Let me start this by saying one thing: I generally detest going to EB Games. When I hunt for a worthwhile video game, I tend to go there last simply because Iím not fond of their generally high prices and annoying marketing tactics. I hate being told repeatedly to please pre-order Destiny or Watch Dogs or whatever the over-hyped game of the week is.
To put it bluntly, I really donít like the store. Itís a deeply unpleasant experience for me. Generally.
I just wanted to write this up because, for once, Iím not mad at them. Rather, Iíve had a strangely humanising experience with an EB Games store.
I kind of only went into the store on this day on a whim. Really, I was bored. Iíd just grabbed a bite to eat after a long walk and I figured ďhey, why not go check out some video games? Seems like a decent idea. Something to play when I get home. Could be fun.Ē
Turns out this store in particular had a game Iíve been wanting to play for quite some time: No More Heroes, or at least, the PS3 version of the game. So I begrudgingly walk over to the counter with a videogame box in my hand, expecting to be lectured on why Destiny will legit be the bestest game in the universe and how I absolutely must pre-order it to get some stupid gun skin or something like that because obviously a pre-order DLC pack is the only way I can fully enjoy the best game that will ever exist. Obviously.
ďHoly shit! This is my favourite game! You ever played it? Oh man, youíre going to absolutely love it if youíre into quirky Japanese humour.Ē
Those were the first words to come out of the guy at the counterís mouth. I was shocked. Instead of getting your typical lecture from the marketing arm of the videogame industry, I instead encounter just another fan of over-the-top games.
Since the store was empty, I figured Iíd just go with it. Mention Iíd never played the game, but heard good things.
ĒReally? Youíre into quirky games, too? Heard of Drakengard 3? Absolutely love it. Canít order it in for you considering thereís no retail copy in this country, but Iíd wholeheartedly recommend you import it or buy it on the PSN.Ē
Dammit EB Games, Iím trying to hate your store with all of my hatred. Why do you do everything you can to make me like your staff? Talking about a game I adore? Recommending I import it? Whereís the corporate PR speak Iím so used to? What is this? Have I gone to Bizarro World?
The conversation with this EB Games employee continues. Since the store was still empty, we talk about our love of the PS Vita, YS: Memories of Celceta and its amazing soundtrack, Ratchet and Clank and how dick jokes significantly improve videogames.
As Iíve mentioned, it was a strangely humanising experience. Itís the sort of thing that makes me remember that some the employees of a game store tend to just be fans of gaming in general, and not the PR representatives of an evil money-hungry corporation. At least some of the time.
When I left the store with my newly obtained game in hand, I came to a sudden realisation; I was never once asked to pre-order Destiny. In fact, there was never once any mention of pre-ordering a game in that conversation. Iíd simply spoken to a gamer.
Recently, I have noticed that it seems as if there are some spambots on the wonderful Community Blogs on the Destructoid website. Generally, they seem to be writing up some wonderful advertorials about video games as well as posting links that claim to be for cheats to the video games they talk about, using different accounts to do so (even though the writing styles are all eerily similar). Realising that this could be a highly lucrative thing for me, I want to put forth my own advertorial for a video game Iím sure everyone is talking about; Jak 3.
I hope the fine folks at Destructoid appreciate the hard work I put forth in order to advertise a game and the possibility of video game cheats. I also hope I can do a much better job than the current spambots Destructoid hires. Consider this my rťsumť.
Jak 3 is a video game about an elf named Daxter and an orange thing named Jak who go on wonderful adventures. At the start of the game, they are in a desert because Daxter can turn into Dark Jak and he smashes stuff all awesome-like with explosions and things.
As this is a video game, Daxter is controlled through buttons that can be found on your video game console controller. This controller is generally for a PlayStation console, as this is not a game for Xbox or PC. As such, you have to remember that buttons have shapes on them instead of letters.
As the game progresses, Daxter gets guns that let him shoot stuff. Shooting stuff is a thing that happens in this video game. Explosions can also happen when you shoot things because that is how video games work. When things die, they explode. Specifically, vehicles explode better than people because people arenít made of explode-y things.
But you can also shoot people in this open-world game. Although in the first city, you might not want to do that because people in that city have guns that can murder you to death if you get shot by them too often.
Daxter also explores a desert, once he unlocks the cars required to explore the desert. In the desert, he gets shot at by other cars. Sometimes he leaves the car to explore an area, like a volcano or a temple of something-or-other that lets Daxter turn blue and gives him time-freezing powers. These time-freezing powers are best complimented with the wondrous power of cheats, which I am very pleased to say this game has. Cheats can be found in the game, requiring no additional websites, malware or other stuff.
People play games exclusively for cheats, you see. Cheats are the only good thing about video games and you know it.
These cheats are really cool and sometimes awesome things happen with them activated. Although you have to earn the ability to cheat by unlocking eggs. Perhaps they are eggs of the Easter variety? People also play games for Easter Eggs, you see. Gameplay has nothing to do with it. Not at all.
Eventually, Daxter gets to Haven City where he gets to roam wild and free and complete other missions to progress the story. Daxter and Jak also get to go to other parts of Haven City where they can shoot robots and drive cars that can fly.
But anyway, this game also has some really cool platforming and car-driving stuff. You can perform all these awesome things by pressing buttons and watching a 3D character move around on a screen.
Enemies that Daxter fights include Heavy Metal fans (or Metalheads) - something that makes me feel highly discriminated against and it makes me feel like Naughty Dog really just donít listen to enough Gorgoroth - people, people in blue, people with guns, robots, and monsters.
This game also contains a possible allusion to tentacle porn.
As per the suggestion of a certain (incredibly sexy) Community Director for Destructoid, itís time to write an immensely self-serving and masturbatory Community Blog about myself. So sit back, relax and prepare for a large serving of verbal ejaculate to defile your eyeballs.
That probably sounded immensely creepy. I apologise.
10. I really need a goddamn haircut. But probably wonít get one. Because Iím a lazy bastard.
No, really, Iíve been growing my hair out for about 3 and a half years now. SoooÖ yeah. Thereís your defining characteristic, folks!
9. PS2 is the Best Console Ever.
Donít even try to pick a fight with me over this. I will not change my stance on it. The PS2 was the best console ever. It was able to play every single PlayStation game in its time, thanks to its backwards compatibility, but even if it didnít have backwards compatibility, itíd still have a damn good library by itself.
Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around laughing at games like Ratchet and Clank or dicking around in Haven City with the Infinite Ammo cheat in Jak 2 and 3. It was just an awesome console, and I still happily play my PS2 to this day.
8. Scrap the Previous Point, the Game Boy Advance SP is the Best Console Ever.
No really, this console was amazing. The rechargeable battery (something we all take for granted now) was an absolute godsend. Along with a lit screen (though I had the old front-lit model) and backwards compatibility for older Game Boy games, this console was freaking amazing. Best Christmas present I ever received.
7. Devin Townsend Has Been My Favourite Artist For 14 Years
Seriously. Thatís really all that needs to be said about the matter.
6. Alien is Superior to Aliens
Maybe this is me, but I personally preferred the very Ďsurvival horrorí atmosphere of the first Alien movie. The idea that the characters are stranded in a spaceship with little to no hope of escape while being slowly picked off one by one by a creature that, for the most part, was very much hidden in the shadows, allowing our minds to sort of fill in the blanks with whatever sort of grotesque horrors we can think up?
5. Iím Having a Hard Time Trying to Think Up Something Moderately Entertaining HereÖ
So instead Iíll simply write Ďcocksí.
4. I Fucking Love Godzilla
Hoping like crazy that the 2014 American remake isnít shit. Because Godzilla is awesome. Giant freaking monsters stomping on cities and smashing shit? How isnít that just amazing?
3. I Feel More Comfortable Watching Movies and TV With Subtitles
Not sure why, but I pretty much always have to have subtitles on a movie or TV show that Iím watching, if the option is available. Even if itís in English.
2. Iím Incredibly Grateful to the Destructoid Community for Introducing me to Some Kickass Animes
Really. If it werenít for Dtoid, Iíd probably never have found out about seriesí like Bakemonogatari or gained as much of an interest in Kill la Kill (thanks to Hamza for the header pictures).
1. I am Under the Assumption That the Entire Dtoid Community is Sexy
Thatís right! Pokťmon Bank is finally available in Europe and Australia. Users who pick up the free app from the 3DS eShop will be eligible for a 30 day free trial of the online service, redeemable until the 14th of March.
This also means that players in Europe and Australia can pick up a free Celebi.
Just a quick warning: Iím pretty sure the Pokť Transfer checks for hacked Pokťmon and disallows the transfer of them to the new generation of games. Just for those who do use hacked Pokťmon.
The plus side to that is that I can finally stop defending the legitimacy of my shiny Latios. Also, you know, having a hack-free online multiplayer. Thatís also cool.
With the recent debacle involving the game DarkSpore and horrible game launches like SimCity and Diablo III where the game was inaccessible for many players thanks to problems arising from DRM, it is clear that DRM has become a major inconvenience for many gamers.
Recently, Microsoft faced a huge public outcry thanks to the horrors of DRM, having to go as far as reversing many of the policies they intended to force. Because of such, the upcoming Xbox One will require a day one patch in order to remove the components that enforce such policies.
That being said, I do believe that in the right situations, I may just come to accept some forms of DRM. I may not go as far as to embrace it, but I may well accept it as long as some conditions are met.
1. DRM Must Be Kept Minimal
Essentially, I want methods of DRM to require minimal effort with regards to the user. DRM should not be intrusive to the user; it shouldn't get in the way of myself and the game. It should operate quietly in the background and should not make me jump through hoops in order to get the game to even run.
I do not want to be typing various CD keys into a game in order to get it to run. I want to able to just buy the game, install it, run it. That's it. I do not want to have to type in a key for the game, type in a key for an online pass or piece of DLC that comes with the title (or was packaged with it).
One of the worst offenders in this regard is my frustrating time obtaining all the content for the Digital Deluxe copy of Mass Effect 2. I purchased the game off Steam and obtained 3 CD keys for it. I installed the game, logged into my EA account and the game was running. Seems reasonable, right? Well no. I then realised that not all my content had downloaded and installed through Steam. I had to log into my EA account on the Bioware website, enter my keys there and download and install each content pack individually. Only then was I able to get the completed package that I'd paid for.
Another atrocious example was Fable III on PC. I got it on impulse for a very cheap price with all DLC included on Steam during a sale last year, only to realise that in order to get the DLC to even download, I had to redeem each key I purchased off Steam over Games for Windows Live. So of course I had to take every one of my CD keys and paste them into the Games for Windows Live client and download and install every piece of DLC amazingly slowly despite my decent enough broadband speeds and only then could I get all the content for my game.
2. It's One or the Other
Continuing on from the previous point, there should not be too many methods of DRM bundled with games. If I buy a game from Steam, I would like the DRM to just be Steamworks. I do not want to have to run any additional software to get my game to run; just the store/DRM method I buy my game from.
I hate having to run uPlay in order to get a game I purchased off Origin (strictly hypothetically speaking as I really try to avoid Origin at all costs) to run. I hate having to run Games for Windows Live in order to get my copy of Fallout 3 that I purchased on Steam to function.
Simply put: it's one or the other. Adding software like SecuROM or uPlay just leaves me with another hoop to jump through in order to get my legally purchased game to run.
By all means, companies can set up their own digital store fronts. In fact, I support it. Competition is always a good thing. But don't force your store front on me when I clearly want to buy my game from your competitor.
If I wanted to use uPlay, I'd just use uPlay. If I wanted to use Games for Windows Live (and I really don't), I'd buy my games from Microsoft.
Back to bashing Fable III; I found it to be a pretty horrible offender with regards to using way too much DRM software. Games for Windows Live and SecuROM being added on to a game I purchased over Steam, a program that is already utilising a method of DRM. Thank god the game was cheap (I got it on sale at 75% off)...
3. Lowered Rights Should Give Greater Benefits
Give me a reason to even want to use the DRM. This can be done in a few ways. For example: Steam offers regular sales and discounted games. It also offers an online infrastructure that really should be able to cover all bases, including online play, achievements and social functionality.
Many digital store fronts hosting their own methods of DRM should be able to offer an incentive to make people want to move over to it, not just force them over to†
it because you can. If I don't want to use Origin or uPlay, I should be able to avoid them. Sadly, this means avoiding the games exclusive to these platforms. I don't like feeling like I have to use something in order to play my game. Instead, I should want to use the software.
In the case of PlayStation Plus; I know my games obtained on PS+ do not belong to me. They require activation and authentication at times (although not very often) and are tied directly to my PSN account. My games will no longer be playable should I choose to end my subscription. Yet at this time, the benefits in terms of the sheer amount of content I get each month for the price of my 3 month/yearly subscription are so great that it ultimately becomes worthwhile.
What I'd like to see is more systems where the method of DRM is highly beneficial to the user so it ultimately becomes enticing.
4. [Single Player Games] The Game Should be Playable Whenever I See Fit
This is a pretty important issue for me; the game must be playable whenever I feel like it. When I want to play the game, it should just run. No effort required.
If I have no Internet connection, I should be able to play a game. Even if it means having slightly reduced functionality like in the case of Dark Souls. I'm willing to accept that the game may be better with an Internet connection, but even some form of offline mode would be greatly appreciated.
If anyone remembers the PC version of Assassin's Creed 2 where it required an always-on connection in order to play the single-player component. Well, that's exactly the kind of thing I don't want in my games. If I can play the game offline on a console, I should be able to play it offline on a PC. Luckily this was later patched out. The fact still remains that it happened, the game required an always online connection to play and it became unplayable when I wasn't connected to the Internet.
I understand that a game may require a one-time activation, but can't it be done through the platform the game runs off of? A one-time activation through uPlay or Origin or Steam is not overly problematic, as long as it's simple to activate my game. Having to authenticate my copy constantly to prove I didn't pirate it since the last time I authenticated it simply comes across as an incredibly annoying thing.
5. [Online Games] Always-Online Functionality Must Be Justified
Does the game need to be connected to the Internet constantly to play it? Does it add any functionality? Was it built from the ground up with the intention of it being an online game?
See, I don't have a problem with online gaming as long as there is a reason for the online component. MMOs are perfectly acceptable, as long as it is clear that the game is intended to be an MMO. It must come across to the user as if the game is intended to be played online.
For instance, World of Warcraft is clearly an online game. Dungeons and bosses are designed specifically with groups of players in mind. Some bosses are downright impossible to defeat solo.
Again, I'll be beating up Assassin's Creed 2 here. The single-player part of the game has no need for online access, yet it once was an always-online game. It didn't need to be always online, but it was.
Always online games can work, but only if the game itself benefits from the online functionality. Developers creating a single-player experience, making sure the single-player game can only be played online and then calling it an MMO is simply unacceptable.
6. [Online Games/Digital Distribution] The Service Must Be Reliable
With the recent DRM-related problems surrounding the game DarkSpore and EA's closure of their fairly modern Facebook games, I am left wondering how long it will be until EA declares their latest SimCity game dead.
How long will it be until EA shuts it down?
If I am to buy into an online game, I expect decent software support. I expect it to be playable for years to come. Why? Because I paid full price for it. I am the customer, they are the supplier. They sell me a service and I expect that service to work.
If they do shut down the servers prematurely, it would be greatly appreciated if they patch the title to remove the online connectivity. Hell, even Ubisoft is letting me play Assassin's Creed 2 offline now (this is the last time I mention it, honest).
The company must prove that they are committed to their always-online game. They must be able to demonstrate somehow that they intend to give the game a reasonable lifespan. If anything is getting in the way of players actually being able to play their game, it is up to the company to fix this problem. We, as paying customers, have done our part. We've paid for the game. That's all we should have to do.
With regards to digital store fronts, the company must be able to show that they intend to ensure any games I purchase through the store and play on the platform are going to continue to be playable into the foreseeable future. After all, if I'm to pay for a game, I want to be able to play it.
Ultimately, the game with the DRM will eventually become unplayable. That's just how things go. But I want to get a damn good amount of time to be able to play the game. And if Ė for example Ė Steam is eventually shut down, I'd like to see Valve patch their games to remove its reliance on the service.
At this point, I feel I've probably written too much on the subject of DRM. This blog post is probably going to come across as a giant wall of text and occasional images.
Also, as soon as I finished writing this entire post, I found an article on Destructoid about EA possibly considering removing the always-online component from SimCity or at least adding an offline mode. This may be a step forward.
There are very few things that piss me off more so than the ever-so-widely used "think of the children" argument whenever there is a debate about the possible censorship or banning of video games.
For starters, I don't believe that all games are created with children in mind. I highly doubt that a child would be able to truly comprehend or even be able to enjoy some games. I know I was a fairly impatient child, and at a younger age I'd never have been able to enjoy Dark Souls; a game I now regard as one of my top 5 favourite video games. Both the difficulty and high amount of patience required in order to achieve anything in the game, as well as the requirement of slightly out of the box thinking in some moments, would have ensured that I'd have never touched the game again after playing for an hour or two.
I also believe that since the average gamer is supposedly in their 30's, companies would very much try attract people of that particular age group. To put it simply, many games are designed for older people because that's what a large portion of the market consists of.
All that being said, there does seem to be a sort of social stigma attached to older gamers, as the media is still widely seen as something that is aimed at children. Because no adult would ever be able to find time to kick back and play a video game to unwind, right?
So of course there will be games made for adults. Some of the content in these games may be unacceptable for children.
Wait, what!? A game made for adults with rating that states it is for adults is unacceptable for children! How absurd!
So why does this argument still have some sort of merit? Because there are groups who are simply opposed to video games and the use of "children" in their arguments help appeal to the general populace as children are seen as vulnerable and impressionable. Children are seen as weak, defenceless and in need of help.
And to some extent, I see where they're coming from. I don't believe that children should be playing some of the games that exist on the market. I know for sure that some children should definitely stay away from online games, if only because it means I don't have to hear abuse from said children to be flung left, right and center.
But it's clearly a matter of top priority to protect these children from such horrendous evils as Mortal Kombat or Left 4 Dead 2; two games that were banned and censored, respectively, where I come from. Right? That's why the government absolutely must step in and protect these poor innocent children!
Of course not! The government shouldn't be allowed to dictate what games an entire country can play because of the cries of religious organisations and parental groups. These people need to take responsibility, themselves.
After all, I don't think it's fair for an entire country to have to make sacrifices and be restricted because of the children of a few people. If I do have to help look after a child, I should at least be paid for helping babysit the damn kid.
In this day and age, it's ridiculously easy to find out whether or not a game is appropriate. It really wouldn't take long for a parent to be able to determine whether or not a game is appropriate for their child. It's actually not that hard. You could Google a parental guide for the game or watch some footage on YouTube. This can be done from almost any device in a household. A phone, tablet, computer, even a TV.
Considering how simple it is to find out what kind of content is in a game, I don't think that banning games is even a remotely acceptable way to protect children from violent medias. These parental and religious lobbys need to realise that while they are definitely entitled to their own beliefs, we are also entitled to our ideas, too. We should have the right to be able to play our games, while they have the right to ensure their children don't play said games.
After all, I don't feel it is appropriate to dictate what everyone should and shouldn't play. I don't have the right to do so, just as they shouldn't have the right to do so. These people can do what they want, as long as it doesn't infringe on my ability to play the games I enjoy playing.
To put it very bluntly, I find it very hard to justify any extreme measures being taken in order to supposedly protect children. I just don't think this argument really holds up. The people so heavily opposed to video games really just need to understand that not everyone shares their ideology. They allowed to simply not play video games, they are allowed to restrict their child's access to video games if they so choose (I'm not a fan of it, but again, I don't have any rights to do something about it), just as I am allowed to play the games I enjoy.
Or at least should be allowed to. Australia still has a few banned and censored titles. Even with the R18+ rating now in effect, Australia is still continuing on its campaign to ban and censor various video games for various reasons. Just this week, we've had Saints Row IV and State of Decay refused classification.
We have a new rating for games for adults. We have adult gamers. We have games made for adults. Why can't adults play said games? Are games for adults being censored when a perfectly acceptable rating intended for games for adults is in place because of children?
After all, my playing a video game isn't going to cause any harm whatsoever to anyone.