Life, The Universe, And Gaming — Wait, What?! [Column]
Okay now that we’ve got this column under way — I never quite know how to properly start these things off — I’d like to talk about something that wasn’t actually the intended topic for this week. No, that topic has been moved to two weeks from now because I need more time to work on it, something I assure you will vindicate my reasons for postponing it.
Look at me punting my next column before I’ve even properly begun this one.
So, the last game I properly played on PC was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
I would count Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, a game I’ve been playing religiously since 2003, though recently only ever for DotA (Defence of the Ancients for my non-DotA
fans friends), but really DotA is nothing but an addiction and one that has successfully been quelled (recently, and for the moment). Like a Quelling Blade to that tree above the neutral creep spawn just to the left of Sentinel’s bottom tower.
I should note that in recent times I have almost entirely taken to using an Xbox 360 controller instead of your traditional mouse and keyboard, something that I previously favoured above all else for any and all types of games. Guitar Hero aside.
Seriously, my skills with a keyboard and mouse are incredible, ironically especially for games that prefer controllers. Games like racers, beat-em-ups or football simulators: I’m simply better at, with a keyboard.
Or I was.
Nowadays, I will happily use my Xbox 360 controller instead. Even for such games as first person shooters and real time strategy.
People sometimes say, “But Cavie, you crazy man-beast, isn’t it so much slower and less responsive compared to using a keyboard and mouse?” to which my usual reply is, “It’s CaViE tho. But yes, and I don’t care because I’m good enough with it anyway. Also, man-beast? Really?”
In any case, apart from The Witcher 2 — for the moment a PC exclusive (which I play with a controller anyway) and so entirely unavailable on Xbox 360… for the moment — the vast majority of my gaming has been done on Xbox 360.
My motivation and justification for this is the exact same, which I will present in the form of an unordered list, because I can, and because unordered lists are sexy.
- Achievements and GamerScore make me happy.
- The online experience is just better.
- The controller is more comfortable in my hands and preferred to a mouse and keyboard.
- I needn’t buy all of my games at retail price.
- Pop — Achievement Unlocked (I really enjoy achievements).
Just a few hours ago — many more hours ago by the time you read this — I remarked to Dean that I count up to fourteen Xbox 360 titles around me that don’t actually belong to me. They are all games that my very generous friends have lent to me. Quite a few friends at that, with some lending me quite a few of their games. Good times.
The point is, all of those are games that I would have otherwise been unable to play without either purchasing brand new for myself, or pirating. The latter is a sin punishable by death — hanging from the gallows and all that — so it doesn’t even count as an option.
So purchasing, basically.
Except even then I couldn’t because being a university student who has ridiculously high fees to pay each year, my resources available for gaming remain on the exact opposite side of abundant. In fact, for many years now I have been trying to save up for a PS3 and a new HD monitor, but thanks to the few games that I do buy, neither fantasy has been realised. I call them fantasies because that’s all they’ve been, for those years. I am open to bribes, though. Not sure what I can offer, but by all means propose something.
Incidentally, and quite unsurprisingly, the only game I’ve ever paid full price for — and pre-ordered, at that — is Dragon Age II. It’s true.
I’ve been pretty lucky that way, with regards to games. Lucky, or smart. Take your pick.
The majority of games that I’ve played were either borrowed from friends or second-hand purchases from eager sellers who were willing to part with their games for far less than it was worth. Seriously. A few months ago I got the Crysis 2 Limited Edition and Dead Space 2 for under R400 in total.
Electronic Arts — a company that I have previously defended time and time again — however, do not seem to enjoy this fact. If they had it their way, I would be forced to pay for every single game that I’ve played over the years. That way even more of their executives can add shiny new rims to their Lamborghinis and Ferraris.
You all know what I’m talking about by now. You’ve read my feature on the pending war between Gamers and the Online Pass system that seeks to police their gaming.
Tell me, by borrowing games from friends, by trading and buying games second-hand, am I doing something wrong?
Certainly not legally so.
So why should I be punished for it?
Ah, that’s right. Because they can get away with it. Publishers, that is.
Don’t worry, this column won’t devolve into yet another apoplectic rant about the Online Pass, but I will first make a few points before moving on. Again, let’s use unordered lists. Bring sexy back!
- When person A sells a game to person B, person A no longer has the ability to play that game, therefore person B takes over their slot on any possible server that person A has already paid for the right to use. Contrary to the words of developers, server costs remain the same when second-hand sales occur because two players cannot both play a single copy of a game. How is this still a valid excuse for anyone? Person A paid for the ability to use the game online, and person B purchases that ability along with the game, effectively revoking person A’s access. There are no further incurred expenses on the side of the servers, unless you wish to count stats-tracking, the most menial of things that aren’t even mentioned in any EULA. I cannot stress this point enough.
- If I belong to a household with siblings who also play games, I am entitled to pool resources with them in order to buy games — many people do this already — so that all of us may enjoy it. The introduction of an Online Pass nullifies this pooling of resources since only a single person may enjoy the game online per purchase of a game, especially disconcerting for something like Battlefield 3. Heaven praise Epic Games for not introducing Online Passes to Gears of War 3.
- The assertion that publishers don’t make money from second-hand purchases is entirely false because for every copy of a game that exists, someone somewhere has already paid full price for it. I’ve always wanted to use this example for something gaming related: If you bought a car from a manufacturer and then sold it many years later, would the manufacturer see a cent of that money? No. So why then do publishers expect to be paid for something they’ve already been paid for? Because they’re greedy, that’s why. Because above all else, gaming is a business to them. And that’s fine and dandy if they remain within ethical boundaries. But they’re not, yet they seem to be getting away with it because “it’s only 800 msp lol”. For now…
Gamers are known for their silly raging, their retarded fanboyisms, their self-entitled natures and their previously misguided attempts at boycotts.
Here is a right, proper reason to call on one, but nobody seems to be willing to heed the call.
Am I really the only person in the room right now that cares enough about gamers’ rights to want to fight this movement towards an online pass system for all games?
My final words on this matter, then: “To the gaming police: Thanks for being the gaming police.”
Well it seems I’ve already overstayed my visit for this week. And I actually had something to talk about at some point in this column…
Till next time, I suppose. Look out for it.