Gaming: The Online Nightmare

I love video games. I'm not the oldest or most retro of gamers, I'm not even remotely "hardcore". But I grew up with them, and despite the fact neither my parents weren't rich, I had a nice collection and managed to have at least one console for each generation ever since my gaming debut on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Forward two decades later and I find it more and more difficult to enjoy gaming as a "full-time hobby", two jobs, a wife (by society's definition even though I hate the term) and, well, other hobbies such as drinking and driving (since I'm short on time I do them at the same time). Whenever I do find the time to play, it becomes a little more difficult to enjoy modernized gaming.

My rant has a little something to do with the constant "cloud" and online interaction to do ANYTHING. Maybe I'm all "IHATEALLNEWTHINGS", but ever since online gaming popped its head in consoles and DRM became more and more anal, I feel many things are becoming too controlled, too "we have to know what you are doing, when you are doing it and when you plan to do it again". My most recent example has to do with Assassin's Creed: Revelations and its constant nagging of going online and checking for updates each time I want to play it. It's not even the auto-update-notification that irks but the fact they require you to register and log in each time you want to play the game.

Then it constantly reminds me as I'm about to journey into the game that I am not connected, I won't be able to play multiplayer or download extra content. Look, I KNOW I'm offline, I KNOW I don't want to be running around with other Altairs or Desmonds or whatever, I KNOW the game itself is fine as it is and extra content won't get me extra hours of gameplay so I don't care if I have it or not. I just want to PLAY THE DAMN THING.

Whatever happened to double-clicking and just playing?

And then come the actual updates or patches, these aren't mere patches, this is like downloading an old copy of Unreal Tournament. These things are huge, the second update was around 750MB! That's a whole CD worth of data, being treated as a frickin' patch. It's ridiculous. Sure, they fix things, sometimes many things, sometimes none that you can see, but if you have Auto-Updates enabled, that means one day you will be all pumped up to play the game and find yourself waiting a good amount of time for some application that works in the background to finish doing whatever it needs to do so you can kill virtual people.

Now I'm not against patches, or automatic notifications that there are patches available. But when a game tells you (and this happens a lot on PS3) that you need to update your firmware in order to play a game you just bought, and you've no way to connect to the Internet, what the hell are you going to do? "Oh connect it once, then you're good to go offline" NIGGER I SHOULDN'T BE REQUIRED TO LOG IN EVEN ONCE!

Who gives a flying rat's crap about this?

I could swallow installing games on a PC, that's how it worked with any application/program or driver on PCs. But then consoles started behaving more like PCs and it wasn't just popping a CD and playing it, it's now being online, whether you want it or not, and giving up privacy or just the mere option of offline play. Every game now gives you a "You're not connected, you won't be able to see leaderboards" WHO THE FUCK GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THIS SORT OF THING? Whatever happened to solo gaming without feeling the need to blurt about what you are doing, whenever you are doing it?

The only positive thing I see about online implementation is that sometimes split-screen on a TV was either ugly or too small and hindered the experience, or maybe you didn't like walking or driving to your buddy's house to hang out and beat each other up in Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, and now you have the option to just find each other online and duke it out. That is perfect, it's something gamers yearned for years back when the only doable online clashing was either with first-person shooters or with real-time strategy games.

And then there's cases like when the server isn't available and the game is online-only, so you can't play the shit you buy because someone was too cool to burn it to a disc and have it ready for you to play even when you forget to pay the Internet bill or when Anonymous feels like having a laugh and attacking a server after breakfast.

Sadly, the only way around many of these issues is to download cracks and other workarounds and force the games to stay on your PC and not to blabber on about you playing to the rest of the world.