...LOADING..."Whensoever games are loaded off disk, whether that be a floppy, a hard drive, or some kind of Blu-ray thing, there will be games that take longer to load than to play."...LOADING...
Ah, Loading Screens. How we loathe them, and yet how common they are. However, those aren't the subject of this trope — this trope is about games that take too damn long to load, and do so not just at startup, but the entire time you're playing.
This is something of a cyclic trope because of technology changes. Computer gamers of the 1980s learned to loathe the slow-as-molasses tape and floppy disk drives of the era, and cheered when they were replaced by the much faster hard disks. But it didn't take too long for games to take advantage of increasing disk size and grow so big that they took as long to load from the hard disk as their ancestors did from floppies. Solid-state cartridges from the old days had fast random access times that some cases match or is faster than ram(snes), but their severely limited capacity increases the temptation to use data compression in larger modern games, which can take a very long time to decompress on a game console. So it goes...
It can help when hard drives grow larger. This not only allows them to store more of the game's data, which will usually load faster from the hard drive than from an optical disc, but also allows them to use uncompressed storage, which takes a lot less work from the CPU to load. However, on an optical drive, compressed data can be faster to load and decompress than uncompressed data...so it's a double-edged sword on weaker systems.
No relation to The Load, though that may be what you call games suffering from this. Point of advice: bring a book for some of these, preferably a thick one you can put...LOADING...down quickly. See also Dynamic Loading, when loading sequences are performed "behind the scenes" and (hopefully) go unnoticed by the player.
Video Game Examples:
open/close all folders
The PlayStation version of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain suffered heavily from this. Which is a bad thing, as the game is a classic, and the PlayStation version is otherwise the definitive one. Other games in the series ranged from short to barely existent loading times. Soul Reaver in particular only had one loading screen, when you first loaded the save, after which all new environments were streamed as you came to them, with nary a hiccup.
Sadly, the problem persists even while playing the one bought off of PSN. Strangely enough, it seems playing it on the PSP cuts loading time in half (or it feels that way)
PSP has a option to speed up the loads time. Some games runs BETTER on the PSP. A good exemple is Bomberman Fantasy Race, who has SLOW load times on PS3 and very short load times on the PSP.
The PC version (released a year later) had almost zero loading times.
Fun Fact: The PS3 emulates PS1 load times, even for PSN downloads, because some PS1 games break if loaded faster.
The PlayStation 2 even had the option to spin the disk faster, but this was problematic for quite a few games. In fact, the last few games released for the PlayStation acknowledged this and specifically said to not enable this feature.
Most of the MetroidvaniaCastlevania games did this, particularly Symphony of the Night, where the load time between rooms was nearly unnoticeable. That, and later Aria of Sorrow, actually put small hallways between two areas to give it even more time to load the graphics and enemies for the next area. (SotN didn't try to disguise these hallways either; it even included the letters "CD," with a little picture of one underneath).
SotN also included some interaction for the black loading screens: you could use the controller to create graphical effects on the "loading" text. Not a big deal, but certainly miles better than a typical static version of the same thing.
Load times for cartridge-programmed games are an extremely complicated issue. Cartridges work, in theory, by allowing the system to access data near-instantly (as fast as electricity can travel through the solid-state ROM chips used to store the game data). Though some consoles like the N64 used slow rom which means AND that the CPU didn't have access to the ROM directly. Which mean it can only stream items that don't require fast memory, like sound or animation and load everything else in RAM. The problem is that solid-state memory is not nearly as fast as dynamic RAM (except for the NES, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, and GBA), so most of the time, the CPU can't work with it - it has to run off of program code stored in RAM. Moving data from solid-state to RAM takes time, and while it's not nearly as bad as long disc-based load times, it can add up... especially on the GBA, which has cartridges storing up to 32 megabytes (Mother3), for a system that only has 256 kilobytes of RAM. Decompression times can also bottle neck graphics like:
Crazy Taxi with a lengthy load time after you pick a car.
One GBA game with noticeable load times is Donkey Kong Country 3. Every time you enter a level, you have to wait for it to load. While the load times aren't terrible (about 5 seconds at most), don't forget that this is a cartridge. Not to mention, the SNES version didn't suffer from this problem, and that came out 9 years earlier.
Shadow Man for N64 did have short loading screens for areas, though it was also a rather large game that was originally made for the PC and had very little content cut out for the N64.
The cartridge-based Castlevania titles didn't need these loading sections, given that they only serve to divide up "castle sections" and not actual "game screens" which are all of a pretty equal size. They're retained to give a smooth transition of music and art style.
The Nintendo 64 version of Banjo-Tooie has an exceptionally large amount of content that not only is not compressed, but didn't use the Expansion Pak either, meaning that a cutscene taking place outside of the player's whereabouts will require a brief temporary freeze of the game so it can be triggered. This becomes a major annoyance in the level Hailfire Peaks, due to the more detailed visuals and effects of the level in comparison to the earlier worlds. They fixed this in the Xbox Live Arcade version, but not without the unintended consequence of the music not syncing up with the cutscenes when it was originally supposed to.
The console version of Advent Risingwould have staggering loading times - up to two minutes, several times a level. It gets around this by loading pre-rendered cutscenes (varying from story scenes to suggestions of what to do next to a bunch of pretty scenery) and playing those at the loading points, preventing the player from skipping them until loading is finished.
In The Wind Waker, the load times for islands are supposed to be masked by the immense overworld, though even the most complex islands load in less than a second. Inside dungeons, rooms load instantaneously, except for miniboss and boss rooms. When entering these rooms, the screen darkens while the miniboss or boss programming is loaded. This also happens to the miniboss rooms in Twilight Princess, since the game was built upon the other's engine.
In the case of Skyward Sword, the screen fading is averted for the miniboss rooms, but is played straight for the largest rooms (and note that the game's software space is already larger than that of its aforementioned predecessors (4.7 GB compared to 1.5), which is saying a lot).
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on PS2 has sufficiently long loading times, you begin to wonder if they're attempting to show the Hogwarts year in real time. They were a good 20-30 seconds long, and they were "everywhere".
The video game adaptation of Finding Nemo on Gamecube took a stupidly long time to load. It was also ridiculously easy. The music is actually really good, as it sounds like it was played by an actual orchestra. The music may actually be the reason why levels take such a long time to load, as recorded music was usually some of the most space-using video game resources back then.
The PS2 version of Ōkami even has two mini-games, one about button mashing and one about timed presses, to help ease loading times. They even net you Demon Fangs! The Wii version reduced the load times significantly, so it doesn't have this.
LEGO Island 2 had load times so long, you could actually use the time to consult the manual, and brush up on your knowledge of how to play the next mini-game. The PSX version did not improve on this issue at all, and neither does a modern-day PC. You'll very quickly tire of the low-res pizza seen on every loading screen.
Haven: Call of the King for the PS2 would take roughly 5-10 minutes to load when it started, but there was no loading after that, as the whole game had been loaded in one shot.
Cave Story 3D, unlike the original, has 2-3 second load screens when going in between rooms. This may seem like a minor annoyance at first, but keep in mind, they RUIN the normal ending (pan over one level, load screen, pan over another level, load screen).
SEED: Rise of Darkness (iPhone) has to load everything... Area transition? Load... You die and get sent to the main menu? Load... Exacerbated by the fact that areas in SEED are small and the fact that nearly every enemy higher than Level 4 is a Demonic Spider.
Fear Effect. This trope is a real annoyance in the first game (particularly after death scenes), but was fixed in the prequel.
Sanity Aikens Artifact processed lightmaps when loading a level. Most of the loading period was in that single task, and was identified as part of the loading description.
There are very very minor loadtimes in the arcade version of Total Carnage. It's near-impossible to see them on a PC unless you have outdated hardware, however. The cutscenes disguise it, and then the pre-gameplay map disguises it more. What is first loaded underneath the map is a screenshot of how the level looks with your current stats overlaid.
King's Quest: Mask of Eternity has loads upwards of twenty minutes for each level. It takes forever to load each area, with multiple loading screens each time you load up the game. Mask of Eternity, in order to conserve hard disk space, only kept the current region files on the hard drive. When you first started a region, it copied that region's files from the CD to the game folder and when you left for a new area, it uninstalled the previous region files and installed the upcoming area's files. There's only 9 regions in the game, two of them extremely small, and the other 7 quite large. That means switching levels was kinda like doing a semi-uninstall/install each time, deleting like 100 MB from your hard drive and then copying another 100 MB from the CD back onto it (real fun with a 2x CD-Rom drive). There was no official way to do a full install of the game either.
Broken Sword 3 had load times of a few minutes every time you entered a new area. As one forum user put it "[it is]...the incredible loading simulator, starring George Stobbart."
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude had immensely long load times when starting up, when loading any mini-game (which is practically all the gameplay), and when going from any area to any other area, like from your dorm room to the hall outside. The graphics were in no way detailed enough to justify this. The bizarre thing about this is that, if you Alt-Tab out of the game and then restore it, the load time instantly reaches 100%. Which makes one wonder if the loads were just made long so you would have time to stare at the scantily-clad women in the loading screens. The PC version had much faster loading times then the console versions.
The Adventures Of Willy Beamish for the Sega CD had such gratuitous load times that the game, itself, came with a sort of distracting screen saver, referred to as "Laser Balls," which could be called up at any time with a press of the Start button.
The Three Stooges on the Commodore 64 probably holds some kind of record for play time/load time ratio. While most C64 games would load the entire game into memory at once, The Three Stooges was a hefty piece of work comprising numerous Minigames (and, this being the '80s, each "minigame" was essentially a full game by the standards of the day). Entering a new minigame meant loading the whole thing from scratch, often preceded by swapping disks (cleverly referred to as "reels"). Even starting the game itself took forever, due to the number of intro cinematics (each of which was, you guessed it, preceded by a long load time) some of which even included then-memory-intensive voice clips.
The Amiga version was similarly affected, though it was also possible to install the game to a hard disk (assuming you had one) and eliminate the delays.
Many graphical adventure games for 8-bit computer systems would have to stop the game to slowly paint every background element whenever the player arrived on a new screen. Asterix and the Magic Cauldron is one example of this.
Batman Forever on the SNES. Between every (or at least nearly every) screen, there was a black screen urging the player to "HOLD ON." The "Forever" part must have been how long you were going to wait for the thing to finish loading...
The initial PS3 version of Bayonetta was horrendous with loading, including the pause screen taking about five seconds to load. Fortunately, there's a title update out that allows users to install the game on the PS3's hard disk, putting the load times on par with the Xbox version. However, the update itself takes about an hour to install...
The second game was so bad about this, that the developer quickly released a patch that significantly cut loading times down.
Beatdown: Fists of Vengeance would have been So Okay, It's Average at the worst had it not been for its stupidly high amount of loading. Everything you try to do is prefaced with some form of load screen, even pausing.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction for the GBA had a horrible case of this. Every time you did anything at all within a duel, cue a 2-second field scan. It takes about 1 second to play a card, then 2 seconds to load. Oh, and if you play any of the cards the game is scanning for, it becomes about 5 seconds. Each. Time. This was particularly egregious because going to a new area took about the same amount of time to load. Yes, an entire CITY loads as quickly as 1 card.
The later Yu-Gi-Oh World Championship games are getting worse and worse with this. Games from 2009 on suffer from loading times in between your opponent's actions, with the loading times getting longer and longer the more crowded the playing field gets. The loading times seem to get worse with each game.
Need for Speed: The Run has a handy checkpoint reload system that has a hardly noticeable load time in most cases. However if the player messes up at the start of the level, they either have to waste a checkpoint reload (as they are limited in number for each segment of the race) or sit through the loading screen as the entire level is reloaded for absolutely no reason.
The Simpsons Road Rage was ruined by loading times. We're talking 50 seconds of loading for a task that only lasts for 20 seconds...
The PC version of Pure has a bizarre bug where, if vertical sync is at all enabled either in-game or forced through the video card's separate options, all loading screens will suddenly turn into three-to-five minutes wait-fests. There is a loading screen after starting the game for the intro, a loading screen for the main menu, and at least two more loading screens to get into a race. If you've made Damn well sure that V-sync is off, each loading screen takes about ten seconds, if that.
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 often had players stuck at the loading screen for about 15-30 seconds, and this problem gets worse in versus matches. This only seems to happen on the huge Tokyo/Kanagawa map, as opposed to the smaller Osaka and Hakone maps. Maximum Tune 3 DX seems to recitify this issue.
Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition on the PSP suffered from loading times normally twice as long as the race it's trying to load, mostly due to the fact that the graphics look essentially the same as the console versions, just a few bits taken out.
Criterion did their best to cut down on loading screens in Burnout Paradise, and for the most part, they were successful, however, what the game has instead is Loads and Loads of Microloading, which is to say, every time you pause the game or check the map, there is a small but noticeable delay. This is not great for compulsive map checkers.
However the 10+ second delay going from car to car in the junkyard before it actually appears on screen is annoying as heck.
This was ostensibly an attempt to combat Burnout Revenge's loading times. At least on 360, it suffered from its own 30-45 second load screens each time you had to load a course, even if you restart a race.
Racing game series Forza Motorsport has notoriously long load times. 3 pushes this to its extreme level with load times of up to 5 minutes for long tracks. Forza 4 is a bit more optimized and cuts down on the load times, which were promptly re-introduced in Forza Horizon - the game loads the entire map (surprisingly quickly) but everything else has a loading screen. Want to go paint that new Javelin? LOADING SCREEN! Now tune it? Leave the tune shop, drive for five seconds to the garage, annnnnd LOADING SCREEN!
A fairly common complaint with ModNation Racers is its long loading times, which can take upwards of 45 seconds.
Adding insult to injury on this front is that the game's environments don't even look at good as their Forza counterparts - which is completely inexcusable since the promotional material that allegedly showed actual gameplay looked better. Considering it took 6 years to develop this, it may have been a harbinger of the load times for Duke Nukem Forever (see corresponding entry)...
Re-Volt is a good game, but the load times are annoying. Even 12 years after its release, the game still needs 15 seconds to start a race. This wouldn't be so bad... except, if you restart the race, you have to wait another 15 seconds. Apparently, the game has to load the track and the car models all over again for some inexplicable reason. To make things worse, loading the fancy main menu takes over 15 seconds of its own.
Mario Kart 7 comes with beautifully designed track stages that move in full stereoscopic 60FPS, but with the jarring side-effect that you're presented with 4 to 7 seconds of white loading screens, each before and after the track preview. Granted, it's not much, but we're talking about a Nintendo handheld game stored on flash memory!
Due to the 3DS having power that rivals the Gamecube and/or the Wii, 3DS games take a few seconds to load everything, despite the games being on a flash cart.
Wipeout 2048. The game needs an initial 20 second load and then another half minute of loading each track...and this is after a patch which reduced load times by half.
Worth noting that this only applied to the game's original 1.0 release and to a lesser extent the 1.01 patch. After 1.02, the load times for each race are now fairly minimal, clocking in at around 15 seconds each.
This video explains why the PSP version of Smackdown vs Raw 2006 might not be the best use of your money...
And then there is Smackdown vs RAW 2007, which would have multiple loading screens in a row.
So did SvR 2006, and the PS2 version wasn't much better about it, either. Heck, you'd even have to sit through the same two loading screens when replaying a match, something that's usually instantaneous because it's already loaded! Does none of that data get stored in the console's RAM?
Interestingly, there were several games in the old PS1 library that would show multiple loading screens in a row.
The otherwise superb Super Smash Bros. Brawl suffers from this. Transforming characters also take longer to load than they did in Melee. If multiple characters transform at once, the loading time will even increase for all involved. Additionally, scrolling through the various alternate colours for your character will add on to the loading time for the match for some reason.
The game's creator apparently acknowledged that little point on the development blog, mentioning that the loading process begins as soon as characters are selected in an attempt to cut down on the time spent on the loading screen and that changing settings caused the "masking" of the loading time to not work as well. This is because Brawl was the first dual-layer disc the Wii had. The Wii's disc reading laser has to focus between one layer and the other to load data on different layers, adding considerably to the loading time.
The loading times also make some of the Event matches, where you have to beat a certain amount of enemies in a limited time, Unwinnable, as you'll lose 5-10 seconds at the start waiting for the first guy to load and drop in. Unless you pause the game, or use homebrew to rip yourowned copy of the game to a SD Card or USB storage device, speeding up load times on the hardware side. or just use Riivolution to load time-sensitive data from the SD Card, and leave the rest up to the disc.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 saw a port on the SNES with infuriatingly long load times. Using the SDD-1 chip for decompression, it took about 8 whole seconds at the start of each fight (in a genre where rounds usually have a time limit between one and two minutes, this is a long time); the screen would stop dead in its tracks, music and all, to load everything, despite the many, many, many technical shortcuts they had to take to even pull the port off.
The Saturn version of it also has plenty of loading screens. It does have an option to cut out most of the bits between battles to cut the loading to a minimum though.
Street Fighter IV (at least the PS3 version) doesn't have that long loading times, but in the arcade mode, you're required to re-select a character each time you lose and select "continue". Over time (and especially against Seth), those 25 seconds of loading for a new match will start to feel like forever. Moral of the story: Allow players to select "continue with the same character" to avoid reloading.
The PlayStation ports of X-Men vs Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom also saw gratuitous loading, enough so that the gameplay suffered horribly. Such gameplay sacrifices include only 2 unique characters for 2P VS (one unique with the other two used by your opponent), long load times in between matches, and near-dead stops during the fights, especially for very graphic-intensive super combos. The Sega Saturn versions of the first two games avoided such issues only by making the 4 MB RAM cartridge a requirement. Luckily, the Dreamcast came out just in time for Capcom to develop an arcade-perfect version of Marvel vs. Capcom (although they still released a load-happy PSX version alongside it), and its sequel was developed on a Dreamcast-only arcade board, rendering these issues obsolete.
Sadly, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift was not as well-optimized and had long-ish loadtimes before each fight unless you installed the game to your HDD.
Calamity Trigger Portable had them as well, but really, what do you expect from UMD?
Blazblue: EXTEND for the Vita isn't much better, requiring more than twice as long as the console versions before every fight. But unlike the much faster console versions that can install some data, the Vita version of Abyss mode is made totally unplayable, since you're loading entirely new matches for a good 20-30 seconds mid-fight while the game swaps out a new opponent before a single round is even finished, and it does this so often—nearly every half of every round that isn't a boss fight—as to be pretty much unplayable. You're loading much more often than fighting.
Street Fighter II for the Amiga came on four floppy disks and made players engage in plenty of disk-swapping action between fights. The ports of Super Street Fighter II and Turbo upped the number of disks to seven and eleven, though these at least allowed HD installation.
World in Conflict and Call of Duty 4's normally long single player load screens are made enjoyable by putting in expository dialog and slickly produced cut-scenes to set up the next mission. Almost all the times the game is finished loading before the dialogue ends - if the player then presses a button, they can play instantly.
In fact nearly anything that has a briefing uses this nowadays. If there IS a plain black loading screen it is to load the dialogue/cutscenes first and then get the game content out of the way while that plays.
Half-Life 2, while it loads fine on most systems today, at its release the loading times were extremely long for many people, along with happening at least once every ten minutes or so (yet taking longer than games with longer spaces between loads). This was made more egregious by how its predecessor was lauded for keeping its loads as short as possible.
Even more prevalent in the Xbox port (original Xbox, not Xbox 360) due to the console's limitations, resulting in loading screens where there aren't any in the PC version.
Heck, all of Valve's games using the Source engine. This is one of the major limitations of the Source engine in general. Pausing to load on a hard-drive stored PC game is unusual these days, because most engines can pre-cache nearby regions of the game world, but in Source only one region can ever be in memory at a time. Which is why even Portal, which was claimed to use the elevators to disguise the loading time, still pops up a "LOADING" screen after the elevator stops.
Portal 2 has an insane amount of loading screens, especially during the first part of the game, where every short level is intersected by a loading screen that takes, in some cases, as long or longer to load than the last level took to solve. If you are very quick to solve puzzles or are going for a Speed Run, you will spend more time in loading screens than you are in solving puzzles. At one point, there's an I Fell for Hours moment, where you fall down to Old Aperture, but it actually only lasts 20 seconds or so and it's preceded and followed by 15 second loading screens. Yes, the loading is 1.33 times as long as the falling.
This is also apparent for the Left 4 Dead series. Players will only play on one map at a time and while they can physically see the area where the next map will start, there's actually nothing beyond it except a few props and the void since there's nothing else rendered for the current map. Loading times can get worse for user created maps; the more data the map has, the longer it will take to load the map.
Left 4 Dead 2 also has significantly longer loading times compared to the original Left 4 Dead. In both games, by default, the game attempts to pre-cache all models so they will be ready to use as needed, which explains the loading time. In the case of Left 4 Dead 2, there is a lot more models and other content the game has to pre-cache, which causes a good amount of waiting for the next map to load. In Left 4 Dead, loading times could be as short as 5 or 10 seconds. Left 4 Dead 2 nearly doubles or triples that amount of time for loading.
All the Halo games, especially Halo 3 if you install it to the hard drive. Halo: Reach isn't much better, but improves with an installation. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary has atrocious load times if you load it off the disc. A nice subversion is that though the load times are long, they happen in the in game menus, so you can select your map, and then tweak your settings before starting a match.
One would think that Microsoft would optimize Halo 3 to run from the hard drive when it got released in downloadable format, and now anyone who downloaded it has no choice but to bear the long loading times as they cannot choose to run it from the disc.
Reportedly, the reason for this was due to their attempt to reduce load times by frequently caching data from the optical disc onto the hard drive (a number of sites list load time improvements for hard drive installs — Halo 3 was quickly discovered to be an exception). If the game was installed to the hard drive, it would read the to-be-cached data from the hard drive, stop the drive, and then spin it up again in order to write that data to a different location on the same hard drive. All this was instead of simply streaming the chachable data from the optical drive while the both discs continued spinning. Meanwhile, gameplay is slowed while the hard drive is busy wearing itself out for no good reason.
Garry's Mod, though things have been getting a lot better. Garry once posted a graph on his blog showing that some players waited up to half an hour just to play the game. Some time afterwards, Garry broke something that interacted with Wiremod in such a way as to cause loading times to spike massively. And, as previously mentioned, the Source engine performs its loading in such a way that Windows sometimes thinks it has crashed (Windows GUI applications are contractually obligated to respond to window messages— when they don't, Windows assumes they've crashed.)
Daikatana had notoriously slow loading times when it was released. Almost ten years later loading times are still slow. It's strange because there is no disc activity at all while a saved game is restored, even though it takes around 20 seconds, and disabling vertical sync in the configuration file makes the loading almost instant.
Serious Sam 1 opens with a long loading screen that's skippable. It's loading a demo level, and hitting ESC will get you to the main menu where you can actually play the game.
The PS2 version of Deus Ex divided all the areas of the PC version into smaller maps with loading between them. In areas where there are no enemies it occasionally takes shorter time to run through the map than the time it took to load it (especially annoying at the UNATCO base and in Hong Kong where loading times may get as long as 30 seconds).
Deus Ex: Invisible War doesn't as much load a new level as restart the game with the correct level loaded. Additionally, even over half a decade after it's release, it still takes quite a bit of time to load a new level on a modern, high-end computer, and the levels in the game small because it was made for the 64mb of RAM the Xbox had, so you'll have to load a lot, especially compared to Deus Ex, which had large, open levels and loaded quickly. Plus, there's about a 1 in 20 chance that the game will simply not start up again once it's done loading, deleting the last autosave but not making a new one.
This is the main reason Counter-Strike: Condition Zero is so reviled. Counter Strike had sensible load times, but the AI in Condition Zero required a lot of additional resources to be loaded into the server's (read: your computer's) memory. It would also tend to freeze up for long periods of time.
Another example of a cartridge game requiring loading: Alien vs. Predator for the Atari Jaguar. When you first selected a campaign, it needed to load up the "simulation," and any time you rode an elevator or entered/exited an air duct, be prepared for the action to freeze for several seconds while the new area is loaded.
BioShock is pretty slow on both saved games loading and transition between areas. The latter is at least mercifully rare, because (and this is the reason for the long loading times) the entire level loads into memory at a time.
Chrome has really horribly long loading times - even when quickloading.
Team Fortress 2, among other Source games Loads the entire game from start up and it depends on your computer how long it will take. (Most of the time it's 2 or so minutes.) Connect to a server also depends on your computer's speed. The worst part? Sometimes you can connect to a server with a false player count, thus making everything completely pointless.
Connecting to a server also somehow depends on the server itself. When connecting to a server, the game first downloads the server metadata, then it proceeds to download the current active game maps, then it downloads any custom models and scripts the server has installed, and finally it downloads the sounds, before validating the client info and connecting for real. If the game finds that the map has changed while it was downloading all that, it will proceed to download the server metadata all over, the new game map, and sometimes any other models, scripts and sounds that the new map calls for. Depending on your connection, the server's connection, how tricked up the server is, the time you connect to the server, and whether you already have the map downloaded in the past, this can take anywhere between half a minute to a few hours. It should be noted that this also applies to Garry's Mod.
Team Fortress 2, along with most other Source games, take COMPLETE control of the game itself and the Steam overlay when loading, making it seem as if the game has crashed. For newcomers to the game it might seem that the game crashes on every server, while for veterans loading servers still proves to be an annoyance should the player want to make use of the Steam overlay for whatever reason. The game doesn't wait for you during this either. As soon as the first person connects, the game begins. Sure, Team Fortress 2 has a 30 second "Waiting for Players" phase, but not only do other Source games not have it (Like, say, Left 4 Dead with it's versus mode in which if there is no connected other team the game ends), but on the lower end computers, the 30 second phase wasn't long enough!
If you want to be able to do other things in Source games while loading, and your computer is relatively good, you can consult this link, which applies to other Source games as well.
System Shock 2 had a persistent world and saved the state of every object in a level to immense save files that took a very long time to load.
Unreal was famous for taking approximately half a minute or more to load almost anything. Given the game's highly advanced (at the time) graphics and level design, it's not that surprising. However, when you take into account the game's numerous bugs and compatibility issues, it's hard not to see the long load times as a tragically irritating design flaw. Its UpdatedCompilation Re-release, Unreal Gold, fixes most of these issues and make the loading more bearable in older machines, and a split-second issue in powerful rigs.
Unreal II: The Awakening has load times that can go for over a minute that, unlike its predecessor above, happen even on The New Tens-age computers that far exceed the game's requirements.
The PSX port of Quake II, due to RAM limitations, had its levels divided into smaller sublevels separated by loading screens.
Battlefield 2 was just made of loading screens and it was sometimes longer to load then to actually play!
The mod for both 1942 and 2 Forgotten Hope pushed this to ridiculous levels. FH 1 had loading times that on computers that could load vanilla in a matter of seconds that could easily reach 5 minutes, and god help you with FH 2 on setting the cache. Admittedly, both are mods that push their game engines to their absolute limits.
Far Cry 2, at least on consoles, features some serious loading times on startup or fast travel, although one can drive across the huge map normally without encountering loads. Loading a save takes a considerable amount of time, rivaled only by the time it takes to SAVE a save in the first place. Players will also meet the feared "Loading screen that requires its own loading screen"
In the Xbox 360 port of Quake IV, the lengthy intro cutscene is unskippable, among others, not to mention the countless loading screens between chapters.
Postal 2 initially suffered from long loading times. It was near-immediately patched, but it was still too late to get a decent review score. As stated in one review, "If loading lasts longer than ten minutes, you'd better turn it off."
The PS2 version of Soldier of Fortune, like many other aformentioned PC-to-console ports, divides the PC levels into sublevels with loading points.
Borderlands had some pretty lengthy load times when it came to transitioning between areas. Every load took about 30 seconds to fully load the next area. The sequel thankfully improves loading times and moving between areas takes as little as 5 seconds at most.
Duke Nukem Forever has colossal loading times on the Xbox 360 and PS3, presumably due to poor optimization. On PC's, though, the loading is relatively quick.
Diablo II had a particularly unpleasant example at the end of Act 2 - in multiplayer games, while you're waiting for the final boss area to load, said boss has already started attacking you, frequently resulting in players being dead before they can do anything. In earlier versions of the expansion, the 5th wave of minions before the final boss caused a similar lag spike. Thankfully, these were fixed in later patches.
The original Diablo was known for this as well, with a particularly egregious example occurring when the player opens the door to the Butcher's room. This was presumably because the game had to access his infamous utterance "Ahh, fresh meat!" on the CD.
Heavenly Sword isn't so bad...if you don't die too much. It takes up to about a minute to reload the same area you were already in, which is pretty small for most of the bosses, and is often combined with an unskippable cut-scene or two. Enjoy dying to Whiptail over and over again.
In Dynasty Warriors 7, loading screens before story battles would play a simple cutscene narrating the story behind the battle. They were often interesting enough to sit through, if not for the incredible narration. You could choose a wallpaper to display during non-story loading screens, where it will also display a random biography of a character and allow you to pick the BGM you wish to hear during the battle.
Devil May Cry 3 had decent length load screens; but let you goof around by shooting and slashing the "Now Loading" words and actually let you shatter them if you did it enough...though this actually makes the loading times LONGER despite how fun it is. Thankfully, the PC version has no loading screens.
No More Heroes had a fair amount of loading, but also included something to fidget with during them. Pressing the B button let you bounce the rotating star, and if it went off the top of the screen, it looped around the bottom and changed colour.
The PS3 version of Lollipop Chainsaw falls victim to this. Loading screens usually last for 30-45 seconds, sometimes more, sometimes less. They can get really aggravating if you're trying to speedrun the game and are skipping all cutscenes to do so, because the game has to load the cutscene, then when you skip the cutscene, you have to sit through another loading screen.
In EverQuest, there were some people who were called "slow zoners." These slow zoners just took a great deal of time watching a "loading" screen. Sometimes, up to 4 minutes. If said slow zoner was also a dual clienter (playing 2 clients in same computer... perfectly legal if you owned both accounts) loading time could get up to 10 or 15 minutes, making this, maybe, the most extreme example.
Especially enjoyable in World of Warcraft if you are traveling on a ship. When you're done loading, the ship might already have left the harbor again... although in general, the game is rather easy on loading times, generally only requiring them for going from one continent to the other or into a instanced dungeon.
Blackwing Lair was notoriously bad in this regard. Due to its vertical multi-story design, the game engine had to load every floor including the final boss when a player entered the dungeon. On slower computers, loading the whole dungeon at once took so much time that the server disconnected the player due to a timeout, requiring the player to reconnect and load everything again and again and again..
Moonglade. That land of peace and harmony, that is a L10 PvP hot zone where you would wind up dead before your screen finished loading. (Assuming, of course, you were on a PvP server or were flagged for PvP.)
The online virtual world Second Life streams all content in real-time from the server. Instead of "loading" screens, you get to watch the content appear in progressively greater detail as it gets downloaded. For a sufficiently complicated area, it could take half an hour or more for everything to finish loading. Fortunately, the important stuff (the shapes of buildings) downloads first, followed by finer detail and textures.
If you're driving a fast vehicle, however, most of the content is behind you by the time it gets loaded.
If you are entering a region you never visited for the first time, it will take several minutes for everything to be rendered into view, including avatars of other people. However, once you visit the same region frequently, rendering times become shorter due to everything being stored in the cache.
Atlantica Online can get quite annoying in this regard when you use teleportation. You can only teleport to friends, towns or dungeons. Want to talk to a quest NPC in front of a town? You get two loading screens, one for entering the town, one for leaving. Thanks to poor optimisation, the load times also get longer and longer as you keep playing, unless you restart your computer every now and then.
RuneScape has this problem in Dungeoneering, where you experience a 1-2 second loading screen for *every* door opened. There can be 30-60 doors in a dungeon that takes 30-40 minutes, which means it's more the frequency of loading that makes it "Loads and Loads" than the actual time taken.
Magic: The Gathering Online get this at the program startup. It takes some time to open on normal utilisation, but what makes it an example of this trope is the updating process that add considerable time to the starting-up process. And it gets updated a lot.
League of Legends is not a particularly slow loading game, but being a free to play multiplayer game, some players have outdated or budget hardware and slow everyone's loading time to a crawl. The loading screen does display individual progress percentages, so you know exactly who is making you wait 4 more minutes after your own 11 second loading time.
Heroes of Newerth has a competitive loading screen. It shows each player's progress bar and each player is ranked based on how quickly they load the game. This has no ingame effects, but you want to be #1, don't you?
The Matrix Online had some pretty terrible load times, but compensated fairly cleverly. When everything but the textures were loaded, the game started you up, just showing the iconic scrolling green text Matrix-vision as everything's texture. This was neat, but got old when it lasted for several minutes.
Traveling from area to area in zOMG! produces incredibly long loading periods if you have an older computer or a slow internet connection. A somewhat related problem that's no less aggravating is the fact that the lag spikes occasionally get so bad they border on Game Breaker territory. A meme with a limited amount of traction in the playerbase is stating something to the effect of the omnipresent lag monster eating the server or demanding human sacrifices.
Dragon Nest has a variation. Being a PC game the load times are dependent on each machine's specs but because everything is instanced, the player will encounter multiple loading screens when travelling to (and within) mission maps.
Star Wars: The Old Republic got a lot of flak for this. In inclusion to the already long loading screens between zoning, every world past the first few had an orbital station your ship would dock in. While the idea was pretty much justified by being on a world that didn't have a permanent imperial/republic presence, this wound up increasing the time you spent looking at a loading screen exponentially. you had one for docking, one for taking the elevator, and one for taking the shuttle down to the actual planet. Eventually Bioware realized how bad this was and allowed an option to take the shuttle directly back to your ship, with the promise to allow you to skip the orbital station entirely later on.
The Secret World was designed and optimized for DirectX 11. You can still play it on a Direct X 9 or 10 system, but this increases the start-up load time from about five seconds to almost two minutes.
The PS1 game Extreme Pinball had horrid load times—one table takes 1-2 minutes to load.
The Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) games were notorious for huge numbers of loading times for almost everything - including menus, 10 second long puzzles and single lines of dialogue, without voice acting. The culprit appears to be the game loading things that did not need to be loaded - during the first fight with Silver, the game loads the entire city, sans people and bridges, even though the actual fight takes place in an area the size of a city block. The loading times actually don't last that long (about 16 seconds on average), but there are TONS of them.
For a more basic overview, a few Something Awful forumites kept track of the game's load times during a single-sitting Let's Play of this game: The sum of all the game's load screen time was nearly two and a half hours, in a game that took them twenty hours and sixteen minutes to beat, or eleven percent of the overall play time. To put that into perspective you could watch The Dark Knight in the time it takes for all that loading (not including credits).
Two especially egregious examples spring to mind. First, one of the levels has four separate loading screens-just to go between different sections of the level. Second is the constant problem inherent with doing the challenges provided by random passersby. First you'll have a conversation, where you choose to accept the challenge. Then there'll be a loading screen that lasts something like thirty seconds so that the challenge can tell you what to actually do, in a single textbox that you can read in three seconds. Then there's another, longer loading screen so you can actually do the challenge. Then if you fail, which you will likely do, you'll get another loading screen so that the person who gave you the challenge can tell you that you've failed, and then the game loads again to put you back to where you started before accepting the challenge.
Somehow, there's a single exception to this in the entire game; one of Shadow's missions, where one has to drive a buggy on an a highway to destroy some obstacles, only has two load times. The mission giver tells you what to do, you accept, load, do the mission, get the ranking (or not if you fail), load, back in town. Even if it's still got the painful loading, that's only two compared to the usual four-five of every single other town mission in the game.
Previously in the Sonic series, Sonic Shuffle would actually have been a fairly good party game, except for its horrible omnipresent loading screens. Even the cheating AI would have been tolerable if you hadn't had to wait so long for it.
Shadow the Hedgehog would load several times - in one cinematic! Thankfully, the loads weren't that long - just long enough to let you know They Just Didn't Care: a touch of preloading would've solved everything.
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly had ridiculous load times for a PS2/Gamecube game. A particularly jarring thing is that when exiting or entering something it'll often have the typical Spyro loading screen, but immediately afterward have a plain black screen just saying 'Loading' in one corner. That's right, even the loading screen needs a loading screen. Now combine this with Spyro often glitching up when he exits a minigame.
Prince of Persia: Revelations, the PSP version of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, would often pause to load in the middle of gameplay, with absolutely no warning or regard to the action happening on screen. Sometimes it would happen as the player was simply walking, which wouldn't be so much of a problem. Worse is when it would happen in the middle of combat, or during a platforming segment.
The PC versions of Warrior Within and The Two Thrones also suffered from this, forcing you to watch the loading screen animation in full even if the game itself reloaded in one or two seconds. They also forced you watch a pointless and annoyingly long 'death' cutscene whenever you died. Simply deleting all the loading and death cutscenes from the game's folder makes the game infinitely more playable.
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex — which was also the first game not developed by Naughty Dog and the first one for the PlayStation 2 — suffered from this. Many of the levels could be completed faster than their load times. Playstation magazines used it as the yardstick for bad loading times for years afterward. The game was released very soon after the PS2's launch, so you can pin the long loading times on the developers' unfamiliarity with the new console, along with a lack of any new innovations as far as loading routines go — and it certainly didn't help that the game was released on a CD, when most PS2 games were already then being released on DVDs. The loading times were improved for the Greatest Hits re-release of the game, as well as the Xbox and GameCube versions.
Conker: Live and Reloaded, the Xbox remake of Conkers Bad Fur Day, suffered heavily from this, especially in contrast to the cartridge-based original. Even the opening cutscene had up to four separate, thirty-second load sequences!
From the first game, the Metroid series has used elevators to disguise its loading times (remember, it was originally a Famicom Disk System game). Specific examples include:
The Metroid Prime games still do this for travel between areas, but now individual rooms also have to be loaded. The games hide this well by loading the next room as you approach a door, and refusing to open it until the room is ready. This usually just takes a second, so it's not too annoying, but now and then a door will take forever to open, and leave you a sitting duck in the meantime. Also, the loading system was buggy in the original NTSC release, liable to crash the game if overtaxed — a serious problem for speed runners. Some of the room loads in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption can leave you standing around for several seconds waiting for the door. This is almost always due to loading a scripted event, so you can usually tell when something's going down just by how long it takes the door to open.
Then there's Metroid Prime Hunters, which tried to use small empty hallways between rooms to disguise the loading, like the Symphony of the Night example above. It does not work, as you can often spend as much as 10 seconds standing at the door waiting for the damn thing to open, particularly if one of the other Hunters or Guardians are in the next room. Keep in mind this is on a DS cart.
Metroid: Other M is the first game in the series to actually pause the screen and say "LOADING". If you're playing casually, you may never see this — but if you're playing for speed, you'll see it a lot. Sometimes a load even takes place while you're wall-climbing, which may cause you to fall and get a loading screen for the previous room again...
In Spongebob Squarepants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman for the PS2, there is a loading screen for just about everything. And god help you if you get the dreaded double loading with the first screen having Spongebob holding a hourglass and the second with bubbles slowly filling the screen, then you can finally start the next area/room. Made even worse if you enter the wrong room and have to go back, going through effectively four load screens for nothing.
Mostly absent in Super Mario Galaxy, the exception being the screen reminding the player to put on the wrist strap (you have to wait longer to be able to skip it than most other Wii games). Otherwise, load times are nonexistent, and the textures and models are still among the most detailed on the Wii, and the music is in a recorded sound format as opposed to MIDI. This also extends to Super Mario Galaxy 2.
The infamous Bubsy 3D: Furbitten Planet for the PS1 has loading times for the title screen...which is just a static image, by the way. Granted, it was released when disc-based gaming technologies were in their infancy...
Super Monkey Ball DeluxePS2 has loading screens for practically everything. Even worse, when it tries to load your replays, the loading times can reach about one and a half minutes.
The PS3 version of Portal seems to have a bad case of this.
Portal has designated loading areas, mostly in logical places (namely elevator rides), but if youa'e quick at the game and your computer isn't so fast you'll see a lot more loading than portals.
Myst: Uru: Complete Chronicles has this. Badly, sometimes. First person adventure games may not have been meant to be MMORPGs.
Riven, the second game in the Myst series, compounded its loading time frustrations by making you physically swap CDs whenever you went to a different island. Towards the end of the game this could result in you having to shuffle three CDs just to follow one fairly long path between two points. Thankfully, this issue can be avoided on newer systems by ripping the CDs and tweaking the configuration files so that the game loads its resources from disk.
There's also the DVD version that has everything on one disc, plus a nice making-of video.
Myst IV had this in its Xbox version, as it would take several seconds just to move from one spot to the next. In a game that is about exploration and finding connections to solve puzzles, this made the game almost unplayable.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is notable for being one of the only unwanted aversions of Loads And Loads Of Loading: On a machine built mid-range two years before it came out, it's impossible to read the Loading Screen background information because it loads so fast.
The entire process of loading is parodied by Red Alert 3: Paradox with an eternally loading loading bar on their moddb page here. It loads factions, background information, memes and at one point literally "something completely unrelated".
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos has actual load times (complete with prompt) before A LOADING SCREEN. Repeatedly.
The 1998 DOS/Windows/PSX RTS Conquest Earth had animations and background videos just about everywhere, and could at times take more than 10 seconds to load between different sections in the menu. The fact that every menu was preceded by 5-10 seconds of animated transitions didn't help either.
Guitar Hero III and subsequent games in the series have trouble with this. Loading screens were needed to load a new menu screen. Just picking a song on quickplay could take far longer than it should because the game requires four loading periods just to go through all the options beforehand. Not only that, but on some of the Wii versions of World Tour, the final pre-performance loading screen would freeze itself before heading to the performance. This arose an issue because the game would also fully freeze on those same spots, making it rather indistinguishable whether you were about to play or about to reset the console. An even worse case from the Wii edition of "World Tour" was practice mode. Every time you wanted to restart a section, you had to select "restart"... and then sit through another loading screen. If you're practicing an entire song, this could be worse. There's also the PS2 version of Guitar Hero III's saving times. It takes about 4 minutes to save the game where the previous games took about 20 seconds. It's not like it's a really large file that it's saving; it's 325 kb, while Devil May Cry 3 has 364 kb save files, yet doesn't take nearly as long.
LegoRock Band has this. Badly. As in almost every transition between menus. And it's a good five seconds every time. So if you're in the Rock Den and your green drum accidentally hits on the Rock Shop when you were going for Free Play? Five seconds of loading to get there, and five more to get back, then five MORE to get the Free Play menu when you actually select it.
Rhythm GameIn The Groove had this problem in its PS2 port - mainly because it has an elaborate 3D menu system for song selection. In addition, when compared to Dance Dance Revolution which masked its short loading times with Announcer Chatter, audience cheering, and animations, In The Groove has a "Loading..." screen and a plain black screen which goes on for several seconds, which can easily be mistaken for hardware failure. They're also optimized for going forward, so backtracking, especially from the mod menu back to the song select menu, are the slowest load times.
Beat City for the Nintendo DS has this problem which is somewhat odd for a cartridge based handheld game, and especially one that's clearly inspired by Rhythm Heaven, a game with next to no loading times on the same system.
The first Persona game for PS1 was guilty of this in both the Japanese and American versions, albeit the worst loading session was maybe ten seconds in length. The only difference between both in terms of difference was the American version added a "Now Loading" screen instead of just leaving black transitions.
The Witcher, at least before the patch, had scandalously long load times, and when transitioning a lot (and entering a hut, a cave, anything, counted as a transition), players spent more time watching load screens than actually playing. It was corrected in a patch, but by then, many players were already holding fists full of hair.
Mass Effect 1 tried to disguise some of its loading screens by putting the player on an elevator while data loaded. It didn't work very well, according to Penny Arcade, at least.
And it backfired somewhat once Microsoft's NXE allowed you to install a game to your hard drive. Loading times in most games, including Mass Effect 1, are reduced, but the length of the elevator rides is hard-coded, meaning they still take the same length of time even if the load finished half-way.
This gets even weirder in the very well-done PC port. Even on a 7,200 rpm hard drive, the non-elevator loading times are significantly reduced; what makes the elevators so noticeable is the one elevator that doesn't have a hard-coded travel time, the elevator to the Normandy's cargo bay, where there are no plot-relevant news broadcasts or team chatter. This elevator on the console takes forever to move about ten feet, traveling so slowly you can count the inches. The PC version installed on a 10,000 rpm Raptor hard drive with a decent CPU to handle the decompression mentioned in the article, however, will take less than two seconds.
Miranda lampshades this in the second game, showing her frustration at a slow elevator by smashing it with an omni-tool to make it go faster.
Mass Effect 2 on PC forces the player to watch the entire loading animation, even if the level is done loading. This can be fixed by replacing the loading animations with short custom loading videos.
Mass Effect 3 also has quite a bit of loading, especially on the Citadel, whenever you're trying to move between levels, and the loading screens on the Normandy return as well. Especially noticeable when you're trying to turn in items from galactic exploration quests.
In Dungeon Siege, the only loading screen is (duh?) when loading up a saved game. Along the way, there is absolutely zero loading screen. You transit smoothly from indoor to outdoor, from the beginning to the end. It works effectively, making the world feels like a whole, connected space. The second game sugarcoats the loading sequence between teleportations with warp effect.
The PlayStation version of Chrono Trigger has a few problems with this early on (it takes about ten seconds to load a battle), but eventually improves significantly. Some may disagree.
All of the old games that Square ported from the NES/SNES had this problem. Level grinding in all of them, and particularly hunting Rages on the Veldt in Final Fantasy VI, becomes downright impossible unless you have loads of free time and/or patience.
Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI both took 2-3 seconds to switch from the game, to battle or the main menu, and back again, which was annoying most of the time and in certain areas where you have to open the menu repeatedly, maddening. Especially during TimedMissions, where the timer kept going during the loading times. This was because the PlayStation had only 2MB of RAM and the RO Ms were larger.
Fable II loads each location you enter, with enough time to read two hints during the load.
Fable III is worse. You'll spend a lot of time looking at those posters.
Odin Sphere makes great use of large, beautifully hand-drawn sprites, but this causes stages to load slowly. The most annoying example is the Pooka Village - if one wants to visit both restaurants, one will have to wait through the loading screen for the village, the café, the village again, the restaurant, and the village one last time. And that's if one already has all the ingredients needed to make some food. This was alleviated in the European release of the game, which had very minimal load times. Playing on a backwards-compatible PS3 takes a huge chunk out too, as well as alleviating some of the slowdown during certain battles.
The PlayStation 2 launch title Summoner fell into this. Imagine a MMORPG, but it's single player. The world was huge and immersive and genuinely fun to explore at times, but the loading, the Loads And Loads Of Loading horrible, horrible loading...
Suikoden V seemed incapable of retaining more than one small screen of the world in its memory at a time; or so the fracturing of your base would lead you to believe. It got to the point where gamers were plotting routes through their base to minimize the number of loading screens they'd have to sit through, even if they actually had to walk farther.
Suikoden V also had annoyingly long loading times for getting in and out of combat, which was particularly aggravating considering it has graphics more comparable to PlayStation 1 than the PS2 it was released on. They even managed to put up a loading screen when getting out of combat. And worst of all was when you'd be inside a dungeon, and the combat area would only take up about half of the screen.
Spectral Souls (PSP) doesn't seem to keep anything in memory. There's a load-time of up to 3 seconds before every attack animation, even if you use the same attack 3 times in a row, and a load-time between each page of a character's dialogue. It would be a solid SRPG, if only you didn't spend more time loading than playing.
The main problem with this is because this game is a direct port of a PS2 game that was not optimized for use on the PSP's processor. So the player is literally playing another system title on something it wasn't designed for.
The fourth and fifth Generation of Chaos games were also especially bad for this, taking up to fifteen seconds to load a special attack animation, and even longer if you have voices turned on.
The original Wintel/Mac version of Fallout had loading screens from each area to the next, when Omni re-ported it to the new Mac OS along with the previously Wintel-only sequel years later, the loading times were reduced so much that they completely omitted the loading screens.
The Xbox 360 version of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had long loading times as well. Granted, the average loading screen didn't last as long as some of the record-breakers on this page (30-40 seconds tops), but they pop up whenever you enter a building/dungeon, exit a building/dungeon, or fast-travel. You could even initiate a "Loading..." prompt by running really fast (i.e., faster than the game can render the landscape). By contrast, the PC version has much shorter load times; some are even short enough to omit the loading screen!
Same goes for Morrowind, including loading times for chunks of landscape.
Then there's the fact that the Xbox 360 version doesn't begin to load downloaded content until after you press Start, so you can't just fire up the game then come back in a couple minutes and be ready to start. You must get through the initial splash screens, then press Start, then wait. But again, the load times aren't terrible.
Skyrim can suffer from this as well. Because the game holds the location of every single object (from chairs and tables to that arrow you fired at that bandit and missed by two miles to that apple sitting on a plate in some dude's home somewhere), the longer you play a particular character the longer the initial loading time will be.note this is often referred to as "save file bloat" On the PS3 version, save file bloat can be so problematic that it becomes unplayable in long running games.
This is somewhat alleviated on the PC versions with the unofficial patches, (but can quickly be countered by adding mods). One of the biggest things the unofficial patches do is keep weapons and shields attached to a dead enemy. Because of the physics engine, a weapon or a shield could be knocked out of a defeated NPC's hands. As a result, the weapon and the corpse would become separate entities and while corpses would be removed, weapons and the like would not, thus remaining in the game world, cluttering it up.
Magic Pengel. To get from anywhere to anywhere you have to sit through loading screens that can be up to a full minute long, during which nothing happens. And you have to travel around constantly in this game; if you aren't watching cutscenes, drawing Doodles or fighting, you're walking around or waiting for the stupid game to load so you can walk around.
The Spiritual Successor, Graffiti Kingdom, is much better about this; the loading screens are more frequent, but they are very, very short, sometimes not even a whole second in length.
Dragon Quest VIII had some of the worst loading times of any PlayStation 2 RPG. The world map is incredibly large and detailed, but loading times are the tradeoff. What's more, there are actually three world maps - one on foot, one on boat and one from the air. If you got off your boat at the wrong place by accident, it could take you over 30 seconds to get back on and start sailing again. And there's no loading animation; the screen is just plain black.
Counting the time with any animation onscreen that you have to wait for, it seems to take an average of 15 seconds to load your saved game, 10 seconds to enter or leave a town, 3-10 seconds to enter a building (depending on its size), 7-10 seconds to reload a town after exiting a building, and at least 15 seconds to teleport anywhere with Zoom or a Chimera Wing. Additionally, during battles there may be a pause between actions that can last as long as 4 seconds, during which nothing but the camera will be moving.
And how about when you use the orb to fly over the world map? You can actually hear half of the world map's BGM before it finally finishes loading the screen.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed played relatively well with very little loading. Unfortunately, every option on the pause menu (at least in the 360 version)took a good 5-10 seconds to load, both going to the menu and coming back from the menu. This makes simple things like changing controller sensitivity, customizing your lightsaber, putting on a different costume, and using your leveling up crystals a hassle. For this reason, lightsaber color tends to stay the same for long periods of time, and the costume worn for the level tends to stay the default worn for that level (since if you start a level, you're either wearing what you last wore, or, if you're carrying over from the previous level, the level default costume, and changing your clothes isn't that great waiting a half to a whole minute of loading before playing 5-15 minutes of level for advanced players.)
Final Fantasy VII, if you played it on computer, required better than the minimum specs. The minimum specs would run the game ok for the most part, but the coliseum section had a very short cut scene that had Cloud run toward the centre of an arena surrounded on all sides by bubbling green acid. If you didn't have significantly more than the minimum specs, this usually 5 second cut-scene would literally last 15 minutes.
The Playstation version had it a bit rough for loading times. It took only a few seconds to load the next area whenever you entered it, but entering battles showed just how slow they can be; when a battle starts, you have to endure a Fight Woosh for about a second and a half, followed by around 5 seconds of the battle scene loading. This is due to the game loading data and models for the enemies as the camera pans around (to somewhat hide the character models just popping into existence) before your party's models are loaded.
Final Fantasy XIII has some truly impressive load times, up to a minute or so. This is, however, not much of a problem, since they really only come up when loading a saved game or changing the map (and there's about fifteen maps in the game, with little backtracking). The problem is significantly worse in Final Fantasy XIII-2, which has lots of small maps that you hop between frequently.
The SNES game The Lord of the Rings Volume One had several seconds of loading times between areas - which was quite jarring on a system where loading time was practically unheard of. Disabling music makes it a lot faster.
Tales of the Abyss for the Playstation 2 had an animated loading screen every time you entered a new location, and it took even longer to load when booting up a cutscene. Though, it made it easy to tell when a cutscene was coming, because the animation would freeze. Also, after battles on the world map, it takes a ridiculously long time to load up the map. Particularly annoying, as 2 dungeons technically take place on the map...
The load times being especially awful when you were in the desert.
Oddly, this loading problem only existed in the US version for whatever reason (never has been proven, but believed to be poor coding when re-inserting the translated dialouge). The japanese version's load times are less than 1/3 of the US's.
A little-known PS2 game called Okage: Shadow King was utterly destroyed by its load times. The story was interesting, the characters were fun, the graphics were interesting, and the gameplay was fairly standard RPG fare. Unfortunately, the game was riddled with loading screens, such as between major areas, going into buildings, going into different rooms in the same building... This wasn't helped by the fact that you often had no clue where to go and exploring to find your next clue was a major part of the gameplay.
Mana Khemia: Student Alliance, an RPG for the PSP "features" loading screens every time you change areas (and the school is divided into about twenty of them) as well as every time you enter or exit a battle. Sad, because the game is otherwise decent.
The PC title Dungeon Lords (which looks a LOT like an MMO, but it's single-player) has its fair share of loading screens whenever you change maps. What's notable, however, is that it doesn't preload the map with critters ? instead, the game effectively has an empty map until you either trigger a set encounter or have a random one, at which time the program will pause for a second or so while it renders them. The upshot of this is that, whenever you see your character (or the background) freeze for a half-second, you know there's something coming that'll require a good smacking. By the way, you can change the frequency of random encounters in the options; don't use the "More" setting.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games may give you a message when you save that it's "saving a lot of data," which means it will take about three times as long to load. This caused by the Box System. If you catch a Pokémon and it's sent to the box, prepare to take a while to save. If you look at the Box System for one second and don't even bother touching anything, prepare to take a long while to save. If you go hours on your journey without bothering to mess with the Box System, you'll save in a few seconds.
Doing anything with the boxes triggers a flag that causes the game to calculate the checksums of all boxed Pokémon data on the next save, to make sure nothing got corrupted. It's a good programming practice taken into overdrive.
HeartGold and SoulSilver seem to have cut the save and load times rather nicely. As in, "Saving a lot of data" appears only when save data is corrupted and you are saving again with a backup save file, or after a GTS trade.
Pokémon Stadium 2 had a feature to play the Pokémon Game Boy games on your TV. It let the player choose between loading just a little bit before starting and interrupting the game by loading stuff, or loading a lot before starting, thus allowing the game to be interrupted less frequently.
Pokémon Stadium also had this feature, but only with the option to load everything at once. Although, loading times were noticeably shorter in this game.
Pokémon Black and White brings us the Pokémon Global Dream World website functionality. It tends to be absolutely brutal to load even on fast Internet connections. The frequency with which loading is necessary - virtually every screen change, and even twice in some parts of loading the Dream World - is something of a disappointment.
Normally this should only be a once-per-session thing, as the program should store loaded data in the Flash cache.
The original DS and the DS Lite have a top speed of about 12 KBytes per second, regardless of how much faster the host connection is, so linking one's copy of Pokémon Black or White to the Dream World takes a loooooooooong time.
Another C64 example. Wasteland generally made me slightly dread trying to go through the game's promotion (levelling up) command, since it would have to load the image of either a general Ranger, or a guy saluting if you make your promotion. Now, the game repeatedly checks for promotion after each one, but eventually you run out, and it has to load up the Ranger. Then to the next character, and load for them. And then back. Parties can be up to 7 characters.
Be grateful that Wasteland came on disk and not tape, as some hardware solutions (like Jiffy DOS 6.0) would speed up the load times to just a few seconds.
Digimon World 4 had loading screens between the different areas in one world! It wasn't quite as bad as Sonic '06, but it still made the game nigh-unplayable. Want a sandwich? You can make it while waiting for the next area to load.
The hub is the most unbearable part: three tiny areas which you have to ...LOADING... visit frequently between missions to buy gear and ...LOADING... save your game.
Digimon World 2 first takes about 20 seconds to start a battle. Then after deciding the attacks it will few minutes to play again since the Digimon like taking their time before attacking. It gets worse when you learn the game has level caps meaning that you will have to level up you Digimon several times from zero.
Digimon World Data Squad needs a little loading break for almost everything, from choosing attacks to opening different parts of the menu. This little lag can quickly add up if the player is having a bad day with Random Encounters. Naturally, entering different parts of the world requires a proper loading screen, further adding to the loading times.
Digimon World 3 was also pretty bad. In what seems like an attempt to streamline the loading process when the player enters a new area, the area loads as you traverse it. Naturally, on a particularly slow day, you can be trapped with only a few blocks of visible space to wander through, lest you venture through the glitchy areas beneath the loading boxes.
KOTOR 2 had appalling loading times sometimes. Due to the areas that were being loaded being rather large this was not very bothersome. However, whenever your character had to go back and forth between areas it could take a long time
The Dragon Age: Origins loading times start out rather fast but, due to a memory leak, get longer in a single play session to eventually reach epic proportions.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep can get really bad with the amount of loading going on, even if you do the Data Install. Very noticeable if you have an older PSP, as it takes several seconds for the menu to load, much longer for map/scene transitions, and you can even have fights put on hold mid-battle while activating a D-Link or Command Style.
Xenosaga Ep. 2 had this problem in a big bad way. Opinions on the mechanics of the battle system are split, but pretty much everyone agrees that it seems just a wee bit unreasonable to see the game freeze, the screen transition animation occur about a second later, all the enemies load over the next 5 seconds, then the players load over the next 4 or so, then 3 seconds later hear the battle music start, and only a second after that be able to actually input commands. HDLoader is practically a necessity (or would be if certain parts didn't flat-out crash when played from a hard drive). Xenosaga 3's instant-action battle transitions are proof positive that someone in that dev house got chewed out big time for the unmitigated clusterfuck that was XS2's battle engine.
Monster Hunter has maps divides in numbered zones. Whenever you walk into a new zone, the game loads the new zone. This leads to very annoying gathering missions in which you have to run all around the map searching for a place to mine/fish/collect herbs/etc. However, after the first missions, when you start hunting bigger monsters, you change zones less frequently, though if you're searching for the monster, you will have to watch a few loading screens.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony for the PSP, despite being much better than the PSX version in terms of VA, music and graphics, has to load every. Single. Screen. Individually. This wouldn't be so bad, but the load time for each screen is about three to four seconds, the music fades out and the battle system, which is entirely different in terms of graphics and layout, loads faster.
Oh, but it gets better. The game features PS1-style fade in/fade out transitions to make the loading less noticeable, but these transitions are STILL THERE in the Playstation Network version. PSN versions of games require hardly any loading, if any at all, since the entire game has been installed on your memory card, but due to the the fade animation you have still have to wait like everyone who bought a disk copy.
Lost Odyssey, or, as it's affectionately called, "Loading Odyssey". While the loading screens in Lost Odyssey aren't as massive as other examples on this list, you're faced with one rather long one every time you change screens, start a cutscene or enter a battle; which, being a JRPG, happens a lot. The loading screens also have loading screens for them (i.e. it starts out as a black screen with a small 'loading' on the bottom, and eventually a small character sheet from one of the game's playable characters pops up), and said character sheets are even minor spoilers on their own, as some characters appear on said sheets before they actually join the group(or, in one particular case, even show up at all).
Installing the game on your HD mitigates the load times to a good degree, although considering the game is on 4 discs, having all of them installed takes up a ton of space.
Legend of Mana on PlayStation has some pretty noticeable load times for a PS1 game (about 2-5 seconds), which would happen every time you change screens or a story scene happened. These were very, very common occurrences.
Vagrant Story is similarly a heavy offender, especially for load times when saving and loading. Mostly because it used a huge amount of memory card space for each save, but what can you do? The room-to-room and cutscene load times were not that great, either.
Riviera: The Promised Land was a GBA RPG that was later ported to the PSP. Along with this, it received a massive content upgrade, including voice acting, and additional extras. The problem with this is that it would load from the UMD for nearly EVERYTHING. Considering the addition of FULL VOICE ACTING, this became problematic. It didn't even have the courtesy to load an entire conversation's worth of voices at once, either. An exchange that would go by in under thirty seconds had an addition of about five seconds to each line of loading.
Curiously, the Japanese version of the game has about half the loading time of the English version. Apparently Atlus didn't do the best coding job in the world.
Fallout: New Vegas suffers from an extremely frustrating case of this, where you can have ten or fifteen second load times for the inside of a moderately sized store. Combined with a sloppy fast travel mode and a large number of zone breaks (some larger indoor cells, e.g. Vault 34, are even divided into sub-cells), it sometimes takes four load screens to reach a quest giver (and four more on your way out).
And that's only when the game works. The Tipping Forties crew decided to measure how much of their video was being taken up by load times during their Let's Play, and their game hung up on the loading screen, forcing them to stare at the loading screen for almost half the video.
With all four of the story-based add-on packs, Fallout has much the same problem as Oblivion (See above).
Fallout 3 was even worse, with the DC downtown broken into dozens of cells only accessible through a maze of subway tunnels, which means loads of loading screens.
Jade Empire was generally tolerable in its loading times, but during the Imperial Arena fights, after every win or loss the player was forced to sit through a loading time while the backstage area was loaded. Then another loading time before the next round could begin. In an otherwise highly polished game, this was an unexpected aggravation.
The Last Remnant suffered quite terribly with long loading times when initiating combat or changing areas in the Xbox 360 version. You could install the game to the 360's hard drive but this only helped somewhat. In the PC version loading times would be near instant or last around 1-2 seconds compared to 10-30 seconds for the 360 version.
Neverwinter Nights 2 is pretty bad about this. Every single area requires two load screens (one for the level data, one for the module data, i.e. geometry and characters), and while sometimes the first load will be skipped if the level's still in memory, it can get pretty frustrating to spend 20 seconds each time you go into a building or between city districts, especially in Neverwinter, Crossroad Keep and other smaller areas or quest hubs.
The first Deception is the worst about it, but this plagues the whole franchise. Later games, with their more detailed visuals, usually couldn't even keep more than two enemies in memory at a time, having to pause to spool up new ones in cutscenes.
The first Robopon is infamous for this; even the menus take time to load. The sequel had no loading time at all.
The Commodore 64 conversion of R-Type on tape. Roughly 5 minutes of loading to play. When you ran out of credits you had to wait another 5 minutes for it to load again even if you never advanced more than 5 screens into the game. It's one of those shooters where you have to memorise everything to get through, so this was very frustrating.
Part of what made the Xbox 360 port of DoDonPachi dai ou jou fail spectacularly was the excessive load times, even for menus.
Dungeon Hunter 1 and 2 for the iPad. Sure, it's running on an iPad, but leaving any city or dungeon requires a load screen where individual dots (about 20, with each taking a few seconds) show progress. Do the math; it's unpleasant.
The PlayStation port of the arcade game Viewpoint is notorious for excessive loading. Each time you die, you're going to be greeted with a loading screen.
The Sims 2, particularly if you have all the expansions and/or a large amount of custom content, though only for the initial loads or transitions. Once you're actually on a lot, there's no loading at all.
The same applies to the original game. By the time of its release, it brought an average system with 64-128MB RAM to its knees. Now try running it on a modern rig and you'll see that it literally takes seconds to load, other than the initial three to five-minute loading time for the game to set up the neighborhoods.
Changing from a house lot to a Downtown lot, for instance, includes a loading screen for the Downtown area, then another loading screen immediately afterward for the actual lot. Yes, back-to-back loading screens just to change location.
Similarly, the game goes through five loading screens to get to a previously-saved occupied family lot (even more if accessing spinoff lots from neighborhoods such as Downtown and the University). One loading screen to load the game with a Sims 2 splash screen, one short loading time before the intro movie, the infamous "Reticulating Splines" loading screen at the game start up, the loading screen to load the neighborhood, and finally the loading screen to load the desired family lot. In a less-than-stellar computer with a decent amount of expansions installed, it can take upward of five minutes just to start playing. At least they have funny things scrolling by, including a Running Gag about reticulating splines that includes "Telling Splines to Reticulate More Quietly" and "Scolding Splines for Reticulating".
The spinoff My Sims also falls victim to this, with load times stuck between every location change, which you do more often than you would think.
The load screens in The Sims 2 get bad enough that it can discourage some players from ever changing lots. Small wonder that 3 made a selling point of averting this; you still have to sit through a loading screen when starting up the game, but it's much shorter than Sims 2 loading screens, and then you can have your Sims traipse all over the SimCity without ever looking at another loading screen.
2 was also the worst offender for the PSP, which stopped to load practically every 10 seconds, with loading in the middle of walking, loading during conversations, loading to access menus, loading to move the cursor in said menus...
Interestingly enough, 3 started to fall back into this as the first few expansions started piling up, especially if you had more than a couple pieces of downloaded content; cruising across the city too fast or at too great a height, you end up hitting "load walls" or seeing some really crass graphics if not outright big gray boxes. Then along comes Late Night, things get streamlined, and while the initial load seems longer there's virtually none once you're fully into the game.
They did learn their lesson in one aspect, however: loading up a neighborhood, or going out on an Adventure/vacation to a new place, would automatically load the active household/entry area along with the neighborhood in general, reducing overall time and (at least cosmetically) eliminating the "One transition, two load screens" problem.
The Sims Social has a little fun with its loading screen, displaying random phrases like "Adding Spices" and "Getting to the Choppa". One of the phrases, appropriately enough, is "Loading Loading Screen".
SimCity 4, although at least this was offset by the comedy loading messages.
The PlayStation version of SimCity 2000 was very bad for this, taking up to two minutes to load the loading menu, and then another minute once you've selected a city, even if it's completely empty.
Any console port of 2000 qualifies, including SimCity DS, which is actually 2000 with the SimCity 3000 skin slapped on. Particularly when initially generating a map or loading a saved game. There's also loading noticeable in the game, although it's supposed to be a "2-second pause while the system swaps data in and out of RAM".
SimCity 2013 took this trope to absurd extremes. The servers the game relied on could not hold the strain of all the players. This caused many issues, the most glaring being the half hour or LONGER wait times just to connect. The this is also before the in game loading screens, which also could be time consuming as well.
When Wing Commander III was released in 1994, a cutting edge PC could take 10 minutes to load each mission. It became common practice to defrag the hard disk between every mission to improve the load times! Going from 8MB of RAM to 16MB dramatically improved the load times, but 16MB was an expensive luxury when this game came out.
This was made extra fun in missions that had a transition between space and planet-based combat. You would fly towards a planet, get a short cinematic cutscene showing your descent to the planet, and then it would have to load again! And then again when you left the planet.
Another Origin game, Strike Commander, offered the player a game of Pong to help pass the time while it was loading data, from the 1x CD-ROM drives that were standard hardware at the time of the game's release.
Back in the dark ages of computing, SubLogic's Flight Simulator II for the Commodore 64 took four minutes to load.
The C64's disk drive was quite rare in Britain (and apparently most of Europe) as it was an expensive, complicated thing. Tapes were king, and the C64 had a terrible tape protocol until people began to develop their own speed loading routines. The worst may be the really ancient game Blagger, which takes 15 minutes to load from tape.
Revenge of the Mutant Camels took nearer 30 (although it did have a compressed version on the other side of the tape, this wouldn't work with certain early models of the C64 cassette drive).
Please note that when you say "terrible", if you mean "slow", this is accurate. However, the C64's tape protocol, by far, was the most reliable of any other computer in that time period. With other computers, if the volume on the tape recorder was a little too high, or a little too low, or the tape recorder ran a little too fast or a little too slow, it often would have a load error. The C64, and all other Commodore computers for which tape was an option, never had any of those reliability problems.
This trope looks particularly ridiculous when you consider Operation Flashpoint. Despite being the first game that Bohemia Interactive released, it had technological advances which made (and still make) any game with long loading times look ridiculous. Because of behind-the-scenes loading, once you get into the game properly, there are absolutely no loading screens, which is made far more impressive by the fact that each of the islands in the game was on its own almost four times larger than the whole world map of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Start of Vega Strike (including precaching of resources) takes enough time to scrutinize Loading Screens on modern systems and a really long time on old ones: you get one on the way to main menu, then two others while loading a saved game. On the bright side, the loading screens are mostly entertaining, as the setting's flavor and good background music are loaded and started first.
Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility for the Wii. Exit a building - load screen. Enter a building - load screen. Enter a different area of town - load screen. Hell, change rooms in a larger building (like Town Hall or the Hotel) - load screen. The one blot on an otherwise excellent game.
The sequel, Animal Parade, has even MORE loading time due to the island being significantly larger.
The Playstation2 port of A Wonderful Life severely suffered from this as well. Actually, the entire game was significantly slower than it's Gamecube counter-part.
It didn't help Special Edition that the GameCube version had little to no load time at all. The additional content wasn't enough to make up for the loading screens.
PS3 Photography Sim game Afrika takes almost 2 minutes to load and save its 370 megabyte save file. It almost makes you glad save points are rare in that game.
Silent Hunter 3 has quite long loading times, but it's even worse when you add the GWX-mod. It's a 1.33-gigabyte that replaces basically everything in the game, so it doesn't sound like it'd increase loading times much, right? WRONG! It takes 10 minutes to start a mission, and this is on a Pentium 4 with 1 gig of RAM! The sad part is that the mod is very good.
Depending on the amount of stuff in the sector, loading times when you go to another sector in the X-Universe games can be over a minute or more.
Mech arena combat simulator SLAI Steel Lancer Arena International was unforgiving about its load times. Expect plenty of loading in just about any conceivable instance. Loading the game? Fine. Loading before matches? Acceptable. Loading before cutscenes? Annoying, if expected. Loading before going in and out of stores? That's where it steps right into this trope. Hilariously, one of the first things that happens when a new game is started is an in-universe complaint about lag.
The Star Wars: Starfighter series (we only have a page for the the second game) only has loading screens in two places: as soon as you pop the disk in, and before each level... but they're still looooooong. We're talking bare minimum of 30 seconds to get to the title screen, sometimes nearly a minute to actually load a big level.
Hot Shots Golf 5 on the PS3. The loading times aren't bad, but they're not great. So why is it worth a mention? Because of the ~15 minute mandatory initial install. It has about the same graphics as the Gamecube Mario Golf, on a way more powerful system, with 5GB of information loaded on the system's hard drive (thus theoretically averting the main disadvantage of the system: slow disc read times), and it still has slower load times overall. So the otherwise bearable spoonfuls and spoonfuls of loading wouldn't normally feel so bad, they're disheartening after loads and loads of install.
This is hardly the only PS3 game with Loads And Loads Of Install Time. See Metal Gear Solid 4 and Devil May Cry 4 above. The Vampire Rain takes the dishonor of having the longest PS3 install at a whopping 24 minutes!
An inversion in Madden 2004 for the PS2 at least, where there were loads and loads of saving. If the music wasn't playing while it was going on, you'd think the game froze.
The PC version of Splinter Cell: Double Agent had loading times for different sections in the menu. That's right: going from, say, "sound options" to "keyboard options", then "load game" ? That's 3 loading animations.
Metal Gear Solid 3 featured a short load every time you went into the pause menu. Ordinarily this wouldn't be too much of a problem but in order to take the stealth option you're required to change Naked Snake's camo in the pause menu quite often. Also, Naked Snake's food has to be accessed from the pause menu as well (failure to eat for an extended time results in lower stamina and a rumbling stomach which can alert nearby enemies; not something you'd want when sneaking up behind an enemy to slit his throat)
Not in the HD version; although the HD version of Metal Gear Solid 2 had a tiny but noticeable loading before every codec conversation and because the game switches between codec and cutscene quite often, it can get annoying. This does carry on to the HD version of 3 but it isn't as noticeable.
Metal Gear Solid 4 had a combined twenty-one minutes of watching Snake smoke. And this doesn't include the load times between stages, either. Once it's subverted, though - when the game starts loading a completely different game.
It works a lot like King's Quest: Mask of Eternity. If a player proceeds linearly through the game on one save file, it's only 8 minutes when initially installing the game, then 13 minutes split over 10+ hours of gameplay. There are many PS3 games with worse initial install times than MGS4. But then it gets ridiculous when you decide to restart the game and find out that that lengthy install process you start through the first time (minus the initial install)? Yeah, that didn't take. Every act has to be reinstalled when you get to it. So, from act 5 to act 1? That's an install. From act 4 to act 2 (earlier save)? That's an install. From 2 back to 4. Install. Ad nauseum.
Although with a patch, you can install the entire game but although you no longer have to install each act separately, the hard drive space taken is almost 10GB. Though this is probably why the game initially only let you install each act separately since initial ps3 models only had 40GB of hard drive space max and even with the patch, the game still gives you the option to install separately if you want.
Sony had a hard limit of how big a cache a game could write to the HD, necessitating the oddball system described.
Assassin's Creed I is pretty good with its load times for the most part, except if you're playing on PC and want the game to quit to the desktop. To do that, you'll have to pause the game, pick the "exit" option in the menu, wait for the loading screen, exit the Animus and get up, pause the game again and select "quit", wait through another loading screen, sign in to your profile, and THEN finally make the game end itself. Thankfully, you can usually just hit Alt-F4 without fear of corrupting your save data. In fact, on a PC with a fast hard drive or an SSD it is possible to load the level before the VO hint has finished speaking, leaving the player wondering how to actually accomplish some of the advanced moves.
The original Resident Evil game had the infamous "doors opening" sequences slotted in to try and mask the long loading times between rooms. Considering you were in a mansion, that's a lot of rooms.
The N64 port of Resident Evil 2 ran from a cartridge with virtually no load times. Previews of the game stated the doors would be kept "for atmosphere". The remake of the first game for the GameCube likewise all but eliminated these loading times. Playtesters complained that this felt unnatural, so they inserted the "doors opening" sequences and prolonged the transition between rooms.
Frustratingly enough, the perfect solution was right in front of Capcom the whole time: The PC version of Resident Evil allowed you to skip the "door opening" simply by pressing the action button again. Why in blazes this feature wasn't used again until the Deadly Silence port, we don't know.
The really fun part of this is that when you faced the hunters when you returned to the mansion, or when Nemesis launches yet another ambush in the third game, when you're at the Clock Tower shortly after Jill recovers from an earlier attack. These enemies (And Nemesis) could, under a couple of canned circumstances, destroy doors. Or, as The Dark Id said in his Let's Play of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis - "By the Fires of Hades! The Nemesis is powerful enough to destroy loading screens. He can alter the very fabric of gameplay reality!"
Again became relevant with the releases of Outbreak and File #2. With a PS2 HDD, one could shorten the loading times considerably so Capcom forced HDD players to play at DVD speeds when they were in mixed rooms. However, when PS3 users using backwards compatibility played with PS2 users, they could easily load the next rooms faster and so often took all the quality items before the PS2 players could even enter the room.
Resident Evil 0 has lengthy load times for some reason despite using the same engine as the remake of the first game, which is especially noticeable when some surprise attacks from enemies bring the game to a grinding halt and can take upwards of three or four seconds to load. This was not fixed whatsoever for the Wii re-release.
Resident Evil 5 has about three or four loading screens within each chapter.
Dead Rising 2. Every time you changed mall regions, there's a loading screen that takes 10-20 seconds. To complete some missions you had to go through three or four mall regions just to reach the objective, then the same number of regions (and loading screens) to get back to the safe room. This was complicated by the fact that the world was non-persistent, so when you transitioned back to a region you had already gone through, you'd have to fight (or run) your way through a whole bunch of respawned zombies again.
Total Overdose on the PS2 had lots of slow, boring loading screens. Running around shooting things in slow motion would be so much more fun if you dind't have to wait through loading screens so often.
Army Of Two for the Xbox 360 has acceptable loading times during play, spaced very far apart. The menu is a different story. Starting the game from the title screen OR changing your loadout mid-mission both subject you to menu screens that, while slickly animated, take far too much time to load. And of course each selection will bring you to a submenu, with its own page and therefore its own loading period... times two if you're playing co-op. Oh, and don't screw up. Then you get to start over again.
The PS2 version of Max Payne suffers heavily from this. While the loads are not overly long (maybe twenty seconds each) they are extremely frequent (every five or ten minutes of gameplay) and the stupid console can't even leave the background music on while loading, breaking the mood completely.
Max Payne 3 ends up with this too. While it's not noticeable during normal gameplay due to it being disguised with a cutscene, when you're replaying or trying the various Time Attack modes and are forced to watch every cutscene in the game because they're unskippable it becomes apparent.
Nearly all the of Playstation Tomb Raider games suffered from loading times in a variety of ways. If you were prone to being killed a lot (and you most likely would due to the series' Everything Trying to Kill You plus pitfalls), you had to wait for the menu to pop up, which took about a second or two if you tried to skip the death sequence, choose to reload your last save, and then wait for the level to reload. While it is understandable that loading a level for the first time can take a while, the game still takes at least 10 to 15 seconds just to reload your previous save state as if the game simply "forgot" how everything was up to that point.
In those same games, going through your inventory was also prone to short pauses (about 1 to 2 seconds) to bring it up and another 3 seconds to play the "use item" animation in the menu (only in the first 3 games) before returning to the game and the item gets used. If you go through your items a lot, expect a lot of short pauses.
The PC versions of the same games make loading seem trivial since loading a saved game or a level literally takes about one second on most modern machines today. This was probably not the case during the first releases years back due to computers not being powerful back then.
The Last Revelation is perhaps the biggest offender. Someone evidently decided that it would be fun to increase the complexity of the game by giving the player huge areas to explore at once. Of course the areas ended up so big that they had to be split into multiple sections, with transitions between sections taking a hideously long time. What made this even worse was that the game had no way of recording objectives or displaying waypoint markers and so the player was expected to just blunder around until they found the correct way forwards. This meant that, without a guide, players were likely to miss what they were supposed to be looking for and so wander through the corridors and loading screen far more often than necessary.
Worms: Open Warfare 2 on the DS has the dubious honor of managing to have this on a cartridge-based game. You have several seconds of loading between each play, even when you restart a map where the landscape is indestructible (most puzzle maps). That makes it quite annoying when you fail the same puzzle or Laboratory a few times.
An interesting inversion from Battlefront's Combat Mission series...The units, tanks, the maps, all simple bitmaps, loads near instantenously on even old machines. And then you give them their marching orders... It isn't actually a "load" in technical terms but a "calculation" of the next minute of combat. If every single one of your units is firing at every single one of the enemy's that turn, expect to go out and get a pizza. And maybe finish it before you see the results. It is also possible to destroy buildings and some trees and other objects, so if anything gets whacked on that turn, expect it to double.
Civilization V has this bad. On large or huge maps, it takes forever to load the map from the main menu, and the AI phases in between your turns are almost unbearable in the late game. Playing in "strategic mode," with a 2D hex grid helps a lot, though. This problem is most noticeable when you've moved all of your units, but the computer hasn't registered it yet, so it won't let you end your turn until you wait for about 30 to 45 seconds. Then, you have to wait for all of the computer players to move. With games that normally can take 10-20 hours, this gets frustrating.
The chief reason why the endgame wait times can reach Biblical levels is due to how the game handles aircraft combat. Fortunately the problem can be alleviated greatly by enabling Quick Movement and Quick Combat, which makes the game just skip the animations respectively. Good for multiplayer, especially.
Just Cause 2 downplays this, as it streams the content rather than "loads" it. There are absolutely no loading times when traversing the game's world, letting the player cross all of the 391-square-mile game map without a single load time. Starting and restarting missions, respawning, and being "extracted" (teleporting) to far away locations understandably includes short loading times, however.
This did result in amusing situations where you fly off an incomplete bridge because you were moving faster than the computer could render the bridge.
The console ports of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven were infamous for this. The game loads the city and missions as a series of levels rather than stream the contents GTA-style. This was the case with the original PC version, but the limited RAM of the Xbox and PS2 added to the problem, even if the developers trimmed the game environment down to a somewhat barren city.
Playstation Home, the PS3's virtual-world, Product Placement-heavy timewaster is made up of a lot of small areas. Each of them has to be loaded individually, taking 30 seconds to a minute even if it's already cached to your hard drive. This is followed by Loads and Loads of Dynamic Loading as peoples avatars download and pop-in and videos on screens (invariably also ads) buffer for playback.
It has gotten a lot better though with patch 1.35. It completely changed the way the character logs in, replaces the abysmally slow World Map with a much-faster Navigator screen, and now it takes about a quarter of what it used to take to load an area.
ROBLOX can sometimes have this on more elaborate places. Fortunately, it shows you what it has loaded, and tells you how many bricks/connectors have been made. You can even zoom in and change angles while loading!
A simply demonic inversion: Grand Theft Auto IV's "sea of brown" glitch on PC. The game simply stopped loading.... anything... but the game kept going. So you find yourself driving on thin air with nothing but a brown ocean to look at, when you suddenly hit a wall that you cannot see. Thank goodness they patched it.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the PS2 was lightly touched on above but deserves an official spot. The biggest game environment for its time? Perhaps, but it took quite a while to bring it up. The title screen alone took several minutes to load, so much so that it almost seems that it freezes. And if you go inside or outside a building during the game? At least thirty seconds.
While the ability to buy and change CJ's clothes is awesome, it takes forever. You choose the piece of clothing from a menu, CJ goes into the dressing room, takes about five to ten seconds to load his changed character model, and then comes out and does a "checking out my duds" animation that takes another few seconds. Then, you choose whether to buy or wear it or not, and CJ either just goes back into the dressing room or does a "hot damn!" pose that takes another few seconds. Repeat for every single item you select. And if you've got a lot of money, and want to buy every item a store has... well, you'll probably be able to read the manual from front to back in the time it takes to do this.
Still, at the time San Andreas was a big step forward, since it not only had a masssive map, but loaded it seamlessly, as opposed to its predecessors, where there would be annoying loading screens everytime you went from a half of the (already small) city, to another. So while the game takes a while to load once you booted it up, you won't have to suffer much loading again for the rest of the session once the game gets going.
The mobile ports of GTA III and Vice City no longer displays any loading screens whenever you go to another part of the city, although there's a somewhat noticeable pause as you travel through.
By itself, Cortex Command loads fairly quickly. However, once you start adding third-party mods, load times increase proportionately. After a while, it makes more sense to just run the game in windowed mode, alt-tab and do something else until the menu music starts up.
The PC version of The Saboteur has a Dynamic Loading fail on computers with a multi-core CPU (which were common on gaming grade PCs) and an ATI/AMD video card (also fairly common) causing frequent pauses as the game struggles to load in textures, especially while driving a sports car. this is in addition to numerous side effects of this bug and other bugs.
Bully, at least the Wii version. It's so full of ridiculously long loading times that it made the game completely unplayable for some.
The PC version of Bully: Scholarship Edition is also like this. It takes like 10 minutes (seriously, it's not much less than that) to get to the title screen. It then takes about 5 minutes to get to the menu, then another 5 or so minutes to load the game. Even when the game is loaded, there is still a 6 second loading screen every time the players changes areas.
Non-video game examples:
Consoles and Computers
The Commodore C=64 was the king of this trope. Long load times were actually inherent to the design - the floppy drive went from having four data lines in the original design to one by the time of release, quadrupling the load times already inflicted by the floppy format. Tapes were even worse. If you plan on playing any C64 games, do it in an emulator with turbo mode.
The original IEE488 interface used on the Commodore PET was expensive to implement, and required equally expensive and clunky cables that were only available from a few sources, so they tried to design a simpler, lower-cost serial interface for the VIC-20. Unfortunately, they discovered at the last minute that there was a flaw in one of the serial-bus chips they'd used, and the only way to ship on schedule was to intentionally slow down the data rate far enough that the flaw wouldn't occur. Once that was done, backwards compatibility dictated that even after they fixed the flaw in the chips, every computer and disk drive made after that still had to run at the same glacial speeds so the drives would still be compatible with the million-plus VIC-20s already sold and shipped, and so that VIC-20 users could upgrade to the C=64 without having to replace their $400+ disk drives too.
Since this was such an obvious problem, it was also acknowledged: many tape games came with loading sequence graphics and music (that eventually expanded into the original Demoscene), crude audio mixers for you to create own loading tunes and even some mini-games to keep you busy for the duration of the loading event. Modern games no longer have such features, due to Namco's 5,718,632 patent on it. It expires on November 27, 2015.
Ironically, the C64 could run games and certain software titles from cartridges, eliminating load times altogether.
The original Xbox set out to avoid this by allowing games "cache space" on the internal HDD - data could be copied there for fast access during gameplay. But games which actually used this feature took forever to initially fire up (eg Fable, Ninja Gaiden), as it basically amounted to copying a few hundred megabytes in one massive loading spree (it still generally did a better job than the PS2, due to a superior DVD drive - the Xbox knocks about a minute off San Andreas' start time, for example).
Both systems could be modified to run entire games off a HDD, obliterating load times and removing the need to get up and swap discs.
The PlayStation 3 inherited this feature, with some games requiring an install time of 20 minutes or more the first time you play them. In this case, it's because the Blu-Ray discs are very data heavy (more specifically, the PS3's Blu-ray Disc drive operates at approximately 9 MB/s, while the Xbox 360's DVD drive reaches 15.85 MB/s, seriously compromising performance of multiplatform titles on the former, and furthermore, game developers have declared that the 360 drive's data transfer speed is already low for their needs...), and therefore take longer to access. In an effort to prevent long loading sections, the games are installed to the hard drive, or pre-loaded. Then games like Uncharted 2 come along and just blow that out of the water (it doesn't install at all, and has no loading time after you start playing).
The Xbox 360 officially integrated this feature in a firmware update - though it requires that the disc for the game you wish to play be in the DVD drive to function to prevent the rampant piracy that often resulted with modded PS2 and Xbox consoles. This can still be quite handy should the DVD drive start to fail as it requires much less work from it. However, some games actually slow down when played off the hard drive. Halo 3, in particular, outright calls people that install the game to their hard drives idiots. This is because the 360, like the original Xbox before it, has dedicated "cache space" on the hard drive. If a game gets a full install, then it may still try to use that cache space - but instead of copying from the disc drive to the HDD (in which case the two drives can operate simultaneously), it's copying from the HDD to the same HDD (and the read/write operations can't happen at the same time). Programmers could, in theory, tweak their games to disable caching for full installs (in which case there'd be a hands-down performance improvement), but the Halo 3 coders did their work before such installs were possible (and have no apparent interest in releasing a patch).
PlayStation Portable games in general tend to suffer long load times due to the slow speed of the UMD drive, which is all the more silly considering it is a handheld. If you want to play during a 30 minute train ride, you want to start as fast as possible and not waste half of that time just to load the game.
People have gone as far to install custom firmware on their PSPs (not only voiding the warranty, but requiring hard to find devices if you don't already know someone who has already done it), rip their games from the UMD, put them on relatively expensive high-capacity and speed Memory Sticks, and run them off of them just to alleviate the load times. Although it is fun to watch Crisis Core load faster than the load screen can be displayed.
Sony seems to have done this as well - the PSP Go does not have a UMD drive. Instead, all games are loaded off of memory sticks. But your old UMD library? Worthless. You have to buy the games again.
This is retroactively made an option for older PSPs too. Unfortunately, it also means that to do this, you need to invest in a few extra large memory sticks. And yes, you'll need to buy the games again even if you already own it on UMD; Sony's not giving you an option to trade in your physical UMD for downloadable content.
This specifically resulted from the Sega CD using a single-speed CD-ROM drive, as this was before CD-ROM technology was affordable or advanced. The Neo Geo CD also used one, and is similarly notorious for atrocious loading times that get worse the newer and bigger the game is. Good luck trying to play The Last Blade on it.
Single speed on the Sega CD was better than the double speed on the Saturn and PlayStation. Both 32-bit consoles had a mean average of 4MB of RAM and could load about 300KB per second, meaning it takes about 13 seconds to fill RAM. The Sega CD had 896KB (Base Genesis (128KB) + Sega CD Main RAM (768KB)) and could load about 150KB per second, meaning it takes about 6 seconds to fill RAM.
The Wii has this. Not a specific game on the Wii, the programs on the Wii itself. There's fairly ridiculous load times just to browse the shop channel, along with some of the other online functions, such as videos on the Nintendo Channel (why does it only buffer when you reach the point that the video has loaded up to so far, and then stop after a few seconds?).
Explainable in some of the cases, like the shop channel, which is really just a glorified website (which, due to the fact that you could connect to it from a PC before Nintendo started requiring authentication, means it's not stored locally, and websites do take time to transfer and load). It wouldn't be surprising if some of the other channels are the same way, and given the Wii's software layout, is likely the better choice over having it take up precious space in the 512MB NAND flash memory that also stores channels, saves, and the various OSes?
Just getting to the control panel used to be pretty slow back at launch. It seems to have gotten a little faster through firmware updates.
The Wii also has a relatively puny amount of RAM (a measly 88MB), about as much memory as you'd find in a late-1990s PC. This maximized the need to swap data in and out of RAM a lot.
An obscure 7th-Generation console system called the HyperScan pulled out C64 loading times. HyperScan was an attempt to joinCollectible Card Gameandconsole into one, but failed miserably.
Nintendo went out of their way to avert this, particularly notably with the Nintendo64, which continued to use cartridges long after the others began using CDs, simply because the load times were significantly less (and they were much harder to pirate). The same is true, to a lesser extent, of the Nintendo GameCube and the Wii as Nintendo employed constant angular velocity (CAV) as opposed to the constant linear velocity (CLV) used elsewhere. CAV has the advantage of having higher data rates toward the center of the disk, rather than a constant data rate from CLV.
Spectrum games were loaded from tapes, so you had to go through about half an hour of odd colour patterns and noise until you got to the game proper. And then there were these odd cases where you had to run both sides of the tape, or stop at specific points and continue running them later after some level... Kids today complain about a few seconds, what do they know...
Amstrad CPC games were also usually sold on tapes. Frequently, about a quarter of the loading time would consist of loading the loading screen. And if you were lucky, the end result wouldn't be "R Tape loading error, 0:1" ("Read Error a[or b]" on the Amstrad).
Wizard's Lair took 19 minutes to load on the Amstrad. You can complete it in 17.
Similarly, the tape version of OutRun on the Amstrad. The whole game took approximately five minutes to complete. You had to wait at least that long before you could even start playing, and then each stage had to load separately from the tape when you got there. At no point was it worth the wait.
There was a Street Fighter 2 port on the Spectrum that took around 45 minutes to load the character select screen. It then took 45 minutes or so to load the actual, 2-minute maximum fight. Fight over, it then took 45.....you get the idea.
Here's a creative use of Spectrum tape loading time.
Much like the Atari 8-bits below, tape loading on Spectrum was not only long and noisy, but also fraught with errors, especially if the tape recorder or the tape itself (which was often pirated and thus of uncertain quality) were in less than perfect condition. Many a gamer's nerves suffered when an almost completed load of a game was thrown off by a power spike from a fridge starting up in the kitchen.
Unlike C64 and Atari examples, however, there were only about ten games released on a cartridge for Spectrum (and even those required a rather rare and expensive Interface 2 extension), so most fans had to bear with tapes or invest into a floppy drive, which were (except for those in late Amstrad models), while generally much better that C64 one, even more expensive, and could cost more then a Speccy itself.
Speaking of Dance Dance Revolution, Konami is notorious for insanely long boot times in their arcade games. System573-based games usually take 10+ minutes to boot up. When they switched DDR to PS2-based hardware, it only got worse - Supernova can take up to half an hour. By comparison, Pump It Up Exceed 1 takes...about 15 seconds.
Konami's M2 arcade games suffer from slow CD loading, which is probably one reason why the console version of the M2 became Vaporware.
The Atari 8-Bit Computers, especially in Poland, where they remained alive the longest. Ask anyone in that country who was an Atari gamer in the early nineties, and nine times out of ten you'll hear stories of an entire family gathered around the Atari for a half-hour, being careful not to make any loud noises or sudden movements, and praying that this time the game will load without errors.
Much like the C64, though, the loading problem with Atari computers could be circumvented by only using cartridge-based software.
The Wii U has comparatively long loading times in between screens, and navigating the menu. This has gotten enough complaints that Nintendo promised to fix it in a future patch.
And now it has! A quick search on YouTube will provide many examples of comparisons between the loading times before and after the update, for example here. The loading times have been slashed greatly. They're still there, of course, but it's much less irritating.
Non-gaming example: Blu-ray. If you take the ratio between the resolution of DVDs vs. Blu-ray, then multiply a DVD's loading time by that ratio, you don't get anywhere near the actual time a lower-end Blu-ray player takes to load a movie. DRM?
Each Blu-Ray disc is actually a (relatively) complicated Java program for running the movie and the menus (graphics, sound and all), and that definitely increases the load times since you're actually loading a program. It's a similar case with a PC with poor performance - it'll take way longer to load programs.
That said, especially the later, HTML 5-based interactive "walkaround" pages can take a long time to load, and slow down your browser to a crawl (and each room must be loaded separately and hogs a lot of memory; on slower computers, they all but break your computer a few rooms in.) Below a certain point, your best bet is to watch the Youtube video of the walkaround instead. Cascade's file size broke the 50MB marker, and while on a fibre connection it'll load well, imagine being on a T1-equivalent connection on the day that Hussie broke Newgrounds.
In-universe, Sburb apparently takes long enough to install and load that Dave starts drawing Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff updates.
Adventurers! includes this as one of the many tropes it parodies.
Strong Bad: Is this cartoon seriously just all the loading screens?
Flash cartoons/games in general almost always have "preloaders" that halt the play of the file until it has been fully downloaded. Preloaders that start the video before the loading is done based on the estimated connection speed, similar to the buffering that video player panes do, are theoretically possible but very rarely used.
Kitchen Nightmares: Many of the failing restaurants have very slow service. On the flipside, attempting to push food out too quickly can create just as bad of a problem.
Up to Eleven with "Amy's Baking Company". The owners - being unable to see their own faults - treat everyone like idiots and won't let anyone else that works for them do anything above the bare basics (making salads and setting tables). So Samy does all of the inputting on the POS system (which he is horribly disorganized with) despite other servers admitting that they have had past experience with it and Amy does all of the actual cooking (part of her jerkass nature could be that she's taking on too much work by herself, which could be very stressful). One of the past employees even admit they refuse to hire anyone that has attended a cooking school as they believe they don't know anything (which is not true because that's the whole point of cooking school - improving your culinary work, something Amy and Samy clearly have not done). Because of this it takes well over an hour for anyone to get the food they ordered. And for anyone to complain about this, expect to be called an idiot and kicked out of the restaurant.
The holodeck scenario tried very hard to introduce Dynamic Loading to keep Riker from getting too suspicious. An ongoing computer diagnostic made it slow and tedious to access information while actually giving the program simulators enough time to put together the information Riker was requesting. It fell apart when the scenario went on for too long for computer maintenance to realistically be the cause, along with Data himself, unaffected by the diagnostic, having similar slowdowns when asked to show off his trillions of calculations per second and not being able to deliver.
The Internet. In some cases, an unstable internet connection will cause certain browsers to think they're still loading when the connection is already broken.
There is also browsers that reload when something does break, which makes it seem as if the browser is trolling the user, as the user can SEE all the content they want/need in the background behind the 'now reloading' message, but can't access it. This typically occurs most with news sites, as the site itself and the video or article the user might want loads properly, then you start reading/watching ....and then an ad way at the bottom you can't see that always fails to loads keeps kicking the restart button.
There are still backwater towns all over the world whose inhabitants' only way into the internet is a 56k (or worse) modem.
While relegated to the background, modern operating systems use a swap file that transfers running applications to virtual memory on the hard drive. If you have enough applications running, or if said applications hog too much memory, then you will have a similar effect where applications freeze for 30 seconds.
and then there's that time when such programs as Internet Explorer stop responding, which can take more time than you want! Internet Explorer stops responding when loading a page that's not even ON the internet! Solution: Internet Explorer or Windows needs to be reprogrammed.
Loading can depend on a lot of factors, but it mostly boils down to three things: how fast your medium is, how many files you're loading from it, and how much does it have to initialize. For example, putting an SSD into your console or computer will dramatically show improvements with up to five times the transfer rate and a thousand times faster response times. Have to wait a while as Windows boots? You might want to check on how many things it's trying to load too on startup.
Microsoft found a way to circumvent a lot of loading by saving the states of device drivers on shutdown. Since the hardware doesn't need to initialize anymore, it cuts down on load times by a good 20 seconds.