Monthly Archives: December 2011

Buying Used Games is not Piracy.

The used game market has recently become a pariah for developers and publishers alike to blame for reduced gains or increased losses to their sales. Many equate used games to piracy, and find no value in its existence.

And they’re full of shit.

Used games are nothing like piracy: a used game is only one game. It can only be given or sold to one person and played by one (or two if there’s split-screen) person at a time. The person who owns the copy of the game can do what they want with it. It is THEIRS. Piracy, is very different. It is the unauthorized use or REPRODUCTION of copyrighted material, meaning that this copy was stolen online, then the pirate made copies of it and distributed it to thousands. How are these concepts similar? They’re not.

Why are developers and publishers pissing and moaning about used games? Simple. They want more money, and if everybody buys used games, then that’s more money to them. Yes, if I buy a used game, then the publisher sees none of that money. But, if I want to sell a game to a friend for cheaper than retail, then why can’t I? It’s my game, I’ll do with it what I wish. Killing the used game market also kills some of our rights as consumers to do with our games what we wish. It’s asinine.

Publishers have taken EA’s “Project Ten Dollars” and applied it to their games, meaning you buy a game new, and you get a code to access a part of the game that would otherwise be locked if you bought new. This isn’t perfect, but it does encourage people to buy new. The annoyance is the constant menus. I can’t just start a fucking game anymore; I have to go through mountains of menus to get to it. Or I have to download a damn patch. Game consoles are becoming more like PCs, but that is the subject of another post.

When a Game You Love Breaks.

I’ve recently disappeared into my apartment to play Batman: Arkham City with a sense of awe and joy. It’s got damn near perfect “game” elements, and the story is just interesting enough to keep me propelling forward. I love this damn game, which is why it’s so frustrating that it seems broken.

The puzzles that involve moving obstacles to reach Riddler’s trophies sometimes don’t work like they should. I ran into two puzzles, in the same location (the Steel Mill), that require me to use the Remote Electrical Charge to shoot a generator, which then is supposed to propel a cart, in one situation, to move forward on it’s tracks, revealing a trophy. In the other situation, a group of bumper cars block two entrances into lower levels. Here, I am supposed to shoot another generator, bringing all the cars nearer to it and allow me to progress and find the trophies.

But the game isn’t letting me. I tweeted @ArkhamCityNews, probably in a futile attempt to get their attention. This game sold over 5 million copies its first week, and is huge, and no game is technically perfect, so I know I’m not the only one this has happened to. There may not be many, but others have been affected. The odds speak in favor of that. And that makes me ponder the question: should I detest this game for this bug that won’t let me complete it?

I want to say no, because I still love it, but objectively, this is a big flaw. It goes against what the game is: a sandbox with a bunch of shit to do and complete. And when you CAN’t complete parts of this sandbox because of faulty programming, you’re left scratching your head and crying in a corner. However, I’m a minority, and this is something that can be fixed with a patch. Not that we should give leeway to companies who purposely release buggy ass games with the intention of patching them later (see Bethesda), but this isn’t so widespread.

So, I’ll cop out and say no. For this. For now. Because I want those fucking trophies.