August 24, 2007

The Who Down In Gameville

All of this BioShock hubbub on the net brought out the Seuss in me. Apologies for the length, and for the meter being off in some sections.

The Who down in Gameville love to play
Video games all the night and all day.
They play them with meals,
They play them on wheels,
They play them online,
They play them all fine.

The gamers defend their systems with glee,
Some on PC, others on 360.
A straggling few have a PS3,
But their numbers are too small
To matter, you see.

The 360 gamers had plenty of games
But the means to control them were all the same.
No keyboard, no mouse would enter the fray;
With joystick, it was deemed, all games will play.

The PC gamers had games out the nose
And many could be played with a rubber hose.
Though hardware and drivers made compat pure shit
The gamers could play the game as they saw fit.

The 360 was capable of finishing the war
That Master Chief started this year less four;
But the PC gamers didn't really feel sore
Because they felt their computers could do so much more.

A few undesirables in either camp
Would pirate the games with their digital stamp,
But the PC suffered from warez much more often
That the 360 suffered in its small red-ringed coffin.

The makers of games saw the pirating void
The 360 protection automatically deployed.
It was too hard for most people to pirate and mod,
Unlike the PC where DRM's a fraud.

The makers of games kept selling to both
But the revenue figures weren't giving them hope
So they decided to turn PC games on their ear
And put in some roadblocks for casual pirates to fear.

They put in some code to check for the disk,
Figuring that would reduce their risk,
And for a while, the sales were in tune,
Until one day in the middle of June
When a fellow who went by the name of Woon
Etched into the code his Eldritch rune
And with that act of modification
The pirate people resumed their duplication.

The makers of games saw this,
And they were not pleased.
So they tried it again,
This time with product keys.
The crackers struck with the greatest of ease,
Bringing the simple code to its knees,
And copying again was as simple as a breeze.

While the battle to reduce bad copies commenced,
The good PC gamers were left on the fence.
While 360 gamers played games left and right,
Their PC shelf experienced a blight.
The PC got ports; even then, just a few.
Several had more bugs than a case of the flu,
So the PC gamers decided on just what to do.

"Our platform of choice is wounded right now
Because makers of games hold their too-sacred cow
Of keeping their games legit,
But unfortunately for us,
They're giving us shit.
The bugs, the crashes, the gamepad controls,
The 4:3 graphics, the sad online trolls.
We'll hold out for games that make us complete,
Only then will we go and suckle the teat."

A new game came out that would fit the bill,
And the PC excitement betrayed their thrill.
The screenshots filled their hearts with such glee
For it looked just as good as it did on 360.
The water effects were astoundingly good
And did you hear the sounds of bullets on wood?
The enemy AI was really a treat
And the game would take many hours to beat.
The PC gamers were also excited to see
It designed for 16:9 instead of 4:3.

Gamers of all kinds went out on day one
To pick up their copies and have them some fun,
But one of the PC'ers decided to see
What the game looked like in old 4:3,
And what he saw he decided to abhor:
People in 4:3 could see just a teensy bit more.

While the 360 gamers were exploring Rapture,
The PC gamers were starting to capture
The fury of others at what they perceived
As attempts to trick them, make them deceived!

The 360's plasmids were making them cautious
While the PC gamers claimed to be nauseous.
The 360's were hacking and splicing with glee
While the PC gamers were chanting "FOV!"

While the 360 gamers were after old Ryan,
A wee PC gamer, who we'll call Brian,
Discovered the PC version didn't want
Him installing his game wherever he'd want
And if he installed too many copies at a single time
He'd have to call for permission (albeit on the dev's dime).

The devs explained that you could install it twice
Compared to the 360's once, now wasn't that nice?
But the PC gamers grew incensed, they say.
"Can't install how we want? Then we won't pay."

The 360 gamers were saving the Sisters
While the PC gamers were making new blisters
Typing out hate mail to community relations
Typically reserved for some Third Reich nations.

The makers of games attempted to appease,
Saying "Five installs now, and soon FOV!"
But the PC gamers said, "Too little, too late,"
While 360 gamers learned Andrew Ryan's fate.

The 360 gamers took a rest and paused their games
Since the plot twist made them question their aims.
They went to the forums to discuss the game
But found that they had been covered in flame.
They looked at their copies, the same FOV,
The same behavior in 4:3.
Only one copy in use, just like on PC.
They saw the debate and thought it quite lame
And then they unpaused and continued their game.

As the 360 gamers completed their quest,
The PC gamers thought they were the best
For getting their way was what mattered now;
The game had become secondary to their sacred cow.

In the end, PC gamers got what they wanted
But the game left their shelf space curiously haunted.
The uproar scared other devs away
As they asked, "Why didn't they just play
The game as designed? It's the game that they needed.
It wasn't these petty demands to be heeded.
The 360 gamers played all day long,
They shuddered when the Sister sang her eerie song.
They loved the game, it's easy to see;
They didn't whine, bitch and moan like those with PC's.
We pour our hearts into these games that we make,
But seeing the toll these arguments take
Really do encourage us to flee...
To hell with PC, we'll build for 360."

Now that you have read my sad tale,
Of PC gamers chasing their white whale,
Can you see why elitism made it to be
Just too much trouble to build for PC?
The PC market's feeling the cruch,
For Blizzard's "WoW" has been eating their lunch
And they're fairly certain about this small hunch
That pirated games delivered the sucker punch.

But pleasing PC gamers is no small feat
And elitism raises the bar they must meet
So the makers of games still love the PC....
As a tool to make games for the 360.

(Edit: Fixed typo. [Wrote this thing on a BlackBerry...])


Anonymous said...

Magnificent work ;-)

Bobby said...

Interesting perspective. I as a PC gamer who pays for games do not appreciate being treated like a thief. I appreciate even less having half baked armature hour DRM like starForce and SecuROM installed on my machine.

You may be correct that pirates are killing PC gaming, but don't lay the blame at the feet of paying customers.

Shawn Z. said...

Fantastic work!

I would have liked to have said I was one of the few PC gamers without an issue, but late last night my game locked up and reset my computer when hacking a turret.

Also a shame they apparently have the SecureRom stuff included in the Steam version (so I've been hearing).

Roosterhead said...

I bought Bioshock for the PC on the day it came out. I've read all of the various posts about the issues at hand.

My feeling is that I don't have a problem with how they want to copy protect the game. My problem is that they didn't communicate this issue clearly to the general public. I think most people assumed that the online verification would be similar to Valve's Steam service.

If they had communicated how the copy protection system worked, I think it would have helped ease some of the concerns. My gut feeling is that they didn't disclose it fully because they didn't want to ruin initial sales of the game.

Granted, it wouldn't surprise me if 75 percent of the people on the 2K forums are griping because they can't easily pirate the game.

Fortunately, I haven't installed the game yet so I'm waiting until the dust settles a bit. Your poem is too true, PC gamers can be an especially demanding lot.

Anonymous said...

This started out okay, but then you made it sound like the 360 gets one install, which is wrong. You can bring it to a friends house use that disc, and use it on a future system. Now imagine if you brought it to a friends house and then you couldn't play it anymore because you used the disc on another system. Or image that you could not use the disc on your 360 after a few times.

This guy who made this up is dead wrong. This is the first game to do this type of content protection and it is hurting customers and game reviewers...

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mike, but that was bullshit.

Don't you remember a time where you could buy a PC game, sit down and install it, then PLAY it? A time where we didn't have these extra restrictions, checks and whatnot? A simpler time?

When the pirated copies are superior to the legal versions, what's the point? Why will publishers realize they've CANNOT stop piracy and their extra measures are hurting legit customers? I know you feel passionately about it, but you have to appreciate the fact that if the pirates are getting a better deal, the copy-protections measures have gone too far.

If we keep out mouth shut when draconian measures are taken, it's just gonna get worse. Do we blame the pirates? Maybe... or maybe blame the old fogies who don't understand the nature of software.