To explain the motivation behind last week’s post – I recently bought a second-hand copy of Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30 from a charity shop.
My worries about running a six year old PC game on a modern machine were compounded when I saw the Ubisoft logo on the box. Previous experience tells us they are not good with this.
But to my surprise, there was no hard drive formatting or any death lasers. The game ran just fine. Unpatched, no less. So maybe I was a little unfair on Ubisoft for that one – but I just couldn’t let the image of copy protection taken to the maxtreme go.
Anyway, the purchase did remind me of the problem with the short-sighted nature of gaming lately. With things like EA’s multiplayer activation codes or the Cerberus Network codes for Mass Effect 2 – all designed to fight second hand trade-ins.
But if you think about people in countries that are a little less privileged and are away from the cutting edge of gaming that we reside on. Folks who might be finding an old sports game that will be the only thing for them to play on an ancient Xbox 360 they’re lucky enough to have.
Or years down the road, maybe Microsoft or Sony go the way of Sega and die out. Think of those that will be stumped by the in-game DLC advertisements in Dragon Age if Xbox Live is gone or totally different.
They could be playing these games on a relic of a console, through some kind of crazy backwards compatibility or even an emulator. Think of all the pre-order bonuses lost in time.
I’m all for stopping the kind of people that trade in games seemingly hours after their release. I understand trying to fight piracy or the questionable second-hand business of game shops. But there will be a shelf life on these games and a point at which companies will have made all the money they’re going to make off a title.
We ought to preserve the games of the present for the gamers of the future. Companies should consider what it will be like looking back on these games in fifteen years time.
As for the game: it has some interesting ideas, but doesn’t really reach any narrative heights. The gameplay is similar – pretty fun, but not spectacular. It has flaws, with constant repetition and a questionable difficulty curve. But it is nice to see a game where suppressing fire will actually keep enemies behind cover.
If they had a better budget and took a few more risks, I think the reverent team behind Brothers In Arms might the ones able to make an educational and realistic game about the war in Afghanistan.