Friday, March 2, 2012

Awe at software development houses of yesteryear

After making another small game, I can't help but be in total stupor over how... easy software houses have it today.  I mean, seriously, back in the day when I was playing things like Nintendo way more often than I should have been, I never even thought about how much time was invested in to making all those games I played.

Back then, it's not like game dev houses could just send out a patch to fix things over the Internet.  When products were shipped, they were shipped for real!  Imagine, this had to be the final product, no going back; we're about to manufacture millions of cartridges and customers will get their hands on all our hard work, period, no going back.  Dev houses had to be pretty damn sure that what they were packaging up was 99.99% perfect.

Ok, a company probably could have done a product recall if the game was horrendously broken, but honestly, we just "shipped" Bubble Zing yesterday, and I already found 2 or 3 small bugs that should be fixed!  Talk about maddening for the devs of yesteryear!  Now granted, we made that game in 3 weeks with a really small team, but still... it is mind boggling to know that these guys did it, and did it well is stupendous... well, for the most part... games like Action 52 did exist, and that was... well... a broken down mess incurring the wrath of gamers lucky enough to play it.

If you're unsure about Action 52, check out James Rolfe's review of it on cinemassacre, it is pretty funny.  James, being the "angry video game nerd", can be a tad vulgar (just a little), so if bad words offend you, you might want to stay away from his review.

On a side note, I guess this would help explain why no version numbers were prevalent in old games, no such thing was important because what you got was it!  In rare cases, a second or third production run was accomplished and it was during this time a dev house could slip in a revision copy of the game, fixing a couple things, but still, we almost never saw any indication of what version number our copies were running.

So yea, one of our products just shipped and I'm already getting a laundry list of things to put in to a patch within the first day of release!

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