Last night I was having a grand time on my PS4. I had just finished a pretty tricky set of challenges, beaten two pretty tough boss fights and was about to enjoy the reward of being given access to a whole new area, which meant new vendors, new quests, new sights to see and story bits. Then I got that dreaded screen about an error and needing to close the application.
I was annoyed, but loaded up the game to hop into my latest save. But the error happened again. And again. I switched off the console in disgust, angry that I had just lost all of my inertia and a moment of victory and exploration was taken away from me.
The worst part is I have no idea why the game is crashing there. Is it my hard drive packing up? Should I redownload the game? Is that autosave corrupt? I have no clue because error messages are so damn generic, and spit out a code that means nothing.
Of course you can write down the code, head over to the internet and try type it into a database to find out what it is, but… why? Why am I doing this? The screen that showed the error message had vast sections of empty space, which could easily be used to describe the issue.
PlayStation isn’t the only company that does this. From hardware manufacturers to specific game companies, you can look all over for the various queries about what an error message is. Just look at how many articles were written explaining the various error messages of Destiny! At least those error messages were something you could remember without having to get a scrap of paper to write down a list of gobbledygook. For a while, you could see people complaining about getting Olive, Moose, Termite and all sorts of other error messages.
My question is why the bulk of the information isn’t included in the error message? There is all that space on the screen, just have more information available instead of forcing people to go elsewhere to find out what is going on. Sure, have ALL the information somewhere else, but why not have a decent chunk of it right there, so people know what is happening? It could even take a button press to find out more, in case they feel a screen of text would terrify anyone that isn’t technically savvy.
Oh and the worst offender? Any system or program that just tells you “something went wrong”. No mention of what, or how to fix it. Just an error message that would get you hauled over the coals by a professor if you used it in college, or a senior on your team. Absolutely rubbish, waste of space and time.
Now hopefully I don’t get that error again after a console restart. If not, I will have pencil and paper ready to catch the stupid error code to type it into a database on another device to find out what the problem is. Yeah, so simple and streamlined!