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I’m going to try something different. I’ve noticed that a lot of reviews of video games don’t go into enough detail as to why the game in question is fun or enjoyable. They talk about how the game excels or fails in certain aspect but not into great lengths. There’s rarely examples or personal experiences of the positive or negatives. I’ve also noticed that I have made the same mistakes in my reviews and I want to improve so I’m going to try something new. I want to be thorough with my next review, which I’ve decided will be Borderlands. So what I’m going to do is give my impressions of the game as I play through it with multiple preview pieces. This will not only (hopefully) give me feedback from the community on the game while I play it (and possibly help me with it) but also be a record of my thoughts as they possible change and form. It’ll be like my notes that can be interactive.

I’m also going to be playing the DLC and with completion aspirations so that I can see how much I can get out of the game. The reason for this is so I can not only give a normal review that’s detailed but also include sections looking at the game from a completionist perspective (or end game perspective) as well as from a consumer perspective. So essentially my review will tell you if the main game is fun, if it’s worth your time to do everything in the game, and how much it’s worth paying for. I’m going with Borderlands because I’ve always wanted to beat it but never have and this long game would benefit greatly from this kind of extensive coverage. I’ll be playing the PC version as I don’t have any of the DLC from the 360. So I’ll be posting a first first impressions pretty soon.

Now I want to hear from you. Let me know in the comments what you think of this idea. A great deal of this experiment would benefit greatly from feedback. Thanks for reading. Peace and love, gamers and players.









159ac4f8-e80c-4acc-bac4-81c1f405fc49Last weekend and Monday, I started playing a game thatís been in my backlog for a long time. I used to own Skate about a year or two after it came out but I never sat down and actually gave it a fair shot. So I bought it when it was on sale on the Xbox Games Marketplace earlier this year and sat down and played it some last Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Before I continue, I want to make it clear that this is more of an impressions piece rather than a review because I havenít completed the game.

What has always drawn me to Skate is the trick mechanics. Skate is a more realistic take on the skating sport, where a 360 flip over a sizable gap is awe inspiring. You use the right analog stick, in lieu of buttons, to do flip tricks and manuals. grinds are done by using the right stick to ollie and then lining up your board to the rail or ledge or what have you. Grab tricks are done with by holding the left or right trigger and manipulating the board with the right analog stick while in the air. Finally, acrobatic tricks like spins and backflips are done with the left analog stick while in the air. All of this is done pretty well and although I wouldnít call it an intuitive control scheme, it makes a lot of sense.

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However, the problems with Skate also begin with the control scheme. You do flips by holding either down or up on the right stick and flicking it in the opposite direction for different tricks. Go to the side a bit and youíll get a kick flip or a heel flip. A quarter circle will result in a shovit. The problem with this is some tricks are done in ways that are too similar to other tricks. Being precise with your tricks is nearly impossible. For example, a 360 flip is done by holding down-left or down-right on the right stick, then rolling the stick to the down position and flicking the stick up-left or up-right. Most of the time, the game wonít register the beginning position of down-left or down-right and think you just did down and then up-left or up-right, resulting in a kick flip or heel flip instead of the 360 flip.

Another problem is the way you progress in the game. Despite having a more realistic approach to how you do tricks, progression features a familiar point system that in this context feels arbitrary. Most challenges have you doing certain tricks in a line, which is fine, but also a point goal that feels unrealistic. I understand having to do something for difficulty and preventing all challenges from being accomplish by doing a basic kick flip. However, this creates a difficulty that feels out of place in this game as well as adding unnecessary frustration to tasks that could be simple. The tricks are broken up into easy, medium and hard categories and that could have been used to differentiate the challenges and difficulty better. Instead of the challenge being ďdo a manual, a flip trick and reach 1,000 pointsĒ, it could be ďdo a manual and a medium flip trickĒ

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However, none of this matters because when the game does ask you to do specific tricks, itís often too specific. The precision the game does ask you to do is often too precise and it makes simple tasks frustrating. In fact, this was the reason I decided to stop playing the game. I got to a challenge that had me olling off a ramp onto a iron container and then jumping over to another iron container. I had to land on the first container in a manual, jump out of the manual over the gap while doing a flip trick in mid jump and finally landing into another manual. Sounds complicated but itís actually not a big deal. However, I could complete it because of several problems.

First off, most of the time when I jumped the ramp onto the container, I ended up grinding the edge of the container instead. The issue is with the grind mechanic. Since you need to just approach a edge, ollie and line your board up in order to grind, that means grinding is situational. Therefore, itís up to the game to decide whether you have met the requirements in order to grind and then make the action happen for you. Even though I meant to just land on the container, I met the requirements for grinding and therefore the game actually changed my jump trajectory slightly so I would grind instead.

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Secondly, the ollie mechanic seems to either have a slight delay or the game is trying to predict a ďfallingĒ flip trick. The other problem I kept having was with the game not jumping over the gap and instead doing a flip trick while I fell off the container. Instead of jumping when I told the game to, it would wait a half second for me to fall off the container and then do a flip trick. The third and final problem is manualing. Sometimes, my player wouldnít go into a manual despite me doing the command, which is hold up or down slightly on the left analog stick. The reason for this is because when you manual right after a jump, the amount you have to hold up or down the stick is different from if you were just on the ground.

The trick system is a cool system but it lacks the precision that you would probably have from pressing buttons. This makes for extremely frustrating gameplay. If I was going to complete that challenge, I would have to get some speed, hopefully jump high enough to get to the top of the container (sometimes you donít ollie high enough for reasons I donít know), hope the game doesnít think Iím trying to grind, land in a manual thatís different from manualing on the floor, have enough speed to clear the gap, hope the game jumps when I tell it to, do the flip trick in midair, land in another manual, and then end the line. Thereís way too much hoping in that, which means that if I were to complete it Ė and Iím pretty sure I could Ė it would just be because I got lucky.

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Iím not saying Skate is a purely luck based game. Clearly skill is involved and Iím willing to admit that my skills in this game are not the best. However, to compare this to a more traditional sport, thereís a reason Basketball is played in a closed arena. The last thing we need is Lebron James missing a two pointer because the wind happened to blow at that moment and blew the ball off its original trajectory. Again, this is not a review so there will be no score but there wonít be a review of this game from me in the future because I do not plan to continue playing this game. Iíve got plenty of other games to play rather than one that frustrates me. However, since I made this game the main inspiration of myUnderstanding Gamer Rage post, I felt like I should talk about the game in depth.


Thanks for reading my thoughts on Skate. Feel free to leave a comment and follow me onTwitter (@Colorwind), as well as on my personal blog on WordPress.









A couple of days ago, I posted a blog of me explaining how I get mad at video games sometimes while playing them and my attempt to understand why I get angry. I got a lot of responses across all the sites I posted that blog on, including Destructoid, IGN, Gamespot, Giant Bomb, and my personal blog on Wordpress. I included links to each of those posts if you want to read what others said. First off, thank you so much for all of the comments about how you all handle Gamer Rage and thoughts on why it happens. Especially with all of the negativity going on within the gamer community right now, itís nice to see that a topic can receive essentially no harmful, bad, or negative responses.


Now onto the actual follow-up. After writing the post and the first batch of comments, I played some more Skate, the game in question that inspired the post in the first place. I tried to remain calm but soon I started to get frustrated again. It came to ahead when a challenge involving me olling up to a container, landing in a manual, jumping a gap to another container, and landing in another manual came up. This wasnít a hard challenge in my opinion but try as I might, I couldnít pull it off. So following the advice of a lot of you, I paused the game and relaxed a bit. I thought about what it was I was doing wrong but came to the conclusion that I wasnít doing anything wrong and it was a flaw in the mechanics. I wonít go into detail here as I want to focus on the gamer rage part of this but I will do a write up on Skate after this.

I un-paused the game and tried to complete the challenge a few more times to confirm my suspicions and they were fully confirmed. So I stopped playing Skate and moved on to another game in my backlog that I had been playing off and on: Mafia II on the 360. Part of my reasoning behind quitting Skate was a comment made by Marduke 1913 on Gamespot. I said that I donít get enjoyment out of finally accomplishing tasks sometimes in games like Skate. Marduke 1913 explained this is because when I do finally do it, itís usually because I only did something slightly different. So theoretically, I could have done it my first try. This makes it feel more like luck than skill. I didnít beat the challenge, the game just decided it was happy this time. I included his comment as a photo that you can check out below.

What Iíve found out is I need to understand what kind of games annoy me and get me angry. Playing Mafia II, I have died a few times but the game isnít that hard, to be fair, and I havenít gotten mad once because Iíve been able to try something different with a different result. Skate requires you to do something one way only (for its challenges anyway) and you just need to try again doing the same thing if you fail. Iíve also learned that taking a break and thinking about what I need to do helps a lot. I find Iím still to headstrong to flat out turn off the game and come back to it later but pausing and calming down by thinking of a tactic helps a lot.

Also, a side note. Some of you think that when I get mad, Iím throwing my controller at the TV screen. Iím not doing that. I take very good care of my systems and controllers and regularly clean them to keep them operating well. When I say I throw my controller, I mean I throw it up in the air, it flips a few times, and then lands right next to me on the couch. That being said, I have broken a PS2, PS3 and several N64 controllers. The PS2 controller, I donít remember how that broke, but the PS3 controllerís L2 and R2 came off after I threw a controller hard on the couch and it bounced off and hit the floor. Luckily, I just snapped them back on. In my defense, it was a SixAxis controller, not a DualShock, and I think I was playing Lair. As for the N64 controllers, all of them broke when I wasnít even mad and just put them down a little hard on the shelf or something. Those controllers are just cheap pieces of crap.

So thatís the follow-up. Thank you all so much for your responses and my full thoughts on Skate will be going up in the next day or so. If you would like to read more of my stuff, follow my blog on wordpress or follow me on Twitter @Colorwind.
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I was playing Skate yesterday on the Xbox 360 and I reached a point where I got really frustrated and angry. I started to yell at the screen and toss my controller. I say things like ďDo what I tell you to doĒ and ďWhy arenít you listening to meĒ and I start cursing. Usually by the end of it, I wonder why Iím even bothering in playing the game Ė for instance, I played Skate for 3 hours Ė and I typically am very tense and my body is tight. I usually come to the conclusion that Iím not going to let the game beat me and Iím just not as good at the game than Iíd like to think I am. I also think that the game is worth playing because if I didnít like it or didnít care, then I wouldnít let it get to me.

However, Iíve notice that this has started happening a bit more often than usual. Itís got me thinking when is too much and how to remain calm. It also has me wondering whether or not I should continue to play games that get me angry, what the breaking point should be, and how to suppress the desire to continue the experience in lieu of another. From a personal perspective, Iím a pretty calm guy and I consider myself to be a realist, though I try to lean towards a positive outlook. However, I have been known to have a temper though it takes a lot to actually get me angry. A negative feeling I do often get is annoyance. I donít suffer fools well and while Iím patient when explaining things, I get annoyed by foolishness or misunderstanding of simple things.

So what does this have to do with Skate? Well, itís simply the fact that itís counterintuitive to how I normally am. Skate has a fairly complex control scheme thatís not easily understandable though it is intuitive. Add on that the controls are not the most responsive and it can be easily frustrating. Therefore, Iím not really getting annoyed at the game. Iím sure this is obvious but I am, in fact, getting angry that Iím unable to complete the objective in the game. Whatís more is when I do complete it, I typically donít feel accomplished. Instead, Iím just glad itís over so I can move on to the next thing.

To use another example, the other night I beat Super Mario World because itís one of my favorite games and I felt like it. However, I got stuck on trying to get the secret exit in the final Ghost House in the game near Bowserís Castle. You need to be small Mario and use these moving blocks to get you near the ceiling of one particular room and fit through this small hole. I started yelling again about how the blocks wouldnít move in the way I wanted them too but when I finally did it (by spin jumping off one of the nearby Boos), it felt really good and I felt accomplished.

So whatís the difference? Well, like I mentioned, Skateís controls arenít very responsive and the game does have a few glitches in it where Super Mario World has very responsive controls and few glitches. So the question could be ďShouldnít I stop playing Skate if the partial reason for my frustration with that game being the game itself?Ē However, I really like Sonic Adventure and thatís a game with less than perfect controls and a lot of glitches that rarely frustrates me. Perhaps it depends on the type of glitches in the game and the level of unresponsiveness in the controls.

Maybe I should look at this another way and focus on finding a way to calm myself and get less frustrated with games. Maybe I should pause the game and figure out what it is I need to do and how Iím going to do it. This will give me time to calm down as well as formulate a plan for my next attempt. Aside from maybe just working on when to turn off the game for awhile, thatís the only idea I have in terms of being less frustrated with games.

Now I want to hear from you. What do you think? You just read essentially my mind trying to figure this out and I would love to get some input from anyone reading this. How do you deal with frustrating games? Do you take a break? Do you quit the game altogether? Why do you get frustrated with games? What type of games frustrate you? Should I just stop playing Skate? Does it suck? Let me know in the comments below and share this post so others can comment on the matter. Thanks a lot for reading and peace and love, gamers and players!
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I had a dream. No, it wasnít this inspirational vision of racial equality, it was just a video game idea that doesnít exist yet. Iím a big Mega Man X fan but I havenít played a new Mega Man X game since the disaster that was X7. However, even before that game, I knew the series had grow stale. Even now, I think a normal X9 title would not be the best way to go. Last night, I dreamt about a new game in the Mega Man X series with some new concepts and changes, a new game Iím calling Mega Man X: Resistance Assault

The set up would be Sigma coming back and organizing a massive army of maverick reploids, both new and old (read: repaired or rebuilt). The Maverick Hunters, who have since fallen into disrepair, catch word of what Sigma is doing and itís up to X to rebuild the Maverick Hunters and stop Sigmaís plans of destroying all of mankind. The story will have some similarities to the first Mega Man X and will take place a good amount of years after X8 but less than the 100 of years thatís in between the Mega Man X series and Mega Man Zero series.

Gameplay would be divided into two different parts. The first part would consists of action platforming, essentially the same as the original games and would be the bulk of the game but would be in 3D. I know it didnít work in X7 but with all the advancements made in games as well as what Capcom has learned from the Resident Evil series, I think it could work. However, unlike Resident Evil, the game would be faster. Cover can be utilized but would be degradable and you can take a fair amount of damage as your life bar would be intact.

Controls would be a combination of the typical layout for third person shooters as well as action platformers. Using the PS3 controller as a template, the L2 button would be to aim, L1 to activate your special ability, R2 to rapid fire, R1 to charge fire, X to jump, circle to dash, square to lock into cover and interact with stuff, and triangle to switch between special weapons and your normal X-Buster. You would move with the left analog stick, control the camera with the right analog stick, L3 makes you duck, and R3 would do a melee kick for when enemies get close. Left and right on the d-pad would cycle through your special weapons and up and down would cycle through the different armors you get.

Now hereís the cool thing. As you go through the levels and defeat the enemy mavericks, you can salvage any parts from the robots that are still working. These parts can then be used to build X new armor set ups with different abilities and weaknesses. Some set ups will be given to X as part of the story but a majority of the armors will be unlocked by having the Maverick Hunters HQ build them for you by giving them the required amount of parts. Some will give X more defense, or give him the ability to hover (which is what the special ability button is for) or one armor in particular will give X a huge boost in both defense and speed but takes away his ability to shoot any weapon, replacing that ability with a shoulder ram that can defeat all weak enemies in one hit.

The game will be designed so that you can pick which stage you want to do first but itíll be a two step process sort of speak. First you will choose which maverick you want to go after. After doing so, youíll be at a huge battlefield. You will then have various missions to accomplish for that battlefield. These will unfold in typical Mega Man X fashion with you going through a ďlevelĒ and at the end, picking up or defeating whatever it is you need. In these missions, you can find secret boss fights that when completed will give you extra special weapons you wouldnít get from defeating the bosses. These maverick bosses and secret boss fights can be either a new maverick or an old one from previous titles. After choosing the maverick to go after, you will not be able to go back FYI.

Once youíve completed all of the missions in the battlefield, itís time to take over said battlefield. Here is the second part of the gameplay, where it turns into a real time strategy game. You will still control X independently and can fight first hand in the siege but you will also be ordering around troops. Throughout the missions you complete, youíll be gathering intel, acquiring objects that can aid you in taking over the field and gathering troops. When the siege begins, you can bring up a map by pressing Select and use the cursor to order around where each type of troops should go (each type will be mapped to a face button) as well as other commands such as defend, or follow. You can also order new troops onto the battlefield from here. The resources you need will increase as you take over smaller bases on the battlefield from the enemy.

During this time, something like the armor I described earlier will come in handy as while your troops are attacking a base, you can essentially be a tank and distract the opposing forces from attacking your troops. If X dies however, he will just be teleported back to home base and repaired which will cost you both resources and time. The siege comes to an end when the enemy home base has been demolished or your base as been demolished of which then you lose. For comparison, this part will work in a similar way to the old Genesis game Herzog Zwei or the more recent AirMech or Brutal Legend.

After completing the siege, X will run into the base and face the maverick that was controlling that battlefield and will defeat him like normal for his special weapon. Each maverick will be weak to a previous maverickís special weapon but will also be weak to a hidden weapon in their own battlefield. Some weapons may not be strong to a maverick boss but could put them at a severe disadvantage. Whatís more is if you defeat the maverick boss with only your X buster, youíll gain more salvage at the end.

As the game goes on, you will meet back up with previous characters in the series like Zero and Axel and will then be playable on the missions as well as the maverick fights and the strategy parts. Their abilities and upgrades will be different from X but some will be obtained for all, such as the special weapons and story required armor upgrades. The campaign will be longer than any previous X title and the options available will be much more than before as well.

Which brings me to the multiplayer. Yes, the game has multiplayer. The multiplayer would essentially be the strategy battles but with the ability to choose who your ďGeneralĒ is. You can choose from X, Zero or Axel but also as any of the maverick bosses in the game, including Sigma, and Vile, who will be returning in this game. Multiplayer matches can be two to four players, meaning that two armies could go up against two other armies. You can have X and Zero armies up against Sigma and Vile armies. Youíll pick your battlefields which will be based on the ones from the campaign as well as some extra maps derived from the Mega Man X seriesí past. Leaderboards and rewards can be unlocked from victories and various challenges met during the battle and the armor and special weapons available to you in the campaign will carry over into the multiplayer. There will also be a map editor for those who want to design their own battlefields, as well as various other customizable options.

So thatís my idea. What do you think? Would you like to see a new Mega Man X title? Would you like it to be like the previous games or something new like what Iím proposing? Maybe both? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.[left]








Okay, Iím just going to warn you right now that this is going to be a rant and itís going to be a very long one.

The more I think about this whole debacle with SimCity, the more angry I get. So Iíve decided to express this by presenting a situation that most people seem to forget. I would like to introduce you to Jerry.

Jerry is 32 years old with an office job and a live-in girlfriend. He used to play video games but in the past several years, he hasnít had as much time to play games aside from a few a year. On March 4th, 2013, he goes into his local Best Buy to buy a new case for his iPhone because he accidentally ripped his old one when he sees an advertisement for the new SimCity game. This catches his eye and he remembers all the hours he sunk into SimCity 4 10 years before when he was in college. So he decided to pick up a copy and buys it along with the phone case and a Snickers bar since they were there at the checkout line.

He drives home, eating the Snickers bar along the way, and once heís there, replaces his old phone case with the new one. He then decides to play some of the new SimCity game since his girlfriend wonít be back from work for almost an hour. He opens the case, inserts the disc into his computer and begins the installation. After the various steps, bells, whistles, agreements and various other signing offs of his immortal soul, SimCity (and Origin) has been successfully installed onto his computer. He may only have about a half an hour to play now but he gets right into it. However, he is unable to as he gets a message saying that he could not log into SimCity due to a network error.

Now, Iím going to pause here the story of Jerry and speak to you directly. Video games are a form of entertainment. They are in fact a play thing that we do to amuse ourselves. This can lead to various ideas that can at times take games to be more than a play thing and can be thought provoking or artistic or even cathartic. However, once constant that used to always be true is that video games are a product. Whether you were going to engross yourself in a drama filled storyline such as the one in Final Fantasy IV or just mow down bad guys in Contra, the process remained the same. You went to the store that was selling the game you wanted, you gave them the correct amount of money and they would give you your game. You would then take the game home, pop it into your console or computer, and play. Simple.

However now a new concept has been introduced. Instead of video games being a product, some video games are instead seen as a service. Now some titles want you to pay monthly or in some other timely increment for the ability to play the game. This conceptÖis fine. I donít mind the idea of paying each month for the ability to play a game granted my initial investment was small. Which brings us to the game in question, SimCity. SimCity has attached to it what is known as always online DRM. Itís a form of protection that is designed to keep the game from being offered online for free as an illegal pirated download. See, if the game requires you to have an active internet connection at all times, it can constantly check to make sure that your copy is legitimate.

Now the developer of SimCity, Maxis, says that requiring that online connection allows them to implement a variety of different features and social connections in the game that previous SimCity titles did not have. That sounds pretty good, right? The great thing about technology is it can enable ideas previously not possible to become reality and give us new ways to experience entertainment, video games not the only medium who can benefit from this.

However, hereís where things change without some, including those who should absolutely be aware of this, not taking the following into consideration. Corporations and consumers have a basic understanding with any product that is made available. The consumer agrees to give money to the store provider which then the corporation gets a cut of and in return, the corporation gives the consumer a product in working order as advertised. With video games, this means you buy a video game and when you put it into the device itís for, it works.

When you have new restrictions on the product such as always online DRM, the previous understanding no longer applies. A new one is in order and with the new restrictions comes new expectations. Requiring an constant internet connection means that the cost for playing that game is higher than it normally would be for a game without always online DRM. If I want to play the new Tomb Raider, I require a PC that is strong enough to run the game as well as a copy of the game itself. That means that I have to have a computer thatíll run me around $800 to $1000 as well as the $60 for the game itself. Tomb Raider also has multiplayer but if I want to play the main part of the game which is the single player campaign, I donít need an internet connection, meaning that the internet connection is optional.

To play SimCity, Iíll need a PC roughly the same price, as well as the game at around the same price as Tomb Raider. However, I also need that internet connection that roughly costs me anywhere from $20 to $50 dollars a month or even more. This in essence makes that game by association a service, not a product. Now a small tangent. This could easily be avoided if the developers had decided to include an offline mode. In exchange for losing some of the new features the game implements, I have the option to play the game even if I donít have an online connection at all times or at all. This alone is probably a deal breaker for many of you and thatís understandable but the main point is what this does to the consumerís expectations.

Now that more is being expected from the consumer, more is now being expected from the corporation. Not only is the game expected to be as advertised and in working order, the game is also expected to provide its service at all times. So what happens when one party does not adhere to this understanding? We know what happens when the consumer doesnít. They could be arrested for stealing the product off the shelves or their internet connection speed could be affected or that particular consumer could be banned from the service. The repercussions are in fact the same regardless of the severity of the expectations.

So when the corporation fails to meet their end of the understanding, you should be mad. You should be very mad. I mean, I could go to jail if I were to steal a copy of SimCity. I could have my internet speed throttled if I were to pirate it. What are the repercussions for the corporations? Well, lets look at other products and services for examples. Lets say I buy a table from Home Depot, already assembled. I just tied it down to the back of my truck and brought it home. I place it down in my kitchen and realize that the table is lopsided. Despite my floor being level, the table is not. Apparently, one of the legs on the table is not the same length as the others. What do I do? I take the table back to Home Depot and either get a refund or an identical table that is level. Because the product was not in working order, that unit will be discarded and the corporation is out a sale.

Lets look at an example with a service. I have my TV service with a company called Charter Communications. I pay them monthly for the service they provide. If one day my TV service stops working due to weather conditions or some other random occurrence, they are required to fix it. If the service is down for a certain amount of time, like an hour or so, I can call Charter on the phone and demand some kind of compensation, usually resulting in a partial refund of some kind. So when a video game fails to meet their expectations, I took am entitled to some kind of refund or compensation of some kind. What do you do when instead of being just a few consumers itís your entire audience?

In case you donít know, SimCity hasnít worked properly since itís launch due to Electronic Arts not having the servers capable enough to support all the gamers trying to play the game. The game launch a week ago. That is beyond unacceptable and whatís worse is the repercussions donít match the failure to the consumer. Losing a lot of sales of SimCity is not enough. Imagine if I kept stealing copies of SimCity for a week. That would not end well. Instead, EA has only asked that people be patient as they fix the problems while not giving anyone refunds and giving people a free game of which has not been revealed to be anything good. A free game should have been offered practically each day the servers were not working properly.

That word patience. Donít be. Imagine of instead of taking that table back that you just slipped a drink coaster under the short leg and called it fine. Imagine not complaining to the cable company about your service and having sporadic service until your bill came in the mail, of which was full price and of which you pay. Doing so means you have failed as a consumer and have let the corporation bulldoze over you and say that the understanding between corporations and consumers doesnít not apply to you. That the corporation can do whatever it wants with you because you will just lay back and take it without opening your mouth. EA essentially sold you a broken product that would only fixed later through their service which means your product purchase was meaningless and practically an unnecessary purchase. Highway robbery at its finest.

And I do mean that the buying of the disc or download is unnecessary. I donít recall a table ever requiring you to have an active internet connection at all times. Cable companies donít even require you to buy the cable boxes for their services. They only charge you a five to ten dollar leasing fee that only applies there because the hardware is required. The box art and cardboard packaging for SimCity is not required and that doesnít even apply to the download. So if I need the internet to play the game, that $60 was worthless. Another quick tangent: for those thinking that you canít compare video games to cable companies and pieces of furniture, why? Why not? In terms of products and services, they are the same and even if they werenít, I donít see how that gives video games a free pass not to adhere to the same standards if not better other products and services must.

The problem with always online DRM is two fold. One, it means that the audience of the game is significantly limited. If someone who doesnít have access to a constant online connection wants to play this game, they canít, pure and simple. If someone wants to play it on their laptop and they donít have a data plan, they canít do it. If someone has an always active internet connection but has bandwidth limitations or download and upload caps, they have to watch how they play it. That means less people will be willing to buy the game and that means less money for EA.

Two, always online DRM is a business model that hasnít been proven to work. Before the game was even released, we in the know of this industry knew there was going to be problems. Game sites knew it, gamers knew it, everybody knew it. Which means that both Electronic Arts and Maxis knew it as well. They knew that they would have problems when the game was released and they decided to do it anyways because the understanding between corporations and consumers was a distant second in their minds. What was important was securing that initial income and then just fixing it later while acting humble and apologetic while offering some game for free thatís really of no consequence to them anyway.

Now lets come back to Jerry. After several minutes of trying to connect, Jerry eventually gives up and takes the disc out of the computer. He repackages it and watches TV until his girlfriend comes back home. See, Jerry is not an avid gamer and as such, does not follow the latest video game news and doesnít know that this is a known problem of the game. So the next day, he goes back to Best Buy and returns the game for a full refund. Like he should. Jerry doesnít get to play SimCity, and EA loses out on money.

Gamers may be different as they know that eventually the problem will be fixed but they too will not trust EA with this kind of business model and the sales will suffer from that audience as well. However, EA wonít be the one to take the brunt. Maxis will. Even if the always online DRM was their idea, it was EA who provided it. They are the ones that failed the consumer and their own developer. Itís not like Maxis owns Origin or runs all the servers. EA has to manage all of that with them yet Maxis will ultimately be hurt by this more than EA.

So what about after launch? After all the problems have been ironed out and everything is stable? Well, lets change Jerryís story a bit. Instead of at launch, lets say Jerry picked up SimCity a few months after launch. Yes, weíre going into the future as Jerry now picks up his copy of SimCity in June. He comes home, Snickers eaten and phone case put on, and installs the game. This time heís able to connect without issue and immediately starts to build his city. Everything goes fine and when his girlfriend comes home, he saves his progress and has dinner. The next day he starts the game up after work and plays some more, again saving his progress after heís done for the day. The following day he starts up his game to find that the server did not save his progress and he has to do what he did the following night all over again. Or maybe the server completely wiped his city and he has to know start over. Maybe nothing happened and he can continue his city like normal. Any of those could have happened.

Even if nothing happens to Jerry and he plays the game until the servers eventually are discontinued and his purchases has been completely invalidated since it was really a temporary service rather than an actual product purchase, it doesnít change that it was never necessary. It doesnít change that in a competitive market like the video game industry where a lot of people only buy a few games brand new a year because games run you $60 a pop, something like always online DRM wastes your time and prevents you, the consumer, from doing what you want with your purchase. Whatís worse is it doesnít prevent pirating at all! Iíve already seen several copies of the game pirated for download. Sure they have the same problem as those who bought the game legitimately but the difference is those who pirated the game are $60 richer. It doesnít change the fact that I am not going to bother with SimCity because there are too many games coming out right now like Tomb Raider, Bit.Trip Runner 2, God of War Ascension and Gears of War Judgment that will work out of the box for me to put up with SimCityís DRM nonsense. Hell, I can download Sim City 4 off Steam for $20 and play that and have a good time. Which I did and am.

Do not shrug this off as no big deal. Do not tell anyone to be patient or to quit complaining. If the game works fine for you, know that you are the exception, not the standard and that doesnít mean that your lack of issues or understanding of the situation invalidates others problems. Stand up for yourself as a consumer and let your voice be heard so that corporations know that this will not be tolerated. Contact the Better Business Bureau, write complaints to EA directly. Hell, donít buy the game or wait a week or two. Game sales in the first two weeks are the most important. Doing so will stop your anticipated game from being dragged down with its arbitrary business practice and stop people like Jerry from being duped. Online connectivity for certain features is a mode, an optional part of the game, not a requirement. Always online DRM is never required and donít let anyone tell you different. Diablo III did this last year and now SimCity has recreated this same problem this year. Should it happen again, do not let this slide. Thereís always other games more deserving of your attention. Now if you will excuse me, I have tombs to raid, runners who need to jump and a Sim City to build that wonít be lost due to it being unable to load at this time.