Dungapult Hurls Crap at...
One of my favorite things about my job, far and away, is getting the rather "unique" perspective on the industry it allows. Not only does it align me with this chaotic, psychotic, disjointed, often disgruntled, and always amusing band of rabid gaming Monkeys, but it also gives me an incredible opportunity to "chat" with the average gamer freako (actually, it's more just having you guys rant at me-- but I digress…).
Anyway, the reason this is all worth occupying space in our limited Monkey brains this week is because of the rather unusual reaction we've gotten to the news about a certain company that will remain nameless delaying one of their upcoming products. Now, in case you don't read our news section, the short version is that this company is not feeling that the game is going to be up to par by release date and so are postponing it temporarily while they finish working the bugs out.
The reaction to this, much to my surprise, has
been one of almost universal disapproval and we've been swamped by responses
from unhappy Monkeys. Angry letter after angry letter have poured into the office
shouting about "How could they?" and "What the hell are they thinking?" and
even, my personal favorite, "I'm going to sue!"
Well, for those of you incapable of putting the dots together and forming a rational thought, I'll tell you what they're thinking…They're thinking, "Let's make sure we put out a damned fine product! The best product we can!" And I, for one, think they should be applauded.
No, not for missing their promised deadlines or for failing to deliver by the pre-order date. After all, we have been waiting patiently (or impatiently as the case may be), for this bloody game to suck up our money and burn away our time and thus it is perfectly acceptable to roll your eyes and at their extension and grumble quietly under your breath.
Instead, what they should be rewarded for is having the good common sense, and respect for us gamers, to make sure they have a finished and functional product before they go taking our money for it! They want to be sure that their reputation as a "reliable" and "exciting" game maker doesn't switch to "lazy" and "greedy". They want to give us what our 50 bucks should buy-- a game that works…Not after endless patches, not only by downloading the latest fix, not two years after you bought it…But now. Straight away. Out of the box. And, frankly, that mentality should be appreciated not derided.
Hell, just as an example, who doesn't remember the fiasco of Total Annihilation: Kingdoms? The mind numbing frustration, the white knuckle tension, the urges to run down the developer and shove your foot up their collective asses for selling you a game that needed a patch to work right out of the box! For shipping a product they knew was defective and unfinished but happily taking your money for it anyway.
Plus, as if that isn't bad enough, if you were one of the millions of people who bought it, or other games like it, at a store that wouldn't let you make a return on an open game (which the majority of retail chains don't), you couldn't even take the damn thing back! You were stuck there, screwed, with a shiny two bit paper weight while you sat on your thumbs and cursed-- waiting for the developers to get off their butts and make the fix. In some cases this has come quickly (the big new trend is for a patch to hit the same day a game was released) and in others it can take weeks, months, or even years to finally get done. And I don't know about you, but if I have to sit on a game for months after I buy it you can be guaranteed I'll lose interest by the time they actually let me play it.
Let us not forget, there isn't any other industry on this planet that lets manufacturers market defective products. If I tried to sell a jacket that I forgot to put the zipper on I'd be laughed out of the local Fred Meyers. If I tried to market guns with triggers that didn't work I'd be strung up by my toes on a near by flagpole. And, of course, if I tried to ship a Backstreet Boys CD with half the songs missing I'd be over-run and trampled by disturbingly incensed 14 year old girls (with Monkeymus Prime leading their ranks…But he has issues). So, why do we let them do it?
To a certain degree, it's because some of it is understandable. Unlike most consumer items, PC video games especially have to be compatible with an incredible number of hardware configurations….Some of which it's just not possible to know there's going to be problems with during development. And that's cool. Hell, if I have to deal with a popping sound because a game doesn't work with my second rate knock off sound card for a few weeks while they come up with the patch I can understand it. I brought it on myself by not going with mainstream hardware. But if the damned thing doesn't work with the hardware they promise it'll work with…If it doesn't work with the hardware it recommends using on the box…
Well, then I think it's time for a good old-fashioned Monkey hurled dung-fest. Time to drag them out back behind the wood shed and let the old silver back with the hollow wooden leg change their religion. Time to add three parts lemon juice, two parts sharp steel slivers, and one part popsicle stick to the mix and get more than a little medieval on their asses.
But then…I'm a little sick in the head that way…And I certainly digress.
The point I'm trying to make is that, far too often, gamers are absolutely content to receive product that is defective out of the box and it just shouldn't be stood for any longer. The point is that many gamers would rather have a game early than finished. The point is that, if you take the time to visit any bulletin board hosted by any of the numerous companies who deliver unfinished tripe you'll find poop-for-brains idiots defending a dysfunctional game so long as it hit store shelves on time.
To those morons I say, "Reach deep into your rectum with the salad tongs of wisdom and pull your head out of your ass." I say, "If it means we have to wait a little bit to get a game that's actually worth having, so be it." I say, "Support the company that has your best interest in mind." Let's not forget that postponing a title doesn't just annoy us, it costs them thousands of dollars in delays and additional development time. So if they're doing that just to make sure what you get is top of the line, which do they really deserve-your contempt or your appreciation? After all, in the end, which would you rather have: a game that hits late but works or a worthless little silicone disk on time?