Plot, Characterization, Battles, Whatever...You Have to OPEN it First!

by Rob Leo aka Trevor Lyniad 

Has this ever happened to you? You run to your neighborhood gaming shop, purchase the latest, much anticipated "masterpiece" of the RPG world, race home in a mixed frenzy of perspiration and heavy breath, close the door to your room behind you as you sit in front of your television and console and feel the sweet and utter purity in that moment of moments when you lean back in your gaming chair staring at the cover of your new conquest.... Only to have your nirvana fade swiftly into an intense madness when you attempt, and fail, and attempt, and fail, and attempt again to open up the game's plastic wrap?

Why God, why!? How could it be that plastic, bestower of faster internet connections and producer of bigger chests, could cause so much grief upon such a humble and wide-eyed gamer?

PSX, PS2, Sega Dreamcast, and all other CD-ROM platform consoles are truly the pioneers of the "annoy-the-hell-out-of-your-consumers" industry. Before CD-ROM platforms, one could purchase a game AND open it in the same day. Oh, for the days when "Mario Bros." was the big Christmas seller. I find myself having to ask Santa not only for my PSX and PS2 games, but also for a cardiologist's tools to open them with.

Now, it is of course possible to open these game packages with perhaps the use of a knife or a fork or even a ladle, so who cares right? Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who has attempted to partake upon such a task only to have embedded so many grooves into the game's case that I'm sure it would play something beautiful if placed upon a record player.

It isn't only the plastic wrap however. Oh no, that would be too easy ::taps his nose lightly::. After you get that clear demonic presence to let your game go free, you still have to deal with that other little plastic friend: that label that holds the game closed on it's short end.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong with this, but if the thing says "PULL," you should pull, and it should come off. Right? Am I crazy or something? See, when I pull, half of it (if I'm lucky) comes off like a premature ejaculation (After the first tug, it's a lost cause, and it's all over before the fun even started).

To boot, some companies even go so far as to put little price tags or stickers on the game covers, just so when you dare to peel off their precious insignias, those tools of corporate America, they will live knowing that every time you play that game, you will see that white paper sticking to your game cover, and think of them and their store. MWA-HA-HA-HA!.... ::bows head in shame::.... Sorry.

Some games of the CD-ROM platform have attempted to overtake these obstacles. For example, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete came in a decorated box that opened simply with a Velcro sticker. I thought this was great. I thought it would be a fantastic treat to be able to sit down and play my new game as soon as I got home. However, as it turns out, the case that L: SSSC comes with doesn't fit on any of my CD racks. Also, if you take out the actual game case, you have no place to put the larger, annoying box. And last but not least, I must admit that I hated opening up the L: SSSC box everyday to see its cardboard conditioning had become weaker and more dilapidated.

Everyone talks about how you need plot, characterization, originality, replay value, battle mode efficiency, etc., and all that is by any means well and good, but don't over look the fact that in order for these important issues to be discussed at all, you have to OPEN the game first.

- Written by Rob Leo aka Trevor Lyniad

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