The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Digital Doesn’t Mean Perfect

Posted by BigWords on August 28, 2009

I’ve gone through plenty of disks over the years. CDs, DVDs, games, multimedia… Recently I have noticed that some new ones aren’t quite up to the standard of previous years, and it might be that we are – as consumers – letting some companies get away with releasing inferior products. There’s going to come a time when digital downloads are fast enough to satisfy even the most die-hard film geek, but we aren’t quite there yet.

This post is getting to the point. Don’t worry.

The Xbox-360 disk of The Darkness, an excellent horror-suspense-action hybrid, was the first recent game to give me trouble. I bought the game in a now-defunct Woolworths store when it came out and immediately had problems with it. It would play fine for a while before freezing on one of the cutscenes. Taking it back for a different disk solved the problem for a few days before the same glitch appeared. Another trip back to the store.

Long story short, I eventually got another disk (a third one) online. It worked perfectly. For a few days. I don’t know how many people experienced this particular problem, but all three disks couldn’t have been random exceptions to the quality control. The cutscenes, which brought to mind Oz and The Sopranos, were fun, but they didn’t seem particularly hard to render. Maybe it was just the disks, but my machine has never crashed on any other game.

Flash forward to this week, and I eventually got around to buying The Spirit, Frank Miller’s re-imagining of the classic comic-strip character. I would tell you how much I liked or disliked the film, but it won’t play. Not in the R2 DVD player, the region-free one, the new laptop, the old Vaio laptop or even my rig. It is coming up either ‘wrong disk’ or ‘please insert a disk’ when I try to play it.

Irksome, and rather difficult to remedy as I bought it in a town I don’t normally visit. It was from a chain, so I am planning on popping into my nearest branch tomorrow to see if I can get another copy. Normally I wouldn’t be bothered by a faulty disk, but I really wanted to see the film.

Is technology being taken for granted? I remember getting my first CD (Leonard Cohen’s Greatest Hits) after years of listening to cassettes, and the excitement of a new format. Now when I buy CDs I normally treat them as just another disk to add to the collection. The magic has worn off. Same thing goes for games. Only, where games are concerned, the first ones on CD annoyed the hell out of me. Endless FMV sequences that weren’t skippable, and having to watch them over and over and over again…

Maybe the machines have good taste, and refuse to let me sully Will Eisner’s memory with a lesser adaptation. I wonder how they will feel about Supergirl

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