Sunday, November 21, 2010

Are they even trying?

Being American (hey don't hate me, I didn't want to be born here either) and it being November, my thoughts as any good American turn to Thanksgiving and of course even further to Black Friday, the special day of the year where you can score deals on so many things that over half of the cumulative sales for all American retail for the year are made on that day alone.

Now Video games don't usually do HUGE savings like other products on Black Friday, but they still do try to at least entice a bit usually, so I was keeping an eye on gaming retailers for anything interesting. The biggest one being watched, like them or hate the, of course was Game Stop.

Well finally their ad was leaked and I don't know about you but, unless you like Sports games it was extremely lackluster. Even COLLODOOTY people got nothing for them in this sale. Which bares to me the thought "are they even trying?" or did they just slap together a shitty sale just to make sure people can't say they didn't have one?

One thing is for sure, GameSTOOP doesn't get any money from me this year, and I actually am quite happy with that. They are a horrible company with industry ties and the less money I give them the better. This ended up less an article more a rant but maybe yet amazon or steam may redeem this pretty poor showing for Black Friday goers, I'll try to keep readers posted.

Is Nothing Safe From Scamcom?

I was originally going to write a review for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood... But I recently stumbled across this little app on the iTunes Appstore and my head just hit the desk. The amount of attempted cash scamming/bleeding in this... a freaking iPhone App... is unbelievable...

The app in question is called Capcom Arcade. It's effectively a miniature attempt at recreating Microsoft's Game Room for XBLA. A virtual arcade with old and beloved retro classics from yesteryear, when games were great, and games were not vessels for scam locking and cutting of content for the sake of bleeding cash from the customer. The app is a Free* download from the App Store. That's the good part.

Unfortunately that's the only good part.

The app may be free to download, and in Scamcom's own words, they intended it to 'simulate the experience' of going to an arcade in the days when arcades still existed. So to allow for this to happen, guess what... Every game BA DUM TISS... costs tokens to play. You are given 3 free tickets for free plays per day. That entitles you to play any of the 4 games currently featured. On offer are Street Fighter II (the original World Warrior, not Champion Edition), 1942, Ghouls and Ghosts and Commando. All of these are great, great titles in their time, and their value has not diminished today. These are retro classics that really should be played by everyone.

Just don't use this app to do it.

When your 3 free tickets run out, you can go to the virtual counter and 'purchase more tokens' to play. Guess how?... Yep, $0.99... lets just say one dollar... per ten tokens. That may sound cheap as games back in the day were a quarter a play, but... That was at the arcade, that had running costs and all that. This is a freaking iPhone game... Having to pay per play on a freaking PHONE GAME is beyond ludicrous. If paying per play isn't your thing, you can always 'buy the arcade machine' for $2.99... which gives you unlimited plays.

So lets see now... For this 'free' game... In order to actually 'own' it, and play it as much as you like when you like, you have to shell out a total of $12. A small amount for a console or PC title but a very princely sum for a mobile app. Not even Street Fighter 4 for iPhone cost that much and SF4 is a VERY worthwhile purchase. Additionally, true to Scamcom's asspain cash bleeding norm nowadays... Included are also a number of 'special features' aka cheats for each title. Back in the days of yesteryear, cheats were unlocked by completing the game, or by entering in a button combination of some sort. In today's scam locked content age, they are unlocked only by Visa or Mastercard. Each 'special feature' costs another dollar, and there are 2 available for SF2, 3 for 1942, 4 for Ghouls and Ghosts and 3 for Commando. So to own this little Free* app outright and to own every aspect and feature of it, you must shell out the RIDICULOUS amount of $24.

So much for free app.

Again, to all the blind, brainwashed sheep going BUT IT'S OPTIONAL bla bla yadda yadda spare me your tired old rhetoric. The cheats may be optional but that is HARDLY the point. The point is they EXIST in a cash locked form, that they are even ALLOWED TO EXIST IN THIS FORM, should be a crime in itself.

Oh... Did I mention that even if you were to pay said princely sum... The app contains ADVERTISEMENTS, that cannot be disabled?... Words fail me at this point as to how low Scamcom have fallen in their attempt to scrape for the tiniest nickel from anywhere they can get it.

It's good however that the app is indeed a free download from the Appstore. On the Appstore, you are unable to review or comment on an app until you have purchased it. Free download means anyone can get it and review. Do feel free to get it and give it a one-star review, decrying this poor scam attempt for what it is and deny Scamcom any money from it.

For those of you with a jailbroken iOS device and feel like they absolutely must play the games in this form, there is a CCC.plist file in /var/mobile/Applications/CapcomGame/Preferences that controls the level of scam content locking. Edit the file to look like the example below, and everything shall be laid bare to your whim. The best part? Scamcom saw $0.00 from it as they so rightfully deserve. All is right with the world indeed.

PS: Please do NOT ask me how to access the file. Those with jailbroken iOS devices should know how to access the filesystem. If you don't, it's not my job to teach you. Level up your Google Fu and you will get there, young grasshopper.

*aka the 'Freemium' model. Should be called Feemium. There is no free.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Steam is "causing the death of PC gaming"

There are articles as of late false propaganda being spread as of late by retailers that steam is causing the death of PC gaming. Here, here, and here to cite a few. The claim is that steam has a monopoly on PC gaming and it will usher in the collapse of the market.

Do you remember a time when pc games at brick and mortar stores were more than one shelf stuffed in the back?

Do you remember when they tried to stock the latest and best pc games always?

Do you remember when they bothered to price their pc games fairly according to age and popularity?

I can only answer yes to the first one myself and even then that time was so far back its really reaching into my memory for it. Truth of the matter is this, the gaming industry wanted pc gaming to die along time ago, they seriously tried to kill it.

"But why would they do such a thing?" you ask. Simple. PC gaming, unlike consoles, has freedom.

  • There are communities, large ones, that can mod the game freely, adding days/weeks/months of playtime onto a game. Companies didn't like this one bit, if you are still playing X game even months later how are they going to make you shell out $60-100 every 3 months for their games?
  • Full blown piracy exists on the pc. If something is unfair or overpriced, people just steal it. A guy who charges $50 a bottle of water in the desert will get robbed. The open piracy forces companies to be competitive and honest, and they don't like that one bit.
  • PC gamers, not trying to start a flame war or insult people, but seriously are generally more educated. they can sort deals from scams, and can patiently wait a market out. Well how is a company supposed to scam earn record profits when dealing with people like that?
back in the late 90's to early 00's anyone that was a PC gamer saw the rapid decline of their medium being sold in stores, they were pissed but they couldn't do much about it. It was at this time consoles got a lot of strength in the market. But anyone smart knows consoles are very restrictive and controlled (especially current gen). Want that cool fan mod you see for the PC version on your console? Forget it. Want to use trainers to get through the game fast cause you just don't have the time but yet want to see the story? good luck.

If anything steam was what saved the PC industry from dying and companies do not like that one bit. So do not believe the lies retailers are spewing about steam killing the PC industry. If you want a more accurate headline here's one.

Steam hurts our console game sales so we can only afford one Ferrari this year instead of two, BAWWWWWWW.