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The Perfect Game

By Shamus
on Tuesday Aug 28, 2007
Filed under:
Game Design


I realize this DRMShock business is occupying an awful lot of my attention lately, and is thus occupying an awful lot of my blog. The whole thing is an injustice in my view, so, I’ve been “fighting the power” (by complaining ineffectually) and “sticking it to The Man” (by calling The Man lots of names) in accordance with the great traditions of impotent geek uprisings.

But why am I so worked up over this? I’ve come to realize that there are four ingredients to the “perfect” game for me:

  1. I love games which are “survival horror”. I enjoy games where you’re intended to fear the bad guys instead of mow through them.
  2. I love first-person games.
  3. I love Roleplaying games. (In the sense that I love games where you “level-up” or become more powerful as you progress.)
  4. I love non-linear games, where you can move freely and re-visit previous locations, and where changes made to the world are persistent.

If we look at this like a Venn Diagram:


My affinity for certain games is related to how many of these four elements they contain. Note the sweet spot in the center, the spot which contains all four, is the perfect game for me. It’s like my own personal genre. In the history of videogames, exactly three games have hit that spot: System Shock, System Shock 2, and BioShock. The latter I’ll never play because of the asinine and invasive DRM.

This may help explain why my ire has risen above normal levels and attained some higher state of continual, transcendental rage.

Which means I’m likely to keep writing about it.

Also, the next person to tell me to run out and buy a $400 XBox so I can play this game gets a brick to the head. People who suggest this are missing the point by several nautical miles. Economics aside, I can’t in good conscience give any money to 2kGames. Period. This is about principals. No I won’t pirate the game. No I won’t buy it and then download a crack. I’m going to go without, because right and wrong are more important than videogames, even once-every-seven-years treasures like BioShock.

Comments (76)

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  1. Deacon Blues says:

    “…there are ways of removing securom when you don't want it installed. I haven't had any problems with it, but I did some searching on the Internet and found out how to get rid of it. Basically you have to remove the registry key it hides (and which causes the flag in Rootkit Revealer). Then you have to get rid of the key itself, which is hidden pretty deeply.”

    Oh, of course! How simple!

    You know, some of us have been using these things for decades, and have never mucked around with Windows Registry. Why should it be necessary for me to be able to identify what each of those strings in the Registry means, in order to simply uninstall a fracking *game*??

    That’s like making me learn how to remove and replace my car’s fuel tank before letting me purchase some gas and drive…

  2. Vegedus says:

    Principles and high, moral horses are things I do not understand…

  3. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Shamus Says:

    “Daemian_Lucifer: When I say “non linear” I don't just mean individual levels are open, I'm talking about the ability to move around the gameworld at will and have it persist as you do. While in HK, you can't catch a ride back to libery island to talk to that one guy at the docks and stock up on ammo. You're stuck in HK. This is not a bad thing at all, and the plot more or less requires that it work this way, its just that I love games that DO allow this sort of freedom.”

    True,but that doesnt mean its non linear.In NWN you cant go back to neverwinter until you finish chapters 2 and 3,in its expansions,you cant go back from one chapter to the other as well,but the game is non linear.In planescape you cant go back to sigil when you exit it,but you cant say planescape is linear.

    There arent really that many games that give you such a complete freedom(morrowind,oblivion and fallout are the only ones I played).In fact,now that I think about it,fallout 3 seems to be your perfect game:A survival horror(nuclear wasteland is a horror,no question about it,where you need to fight to survive),it is a full RPG,it is first person,and it will be completelly opened(bethesda is working on it,so this is a sure thing).Hopefully,bethesda wont put something like securom on its discs,so you will be able to play it.

  4. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    Damn!Shouldve checked before posting.My first sentence shouldve been”True,but that doesnt mean its linear”.

  5. Meems says:

    Is it weird that I’m convinced the Xbox people are paying them to do this? I mean, nobody’s going to want it for the PC… so everyone’s going to have to buy Xboxes.

    This falls down a little when I realise that the Xbox is made by Microsoft, but given that corporations have been conspiring to screw over PC gamers for years now, I still think it works as a theory.

  6. David V.S. says:

    Thief and Thief 2, with their plethora of user-made “fan missions”, can be non-linear also.

    (I never played Thief 3. I assume it also has fan missions, some of which are as good as or better than those of the game itself, probably designed by the same fans. But that’s only an assumption.)

  7. bignose says:

    Please don’t refer to it as “copy protection”. That is a disingenuous term, since “copy protection” is actually a restriction on the recipient of the work. A copy causes no harm, so there’s nothing to be “protected”.

    If we’re going to talk about it accurately, it should be using the term “copy restriction”.

  8. Brickman says:

    Takng a bit of an opposing standpoint for a second, are you sure your courageous stand with your gaming dollar is going to be read correctly? Yes, your money multiplied by enough like-minded individuals should theoretically influence what a publisher does, but this is hardly the first time that anyone (or even those specific companies) have ever used SecureROM and most of those times nothing happened. Even with some forum outrage about it, I have no doubt that rather than connect any less purchases than expected to the DRM thing they will simply assume it is because people don’t like the product, and won’t make another. Not to mention that they are secure in the knowledge that, even if people are undignified now, 9 times of ten at least noone will even notice the DRM. Certainly 9 times of 10 enough won’t notice that they’ll realize people weren’t buying because of it.

  9. Shamus says:

    Well, they don’t even care what PAYING customers think, so I can’t imagine why they would care what I think.

    I’m not buying because I don’t want to give them my money, not because I believe they will change their ways.

  10. […] Say, doesn’t this look familiar? No. No it doesn’t. SHUT UP. […]

  11. Sarah Miller says:

    I’d like to make a recommendation: The s.t.a.l.k.e.r series.

    All three games are first person shooters with a main storyline you don’t have to follow (only in the first game, you won’t be able to return from the two last maps, but there are mods who allow you to) and an atmosphere that will send shivers down your spine.

    Did I mention the atmosphere? When you’re walking through the desolate landscape, wind blowing softly, maybe a distant howl… and you know EXACTLY that there is no enemy around, but still feel at unease, you know they just did a great job. Unfortunably, the series is a bit light on the RPG aspect: in all three games, talking with and taking quests from npcs and ‘leveling up’ to better gear by scaveging from your enemies are the only RPG-ish actions.

    I’m all against hard DRM (which messes with your abillity to use stuff you legally own for it’s intended purpose), but soft DRM (which only puts a ‘fingerprint’ on the stuff, so if it shows up on a p2p site, the person who put it there can be identified) is ok.

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One Trackback

  1. By Assassin’s Creed: The Story So Far « Ninja Game Den on Friday Jun 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    […] Say, doesn’t this look familiar? No. No it doesn’t. SHUT UP. […]

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