Back in the day, when 48k was seen to be more than enough for any game, we used to spend ages just loading games in. In this day and age, if a game takes more than 10 seconds to respond, we sit bashing the X button, or testing that the console hasn't frozen up by tapping the PS button to see if the XMB shows up. (Apologies to the Xbox owners who haven't got a clue what I was on about just then. When you grow up and get a Playstation, it will make sense...oooh! Burn!)
Anyway, in the early days of home gaming on my ZX Spectrum, I would happily sit for 5 to 10 minutes whilst a tape slowly loaded up the game. If I was luck it would have a cool loading screen for me to get excited about, and if really lucky it would be a 'swift-loader' cassette which made a weird sound on loading, but cut load time by a significant time. On a few rare occasions the coders even popped a mini game to play on the loading screen! Here's Outrun loading in real time...see what we had to deal with?
However, if things went really wrong there would be a small warping of the tape, and the game would refuse to load. Or there were the really awkward tapes that insisted on a particular setting of the cassette player to load. This could be a specific volume setting, or in really tragic cases various configurations of the grahic equalizer if you had a deck with one (if you didn't, then simply put you were fucked!) Loading a game could be a task unto itself, and bizarrely, despite this unreliability, and the ease at which tapes would damage through being too close to electric/magnetic sources, or through a hungry tape deck that chewed its way into many a C45, I never really thought about making back-ups of my games.
Oh, sure, I made 'back-ups' of mates games all the time. Heck, we used to rent games from the local library, copy them onto a C45 or c90, then take the games back. Yes, this was piracy, and was just as bad as downloading illegal torrents are today, but we were young and didn't care. But, despite already keeping copies of games (and seeing how many I could fit onto one tape, whilst also ensuring that the best games are near the beginning of the cassette), I never backed up my bought games....and there were a lot. There still is - I still have all my games, and often wonder how many still work.
Kids these days will not know the frustration at sitting for ten minutes, only for an error to pop up at the end. Did we give up though? Heck, no. We usually gave it three or 4 more tries. Sometimes spending the better part of an hour to simply play the game for 5 minutes (if it ended up being a crap game). Yet this was thrilling! This dedication to seeing the loading through kind of added to the whole experience.
Occasionally, however, the wait would be more than worth it, and would result in a continuous play session of hours. Tau Ceti, or Academy, were both perfect examples of games well worth the patience to load up. How many games are worth the waiting time of boot loaders these days?