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To All the People I Used to Text Back During Video Game Loading Screens

Loading screens are basically gone on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.

Loading times on the next-gen consoles are almost non-existent. Like, almost comically so, in some cases. I’ve been playing my PlayStation 5 for a few days now, and while most of my time has been spent with Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Astro’s Playroom, I have been switching over from native PS5 games to play some Overwatch through backwards compatibility, and that was the point where how much the new tech was doing for loading times really stuck out to me.

For those that don’t know, when Overwatch is loading up a match, there’s a card that shows the map you’ll be playing on that lingers on the screen as things load, which then transfers you to the hero selection screen where you and your team pick out your characters. On PlayStation 4, the map card stays up for a few seconds, and if you’re loading up into a new game, every player who’s set to play in this game arrives at about the same time. However, since I’m playing on a PS5 and the majority of the public doesn’t have access to that console, I have been given a sudden buff to my Overwatch play, because that map card comes and goes at the blink of an eye and I’m at the hero select screen before everyone else and getting first pick. 

It was a crystalizing moment for me, because I’ve never played Valhalla or Astro’s Playroom on PS4 hardware, I don’t have anything to compare the improvement to load times to. But I’ve put hundreds of hours into Overwatch, so now I’m realizing just how much more time I’m going to spend playing games this gen instead of waiting for them to start up. This means I’ll have less time to kill when I’m playing games, so uh, I guess I’m about to do away with a lot of screentime of a different kind: fuck my phone, I’m not looking at it.

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So with that said, here’s a goodbye message to everyone I used to text back during loading screens:

Dear people who ever communicate with me via text, direct message, or anything that requires me to look at my phone for a long period of time,

I’m sorry to say that I don’t know when I’ll get back to your message. Maybe it’ll be after I’ve become so dejected from playing Overwatch with bad teams that I shut down my PlayStation 5 altogether. Perhaps it will be after I have achieved my conquest of finding all the men in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla who will let me kiss them. I suppose it is possible I will text you back when I’ve found all these damn puzzle pieces in Astro’s Playroom, and that’s assuming I don’t finally decide to install this copy of Spider-Man: Miles Morales I haven’t even gotten to yet. I also have started Bugsnax and the Demon’s Souls remake, so maybe it’ll be after I roll credits on those. 

But I do know two things: I can’t text you back during the long loading screens of old, and if you have something to tell me you better tell me between now and when the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition remasters come out, because you’ll never hear from me again after that.

So if this is my mother: everything’s fine. If this is my brother: you might have more luck messaging me on PlayStation Network so I’ll get a notification. If this is a Twitter notification: I hope you’re from a nice person and not some angry man upset about me saying something unkind about your favorite billion-dollar corporation. If this is anyone else: I will get back to you if either I decide to put down a video game or the power goes out.

Sincerely,

Kenneth “Genuinely Sorry About It” Shepard

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Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Georgia-based writer who still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.

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