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The Amazing Growing Games

April 9th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

My copy of Act of War: Direct Action arrived yesterday. In a rush to get to the gaming goodness, I cracked the seal and turned to the technical specifications to see how much space I had to find on my hard drive.

Six gigabytes. On a forty gig hard drive, that’s a lot of real estate.

Why such a small hard drive, you are obviously thinking. A real gamer should have hundreds of gigs at his disposal. Certainly a game reviewer should. And you are absolutely right.

My primary gaming machine is my laptop – it’s plenty fast, has a decent video card and has a nice screen for gaming. But, like many laptops, there is little space. So I have to pick and choose what stays and what goes.

But why should *any game* take six gigabytes? I suspect that most of Act of War’s byte hogging is a result of the elaborate cutscenes. It can’t be the standard game graphics, because Half Life 2 was only a little over four gigs, if I recall, and it is certainly the height of prettiness.

Even recently installed Knights of Honor, a rather old schoolish grand strategy game, takes a full 1.2 gigabytes that I can’t fully account for.

I can see Rome taking up 2 gigs. And Pirates! has earned its one-plus gigs. In fact, a gigabyte footprint is pretty standard these days. I was actually relieved when Children of the Nile took up a meagre 800 MB.

Some of it is certainly the improvement in graphics and a greater emphasis on the music, voices and sounds that draw many gamers into the virtual world they are in. There is also a growing resistance among gamers to CD/DVD reading in the middle of a game. They want play to be smooth and uninterrupted and accessing the CD/DVD drive for the sound, movie or map takes up valuable seconds.

In the gaming arms race, beauty and brains and hi-tech imagery has led to a space race as I try to decide which games will be less painful for me to reinstall in the next two months. Because you know that in six weeks time I will likely remove one of these recent purchases to make room for the next box to show up.


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