Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Life Support, Round 2



A few posts back, I expressed my feelings about the inevitable doom of PC games. Well, I'm here to tell you that my recent experiences with purchasing and installing several PC games has only confirmed my belief that PC gaming is on it's last legs.

In April, I'll be attending a Lan Party in Atlanta with a few close friends. We've not gotten together to play computer games in a very long time so I'm really looking forward to it. So, in anticipation of the weekend of fun, I picked up a few games that I thought would be on the play list. I picked up Left 4 Dead, Dawn Of War 2 and decided to installed Unreal Tournament 3, which I picked up when the local Circuit City was on the way down.

So, first I decided to install Left 4 Dead. The original install went well, no issues getting the disc to read in the drive, no problems finding space, so all seemed well. Left 4 Dead is a Valve game, so it's tied to Steam, which hasn't been an issue in the past, since I already have the Orange Box installed and working great. Once installed, the Steam worked it's magic and checked for updates, which there were a few. Then, when all was set, I decided to give it a whirl.

Pop up message:
"You need to install the newest video drivers to play this game properly".

So, I had to stop everything, go out to the net, get the drivers, uninstall the old drivers, yadda yadda, yadda. So, about 15 minutes later, I was able to give the game a shot. It runs very smooth, looks and feels just like the Xbox version, so no surprise there. I didn't spend a lot of time with the game because playing some FPS on the PC tends to give me vertigo these days for some reason and I didn't feel like making myself too sick. lol

One down, two to go.

Next, I decided to install Dawn of War 2. Being a fan of the original series and owning all the expansions, I was looking forward to giving this game a good work out. If I had known all the brick walls I would encounter installing this game I might have left the wrapper on it. So, upon installing the game, I kept getting an error message.

Pop up message:
"The installation of the game failed to complete. Please try again."

So, after giving the install a few tries I went out on the net to find a fix for this issue. After searching several boards, many of the answers ranging from installing each component of the game disc separate to editing the system registry, something I wouldn't do on a good day. Finally, the answer came from the Steam forums. Apparently, the issue has something to do with the way the game interacts with Steam during the install process. After applying the fix, which was to edit the execut the game installed like a champ. Course, if I had known it was a Steam related game, I wouldn't have had to spend tons of time searching the net, especially when all I needed was the Steam forum boards.

Ok, so now the game is installing. Steam does it's thing updating the game to the newest patch, a feature I really like. I know I don't need a new video driver since I just installed a new one, so all is great on that front. I start up the game and it asks me for my game key. No problem, because I know it's on the back of the instruction manual in the cd case. I proceed to enter the number and I get another error.

Pop up message:
"Incorrect Game Key, Please try again"

Well, after some more research, I find out that Steam assigns a new game cd key when you install the game, so you have to right click the game in the Steam game list to view the game cd key. Once I acquired this bit of information, I was able to start up the game. Course with install and all the web searches, it only took me 40 minutes to get the game up and running. Once inside the game, I decided to tie my Xbox 360 live account to it, which took some additional time since I had forgotten my password and had to get another one. lol But that extra time was worth it, since I can now get achievements in game that go toward my Xbox 360 total.

I'll do a review later on the actual game play, but suffice it to say, the game is awesome!

Ok, so I waited a few days to install my last game, Unreal Tournament 3. Because I was spending so much time with Steam lately, I discovered that it was offering a UT3 tournament this weekend. My fear that Steam is taking over all aspects of PC gaming is starting to come true it appears. So, I decided yesterday morning to install UT3. Well, the install went smooth, or so I thought. I noticed that Steam had not recognise the install, which was strange since the other two games I had installed got added to my to Steam games list and became instantly accessable to me.

I figured this just might be some kind of glitch, which isn't a big problem as long as the game worked when clicking on the desktop icon. I did not. The little hourglass popped up, the stopped and no game. This is when I'm beginning to think that PC games just don't like me anymore. So, I figured a work around. Since I have the cd key, I decided to activate the game through Steam and down load it that way. Course, I decided to do this in the middle of my day off and I had planned to play WoW and Dawn of War 2 all afternoon. So as of this postings, I've not downloaded UT3 yet, but it's on my to do list lol.

As you can see, PC gaming tends to be less user friendly than console gaming, which was the point of my previous article and hince the reason console gaming will eventually take over the world. Players want less hassle in their lives, I know I do. PC gaming is just too problematic. Console gaming is more simplistic and puts you in the action quickly.

If anything is certain, instant gratification is what gaming should be all about. Who has time to fix drivers, or find work arounds for install errors? In order for PC gaming companies to survive in a console gaming market, they have to produce better product with less hassle. Execution is everything these days and if you want to stay in business you have to do much better.

6 comments:

  1. PC's aren't fading in the gaming world...They're games themselves!

    "You need to install the newest video drivers to play this game properly".

    ...It's like getting your first quest.

    "The installation of the game failed to complete. Please try again."

    Trash Mobs. They keep coming, and you keep swinging.

    And finally:
    "Incorrect Game Key, Please try again"

    Final Boss Battle.

    A true MMORPG fan would feel a great sense of accomplishment after what you went through. Now you get the Loot: Actually playing the game! Don't it feel great? :D

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  2. I smell sarcasm... and I love it :P

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  3. I'm not sure I agree with the statement:

    "instant gratification is what gaming should be all about."

    I think there's definitely a part of each of us that yearns for hard-earned successes.

    But if you're only saying this in reference to INSTALLING a game...Yeah, the installation shouldn't have to be a gauntlet of traps and puzzles. Save that for the game itself.

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  4. Correct, instant gratification in so much as I can click the icon and start playing the game with little to no effort upon finishing a fast and effective install.

    But that never seems to be the case. You have to clear off room to install the game, upgrade drivers, down load tons of patches to make it even work and then, you basically pray that when you click on the game icon something will happen and you'll be propelled into another exciting world, instead of staring at your computer desktop.

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  5. Definitely a sign that console gaming will never die, regardless of how similar to each other they might become.

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