I am, amongst other things, a huge video game fan. Specifically, I am an EA sports gamer. I have owned every release of the NHL franchise since NHL 94, Madden 2000-2010 and every NCAA football release since 2009. I love them. As a stay at home dad, my time is very valuable to me, which is why I am supremely frustrated with the current iteration of NCAA football. It is a master class in bad UX/UI design. Bare with me as I walk you through what happens when you sit down to play a game of NCAA 13.
I won’t even begin with the fact that when the XBOX boots up you have to navigate to games and select that this is the game you want to play. That part is obvious and, more importantly, not EA’s fault. Let’s get down to what happens when you actually get to the game. When you boot up the game, you get to see a bunch of mascots dancing around like it’s some sort of parade float. But it’s ok. Hit a button and you’ll get through to the next screen, a short ad for EA sports.
Following this short advertisement, EA assumes that you are incredibly interested in watching short movie sequences rather than the actual gameplay because here’s another one, this time all about the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to the top college football player in the US. But it’s ok because you ca hit a button and it will bring you to a page giving you the copyright information for the Heisman Trophy. It’s cool. FINALLY you’ve made it through all the BS and now you can move on to the game.
Cue the loading sequence. Obviously the game needs to load. After all, it’s been busy showing you a series of movies and advertisements for the past several minutes and it couldn’t have possibly been loading in the background during that time. Luckily as soon as the game is finished loading, you’ll be able to play…right?
Wrong! Once it’s finished loading, you would think that it would just go ahead and move forward. Yeah, not so much. Once the game is finished “loading”, just in case you want to just sit there and look at nothing, the game gives you the opportunity to press start before it goes any further.
Now once the game has “loaded” and you have pressed start, you’re taken to another screen where you have the ability to “load” your game file from whatever drive that you have connected. What exactly was it loading before?
Now the next part is partially my fault. At this point, now that I have watched a half dozen videos, and told the system about 8 times that I’d like to “load” something, I’m now given the opportunity to officially load something that I have a choice about. If I so choose, I can load online gaming data for the next time that I play online. Firstly, I don’t play online. Secondly, I’ve been waiting almost 10 minutes to play this stupid game and if I don’t get started soon, my son is going to be awake before the 1st quarter ends. So I decline. Which means, yes, it will ask me again and again, every single time that I play this game.
Now, finally I’m ready to choose dynasty mode and THEN I can load my saved game and start playing.
If you’ve made it this far then I’d like to thank you for hanging around. It’s taken about as long as it’s taken me to set this game up. Now let’s talk about what just happened. If the game has that much to do from a loading perspective, then just load and leave me alone. Think back to the crayons. Remember that peel that is pointless and takes time away from the actual work? Well that’s what these layers of minor involvement do. They are time wasters, interferences.