Reflecting on my year without Square-Enix

I’m not going to go into another rant about how disappointed I am with Square-Enix’s behavior as far as the DRM and general money-grubbing customer unfriendliness is concerned, but suffice it to say that the amount of money they received from me in 2016 was much less than I gave them in 2015, and that experience led me to make a promise with myself that I wouldn’t allow them to have a single cent from me in 2017. Now that 2018 has begun, it’s nice to no longer feel bound by that restriction, though there were definitely some major positives that came out of the experience. Also, I don’t think that I spent any money on Ubisoft or EA either, but that wasn’t the result of a personal boycott. They just made nothing good or interesting in 2017. Read more →

Thanks for proving that you suck, Gamestop

Some back story: one of Gamestop’s front-and-center Black Friday sales (which starts on Thanksgiving for cynical reasons, or perhaps because calendars are hard) was a used Xbox 360 for 60 dollars that came with a 60 dollars rebate, effectively making it free. “Hey,” thought I, “that would be incredibly handy since the Xbox One hasn’t become backwards compatible with all the games I’d like to review.” I was all prepared to drop a sizable amount of money on a bunch of Xbox 360 games to go along with the console. Then Gamestop made it impossible to do so. I didn’t bother checking time zones to see when the sale started, but I checked the site at around 11:30 PM my time the day before Thanksgiving and it had begun. Most of the Xbox 360s with rebates had already sold out, but there was one on the first page that hadn’t, so I added it to my cart. When I realized that I was currently signed out, though, I signed in and my cart was empty. That’s when the problems started. Read more →

But why old games?

The site has been a bit neglected over the past week, but I needed the time to embark on a psychotic, OCD-driven cleaning spree. In the process of organizing and Tetris-ing various suitcases and tubs full of stuff collected over the years, I came across numerous games that had gone missing. Games like the unexpectedly great Game Boy adaptation of The Lion King. The surprisingly enjoyable racing game that is Beetle Adventure Racing. The greatest baseball game ever made (Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.). I also found two copies of Goldeneye despite having no memory of ever re-buying it. That’s not even mentioning all of the SNES games discovered, all of which still have perfectly functional save batteries despite being 20-odd years old now. While going through and testing all of my newfound treasures—including a once-broken Playstation 2 that somehow de-broke itself over years of neglect, opening up an entire new gaming library to explore—I was overcome with a sense of longing for these older games. Nostalgia isn’t even a factor, because I suddenly wanted to buy copies of games I’ve never played and see if they still hold up. That’s normal for this site, of course, but I’ve never really talked about why I like playing old games and new games side by side so much. Read more →

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 →

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