a tiny Home blurt what my actual Trophy level will be used for?  Comparing e-penis size?  I doubt it, I don’t have the time to go down my friends list to compare.

The patching’s a joke.  I don’t know who on the planet decided that 10 megabytes would be an acceptable sort of size for something like the above update – what on earth is in that payload?  Why can the Xbox 360 patch a game in less than 5 seconds when it takes the PS3 upwards of 10 minutes?  I’ll have friends round, real friends, and want to show them a game but I know that if I’ve not gone through each and every disk I plan to play well in advance the shiny black box will be a laughing stock, and when you’re running the main TV through the PS3 (via PlayTV) you can’t even switch it to Eggheads while you wait.  And then there’s the Firmware updates: what should be an exciting, joyous occasion turns out to be waiting for Sony to upload the full thing to their website and then copying it onto a USB stick so I don’t have to sit through such a massive download.

And yes, this is on the same Wifi network.  The PC, 360 and even Wii, equidistance from the router as the PS3 is, manage to make full use  (or thereabouts) of my ISP’s cap, but the PS3 is quite happy to convert whatever airwaves are floating around TSA Towers into 56k-like bottlenecks.  Is this the product of a launch 60GB?  Do the recent PS3’s have better Wifi?  Perhaps.  Maybe you should get a Trophy for successfully downloading a Firmware Update, it’s certainly more effort than the majority of the little Bronze bastards, anyway.  And when you’ve got both HD consoles, which platform do you go for when titles are available on both?  Take Tomb Raider Underworld, for example – the 360 version had Achievements in from the off, so I opted for that over the Trophy-less PS3 version.  But why?  What do Achievements do for me and my social standing?  I only have 5 friends on my 360 – do they care?  Should I?

I’m getting too old.  I shouldn’t care, I shouldn’t.  I should (and do) have more important things to worry about; recently we had some real shit that I shouldn’t have to deal with which spoiled my entire week, we’ve signed up to another 12 months of terribly expensive bandwidth, Michael and I nearly killed each other a couple of times and I spent the majority of the last 48 hours on Helgan murdering people I’ll happily chat with on the forums but I’ve never met in real life.  What is all this? It’s age.  I’ve been playing computer games since I was 4, when we got our first ZX Spectrum, and you know what?  In amongst all the high tech wizardry and flashy multiplayer nonsense, after I switched off the Ps3 I booted up Fuse on the PSP and spent the next 2 hours playing the old classics.  Proper games, the ones that defined everything that’s around now, with 8 colours and 1 channel sound but more soul than any first person shooter you care to mention.

And the only Trophy I got was one that let me sleep a damned site easier.