The Sims 2:
Please Wait, Loading

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Oct 21, 2008

Filed under: Game Reviews 94 comments

I picked up Sims 2 primarily to use as comic fodder, but also because it might be a fun diversion. But this is the first time where load times have actually driven me away from a game.

When I click on the Sim 2 icon, it takes a bit to bring up the launcher. (An idiotic contraption. I don’t need a launcher! I just clicked the thing, and that should have been enough to launch the game.) Then I click “play” and the computer sits there, silent and inactive for half a minute. I very strongly suspect some fancy CD interrogation is going on and the game is trying to make sure I’m not a pirate. (Which is foolish, since if I was a pirate it wouldn’t be doing the check at all.)

Then the game finally appears and shows me a couple of short but un-skippable logos for the usual suspects. Then the actual loading screen appears. Then waiting. Then it finally brings up the neighborhood selection menu. I select a neighborhood, and hunker down for another wait. After more hard drive calisthenics, the neighborhood appears and I can select a house. Then it goes into deep thought once again while it loads the house. Once that’s done, then I can begin playing.

(And even after all that, it still lurches and stutters for another twenty seconds or so as you swing the camera around and it pulls the resources into memory as they come into view.)

Four minutes. Four minutes between the moment I click on the icon to the moment where I actually begin playing the game. And this game is a few years old. I shudder to think of how it would behave on something near the lower end of the minimum requirements. (I meet or exceed most of the “recommended” specs.) That interval dwarfs any first-person shooter I’ve played.

And even once the game is running, there is a certain heavyness to the experience. There are often these little one-second delays between clicking a button and having the button do its thing. There are large delays in changing houses or making new sims, to the point where it kills the sense of playfulness and experimentation for me.

I couldn’t bring myself to play the game long enough to write a full review, or even long enough to make any observations about the gameplay. I found myself avoiding the game because I didn’t want to sit there for four minutes. (And you have to keep clicking through to the next step, so you can’t just fire up the game and go bake a pie or learn to play the trombone while it loads.)

Obviously this is a very popular title, legendary in its widespread appeal. Somebody was able to get over the load screens enough to play the thing. But it’s just not working for me. The temporal overhead is just too steep. I am sort of surprised that I haven’t heard anyone complain about this before now.

And just to give us something to talk about besides heaping shame on a popular and successful game: What games had really horrible load times for you? Share your own tales of loading-screen woe.


From The Archives:

94 thoughts on “The Sims 2:
Please Wait, Loading

  1. Kel'Thuzad says:

    I went through the same thing. I could never get into the sims, because it took so long for it to load up. Also, never try to install the first one on Vista; that was horrible, and took me all day. First, you needed to muck into the CD and FORCE it to autorun the installer. Then, once the game starts and begins updating the neighborhood with any expansions you get, you need to ctrl alt del and force the game to shut down. Then, you need to go back in and run it as an admin, and then remember to change it to run as admin. You have no idea how long it took me to figure this out.

    Other long loading screens were…

    City of Villains- When I had a 512 mb ram on Vista, and trying to run this. Other groups wondered where I was when I came out of the loading screen five minutes later.

    Warcraft III: Frozen Throne- My computer, by itself, is fine; when playing online, I have to wait for other people to load too. When other people have quadruple the loading time you do, it gets a bit tedious.

    Supreme Commander: I thought I could run it, when I got my shiny 2 GB ram, Nvida 7300, and 1.8 dual core processor.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth- Also when I had my old computer. Campaign missions took around 15 minutes to load. Today, they take about 10 seconds.

  2. Kleedrac says:

    For a time my main PC was down due to mainboard failure. I started playing Civ IV on my notebook which barely meets the requirements (I have often suspected that if the intel chipset it uses wasn’t among the “recommended” video chipsets I wouldn’t have been able to play at all.) All in all not a bad experience once the game was up and running but the computer’s turn took upwards of 12-18 minutes in the late-end game. Suffice to say I had a savegame corrupt and tried loading it multiple times waiting for the 10 minutes from icon to menu each time. Ended up cracking it for my own sanity (though this only cut icon-menu time down to 6 minutes.)

  3. MintSkittle says:

    Yeah, Sims 2 has some major load time issues. And even when I finally got around to playing the actual game, it made me want to play the first Sims game instead…

    My mom likes Sims 2, though.

    EDIT: That’s probably the core group of SIMS players, though. The Casual Gamer.

    EDIT the Second: Games with massive load times.
    Supreme Commander, C&C 3, most games hosted on Steam.

  4. karln says:

    It’s not cripplingly bad, but I have unusually long loading times on CoH myself (compared to most other players, as far as I can tell). A defrag didn’t help, nor did copying the whole thing to a flash drive for while I was staying a friends’ place (though that might just be slower than a hard drive anyway). I’m not sure how much content it loads from the hard drive and how much it downloads at each loading screen, so I don’t know whether it’s my internet connection that’s at fault.


  5. Chris Arndt says:

    Well, I almost never have top-of-the-line hardware… so any Lucasarts game qualifies.

    Edit: when it comes to Loadscreens and start-ups I mean.

    The rest is fine.

    Although Star Wars Rebellion would always have skips in the music until I got that eMachine in 2000.

  6. MadTinkerer says:

    Garry’s Mod takes forever to load on my machine, but that’s because I deliberately load a lot of extra models and maps each time it starts. Anything that comes close to the amount of time GMod takes to start that hasn’t been severely modded gets a quick uninstall and never a look in it’s general direction again.

    The second two worst offenders are Bioshock (mainly because I’m closer to the minimum requirements than the recommended ones) and Unreal Tournament 3, which I actually didn’t put up with and uninstalled after a few frustrating days of trying to get it to not look like crap on my machine. Notice they’re both Unreal Engine games. Bioshock is certainly playable if I turn the settings down a little, but UT3 is intolerable.

    UT3 actually defaulted to 320 x 240 resolution when I first tried to run it (and it ran damn smooth but I couldn’t see anything because of the freaking huge pixels) but no matter how I tweaked the settings I couldn’t get it to not look like bad claymation, at best. I suspect it’s primarily because UT3 models have more complicated geometry than Bioshock models or that UT3 Unreal is just far less efficient than Bioshock Unreal for some reason.

    I’ve never had a worse experience trying to get a game to work than UT3, and even when I found a setting that seemed barely tolerable (it looked very Quake 1-ish but with smoother surfaces and better textures) the load times were the final straw.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t accuse Half Life 2 (and certain Source games and mods) of loading quickly, but it’s always worth the wait, and not nearly as much of a wait(except the aforementioned Garry’s Mod which I have said is my fault).

  7. Matt says:

    Psychonauts for PS2 has awful load times. Anytime you change screens (entering/leaving a building or going to a new area) you’re stuck with a 30secondish load screen. You change screens quite often in the game, and it made me not want to play it.

    1. AR+ says:

      Funny, I just played Psychonauts for the first time. My reaction was to be amazed at how fast everything loads when you’re playing a decade old game on an SSD. I hadn’t played anything 3d which loaded that fast since the N64 and its cartridges.

      However, I had also recently replayed the Sims 2 w/ all expansions on that same SSD when it was released for free on Origin, and it’s still really slow, even by the standards of modern games. I do definitely remember it being a task to load the game back in 2004, though at least then I never had any expansions, so it was loading much less.

      1. sensi277 says:

        All PS2 games had infinitely long loading times. Absolutely terrible. I have no experience with the Xbox on loading times, as I never had one. But one thing I noticed is that the loading times for the GameCube were absolutely blazing fast in comparison, presumably because of the small (physical and digital) size of the discs.

        But yeah, SSDs can help a lot. Especially when they’re connected via PCIe.

  8. Ed says:

    I never played the sims without also having the TV on next to it. I never noticed the load times because I was also watching a baseball game or nerd TV shows on the Discovery Channel.

  9. Sharon says:

    sometimes spider solitaire is a little slow

  10. Chris Arndt says:

    I’m amazed there are so many approval steps to connect to my dial-up connection

    It was two steps in Windows XP.

    It is an intolerable three steps here.

  11. Seb says:

    The Witcher

    Neverwinter Nights 2

  12. Sven says:

    The most epic load time situation I’ve ever witnessed was back when the first Fallout was fresh on the scene. We were all hooked on it, but one of my friends had a computer that had no business running the game whatsoever. Every time he switched screens it would take 3 or 4 minutes to load the next one. Running back and forth across one of the towns would take him an hour.

    He painted an entire Warhammer army while he played through the game.

  13. Joe_W says:

    On the C64, Pirates! took forever to load (also during the game, when entering a town, beginning a battle, whatever), but that was nothing unusual at that time…
    Turricane took _ages_, it did load some intro you couldn’t skip and actually some synthed voice: “Hello and welcome to Turrican. Be my guest. Another day, another cry, but remember, shoot or die! HAHAHAHAHA”. Pure awesomeness for that time (yes, your Atari could do everything better, I know…)

  14. ~R~ says:

    For some reason, the first time you run the game (or the first time after loading a new expansion or Stuff Pack) the load time is insanly long, but after that one time, it’s more reasonable.

  15. LintMan says:

    I remember spending a lot of time on loading screens for Deus Ex 2. It had a hub-based design coupled with console-friendly teeny tiny levels so to get from anywhere to anywhere else, you were guaranteed to hit ~3 load screens as you went from start to hub to other hub to destination.

  16. Veylon says:

    I played the Sims 1 a bit. It seemed to spend forever for it to do “Reticulating Splines”. Why!?

    Other than that, I’ve generally been playing games years behind my system, so I haven’t really run into these kinds of problems.

  17. Bard says:

    When it was just the core game, the load times were tolerable, and that’s on my Compaq-HP Pavilion monstrosity. Pity they don’t actually sell that any more.

  18. Grant says:

    I’ll agree that it has long load times, which can be a real pain. Supposedly, Sims 3 coming out in February will be “seamless” a-la-GTA, reducing load times majorly.

    1. AR+ says:

      Sims 3 has been out for years and is indeed seamless. Sims 4 takes a massive step back here as in everywhere else, and brings back load screens.

  19. One of the games I’ve played with the most odious load times would probably have to be Gran Turismo 4 for PlayStation 2. What kills me is how long it takes to just load the damn menu in that game sometimes.

    On PC I’d have to say that playing multiplayer games of Civilization 4 is probably one of the worst things I’ve experienced for a while. After playing for a few hours with a bunch of computers the game becomes borderline unplayable, even on my cousin’s second system, which is well above the system requirements. At least it’s not as bad as Civ 3 — my cousin and I were forced to abandon a game because the save file got so big it caused the game to time out between turns.

  20. Factoid says:

    I remember the loads were bad in the first one as well. They tried to cover it up by putting descriptions of what was loading at the time. “Reticulating splines” was always my favorite.

  21. acronix says:

    As ~R~ said, the first time you run it is long, then it gets a small boost, which gets smaller with each expansion pack. I have them all, and I´m sure it takes actually longer than when I played the original one alone (and maybe the firsts expansion packs). The developers screwed something up in Seasons…
    The “Make a sim” button was always long, but if you made it trought alive (which isn´t that hard if you enjoy experimenting with the creator) you could enjoy the game for some time, until you notice that it´s always the same with different toons.
    EDIT: The game with longest loading times for me was Neverwinter Nights 2. Unless you get to play fan-made modules that aren´t bigger than 200MB then you must get patience to survive.

  22. hevis says:

    My girlfriend plays Sims 2 with 1.4 GHz CPU, 512 ram and radeon 9600 graphics card and the loading screens take 2-3 minutes each.. I still don’t understand how she has patience to wait over 10 minutes to get in game.

  23. Alleyoop says:

    You’re only running the base game and it takes that long to load? Wow. And you get a launcher? I guess reissues of the game are all now switched over to Securom protection – my original base game from 2004 didn’t have any launcher function – Safedisc cd check and anti-copy only.

    TheSims2 is notorious for being 1) a resource pig (memory leak issues possibly), 2) finicky about system specs/hardware (there’s an nVidia card bluescreening problem that has never been solved permanently by EA nor nVidia), and 3) not unlike crack for many people if you can stomach the load times and your comp is up to 1 and 2.

    Without any user made content (of which there are metric tons), my game (Base + several expansions) will load in under a minute on my laptop (2.4 Core Duo, 8600 nVidia, 4 gigs RAM). That’s from desktop to neighborhood view. Houses load in under a minute, going from a house to a community lot similarly. It can depend on how large or played the lots are – the more you play, the more saved info there is to load. You start downloading bunches of user made stuff, and you’re looking at 20 minute load times or more depending on your rig.

    The launcher (hi, Securom!) can be bypassed by creating a shortcut from the .exe. The intro movie can be skipped by hitting ESC or renaming a file somewhere to kill it for good. With the inclusion of Securom, I believe, Autorun doesn’t happen anymore, I could be mistaken there, though.

    Sharing user made content is a staple of the game, but it will slow it down considerably, it’s just more stuff to load. Playing and creating sims adds in more files (sim relationships and memories are maintained and only grow the more you play – generational play ensures that there’s always more character files being added). Make a house, more files. Add a subhood, more files. Put an occupied lot in the Lot Bin, or move a family from one hood to another, and congratulations – you’ve dragged all the old, useless relationship files from that former hood to the next and possibly fubared the new hood with those shredded files (problem since base game, never fixed).

    Yet people still can’t get enough of this game! The concept is unmatched, the execution, when it’s working as planned, is awesome. It IS addictive, because the core of gameplay is user creativity and imagination – you can get pretty invested in the things you do in the game. There is no ending or primary goal except what the player decides, it’s all up to you. You make it all happen, from ingame play to content creation, movies, stories, building, conniving. These are the only reasons I can think of that people put up with the loading times and chronic bugginess that can happen with the game (there’s a great modding community to help along those lines, more dependable than EA, I’ve found).

    It’s not a linear game at all, so anyone used to playing to the ‘end’ will be disappointed or bored or pissed or just plain bewildered. But there is literally nothing out there like it so the market is cornered.

    I can totally understand the load time frustration; of all games I’ve ever played, TS2 is the worst for loading times. I used to go make lunch while my game loaded on my old comp (too much user made stuff). Shame. You’d have great poking fun with it and the ingame camera can get some wonderful pics. ;)

  24. Matt` says:

    The loading screens in the HalfLife games aren’t all that long (though they’re not short either) but I always found them really noticeable… I’d be running along doing my thing, then suddenly FREEZE, and wait……… and go again.

    Damn things always managed to catch me at the moment when I was going round a corner, or checking behind me, so that I ended up staring straight at a wall for the whole frozen period.

  25. Briatx says:

    Half Life 2’s constant loading got to me too. As MadTinkerer said, the content is worth the wait, but the fact that the experience is otherwise so immersive just makes the loading screen that much more jarring.

  26. McNutcase says:

    I had issues with Fallout 2. It turned out the huge load times were a known bug from doing a maximum install – the merely “huge” install was much faster to load and save…

  27. Gbyron says:

    I remember the first time I installed X-Com: Terror from the Deep on my 4 Mb RAM, 33 Hz, 486 PC during my adolescence. The waiting screen during the aliens’ turn on some large maps (e.g. attacks on bases) almost brought me to tears some days.

  28. Illiterate says:

    Morrowind had simply intolerable load times. The xbox version had a penchant for crashing on those.

    I always attributed it to the game loading the status of every container in an area, and since every single harvestable herb was a container, that was a log.

    Thief 2 wouldn’t even load half the time, getting stuck on the secuRom screen. When it did it took forever.

  29. Matt says:

    When they repackaged Chrono Trigger for the Playstation, the transition was not a smooth one. Every time you got into a fight, 2 or 3 second delay. Fight’s over, 2 or 3 second delay. Considering the amount of fighting going on, this makes everything take much longer than it should, especially considering the zero loadtime on the original cartridge.
    God I miss cartridges.

  30. Nixorbo says:

    Half Life 2 – either of the vehicle stages. Drive 100 yards, loading, drive another 100 yards, loading.

  31. Ben says:

    The most noticeable one (or at least the one I remember) is a recentish game, Warhammer Mark of Chaos. It takes about five minutes (I timed it a few times) to load a mission between the ‘select your army’ and the actual combat portions.
    On the bright side, the intro movie was cool. Which was handy as if I skipped it then I ended up waiting ages for the game to start anyway. :P

  32. Plasma says:

    That’s a big reason why I wasn’t interested in Spore.

    Maxis simply is incapable of making a streamlined, elegant game. From the constantly-crashing days of SimLife to the long loads and slowness of SimCity 3000 and 4 to the interminable load times of Sims 2, I just felt no desire to bother with it again.

    If you can get past the load times on Sims 2 (every upgrade I’ve made to the computer has made it load faster, but it gets slower if you have a lot of stuff in one a neighborhood), then it can be fun. But the load times are a major flaw.

    The only other load time that has been comparable was City of Heroes before I upgraded my computer. I used to have a several-minute load time every time I zoned. It was awful.

  33. Ludovsky says:

    Loading times. Yeah, they`re bad. And this is coming from a Sims 2 fan. It doesn`t help I also now considers The Sims 2 one of the greatest examples of EA taking a good franchise, not doing to shabby with it at first…

    … and then simply ruining it in the long run. I daresay that with all they added(and often badly coded as players complains, the game being a notable memory-leaking PoS sometimes) they blew past the original computer requirements of the game to the point the latest expansion pack`s requirements had to be changed… which ironically, don`t asks me how, somehow creates an incompatibility issue with previous expansion packs which while they won`t prevent you to play will still causes even more lag.

    Also, the game, as the Bon Voyage scandal showed, is one of the very good examples of “Securom gone bad” before Securom even started to limit activations. In fact, a patch for Freetime even updated Securom on the game and many older expansion packs in a baddly coded way that prevented many /legit/ players because the copy protection detected their copies wrongly as a pirated copy. And to fix this, players were asked to not even contact EA`s Tech Support but that of the Securom company itself.

    In fact, many Sims players have been so much infuriated about the copy protection that they even founded their own website to protest against EA`s implementation of Securom in the Sims and recently updated their “portfolio” of games over which they protests against the DRM used:

    Edit: And /don’t/ remind me of the blatant advertising that were the “Ikea Stuff” and “H&M Stuff” stuff packs(aka: packs of furniture/clothes content you could find made by modders online, but for which EA is too cheap to distribute free or add actual /gameplay/ to it.

    Then, it IS the company who confirmed adding real-time advertising in The Sims 3 and announced a Spore “Cure and Creepy” creature parts pack for 20$. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised with a company who’s CEO never worked in the gaming industry before and actually had his roots at the director of Pepsico’s marketing division).

  34. Josh M says:

    I have to second the Fallout citation. In particular, I think it was… the Junkyard? (I can’t recall the actual name of the town) Anyway, there was a casino that had an animated sign that turned round and round. Whenever I had to go in there it took about 10 minutes to load the screen. EVERY TIME. Once I got more space and full installed it it only took 5 minutes… But it was definitely worth it.

    Other than that, I’d say Sim City 4.
    Of course, Vista x64 with 8GB RAM makes most things load pretty quickly.

  35. General Karthos says:

    My big loading time complaint was with “Morrowind”. I saw my friends play it on their PS2s or XBoxes, and they never had any problems with the loading times. But for me, you’d sit there while the loading bar spent forever to fill up. Sometimes it would go almost instantaneously, about one in ten times, but usually it would take thirty seconds to a minute to load the inside of a small house. Sometimes it would take four, five minutes or more. And of course, every once in a while it would crash while loading.

    Morrowind is a GREAT game. But I just didn’t have the patience to sit through loading time after loading time, especially not after my highest-level save file got erased accidentally. And so it’s sitting atop my TV at home, mostly unplayed.

    I did have a problem with the Sims 2 load times, but once you actually get INTO it, it’s a great deal of fun. Although I’ll grant that I do have a very powerful computer. I don’t know how old the game is now, but my computer was top-of-the-line two years ago, meaning it’s dreadfully out-of-date now, but still. The load times are annoying, but I find they’re worth it. However, because of the load times it means that it’s not a game I can casually boot up for ten minutes of fun and then go the way I can with “Escape Velocity” or “Master of Orion II”. It’s a game where, if I want to make the load times worth it, I’d better sit and play for a couple of hours.

    So, because of my school schedule, it’s weekend fodder. (And late night fodder when I don’t have school the next day.)

    Haven’t run into any of the problems that others have had about the copy-protection and all that. I dunno why. Maybe I’m just lucky. I’m also on a Mac, and a poor student at that, so I’m a few expansion packs behind the curve. (Some because of my inherent poverty, and others because of the delay between PC versions and Mac versions of expansion packs.)

    As long as EA doesn’t ruin my Mass Effect II, I’ll be okay.

  36. Adamantyr says:

    Heh… Tunnels of Doom on my TI-99/4a. It takes 200 seconds to load the game from cassette. I got to the point that I can ALMOST hum/squawk the tones, I’ve heard them often enough. I find it ironic that we’re waiting JUST AS LONG these days as we were 20+ years ago for stuff to load up.

    Mass Effect has a long load time on the PC, and if your video card isn’t too powerful, it takes a LONG time to recover from an alt-tab.

    City of Heroes/Villains also annoys me because of their terrible video support. I have two monitors, and their code was hard-coded to go to monitor 1… even if the OS has the primary set to 2. It also tends to black out the second monitor or screw up the cursor at times. When I got a wide screen, I lost the second display permanently, and it wouldn’t even load the game right without using beta Nvidia drivers.

  37. Robyrt says:

    The biggest jump in loading times I can remember was Total Annihilation. You could run the game on a 486, but it would take 10 minutes to load; our Pentium 75s at time of release took 2-3 minutes staring at a mysterious “Loading Units” bar; on our modern PCs, it’ll either crash spectacularly or load an entire 8-man game in 5 seconds.

  38. JKjoker says:

    The witcher still haunts me in my sleep, still i liked the game enough to endure them until the end (i couldnt get myself to replay it tho).

    Devil may cry 4 has the most annoying litle gray loading bar that takes 10 minutes everytime it runs the game, it doesnt even say loading, i wonder why i even bothered getting it…

    crysis has really loooong loading screens if you set the quality very high

  39. Kilmor says:

    I got the sims 2 for the PS2, and while I don’t recall what the load times were, I DO remember that it was laggy, stuttery, and all-in-all unplayable. Of course you can’t take it back, because you’re a filthy pirate that made a copy of it. I could exchange for another copy of the same game though(which I did, out of desperation). Yes, very useful. That must have been the problem all along, a retarded CD. .

  40. Chaos Fact says:

    Straight loving the line about baking a pie or learning the trombone while the game loads. Just saying – mad dap for that.

  41. DGM says:

    Shamus Said:

    That interval dwarfs any first-person shooter I've played.

    What about .kkrieger? It’s been a while, but I seem to recall that one taking some time to start.

    But yeah, for something that isn’t being set up from scratch each time, four minutes is pretty bad.

  42. Calli says:

    Odin Sphere for the PS2 has massive loading times, and on top of that the game is prone to slowdown when too many enemies show up on screen. As in, wait-five-seconds-for-your-action-to-be-executed slowdown. (The queen of the Netherworld is especially painful.) Every review I’ve seen for the game has mentioned this. It’s the only real flaw I can cite for the game, but it’s a doozy.

    And it’s still worth it for me: the visuals are gorgeous 2D, I’m a sucker for action RPG combat, and the story has me hooked.

    (Running the game on a PS3 with hardware-based PS2 emulation takes a huge chunk out of the load times and reduces – but does not eliminate – the slowdown, so the PS2 hardware itself is part to blame. Possibly also to blame is that it’s a 2D game for a system not designed for 2D, and they pulled out all the stops for the graphics. I’m not tech-savvy enough to know for sure.)

  43. Dragonbane says:

    I’m also going to chime in with City of Heroes sometimes having completely intolerable load & zoning times, usually for the first week or two after EACH AND EVERY PATCH. It’s like the purpose of the patch was to screw up my game. I finally realized that with the ED patch of course, and stopped playing. :P

  44. Freggle says:

    I totally agree on you here.
    I took up the game a few months ago, and stopped playing after just a few days because of the extreme load time.
    And even more irritating, when the game had the tendancy to crash right when I wanted to save a newly created family. I had to start the whole game again, and my 40-min-to-create-decent-looking-characters-family was gone. That stops the fun quite soon.

  45. guy says:

    most RTS games have extremly long load times. also, the sword of the stars game takes a while to load each tactical battle.

  46. Scipio says:

    I play counter strike source. For a game that’s old, it takes forever to start up. Just booting up steam takes forever and a half, and then you have to load the actual game. Mostly my gripe is with Steam.

    Also, pet peeve of mine: chaining logo splash screens and loading screens. If you’re gonna spam your logo at me, at least have the decency to do it while the game is actually loading. Pisses me off to no end that each and every company involved has to have its own three second splash screen and only THEN does the actual loading start.

  47. Duplo says:

    Steam loading times. Perhaps it’s my computer, But it takes me near half an hour to join a server or start a single player game on GMOD. Providing it didn’t crash first.

  48. chiefnewo says:

    I agree with Ian B about the irritating menu load times for GT4. Especially irritating is doing the license challenges. I’d fail and have to wait while it loaded its little failure video and then again for the menu so I could restart. Nothing frustrates me more in games than not being able to go to a menu instantaneously when I’ve died or failed.

    To add to the discussion, Max Payne 2 had damn long loading times, which was frustrating since I was the kind of player that would quicksave every gunfight and reload if I used to much ammo or took too much damage. In the original Max Payne it lead to the ludicrous situation of reloading if I did anything except consecutive headshots, but the super quick loading times made it work. In Max Payne 2 it meant I had to play the game properly. :P

  49. Matt C. says:

    I feel a little like I’m kicking a puppy for mentioning a PS1 game, but Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain had atrocious load times in every. single. screen. change.
    It was annoying the first time around but later I fired it up again on the PS2 and found that the delays were entirely the coding’s fault. I had thought it was the PS1 being overtaxed but the load time was exactly the same on the (then) sexy new machine. Fortunately Soul Reaver and the remainder of the LoK games were so much fun that they all stay in my top game series list.

    Worse than that though was the original release of Riven (aka Myst II). 5 or 6 CD’s that you had to swap out every time you moved to a different island, with an un-skippable mini movie before and after the swap. I never finished the game because I got sick of finding out that I had gone to the wrong place and now had to do two more disc swaps to backtrack to the right place. The later DVD-based release was fun though.

  50. empty_other says:

    Dead Rising
    I had looked forward to a real zombie-game for a long time. Dissapointed that it was Console-only, but i recently moved in with some few friends who, put together, had one of each console… A lonely evening (everyone else was still asleep after a party) i put the Dead Rising game in our X-box, and looked forward to splatter hordes of zombies…
    Well… Waiting… Loading… Menu… Loading… Cutscene… Another cutscene (loading screens between cutscenes?!). Loading, even more cutscenes, loading, photo zombies, loading, cutscene, loading, talk to the weird guy on the roof, walk 5 meters, loading, walk 20 meters, loading then cutscene then loading, then walk and talk, loading, cutscene, loading, combat, death, loading, waking up on a bed…

    Yes, the game successfully made me feel like a zombie by essentially forcing me to stand up from the dead and once again walk among the one killed by boredom from loading screens.

  51. GeneralBob says:

    If you’re lucky, you can change the file extension on the intro credits and it will skip them.

    I’ve never played the Sims, the entire genre seems incredibly mundane. One life is enough for me thank you very much

    As for long loading screens the first thing that comes to mind is Crysis. On very high settings, the time it takes to APPLY the settings is longer than most loading screens. When I join a near full multiplayer game, I usually have time to go out to lunch. Not joking.

    Also CoH/CoV can be terrible with less than a gig of ram. These days it’s rarely a problem, but back when it first came out I remember waiting 5 minutes for a party members name to turn green before deciding to go on without them.

  52. Jeff says:

    Warhammer: Mark of Chaos.

    Pushed to release too early, terrible optimization. The game itself ran smooth as silk even with huge armies, but the load times between missions ran upwards of 15 minutes. I successfully studied for an exam while playing it, since it occupied my computer and effectively locked it away from me half the time I was ‘playing’.

  53. RichardB says:

    Both NWN and NWN2 suffer in both load and save times because of the inexplicable decision to zip the entire freaking module into every single save. WTF is that all about? It makes for an incredibly huge save folder for each save, each having a ton of redundant, identical data. When I finish playing a module I compress all my saves with WinRAR in solid mode for a huge space saving. With NWN2’s large module sizes the overhead is especially bad.

    KotOR and KotOR2 don’t do this, even though their engines are from the same family tree. They save and load pretty fast.

    PS All this fancy save directory business and yet all the above games still limit the saved game’s names to ~20 characters with hardly any punctuation (varying a bit from game to game).

    Again with the WTF? Since the filesystem name is not a factor, if I want to call a save “tmp: made Lich's sanctum, Buffy AWOL & Kaylee hasn't snogged Simon yet” then why shouldn’t I? I have a keyboard and I’m gonna use it.

    PPS Oops I just broke the smart quotes thingy. :-D

  54. buster42 says:

    When I was younger, I got a Tonka space game and Lego Island II for Playstation. Both had horrible load times. That was when I learned to hate loading.


  55. Submarine Bells says:

    My record for game loading time was Prey. When I bought it, a year and a half ago, it took FIFTEEN MINUTES to load on my Brand New Dell XPS m1710 (at the time a high-end gaming laptop). And yes, I timed it more than once. It really did take that long to load, each and every time. It’s a bloody miracle that I ever finished the game, given that; but oddly enough, I’ve had no urge to reinstall it and play it through again since then, largely due to that stupidly-long load time. I have no idea why it was that it took so long – googling for info didn’t shed any light, so I gather it wasn’t a universal experience for players of that game. If anyone has any suggestions as to why that might have occurred for me with Prey when all other games that I’ve played on my XPS load normally, I’m all ears.

  56. RichardB says:

    @my 53 I take it back, the smart quotes thingy had a short tussle with the <code> tag, but emerged victorious with a little help from F5.

  57. Veloxyll says:

    Long loading times: I haz a list

    NWN2 and The Witcher. These are both long loading times

    Silverfall. I paid $10 for it. It took THREE HOURS to install. And then TEN minutes + to load the tutorial level. Yet I can play things like Crysis and CoD4 at medium on my system. Needless to say, Silverfall went good bye.

    Age of Conan also had an inexplicably long startup time for the launcher. It seemed to do a quick check of EVERY file. Then you had to skip EVERY dev trailer. Then it took a minute to load your character list. Then anotehr two or three minutes to load the ACTUAL game once you pick a character.

    Seriously. I get BORED with games if I have to wait more than a couple of minutes. At least if there’s going to be a massive load make it all in one go. while I watch something shiny. I hate to think how ACTUAL casual gamers who go “Hmm, I just want to play for 10 minutes” go! Since certain games seem to think 10 minutes is acceptable for a load time. It is not; it is TERRIBAD.

    When I click my game button, I want to be in to the menu screen as fast as I can. I want to be able to pick my game to load within 2 clicks (load then click the game). If the game happens to require an obnoxious loadtime. make it after I’ve clicked my save game and start things paused so I can go make a sandwich or coffee.

    Course. that still leaves the core problem, ie: as soon as I start your game I want to do something else!

  58. Nabeshin says:

    I’d have to say BF 2142 is my bane.
    For it’s age, my system is pretty decent, although with this one…wow.
    Even for a practice game (Just me testing it out) it took 10 minutes just to get to the practice server. The one time I tried playing online, I waited 20 minutes before I said, “Screw this-time to pull out BF 2.”
    A shame really, since it looked pretty damned good. Odd thing is, I have Bioshock, and the load times are nothing compared to 2142. All things considering, one would think the load times for either game would be similar, but there you have it.

  59. Elise says:

    I think I love the sims2 so much that I don’t mind the waiting. I am well above min specs, so it probably loads a bit quicker for me.

    That said, when I first got the game I was running on a laptop which was just over the min-specs. It was fine when I was running the base game, but expanding to University made the load time considerably longer and it was very frustrating. One of the expansions (Nightlife maybe?) gave you the ability to switch between houses without going back to the neighbourhood so there’s only one loading screen to switch families instead of two… Also I guess I’m always doing something else at the same time (usually have my laptop beside me and am reading blogs and IMing etc) so it doesn’t bother me at all.

    Also for a long time Sims2 was the only game I really played. I got Civ4 recently and was seriously amazed at the lack of waiting-for-loading. It just… starts! Amazing!

  60. Zerotime says:

    Does anyone else remember SiN (not Episodes, the original)? Now those were some load times.

  61. Liso66 says:

    Sims 2 does have way to many and to long of load times. I think I just got used to it. Once in the game, it is quite addictive and sucks your time into some sort of black hole.

    I’ll just play another hour and go work in the garden? All of a sudden, your weekend flew by with out you.

    Now for insane loading times! The Witcher! Awesome game if you can get past the loading times. I have yet to play the enhanced version. It was suppose to reduce them by 80%. So you think? 80% reduction! Gives you an idea how awful they are.

    Vampire: The Masquerade ““ Bloodlines Not only awful loading times. A total infestation of bugs!

    I am sure I have a list of others. These are the ones that really stick out!

    Happy Gaming! Maybe find a mini hobby to keep yourself occupied during loading times? LOL “winks”

  62. SteveDJ says:

    We have to go back a while to find my favorite game with very long load times…

    Who remembers Wizardry? I’m talking the original Wizardry for the Apple ][ (written in Pascal, I believe).

    The long load time happened every time you tried to enter the dungeon; or while inside, break camp and resume play. Oh, at the beginning of the game, it wasn’t much (just a few seconds). But as you progressed, and got more equipment, the load times increased dramatically. I’m sure it was trying to load some data for each and every item you had in your party’s inventory (and those floppy drives just didn’t move very fast). Load time would reach a few minutes when my party was really loaded down with lots of good stuff.

  63. Greg says:

    I finished a trilogy before giving up on Lionheart.

    I can’t remember if that was slow load times of gameplay that necessitated large regeneration breaks between (endless) combats.

  64. Tyrel Lohr says:

    I finally broke down and bought Sims 2 Double Deluxe and the University expansion last month (after cancelling my Spore pre-order, incidentally, due to the bad early player reports). I played the original Sims a bit — mainly importing Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Farscape characters into the game and having fun watching them ruin their lives.

    When I first installed the game on my system, it was absolutely sluggish. Load times weren’t bad, but the more Sims that showed up on a lot the slower and slower it got, to the point that it was very herky-jerky. However, shortly thereafter I replaced my ATI X1600 video card with a Nvidia 8800-GT (that I purchased in preparation for Fallout 3) and most of my problems disappeared. It has been running fine since then. In fact, it loads fast enough now that I don’t even get to see all of the silly phrases on the initial load screen.

    And, yes, I am still reveling in watching the Sims make their lives completely miserable!

  65. MuonDecay says:

    I know this is going to sound patronizing, but it isn’t meant to be:

    Shamus, are you keeping your hard drive properly degragmented? And I don’t mean using the degragmenter that comes with windows, that’s less effective than other more full-featured applications. Perhaps give Diskkeeper a try, give every hard drive a thorough defragmentation (probably a boot-time defrag as well) and see if you experience any gains.

    If you haven’t tried it, there’s no harm. The program has a trial period and it won’t waste any of your time because you can schedule the defrags with the diskkeeper software so it will automatically run while you’re asleep or at work.

  66. Jabor says:

    Supreme Commander I didn’t find too bad, and I only have 1GB of RAM and a pretty low-end graphics card. This was running in the dual-screen mode too.

    Oddly, Sins of a Solar Empire was slower.

  67. Ross says:

    Someone else already mentioned the venerable C64. My brother and I used to endlessly play Racing Destruction Set which came on, count them, FOUR cassette tapes.

    We would both insist on ‘customizing’ our cars and creating our own track so that was; load side A for ten minutes for car one, then side B for another ten minutes for car two, side C for 15 minutes to get the track editor up. Spend at least an hour creating a master piece of racing mayhem, then onto side D for a final 20 minute load time, and we’re racing!

    What, that’s only an hour! Odd thing is, it was AWESOME.

  68. Octal says:

    RE: 23

    That’s odd–my Sims 2 disc doesn’t seem to have any anti-copy stuff. I know because I had to make a copy just so I could install it in the first place: the original was scratched up and it kept glitching in a certain spot.

    I got it secondhand, though, so I don’t know how old it is.

    For me one of the attractions is basically what you were talking about with Rollercoaster Tycoon. I can spend hours designing a lot and getting everything just so. But the loading… yeah, I usually grab a book and read a few pages during that.

    Portal was even worse, though. There was a huge freeze every time I saved, and half the time it’d crash after that (although it did save, and when I started it back up I could load that save). This is especially brutal for me as I like to save frequently, even if dying only knocks you back a little there. During one session I managed to read forty pages of a book just during the time it took to save, and then restart.

    And I’d swear my computer met the required specs; I even spent a decent chunk of time making sure I had the right drivers.

    It’s a tribute to how much fun it is to actually play that I put up with that.

  69. Thijs says:

    My two games with extreme load times were Half-life and Gangsters. Half-life I had to wait at least 10 minutes everytime I changed from level to level. Sometimes I was so disoriented by the long loadtime I immediatly walked back and had to wait again, and again. Gangsters just took 40 minutes to boot.
    As somebody already said, Sim City 4 was also very bad.

    It must be said, though, that my PC probably did not make the minimum requirements…

  70. mephane says:

    Neverwinter Nights 2 – some of the worst loading times I’ve ever experienced. And you have to sit at the loading screen every time you enter or leave the smallest hut, area etc…

  71. Heph says:

    Hmm…I have to agree with the Witcher and SimCity 3000, prevously mentioned.
    Also, pretty much all of the Need for Speed games. I love them to death (well, most), but even on high-end computers, playing older versions, you’re still taking minutes to get anywhere. Horrible.

    And about Sims 2…I have the original, and only the original, but…I don’t have a launcher, I only had to input an ID code (no StarWhatever), and it doesn’t really load all that slowly – not to mention, the videos are skippable. It does bog down a bit when you have lots of big families, but all in all, it’s not that bad.

  72. Zaxares says:

    The Witcher has some pretty bad loading times, especially when loading the game or starting chapters, but thankfully the Enhanced Edition has improved things.

    Neverwinter Nights 2 had moderately long loading times, but still acceptable.

    Dreamfall bears a mention due to its crazy amount of load screens, but thankfully most of them are blissfully short if you did a full installation.

    Fortunately, I’ve made the most of games with long loading times by keeping a book handy next to the computer that I just read through a couple of paragraphs at a time. :)

  73. Felblood says:

    I put up with some long load times, without putting down a game, but I could never stomach Dark Age EX, because of the load times.

    That might have more to do with the fact that the game was certainly not worth the wait, or that it looked like you game had crashed whenever you entered a random battle, but the load times were the clincher.

    Force Commander was another poor quantity game I would have still finished if not for the horrible loading.

    Right now, I think load fatigue is keeping me from playing UFO: Afterlight.

  74. Kevin says:

    Everquest. It made me crazy. Walk over the line out in the countryside or in the woods, and BAM! Load screen. That could be really frustrating.

    I played Sims 2 for a while, but it never seemed as much fun as the first iteration, and I stopped. It was totally a “meh” experience for me.

  75. Avilan the Grey says:

    The launcher never appeared except when you put the disc in and the autostart ran. If I started it from the icon I had placed on the desktop, it just started loading (well up to the neighborhood chooser.

  76. Simply Simon says:

    I played Crysis on my computer once, just to see how it ran when I changed the files to run on “Very high” quality. After a little fiddling a got it to run at a speed of 2-10 fps. I turned on difficulty to very high and began playing through the game. After half the game or so, my computer seemed to notice I had changed the files and started to make life miserable for me. When the game auto saved it took five minutes for it to finish saving, and most of the time it would crash and the save become corrupted, forcing me to play through the level again.

    Though that probably was because I had made changes to the files.

    I’ve always thought Battlefield 2 loads maps a bit slow, but not annoyingly slow.

  77. Roxysteve says:

    Myst IV. Every scene change could have been hand painted quicker. All the others play fine on the Clockwork Dyfference Engyn.

    Oh well.

  78. Tam OConnor says:

    Another vote for Neverwinter Nights 2. Before I turned the intro movies off, it took a good six, seven minutes just to get to the main menu. And then another five to load the game… The game also couldn’t adjust its graphics without being restarted. Just a smidge frustrating, all in all.

  79. Shandrunn says:

    For a portable system, the PSP has a lot of games with terrible loading times. There’s a video on Google Vids of a wrestling game that takes more than a minute just to get to the main menu, and in total more than six minutes to start a match in career mode. Skipping all cutscenes. At several points, the screen goes black while the game is loading…. the loading screen.

  80. DocTwisted says:

    The one that sticks out in my mind was Heavy Metal… well, the DEMO for Heavy Metal. It took so danged long to load that I never bothered buying the full version.

    I’d say that the Burnout games on the PS2 qualify as well, but I forgave them because they’re just so danged awesome.

  81. Liso66 says:

    Ahhh.. I saw some complaints on Neverwinter Nights 2. I must say loading times were never bad for me “at least not to bad” It was all the BUGS! that came with it in the beginning.

    I still play NWN2, mainly player modules etc. If your worried about the loading time. That is cake compared to the huge patches you have to download :P

  82. Christian Groff says:

    I happen to know a lot about The Sims 2. I got the base game three years ago, but stopping playing it because the concept was boring. Then I got the Free Time Expansion and tried again… and there were a whole bunch of new things.

    Litetime wants which would make your Sims permanently happy, hobbies which could get you plaques or access to secret lots, and genie lamps and matchmaking gypsies.

    I got hooked and ran into a site called, and once I started reading the stories there, I was hooked again and got every last expansion pack and started writing stories of my own.

    The Sims 2 is like WoW, but instead of lopping bunnies with a hatchet and casting spells, you get married, have kids who grow up and get married, and so on… and you can become a vampire, zombie, werewolf, or more!

    The Sims 2 does have loading screens, I admit. But I’ve gotten used to them. It’s not like some games which have twenty minutes of load times. And with the Story Exchange on their official site, you read stories about families of ten generations or more.

    I’m not trying to convert you, Shamus, just saying why The Sims 2 is such a big hit.

  83. Donald K. says:

    Oh man. Morrowind on the Xbox. I loved that game so much, but I timed it once, and it took five minutes to load a game. I would start to load my game, get up and go make a sandwich, come back and eat it while I waited. Once in game, the loading only took about 20-30 seconds.

    Imagine my delight when I purchased it for the computer, and it would load in about 10 seconds. Loading time between zones was almost non-existent.

  84. soitmop says:

    i usually jerk off when my game takes too long to load. usually i finish about 1-2 times before my sims game decides to finish loading

  85. Fusilier says:

    My PC is 2.2ghz, 1MB ram, decent Radeon videocard–nothing grand but not horrible, it’s around 5 years old. It took me TEN to FIFTEEN minutes to load into The Sims 2. I am not even exaggerating. I would’ve considered 4 minutes a blessing! Mind you, I had multiple expansion packs and hundreds of custom content files, but that stuff’s pretty much mandatory for having non-ugly Sims. But regardless of the load time, I loved TS2 enough to play it for years. I guess ’cause it wasn’t so bad once I got into the game. I’d just load it up, go off somewhere else for 10 minutes then come back and I’d be good to go!

    The Sims 3, however, runs like crap for me in game and it’s just the base game. And the graphics aren’t even any nicer, so I quickly tired of waiting for my camera to turn and gave up on it after a few hours.

  86. Melissa says:

    My game takes 24-37 minutes to load, just to get to the neighbourhood screen. I’m on a high-end computer with 40,000 items of CC (and counting), but to load the Create A Family takes about . . . mmm, 47.5 minutes? I timed it last Tuesday and that was the average. Everything takes around half an hour, so it’s 2 hours before you get into anything. Lucky me, getting INTO the ‘hood only takes 3-4 minutes. Yeesh.

  87. Gilf says:

    A good example from the current day would be Splatterhouse. Not only is the loading screen annoying as all heck, but it has the most obnoxious pair of monsters you will ever see fighting over… well, just fighting, I suppose.

    That, and Bayonetta on the PS3. That did change after a while, but good grief was it annoying while it lasted.

  88. Booknerd says:

    Exactly right Shamus.

    But only 4 minutes? Mine takes up to half an hour easy.

  89. My life says:

    If the sims 2 does not run immeditly go to its install directory then open the tsbin there you will find something called Sims2 create for it a shortcut then open that shortcut the game will run immeditly but i have no soltion for the stupid loading screens.
    and if you got any solutions then please reply.

    P.S:sorry i am bad at english

  90. AR+ says:

    System Shock 2 had huge load times between levels, HOWEVER this is forgivable because it split the entirely of the ship the game takes place on into only like 5 levels, so significant fractions of play would be spent w/ no loading whatsoever.

    Half-Life had bad load times when I first played it, but for that I blame the fact that I was playing on a below-min-spec PC. 75 MGhz and no graphics hardware are the only specs I remember explicitly, but damn what the game choppy. Still played it all the way thru and loved it, though. Whenever I remember Half-Life, I remember it at minimum settings and frequent drops to 1 frame-per-second, even though I’ve played it thru later on an adequate system.

  91. Rena says:

    Four minutes? That’s it?

    > What games had really horrible load times for you? Share your own tales of loading-screen woe.

    Space Engineers!

    Takes about 15min. A poor 7-8 year old laptop who needs retirement… (admittedly he has no business running the game but he does so game on)

    First we have to get steam up. Laptop is presently unable to use internet so this is an exercise in futility on its part. There goes 5min (longer if it forgets to bring up connection failed message; loading up an unrelated PDF works to unstick him). Might still take 2min with internet. We need to navigate Steam and press play (another minute plus one more as it contemplates starting). More contemplation in a black screen before we get to the main screen (plus logos). main screen and now I wait for the lag to end, load up the world (via loading screen). Then we get there. I pace (my character) back and forth until it turns into a fluid movement and then I am good.

    Runs like a champ there after…

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