Steam’s DRM removal myth

Let me start off by saying that this isn’t going to be a hit piece. I don’t hate Steam, or at least not like I used to; the offline mode was a mess and would stop working every other month back when I first started using it, but it’s been solid for quite a few years now and I’ve discovered fun tools like Smart Steam Emu that help with preservation to the point where Steam’s DRM—which not all games even use—is practically a non-issue. For me, at least. That’s not to say that I don’t have any complaints about it, but this isn’t really about Steam itself so much as the seeming myth about the store and its DRM. It’s a claim that you’ll sometimes see pop up out of nowhere with no attribution or proof whatsoever in the middle of Steam-is-DRM arguments: “if Steam goes out of business, they’ll patch the DRM out of all of the games!” Read more →

It’s weird when evil corporations make games about evil corporations, right?

Take a second to consider just how many games eventually turn into a scrappy underdog story where the little guy/gal becomes filled with righteous purpose and takes up arms against an unfeeling corporation, usually one that’s hellbent on control over the populace in some form or another. Now consider how many of those games are made by the very same types of corporations that such a description would apply to. This is something that’s been bugging me for awhile because it’s starting to feel like self-flagellation. Or maybe the developers working under these evil corporations—cough EA cough so subtle cough—are taking out their pent-up aggression by effectively turning their bosses into game villains? Whatever the case, I can’t help but think that it’s kind of a weird situation for everyone involved. Read more →

9 games missing from the SNES Mini not named Chrono Trigger

If you’re like me, you saw the news that the SNES Mini was a thing and felt excitement at the prospect of a new generation potentially discovering numerous classics, followed by crushing disappointment and seething rage at the conspicuous absence of Chrono Trigger. For all their talk about how much support Square-Enix was going to give Nintendo this time around with the Switch, they really aren’t doing a whole lot to prove their friendship here. Once the initial irritation at CT’s exclusion passed, however, it dawned on me just how many other amazing games weren’t included despite being some of the best the system has to offer. Read more →

PS4 Spiderman may be killed by QTEs

Oooh, now there’s a clickbait title for you. It’s definitely reflective of how I currently feel, however, because having had Youtube recommend the E3 2017 trailer for the new PS4 Spiderman game, I think I might be the only sane person left on the planet. All I’ve seen is effusive praise for it, and yet I was incredibly underwhelmed by the fact that the supposed gameplay trailer was about 25% actual gameplay and 75% in-engine cutscenes and QTE sections. It certainly looks nice, but it appears that it’s going to have long, Telltale-esque sections of doing nothing but watching things happen and occasionally mashing a button. And sometimes running in a direction and pressing a button. How exciting! Read more →

Let’s talk about: Denuvo

As I’m writing this, it’s Halloween and the festivities have me thinking about all kinds of scary things. Ghouls. Goblins. Politics. Very scary stuff. Really, though, there are few things that inspire as much fear as the anti-tamper product Denuvo. The big bad gaming boogeyman. I won’t touch anything that uses it, personally, but rather than perpetuate the same lies I’ve seen paraded around about how it messes up SSDs and significantly impacts performance (which—let’s not kid ourselves—do seem to be lies and/or exaggerations), I thought it’d be more productive to talk about some of the deeper problems with Denuvo and some inherent problems with the gaming industry that it potentially exacerbates. Read more →

Game accessibility, new fans, and Fire Emblem

Radiant Dawn, my favorite entry in the Fire Emblem series and quite possibly my favorite game of all time, sells for something like 75 dollars used. The game before it, Path of Radiance (which is also a great game) costs almost double that on Amazon right now, again for a used copy. Being an early fan of something is hard, and this is doubly true when that something has been as comically mismanaged as Fire Emblem; Nintendo has consistently printed too few copies of Fire Emblem games to meet the demand from fans, leading to these ballooned prices that make many of the best games in the series unobtainable for anyone who didn’t snatch a copy early, and for a long time this allowed Nintendo to believe that there was no demand for the series here. This, despite PoR and RD receiving rave reviews from fans. I think this is what makes the success of Fire Emblem Fates so frustrating to me; this is really only the second Fire Emblem game they’ve actually marketed in any meaningful way (and even then, far more than Awakening) and printed enough copies of, so it’s no wonder the game is selling as well as it is. It’s merely tapping into demand that’s always been there. Still, one could easily be fooled into thinking that the Fates games somehow deserve more recognition than earlier games. Read more →

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