April 30, 2006

[Rant] Media vs. Media Center

When I woke up yesterday, I took my shower, grabbed a Coke, checked my E-mail, and then sat down at my TV to watch the latest episode of "Mythbusters." My wife had left for a small part of the day, so my timing couldn't have been better.

Now, because I only watch a few shows and am rarely around when those shows air, I've got a Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 installation on a computer hooked up to my TV that acts like a TiVo: recording TV shows, getting TV listings, et cetera. I also use it as a true media center. My pictures, music and movies are all on this one central machine.

Over the last few months, I've had to deal with a few inconveniences. Lots of TV channels have started using the broadcast flag, so not only have I been unable to keep some shows until I had time to watch them, but any that are copy protected can't be viewed from other computers in the house. But while inconvenient, I've been able to get around it via weekend reruns or other options.

But Saturday took the cake. I sat down to watch "Mythbusters," but before I could select anything, I noticed an odd error message on the screen.

Restricted Content: Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator of the content prohibit playback of the program on this computer.

I'm used to errors greeting me in the morning. My wife isn't very technically adept, so she'll usually leave errors on either her machine or the TV for me to troubleshoot in the morning. Fortunately, on a Media Center PC, it's generally easy enough to just hit the "Back" button on the remote to see what she was doing.

I'm restricted...from watching LIVE TV!?!?!?!

After hitting back, I noticed that she was watching TNT. I hit "OK" to select TNT again, and still got the "Restricted Content" message.

Now, it's one thing to prevent someone from recording a television broadcast, but it's something else to prevent someone from watching a live broadcast. What's even worse is that the signal they embedded to trigger the broadcast flag messed up Media Center so that if I switched to a different channel, I still had the "Restricted Content" message, but with the audio of the channel in the background.

Turning off my Media Center and turning it back on resulted in everything being okay until I changed to TNT, and then it all repeated itself.

This brings me to my point. Microsoft has been making a lot of concessions to big media over the last few years in an effort to get studios to use Microsoft DRM technologies for copy protection with some measure of success. However, Microsoft has now given these companies the tools to not only prevent unauthorized use of their content, but to actually prevent authorized use of their content. Heaven forbid that someone actually want to watch live television via their computer.

What kills me is that I'd most likely have a better end-user experience using technology that pre-dates the broadcast flag. I've got an older TV tuner card in another machine that not only ignores the broadcast flag, but gives me slightly higher image quality. Of course, that card doesn't work with Media Center...

So what are we as consumers to do? The Bush Administration and the FCC have pretty much proven that consumer rights are the last thing on their agenda. The senators for my state are too busy trying to get memorials for astronauts to actually do any work. The senators in my last state weren't any better, suggesting that media companies should actually be allowed to bypass due process and destroy people's computers while at the same time violating license agreements themselves.

I'm really at a loss.

[Personal] Negativity and letting go...

Those of you who know me know that in general, I'm a pretty calm person on the surface. The unfortunate reason for my calm exterior is that for several reasons, I always expect the worst to happen. I'm rarely disappointed that way.

Pessimism actually helps quite a bit with my profession. Generally, the pessimism of the quality assurance department acts as a dose of reality for departments that are, well, over-optimistic.

However, pessimism does have several consequences. Stress is perhaps the biggest side effect. When you are always dreading the worst, it's hard to see the small things that make you happy. Pessimism also affects how you are seen by others.

So I've been going over my goals for what I want to try for "SiN Episodes: Episode 2 (Tenative Title)," and I think the biggest goal is to try to scale back my pessimism.

I'm still going to look at things in the most pessimistic way possible when doing asset reviews for ESRB issues, especially given some events that occured during the creation of "Emergence." And I'm still going to be as forceful as possible when fighting for the consumer.

But I need to get to the point where I can seperate my professional pessimism from my personal views on life. In these days where a person's job can vanish overnight, television companies can tell your television not to air certain shows because your TV isn't "compliant," and parents would rather censor entire classifications of entertainment than actually act like parents, there is enough negativity in this world without me adding my personal blend of sulk.

I hope that by letting go of some of my negativity, I can open myself up to some more opportunities as well as find more ways to help others.

For example, while I may have had some negative experiences back with MGS, a lot of those experiences can really be traced to my own negativity. So why should I hold anything against them? They reflected my negative energies back at me in a tangible fashion, but I was still the originator.

I'm not getting rid of all of my negativity, however. Pure optimism is just as unhealthy, if not moreso. Keeping some of my negativity will keep me grounded in reality, which is right where I need to be.

April 29, 2006

[Industry] Thanks and Verification

First off, I'd like to thank Laura Crowley at Day 1 Studios (makers of the wonderful and unfortunately now-defunct MechAssault series of games) and David Pickett at New Boundary Technologies for sending out job information for those who were recently laid off from Indie Built. It sounds like Avalanche/Buena Vista in Salt Lake City has been trying to pick up a lot of people, and Ritual has also send information along.

For those who have been waiting for more verification to act, this is a post from someone who was laid off on their blog.

We're a small industry, and we need to look out for our own.

April 28, 2006

[Industry] Access Software, RIP 1983-2006

Access Software, one of the last great independent developers, finally met its untimely end the afternoon of April 27, 2006.

Access Software was founded back in 1983 by the late Bruce Carver and Chris Jones, and quickly rose to the pantheon of classic game developers, with classics such as the "Links" series of golf games, the "Tex Murphy" series of adventure games, and the "Beach Head" series of action games.

The cost of acquiring rights to golf courses escalated over the years while Access was competing with Electronic Arts. In order to keep the company alive and give "Links" a solid financial backing, the company was sold to Microsoft in 1999. (MobyGames incorrectly shows 1998.)

However, Microsoft Game Studios managed to strip the profitability away from the studio by eliminating the means that Access had used to keep their products low-cost. As a result, the studio did not have many profitable titles during its stay with Microsoft.

In 2003, there was a massive layoff at the studio, which Microsoft promptly denied to "Penny Arcade." Less than a year later, the studio was sold to Take-Two Interactive and renamed to Indie Built, Inc.

Access had about seventy employees left at the time of their untimely demise. If you know of a position that is available for someone in the area, let me know and I'll try to pass the word on to the appropriate people.

April 26, 2006

[Personal] Me against the Movies

I just watched "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children," and I think I finally figured out why I'm so aligned with most gamers on games, but so completely off-kilter with most gamers when it comes to movies.

Games are generally about knowledge, learning and choice. "I know facts A, B, and C; from that I can learn item D; and that helps me make choice E." Games that violate previously learned knowledge tend to fare very poorly with most gamers.

Movies are generally about suspension of disbelief. "I don't exist in their world, I'm merely observing it from a safe distance."

Gamers tend to watch movies in cued-anticipation mode. "I have learned from cue A that when it occurs, action B will follow. Therefore, I'll prepare myself accordingly there." That's why you see all the gamers going on about the first siren scene in "Silent Hill (2006)", because it's the first time in the movie that the associated cue appears, and therefore the first time they are able to apply their knowledge. The momentary expectation and action are the primary drivers.

Cued anticipation works wonderfully for games. Most games give you a clue that X is going to happen so that you can properly react to it, like the creak on trapped chests in "Diablo," or tracers on bullets in most first-person shooters. The clue informs you as to how you should react, and you try to react accordingly.

General movie-goers tend to watch movies in anxious-anticipation mode. Cues can act as foreshadowing, but it isn't the action, it's the resolution that matters. The movie goers who went to see "Silent Hill" were more concerned with figuring out the Alessa/Sharon, trying to figure out how this was going to lead to a happy ending, etc.

Anxious anticipation works well when you have no pre-existing knowledge, because you spend your time gathering clues and trying to analyze them. It helps with the immersion because you're brain is active trying to figure things out.

So, why did I like "Silent Hill" when most gamers and most reviewers tended to loathe it? When I'm gaming, I follow the cues. When I watch movies, I only care about the ending. With that combination, "Silent Hill" was essentially made for me. It relied on having some base knowledge of the source universe to be able to decipher the conclusion, but it strayed enough from the cues from the game that I wouldn't have been able to use any of my learned knowledge from the gameplay to prepare myself for the future.

In short, it was a video game movie for fans of the video game that were willing to leave the game behind. Gamers kept picking up on the gamisms in there, expecting pop-ups like "You got the school office key," while the moviegoers were simply wondering what would be found as a result of finding the keys.

For the most part, I was able to leave the game behind. Only the last two minutes threw my gamer half into convulsions, and that was because everything that occured in those two minutes betrayed all of the knowledge that I had acquired previously.

Gamers were feeling their knowledge betrayed from the start, with Rose instead of Harry, the creatures from "Silent Hill 2" instead of the original game, Rose not having a clip-on flashlight, etc. Moviegoers were feeling off because of Christopher's search for Rose, the interdimensional aspect that was added to the town to support the last two minutes not really meshing with the remainder of the world knowledge presented to them, and the pacing wasn't exactly standard for horror flicks, but was established fare for the game.

This may not make a lot of sense to you. To be honest, it barely makes enough sense to me to write it...but at least I now know why I'm able to enjoy flicks that my gaming buddies seem to loathe with a passion normally reserved for cross-dressing Nazi pedophiles on acid.

[Sin] Au

"SiN Episodes: Emergence" has gone gold.

This project really is the product that I'm proudest to be associated with. Even though it was the most challenging product I've ever tested, I feel that the challenge was met...and exceeded.

Now it's just a matter of playing the waiting game...May 10 can't come soon enough.

[Politics] Open Letter to Senator Hutchinson

To the Honorable Senator Key Bailey Hutchinson from Texas:

Why even bother sending out a form-letter response to Video Game Voters Network members if you aren't even going to address the issue in your letter?

When your constituents write letters to you, we are doing two things. We are saying, "This issue concerns us," and we are also trying to ascertain your stance on the issue. Of course, if anything about your stance was anywhere on your website, we wouldn't have to write.

So in short, your constituents want to know what you are planning on doing about FEPA. Cop-out form-letter non-answers aren't going to cut it this time.

Provide an answer, or we'll vote someone in who will do something other than try to get memorials for space shuttle pilots.

April 22, 2006

[Review] "Silent Hill" (2006)

Tonight, I had the pleasure of watching "Silent Hill", and to say that it's by far the best video-game-to-movie conversion would be an understatement. It's a great movie in its own right, with one small problem...the last two minutes.

The movie does an amazing job of capturing the feel of the games and loosely following the storyline of the original game without aping it or ridiculing it. As a horror movie, it succeeds marvelously...except for the last two minutes.

Basically, the movie was perfect...except for the last two minutes.

I know I'm harping on the last two minutes quite a bit, but to be honest, they're the worst part of the entire flick. If you are a fan of the games, close your eyes and/or leave once the Jeep engine starts and you'll have a satisfactory ending. If you've never played the games, close your eyes and/or leave once the Jeep engine starts and you'll be able to fill in the gaps yourself given enough time.

But if you watch the last two minutes, not only do they betray everything that the "Silent Hill" universe stands for, but it also confuses the living daylights out of you. The group I was in consisted of three people who had played all of the games in the series, and one neophyte. Those of us who had played the games all agreed that the tacked-on ending betrayed the core of the "SH" universe, and the one who hadn't played any said that she felt like she had it...until the ending, and then all comprehension flew out the window.

The amount of confusion over the ending was very apparent when we left the theater as well. Everyone was discussing the ending, trying to figure it out.

So Christophe and Roger, way to go. You did the job better than anyone else. You just added one extra ingredient that really wasn't necessary and it left a bad taste in the mouth of your viewers.

April 21, 2006

[Personal] Enjoying Work

I'm testing an installer...You know that you're enjoying your job a wee bit too much when you can throw up the horns while testing an installer...and mean it.

I've really enjoyed being at Ritual. True, the politics may occasionally get to be too much and there are the inevitable arguments over trivial bullshit, but in the end, I can honestly say that I come into the office each day because I enjoy it here.

In some dark corner of my mind, I keep thinking back to Microsoft Game Studios. Right now, I feel like I did after about three years at MGS: content and happy, but with an undercurrent of "what now?"

Unlike Microsoft, there really isn't any room for vertical growth where I am. I can grow my department, and I can help my people grow, but I'm already as high as I can get, or as high as I would want to be.

I don't want to get too high up in any organization. I want to stay low enough that I can keep my fingers in production. I want to know that I'm not a useless middle manager.

Here, I am productive. As long as I can stay productive with a minimum of frustration, I should remain happy.

April 19, 2006

[E3] Not This Year...

For the third year in a row, I'm not going to be going to E3. Two years ago, I was working as a civil servant; last year, I was still establishing myself here at Ritual.

This year, I've got two reasons. First, we're launching "SiN Episodes: Emergence" on May 10, the first day of the actual show portion of E3. Second, E3 seems to be denying applications for no apparent reason.

Part of me is encouraged by all of the app cancellations I'm hearing from around the industry, because it means that E3 seems to be serious about keeping non-industry out of the expo. However, the sheer quantity of industry cancellations I hear about worries me. I've heard tales of new hires getting accepted no problem, but industry veterans with ten years experience getting rejected.

I'm all for limiting E3 attendance, but come on...it doesn't make sense for E3 to be an exclusive industry event if the industry can't get in.

April 18, 2006

[Testing] The Hidden Costs Of Testing At The End

There's been a disturbing trend in the gaming industry lately. More and more publishers are scaling back their test organizations to only having a small quantity of test leads, and then hiring on tons of contingent testers in the final eight weeks of a project. This is a bad idea.

On paper, it seems to make sense. You can get a contingent tester for about $320/week on average, while an experienced tester with three years experience is going to run you $600/week, and your test lead is going to run you just over $900 a week. (For the sake of this argument, we'll measure coverage by contingent manweeks, and consider a test lead and a regular tester as two contingents for purposes of measuring productivity. These figures also assume that nobody will ever be working overtime, which as we all know, is completely unrealistic, but the numbers would get a lot scarier if we factored in the OT.)

The way that some companies work is that they have a test lead on the project from the beginning, add three regular testers to the project about six months from ship, and then bring on about six contingents during the last four months. On a one-year project, that works out to about $115,000 for 324 contingent manweeks of testing. Under the "new" approach, a test lead is assigned six months prior to ship, and about 34 contingents are brought on eight weeks before ship. This amounts to about $111,000 for the same number of contingent manweeks, or a savings of about $4,000 on one project.

The "savings" scale the longer the project is going on. Assuming a two year project, given the above rules, the contingent spending wins $144,000 to $163,000 if you bring in 47 contingents to match the manweeks.

So on paper, these sorts of decisions make sense from an accounting standpoint, until you factor in two items: facilities costs and software development.

First off, it's significantly cheaper to come up with space and equipment for ten people than it is for 35. Space, power, computers, consoles, TV's, monitors, snacks, etc., it all adds up.

Second, let's say that after 324 manweeks on a project, your test team has found a total of 5,000 bugs. Under the initial system, those bugs would have been found and fixed throughout the development cycle. Under the "cheaper" system, all of those bugs would hit the development team at the very end.

Massive amounts of showstopper bugs at the end of a project lead to slips, and that's where the savings erode. For every week slip under the initial system, testing costs increase by $4,600 just for manpower. Under the contingent-heavy system, you're paying them all for an extra week, so your 34 contingents and your test lead just added an extra $11,800 to your project's cost. Larger teams, like the 47 CSG team mentioned earlier, add an extra $16,000 a week.

On a one year project, a one-month delay eats away all of your savings. On a two-year project, six weeks eats away your savings. Of course, some companies decide to ship and patch rather than slip, but that costs reputation and support costs as well.

So by scaling back your test organizations, what are you really saving?

(Edit: Added tag, fixed typo.)

April 16, 2006

[Personal] Procrastination Helped?

Some of you may remember that I was audited recently because of a glitch in the tax software I used that year.

I used TaxCut this year, and when I did my taxes back in February, it said that I owed a little over $150 for federal. Error check popped up everything as clear, so I felt like it was accurate. So I did what anyone would do...I decided to wait until the last minute to file.

Today, I loaded TaxCut and it said it had a massive update. I downloaded it, ran error check, and had four warnings. Turns out that the old version missed four deductions. I'm now getting almost $500 back from my federal taxes.

So I E-filed before another update came down the pike to take it away, and now to wait for the check and be happy. Whee.

April 14, 2006

[Personal] My captioned office

Sorry about all the drama lately. I'm still busy as all hell, so while I finish up my current project, here's a bit of an inside look into my workspace and potentially the very scary place that is my mind... (click for full-size)

Office Picture 1
Office Picture 2

I should be back in full force shortly.

April 9, 2006

[Personal] Closing The Borders

I've been told by a lot of people that I have a near-infinite well of patience that I can draw from. However, an event from last night essentially emptied the well.

Our home usually acts as neutral territory for neighbors, a bit like Switzerland. We're known for not taking sides in conflicts and acting as buffers, as mediators, and as listeners. As a result, we're usually considered the "safe" alternative by families in trouble.

Over the last few weeks, my wife has been babysitting one child in particular. To call this thirteen-year-old a "problem child" would be an understatement. The child honestly seems to love negative attention. She cuts herself, but not deep enough to do any damage...just deep enough to make marks. She oozes lies through every pore. Personal responsibility for her actions is a foreign concept. In other words, she acts just like my stepson.

My wife has been working with her, trying to help her out. It's been taking a lot out of my wife, but helping her out made my wife feel good. However, after last night, our house is off-limits to this child, because when I stepped out for twenty minutes to go to Movie Trading Company and left her with only my wife for supervision, she went into the bathroom and tried to kill herself.

At least that was what she intended everyone to think. In actuality, the number of pills that she took of what she took is going to do nothing more than make her constipated for the next few days.

Regardless, suicide attempts (legitimate or faked) are really the straw that break the camel's back for me. I've had friends commit suicide growing up. I've had friends with no self-respect who acted in extremely self-destructive manners.

But I just can't invest any emotional currency in someone who is that self-destructive. I just can't. I have my limits, and they have been reached.

So I may not be doing a lot of posting until I'm mentally recharged from the events of last night. Just warning you ahead of time.

April 5, 2006

[Sin] Let The Preload Begin!

For those of you who have been wondering why I've been so quiet lately compared to my normally verbose self, wonder no more.

Update: Damn, I missed being the first purchase by 27 seconds...

[Peeves] Pop-Ups

I hate to say this, but I've had to stop visiting "Blue's News" at home. Why? One of the pop-ups on the site causes Internet Explorer 6.0 with the MSN Popup Blocker toolbar to hang.

At work, I use IE 7.0 Beta, and I was finally able to at least isolate out the pop-up that causes it to hang. The ad starts a Webpage Dialog with the following code in the address:


For whatever reason, this causes IE6 to launch a new instance of Internet Explorer which goes to 100% CPU utilization. The initial IE6 instance is waiting for the other instance to do something, so it doesn't progress until I open up Task Manager and end-task the pop-up.

I don't want to have to end-task a process if I visit a page. At least with IE7, the dialog pops up as a empty window and I can close it easily.

So, until this is corrected, I'm only going to visit Blue's from work. Sorry, Blue.

April 3, 2006

[Blog] Anonymous Comments Disabled

Last week, one of my co-workers said something that seemed fairly straightforward to me. He said, "Internet plus anonymity equals asshole."

Those of you who visit the site rather than read the feed know that I've had a particularly stubborn thorn in my side over the last month and a half.

To be honest, this wouldn't be the first time that I've had a critic and it won't be the last. However, most of my critics have either posted using contact information so I could communicate with them in a meaningful fashion, or contacted me out-of-band so that we could debate in a private forum.

I don't mind critics, but I do like having a general idea who is criticizing me so that I can properly gauge the criticism.

When I see a mail notification saying that I have a comment from "Morgan," for example, I know that it's most likely a well-thought-out post and I'll have something to either research or think about. While I have no idea who "Morgan" is, the name association along with the quality of the posts has given credence to the feedback.

When I see a mail notification saying that I have a new comment from Anonymous, however, I have no idea what to expect. While I suspect that this most recent Anonymous is one of my former co-workers from Microsoft Game Studios in Salt Lake, I can't prove it. It also doesn't correspond to any of my four major traffic pulls over the last month: Hanover, Pennsylvania; Redmond, Washington; Rochester, New York; or Bangalore, India.

If my anonymous critic wishes to continue being critical, he is welcome to. I haven't deleted any of his comments to now, and I have no intent of doing so in the future. But he'll have to log in just like everyone else.

[Gaming] Insane Full Installs

I downloaded the demo for "Tomb Raider: Legend," and was slightly surprised by the minimum system requirements.

Microsoft Windows 2000, XP
Pentium 3 1.0Ghz or Athlon XP Equivalent
100% DirectX 9.0c compatible 64 MB 3D Accelerated Card with TnL (GeForce 3Ti / Radeon 9 series)
Microsoft Windows 2000/XP compatible sound card (100% DirectX 9.0c -compatible)
Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
9.9GB free disk space
100% Windows 2000/XP compatible mouse and keyboard
To be honest, most of this looked pretty reasonable, but...9.9Gb of free space on your hard drive?

This is one thing I like about consoles. If it needs an asset, it gets it off of the DVD. Levels are optimized to load in a reasonable amount of time off of a limited-performance medium.

If this was a PC-only title, I'd grumble but I wouldn't give it a second thought...but this game was developed for multiple platforms. Why should the Xbox version be able to use a maximum of 750Mb of hard disk space on a temporary basis while its PC cousin is forced to dedicate over thirteen times as much to hold the game? Why isn't the work done to get the game onto the consoles carried over to the PC?

PC gamers are accustomed to having to have the disc in the drive anyway for copy protection purposes...you may as well put that media to good use.

[Testing] Ratings Board Submission Materials

Creating ratings materials for the various ratings boards worldwide is a stressful ordeal even when you know what you're doing. Creating them in this post-"Hot Coffee" world is even more insane.

First, you play through the game, making notes of anything that would be considered "disclosable." Have one guy smoking a cigarette? Disclosable. Have an empty beer bottle in a level? Disclosable. Have bleeped lyrics? Disclosable. Could lyrics have a special meaning if taken out of context? Disclosable. An irreverent image of a priest? Definitely disclosable. A fart noise? Disclosable.

Then, you create your "first draft" of the submission packet, trying to categorize all of your notes into the proper holes.

Then you record yourself playing through the entire game, exposing all secrets.

Then you step through the video and delete any sections that aren't really severe in order to try to get your video under an hour. Walking through a hallway? Cut. Walking through a blood-soaked hallway? Keep it. Walking through a hallway that is bloody, but not as bloody as the last one? Keep it, but make a note in case you need to shave more time off. Don't forget to show what happens when you die, though...even though it may not be pertinent to you, showing player death is important...

Then you watch your final video, looking for anything you missed in your initial notes, and for anything you should have taped, but didn't.

Then you gather the soundtrack together, burn it to a CD, get the lyric sheets pre-bleep, mark which words were bleeped, get the script together, highlight every swear word from "hell" and "damn" on up, prepare a build in case the ratings board wants it along with a full-walkthrough with all cheat codes and secrets documented and save games located at each pertinent location.

Then you pull up the various asset browsing/creation tools looking for anything that is disclosable that isn't in the game and either get it removed from the tree, or get it put in a placeholder area so you can tape it for disclosure and add it to the form.

Finally you submit and pray that you caught it all...and that's just the ESRB.

For other ratings boards, you feel like splitting hairs even more. ("Is this a depiction or a moving image?" "Is saying 'God damn it' bad enough to be blasphemy, does it have to be an image of the anti-Christ violating the Virgin Mary to be blasphemy, or is the line somewhere between?" "Is showing a crime be committed 'encouraging' said crime?")


April 2, 2006

[Public] CGC '06

If you are in the Dallas area and want to hassle me, I'm supposed to be speaking at the Dallas CGC this coming weekend. I'm not sure which day my panel is yet, but I'll post it as soon as I know.

I'm sharing the panel with the wonderful QA staff over at Gearbox Software, so even if you disagree with every single thing I say or stand for, you will at least get a contrasting view of quality assurance practices at different companies.

Update April 3, 2006, 5:36pm: My team and I will be there at 4pm this Friday. Look forward to seeing some of you there.

April 1, 2006

[Review] "The Godfather" (Xbox)

(Note: This is based off of about 16 hours of gameplay, during which the story mode was completed, but only 33% of the total game was completed.)

Follow the movie
While aping "Grand Theft Auto"
And having fun, too

I just finished playing "The Godfather" for the Xbox. While I personally disliked the melee controls, I found very little wrong with the rest of the game. I found that it approached the movie with respect, had decent controls, wonderful character customization, minor visual defects (necks clipping through collars were the worst offenses), and a decent amount of strategy. The game also seemed to feature a bit of a dynamic difficulty system where after dying a few times on a mission, one or more enemies wouldn't be there the second time...although I could be mistaken on that part.

All in all, an enjoyable game that was worth the $40.