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Good Idea; Bad Idea: Son of Return of the Idea!

I remember years ago reading an article in 'Game Players' where they outlined what they saw as the future of video gaming. In this article they outlined a plan for an RPG where you paid a low price (say, $20) for an install disk which puts the majority of the game on your console (say 30-40 hours of game play) and then a new 'episode' would be released every few weeks or so online for an additional $10 that would continue the story. The idea of a future where I'd have a game like 'Final Fantasy 7' go on forever got me really excited. Flash forward a few years, and you're where we are today... downloadable content which can be pretty awesome, but can also be pretty damn lame.

Good Idea: Affordable, High Content Downloadable Content

A good example of downloadable content done right is the content that's been released for Bethesda's 'The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion'. The game itself clocked in at a crazy 200 hours and with a game this big, maybe there isn't a need for games like the ones I used to imagine as a younger lad with episodic content. In spite of this, Bethesda released an expansion pack titled 'Knights of the Nine' which expanded the game by another 7+ hours. This alone would be good enough for any 'Elder Scrolls' fan, however; Bethesda took it one giant leap further and released the 'Shivering Isles' expansion which added a ridiculous 30+ hours to the game.

Finally, in October, they released their final piece of downloadable content that was absolutely free... a few years after the game's release, and with no provocation at all. Games like this may not be the downloadable gaming utopia of never ending happiness that I had once dreamt of, but it's no post-apocalyptic future either.

Bad Idea: Expensive, Low Content Downloadable Content

Any time you've got something that is going well, you're bound to have someone come in and shit all over it. A good example of this would be Harmonix's and Red Octane's Guitar Hero II. The reason I mention both Harmonix and Red Octane is because it's their rift which is the main reason for the craptacular downloadable content that's been put out. After promising a steady stream of downloadable content, the companies split up and started working on 'Rock Band' and 'Guitar Hero 3'.

Since Harmonix didn't want to make money for their competitor, and Red Octane was too busy working on GH3 to be bothered, the people that bought Guitar Hero 2 for the 360 with visions of downloadable song packs in their eyes had their dreams crushed after just a few (far too expensive) song packs were released.

Worst Idea: Downloadable Cheat Codes

Finally, I'll wrap this up with the most despicable of all downloadable content... the downloadable cheat code. Rather than putting silly little cheats like 'Big Head' mode into the game that you can find a cheat for online, companies are programming these cheats in with no way to activate them other than to pay to download a key to unlock the feature.

This kind of downloadable content is absolutely ridiculous. Paying for additional content which is a bit too costly or a bit underwhelming is one thing, but trying to charge gamers to unlock 'unlimited turbo' is just wrong. People will notice greed like this, and they will vote with their wallets against this sort of behavior. Shame on any company that does this and shame on anyone that buys this kind of garbage.

So there you have it, some ideas. It's a good idea to not suck. It's a bad idea to suck. Please, in the future, if at all possible, don't suck.
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About Dynamic Sheepone of us since 12:16 PM on 08.28.2007

Hi! I play video games and don't afraid of anything. Well, I am afraid that I might accidentally a whole Jill sandwich... but the chances of that happening are slim! I don't blog as much as I'd like to.

I've had every system I could get my hands on since I first played Super Mario Brothers on the NES, and currently I have a Wii, Dreamcast, PS3, and 360 hooked up to my TV. My all time top 5 favorite games: Super Smash Bros. Melee, LoZ: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Castlevania: SotN.

I don't really have a favorite genre, because I like pretty much all video games. It's easier to just list the genres that I don't like. Simulation sports games (Madden, Tiger Woods, etc.) are no fun at all in my opinion and most FPS games (with few exceptions) bore me.

I wanted to join this community because the front page posts are fantastic, and the cblogs are packed full of win. During my time here, I've met tons of amazing people, and have had an awesome time at the first Mega-NARP in Cincinnati. My favorite thing about Destructoid is the cocks. Long live Destructoid.com!

On a NVGR note, these men are amazing!
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