Video game patches need not apply

If Aeropause were a person and not a blog, I’d buy it a beer in a pub. Why? Because it seems like I agree with them a lot these days. Then I take their posts, cut and paste a bit, and upload a semi-original post before calling it a day.

So here it goes: Patching and consoles don’t mix because patching sucks. I think it’s silly to watch someone sitting in front of a console waiting for the load bar to tell them their shiny new game is not broken anymore (until a new bug is discovered and requires a patch).

In an era where game development costs tens of millions and gamers are increasingly asked to pay premium prices for their games buggy games are unacceptable. The ability to download should not be a crutch for developers, it should be a service for gamers. A service that adds additional levels to a game or new weapons, or — dare I say it, (free) horse armor. It is an enhancement to gameplay. Downloading patches is by no means an enhancement of any kind. The mere fact that there are firmware upgrades, regardless which console manufacturer is delivering them, is absurdly silly. What average Joe Schmoe gamer really understands a “critical firmware patch version 2.04?!”

Perhaps the biggest unseen reason that patching is an insult to gaming is this:

[A]t some point, that patch will no longer be available, and if you want to play that game, maybe a generation down the line, you no longer have that patch. Of course, all of this will be moot the day games are distributed solely online, cutting off a whole section of the gaming market from console gaming and destroying it forever.

That is an incredibly deep point to be made, and it’s spot on. Patching serves no one but the lazy developers (or, in more and more cases today the pushy, greedy publisher) and ultimately, their short term fix has long term consequences — for us. They’ve made bank on us today, and we’re stuck with a turd five, 10 years down the line. Sweet deal.

This all stems, of course, from the recent announcement from Nintendo that it would be replacing buggy Twilight Princess discs with new ones. Some may call that more incredible Nintendo customer service, but it really is the least Nintendo could have done. I’m glad to see they’re finally doing it however, none-the-less.

I always considered console gaming separate from PC gaming, and I liked it that way. Is it wrong of me to yearn for the unpatched days of N64, SNES and NES to continue? Is it wrong to use the word ‘yearn?’