You know what isn’t great?

I decided to make a post similar to my cross-buy topic except this time I’m just complaining about stuff… so probably not so different from that post. Obvious stuff like DRM and DLC will be skipped over since I must have already mentioned them at some point before.

Proprietary Hardware

I’ve been playing my Vita a lot lately and my memory card/stick/whatever is almost always full so I’m forced to juggle content. You’d think it would be as simple as just buying another, perhaps larger, memory card but for some reason Sony decided to go with proprietary cards and jack their prices way, way up. A 32GB memory card for the Vita costs anywhere from 60-80 dollars and that’s AFTER the price dropped from 99 bucks. That’s just straight up ridiculous since you can get any other 32GB card for under $20. I feel like I can’t buy more space simply out of principle. Even slow-to-change Nintendo doesn’t do this crap but Sony seems to really enjoy doing this since they did the same thing with the PSP.

Another annoying thing is when devices have proprietary cords. I know Apple used to do this all the time but I haven’t owned an Apple product in years so maybe things are different. Right now next to my main gaming location is a bundle of cords, including extension cables. I think I have the largest amount of USB extension cords ever. Anyway, right now I think I have about six different cords but there used to be a lot more before I finally trimmed it down one day. Luckily a lot of different items can be charged via USB so that cut down on the clutter. Somewhat unrelated but what’s the deal with all the USB variants. I have like three extra adapters that I have to keep handy just so I can charge stuff.

Single Save Files

You don’t usually see this a lot but I find this especially irritating. One of the biggest offenders is the Pokemon series which only allows for one save file per cart. That’s just plain crazy in my book. Obviously it’s done to encourage people to buy both versions of the game rather than share one copy. So if I felt so inclined to do a specialty playthrough of the game I’d have to delete my save file with hundreds of hours playtime and specially bred pokemon (Interesting aside: I spent way too long trying to remember the past tense of breed). These days there’s usually some way to store your Pokemon between games except, from what I last remember, I think Nintendo is charging a recurring fee for that. This isn’t just limited to Pokemon though since some console games do it as well.

Poorly Designed Save Systems

Saving your game is done in many different ways. Some games let you save anywhere while others may only save between checkpoints, levels, or some other form of auto-saving. I think that you should be able to save whenever you want since feeling locked into playing is never a good thing. I’m not sure why more games don’t let you do this. The only thing that I can think of is maybe they don’t like save-scumming but that should be left entirely up to how the player enjoys playing.

The problem with some games is they save your progress in a crappy and undefined way. Not every game lets you manually save and I’m sure Keen can attest to the amount of times I’ve said “I have to wait until I see the auto-save animation” or something similar. It’s another way that you can feel forced to keep playing and some games seem to have no clearly defined moment that triggers an auto save. I can’t exactly remember the title of the game but not too long ago I remember playing something that only auto-saved and even then I would lose some progress every time I loaded the game up. Truly maddening.

Pre-order Bonuses & Exclusive Content

This kind of thing didn’t use to bother me but it’s gotten really bad over the years. You used to get something like a poster or some kind of knick-knack for pre-ordering a game but then it turned into bonus content for the game. I really do not like feeling pressured into buying a game if I’m not sure about it. That’s usually how they get me to buy stuff, by using some piece of content to lure me in. I’d feel compelled to pre-order or risk never getting that specific item/object/whatever. I have learned to resist the urge over time since most of the bonuses never end up being worth it anyway but they sure seem to be upping the ante lately.

Then to make things worse there is retailer specific pre-order bonuses which is a total crap. There is no way to get every bonus unless you buy multiple copies or cheat the system somehow. Sometimes they later offer the content for download, either free or paid, but often it’s something you wont see. Oh, it would also be great if they stopped putting embargoes on reviews until after the game has already shipped. Doesn’t always happen but it’s pretty telling when it does.

Another issue I have with in-game content is when they tie stuff to collectors editions. That wouldn’t necessarily be so bad if the price and level of ridiculousness in CEs/LEs wasn’t constantly rising. These things are just getting stupid and I’m always dumbfounded by all the people who drop $150 or more on a bunch of junk and clutter. Of course I’m a gigantic hypocrite as evidenced by all of the collector’s editions and related paraphernalia cluttered to my right (Picture not shown). I’m still bitter about the Destiny CE…

Season Passes

Oh right, DLC… I wasn’t going to mention this.

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Justin - August 28, 2014

Speaking of DLC……..
What do you think of the new Mario Kart 8 DLC stuff? I think for the amount of cups (4), races (16), characters (6), and karts (8) that it is a steal for only $12. And, I also think that they didn’t just short change the retail sale version by omitting these items, like most day 1 DLC and even first month DLC.

Graev - August 28, 2014

When it comes to DLC I mainly have a problem with the kind that should have been included in a game. Day one DLC is extremely irritating and stuff like gouging people for costumes pisses me off. It’s like unlockable content is being shifted over to paid content these days. Also the whole concept of a season pass and advertising DLC well before a game even releases is something that I will probably never be okay with. If you’re going to basically increase the price of the full game experience by $20-30 then at least have the decency to pretend like you aren’t already working on it 8 months before the game is even out.

Stuff like the Mario Kart 8 DLC I’m usually okay with it. It does seem like a good price for what you are getting and it doesn’t really seem like anything they cut from the game to sell you later. Optimally it would be great if games offered at least a few nice pieces of content for free between all of the paid extras.

Wilhelm Arcturus - August 28, 2014

Every company has ingrained bits of culture that they will never shake. For Sony, they obsess about controlling the format and having exclusives, driven in part by everybody knocking off the Walkman and their Trinitron technologies in the 80s. So they have their memory stick and spent years pushing their MiniDisc stuff. And even when they have to lump it and use some sort of industry standard, they will try to obscure that if they can. Sony video cameras had Firewire connectivity for ages, but they refused to call it that. They always used the term “i.Link” and would only mention that it was an IEEE 1394 interface (Firewire) deep in the fine print.

Nintendo, likewise, sees themselves as a hardware company. I was actually very surprised to see that they were going to let Pokemon be on iOS in some form. Granted, it is the trading card game, not the main line Pokemon RPG, but it took the earnings crisis of the Wii U to get them to do that and license fighting Pokemon to Banai-Namco for a game. In general, they view their franchises as a way to sell hardware.

The single save for Pokemon games used to bug me. But my guess is that, at some point in the past, there was a limitation that caused them to make that choice. But the Pokemon franchise is so conservative… let’s face it, I bet you and I could write the script for a Pokemon game… that they never change anything they do not have to. So the single save has become part of what a Pokemon game is. And Gamefreak has done a lot to make it so that you have lots to do after you finish the main story. There is plenty of progression. But it is less of a standard RPG than like having an MMO account that only allows a single character.

The single save doesn’t annoy me any more. I am used to it, and I like having those cartridges around with my old games and characters. But it is definitely off the industry standard for RPGs. (And I still don’t understand why they let you start a new game so easily, only to tell you later that you cannot save it. Seriously, WFT on that?)

Graev - August 28, 2014

I’m not sure how much control Nintendo has when it comes to Pokemon. From what I last heard the IP is split between Nintendo, Game Freak, and The Pokemon Company. I don’t know if it’s a third cut between them or what. I imagine they still had to okay the release of the card game but I doubt they pushed for it. Plus you have whoever is actually making the card game, which is Wizards now or something. A lot of chefs.

Wilhelm Arcturus - August 28, 2014

I am pretty sure that what Nintendo says goes in that triple relationship. The Pokemon Company was created by Nintendo to manage the Pokemon brand, but in the end it is still owned by Nintendo. Meanwhile, Gamefreak has a hugely lucrative relationship with Nintendo, but really only takes care of the main Pokemon RPG game that we so love. Nintendo and Gamefreak are both heavily invested in protecting that.

The collectible card game, which Nintendo took away from Wizards over a decade ago, is now pretty much Nintendo’s domain. I am sure Gamefreak gets a cut of the income, and The Pokemon Company steers the marketing and tie-ins, but at the end of the day somebody at Nintendo has the final call.

Zyler - August 28, 2014

I remember when I bought my first console. (with my own money)
Been saving up for it for a full year. The sony playstation.

Where happy and proud, until I attempted to save the game and it would not let me.
They expected people back then to buy a memory card. These where not cheap and without it you could not save your game. “mind blown”

Can you imagen the shitstorm if they tried that these days? New PS4. No you cant save your game.
Keep the game running and get your lazy ass to the store to buy an expensive addon to save the game!!

Balthazar - August 28, 2014


On my first console you couldn’t save games (probably no need actually). On the next, you had to write down a complicated, case-sensitive, special character-laden 5 paragraph long code and re-enter said code accurately to load your save game. God forbid you wrote the code down wrong.

Whorhay - August 28, 2014

What always bugged me about Apple’s proprietary cords was how amazingly low quality they were and how the price was set at a premium level. The wife has an iPhone and it looks to still be proprietary, she buys a new cord every few months it seems.

Gringar - August 28, 2014

I barely remember my first console but yes. There was no saving and yes, there was no need. The games were all basically mini-games anyway. I also remember writing down those passwords. That was something else. I think I lost at least one “save file” due to not writing down the codes correctly. Then Zelda came and broke new ground with actual save files. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that each cartridge actually had one of those coin shaped batteries inside to keep the memory powered.

I do like my Vita. I love that I can play FFX2 anywhere but even the USB cord… They take a cord that’s supposed to be universal and they put a tiny notch on it and you have to use the other end that has the matching notch or it won’t fit. It makes me want to SMASH.

Zyler - August 29, 2014

@Balthazar I have been playing games since the Atari and the commodore 64 so i understand what you mean. I was referring to the proprietary hardware Keen was talking about.

It just feels wrong to have to buy something later on in order to make use of a device, while the creators know in advance you need to buy extra stuff in order to use that device. That is messed up.

Btw sony has a long track record of making memory that is a new standard only they use.
For the sole purpose to maximize profits, even if the consumer gets the short end of the stick.

In a way nintendo started doing the same with the N64 and the gamecube. (carts and special small like discs, while cd and dvd was the better option to create games for) Reason? profit margin and control.

Howdy Doody - August 29, 2014

This was a great article to read with my morning coffee. Got my blood all boiling!

Thanks for writing.

Gankatron - August 29, 2014

“…but for some reason Sony decided to go with proprietary cards and jack their prices way, way up.”

I think someone might know the reason:


…or more specifically as Ambrose Bierce describes in the Devil’s Dictionary:

“Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”

This also pertains to a heavy-handed approach to pre-order bonuses, which can in reality be pre-order negative conditioning. If one gets a plushy, poster, or graphic novel, np, …a special armor skin, np, …a +5% exp ring, ok, even if cheesy and pretty worthless, but when items have significant beneficial effects on gameplay, then it is no longer a “special bonus” for pre-purchasers, but penalizing normal purchasers by purposely breaking the game. like in a bad F2P model. In these scenarios the normal purchaser is a second class citizen, which just makes me turn back around and just wait for it to go on super discounted Steam sale.

The individual retailer perks are a bad idea as again they piss off your customer base. No one wants to buy from a retailer they do not prefer just because they won’t be able to play the game as they wish otherwise.

The same is for out-of-control DLC. If a cheap DLC pack comes out in a few months after release I’ll consider it a mini-expansion, and may even be happy to see the devs continuing to support the game. If multiple DLC packs come out shortly after release or worse even before launch, they can fuck themselves. Again I’ll wait for the deeply discounted “Super Premium Titanium Universe Edition Complete” with all 50 DLC packs included for a $9.99, 80% off Steam sale.

When a company treats me like I am either too stupid to see their heavy-handed monetization techniques, or assumes I’ll be too enthusiastic to help myself, I walk away, at least until the ball is back in my court.

Zyler - August 29, 2014

@Gankatron thumbs up for the Super Premium Titanium Universe Edition Complete games.

What annoys me the most if if you buy the ahum.. base game and expansions comes out.
The game gets a good % off yet the expansions are more expensive then the game itself wtf..

Or an all in one bundle with the game and all the expansions for the cost of the latest expansion you still do not have.
Way to go to fuck over your existing fanbase that supported you from day 1.

Yeah I am also waiting for complete editions by now.

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