Pointless Nonsense

Posted in video games by Bill on July 17, 2011

Having finally finished Fallout: New Vegas (and begun the process of debating the purchase of the DLC), I moved on to the other cheap game from the Steam summer sale: Batman: Arkham Asylum. What follows is not at all a review of the game itself, which I’ve only just started, but of the infuriating process of beginning the game.

I started game and after seeing all the company logos and the “click to start” screen I was all ready for some Batman action. Except first I was asked to enter the product key. I was then presented with some Windows Live bullshit. Since it’s a single player game, I have no interest in this and attempted to cancel. I was told that if I don’t sign in, I can’t save. This blows, since if my internet connection dies, playing single player games is one of the better ways to pass the connection-less time. But fine, after declining the data mining option, I signed in with my ~15 year old hotmail account. I Entered the product key a second time for some reason. The windows live game software required an update, no idea why I had to sign in to find this out, but whatever. The game exited, downloaded the update, and restarted. I signed in with hotmail account again. This account was not set up for windows/xbox live, so I was then redirected to a webpage. Somehow, I was randomly assigned a gamertag, which I think is like your publicly displayed username for such things, without ever having an opportunity to choose one. I don’t think I’d ever want to be known as AutumnBloom54 or whatever, so if I ever actually attempt to play multiplayer games through this terrible service, I’ll have to figure out how to change that or create a new account. So after finishing the gaming account setup, I returned to the game, where I had to sign in again. I then had to enter the product key a third time. Finally, after all this, I was able to play the game.

Literally the only thing that was handled well about this process was Steam offering up a button to copy the product key to the clipboard. Entering a 16-digit key by hand 3 times, which I think I might have had to do if I had bought a physical copy, would have blown. Steam seems to have an interest in keeping the gaming experience from being shitty, unlike these Windows Live assholes.

All told, it was only about 5 minutes, but that’s just awful for my first experience with a game. Ignoring the general shittiness of requiring online saves, it should not be that hard to background update the software right off the bat, only require me to enter the product key once, and only require me to sign in once. I will have a hard time buying another game that requires Windows Live in the future.

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