Please include patches with your games.
OK, that's a bit harsh, I don't really feel as if I've been shafted. BUT.
I have this friend. Some of you might know him. Nice chap, a really interesting combination of extreme ends of the anachronism scale, charming, smart, kind of lovable - he's catchy, we like him.
He's also really big on forward motion in tech. Wants backwards compatibility to be a thing of the past as much as possible, as we all ride the wave of technology into Glorious and Efficient Happy Future!
Yes, I'm being flippant. He has a point, in many respects. Geeks are flat out making new exciting better faster everything, and lots of people want new exciting better faster everything. So, what's the problem?
The problem is that there will always be people who are still running Windows 98, it takes forever for companies to upgrade from IE6 to IE7 and some of them faint in horror at the thought of Firefox, not everyone cares about being able to use Java to upload photos to Facebook, I don't own an iPhone yet and I have an allergic reaction to iTunes, the list goes on.
The point is, many folks, for whatever reason, want the Shiny but also are perfectly happy with their old OS (or whatever) and just want it to keep working. And some poor geek has to work pretty hard (especially when it comes to Microsoft products) to support making the Flash!Shiny!New! things work on old OS's.
I can see both sides of this.
When the time came to rebuild my machine, as always it was game-driven. Every hardware upgrade I've ever done has been game driven. And even though Windows2000 had so far, for me, been the Best OS Ever (shut up Linux geeks I don't care ok?) - stable, workable, intuitive, easy to understand - my sympathy for those poor buggers working on backwards compatibility combined with the knowledge that it really was falling off the end of the dinosaur scale, caused the decision to upgrade to Windows 7. Everyone said "AVOID VISTA ALERT ALERT ALERT!" and I listened, because, well, when everyone else knows more than you about something, you do, right?
So I have this shiny new machine with shiny new insides and a shiny state of the art new operating system. Our friend from above would be so proud. I was! And I happily played Dragon Age right through. I had Alastair defect so I could keep shagging him. Nuts to Anora and her politicking ways. ElfSex ftw! etc.
And then I took advantage of the Mighty Ape sale and bought some games I've wanted to own for a while. I got four countem four, for the same price as DA:O. Last night, I started installing them. I started with The Witcher because it's one I haven't heard much about from my gaming friends, it seems to have a lot of interesting storyline stuff, and it's won quite a few awards. So I installed the thing. Upon opening, I got the usual screen, you know the one where you choose 'Play', 'Update', 'Register' or whatever?
The 'find updates' button was flashing. And I know from Baldur's Gate that it's a good idea to get the patches before playing because it makes everything better. OK no problem.
Turns out, I have to download the patch to version 1.4, after which I have to download the English Language Pack for the Enhanced Version 1.4, and after that I have to upgrade to version 1.5. This totals about a gig and a half. Then, I might also have to download a patch to make it run on Windows 7, since the game was designed to run on XP and Vista, in 2006. I have a forwards compatibility issue - trying to make old stuff work on a new OS.
Now, I know the game is four years old and in gaming terms, that's ancient. However, a game that's won awards is probably going to still be popular 4 years later (again with the Baldur's Gate experience). So, um, some of these patches came out ages ago.
Would it kill the manufacturer to whack the patches on a disk and include it with the game installation pack? How hard would that really be? And yes, this might be backwards compatibility (or maybe forwards compatibility.. um..), and we know that's the devil, but seriously, this is the most effort I've had to go to to get a game running, EVER!
(except when I had to rebuild my machine to get WoW to work *cough*)
Speaking of WoW, I know someone who did a fresh install of that and it took a whole weekend to download and install the patches - 3G worth. That's dedication and to be honest, I wouldn't bother.
So I'm suggesting here that manufacturers of popular games that have been patched by more than a gig's worth, consider including the patches with the install disks on games sold after the patch takes place. Yes, it's more effort and costs the company. But you know, I'm prepared to pay a premium for the convenience. I'd happily pay $5-$10 more for the patches on disk vs downloading them for free. Seriously.
I've no doubt there are logical reasons why they don't do this, but they must be in the realm of Archaic Geek Knowledge, and alas I am just a user so really, what works for me is less of a consideration because my opinions are based in ignorance and a plebeian desire for things to Just Work.
So, geeks - I am baring my chest for the flaying - why don't they do this and what is the blindingly obvious thing I've missed with my request?
Also, Yay Friday! I have a weekend with no essay writing! It'll probably be spent downloading patches instead. I might have cursed Easter though, because I booked in some sheep, sorry.
And for those of you who asked, I'll let you know how the game is if and when I get it working. There's still the matter of the site rejecting my registration key as invalid - I'm hoping the patching will fix that too...