Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Internet Luxury.

Spore is finally out! Spoke to my brother in England about it yesterday and he was saying that it was all over the place. It was at that precise moment that I realised that I wasn't all that interested in Spore.

This is not because I think it is going to be crap or that Will Wright sucks or anything like that, I generally am not really a sandbox type of player and so have missed a lot of his games. In this case though, I think it is more the fact that it seems a majority of the game experience is directly related to trading and seeing other peoples' spore creations is quite a deal breaker for me.

I mean, forget the DRM. Who cares that the game is going to allow you to install the game three times before you have to call them up and get more installs? I can see it being a problem, and on principle I don't like it, but for me, the main thing is the dependency on internet.

I could have maybe bought it on a whim (and maybe I still will), but the reliance on internet is quite depressing. It seems like a lot of games, and more particularly, single player games, are beginning to require the internet in some way shape or form.

I remember installing Half Life 2 on my PC then having to reformat it. Re-activating it on Steam on a rubbish connection like the one I have in the office is not fun at all. I don't want a game that people are saying a lot of the fun is going to come from seeing and experiencing other people's creations! To be fair, I don't know whether this is true or not, but I honestly just feel that if you are making a sigle player experience, the addition of downloadable elements and so on should enhance instead of complete.

Spore is even not that bad, at least you can buy it for the PC. What about games that are only available on a console internet store? Rez HD? Tried to get it and guess what? Xbox LIVE doesn't accept Nigerian post codes as legit. Pixeljunk Eden? Same thing. I am not even going to think about Bionic Commando or Braid or Castle Crashers or Ikaruga or...the list goes on and on. And this is when I can even get the console online at an acceptable speed.

So much gaming and I have been cut off from it not because I can't afford the games, or because I don't want to play them, but because of where I live. At least with boxed games I can pick some up whenever I travel, but these will just sit and exist for me on youtube and desktop wallpapers from the internet. I see people on various blogs talking about how annoyed they are with Spore and its DRM, but of course nobody even bats and eyelash at the fact that one of the major unique selling points of the game is linked directly to availablity of relatively fast broadband internet. Why should they? They seem to take it for granted.

How I wish that we in Nigeria had the luxury to complain about having only 3 installs on a game that we can get full mileage out of. Or even hell, having the luxury to even play one of these download-only games.

Looks like I might have to start travelling with my consoles if I want to get some of the good downloadable games out of them. I might also have to try and get a foreign credit card in order to buy and play the majority of them.

Michael Abbot of the Brainy Gamer was rejoicing in one of his posts about the increasing quality and availability of online games, and how mazing it would be for a plastic free future. I dunno whether a download-only future for games is one that I am really looking forward to. Well, that is if our government and the various companies that provide internet to us here at ridiculous prices will ever begin to take getting us as a country connected seriously at all.

Of course, this is not to say that the rest of the world should wait for us to catch up, but it would be nice to know that we were even thought about at all when they are making these decisions. After all, do they really think that just because they do not officially distribute here that no one is playing video games?

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