Tuesday, March 28, 2006

No Title...I Don't Have The Will For It

So I woke up this morning and wandered into the living room. Surprisingly, there was no one home.


You see, when you get married, your new spouse makes you do frivolous things like spend time with them, talk to them and help them with things…rather than let you do the important stuff, like spend 4 hours playing video games.

So I turned on the computer. I’d watched Lord of the Rings: Return of the King the night before, and I was really in the mood to play the game on the PC.

Now, where are my Lord of the Rings CD’s.


Now, you see, all my games are prettily arranged on a shelf right next to the computer. Unfortunately, my copy of Return of the King came in one of those compilation packs, the ones that have really crappy packaging. The kind of packaging you throw away as soon as you open it.

So I look on the shelf, and find the play disc in one of those uber-crappy plastic slip case things…you know the ones, the ones that offer no protection to the CD whatsoever.

The install discs are no where to be found.

I am suddenly filled with disgust and an odd sense of foreboding. In the distance I hear demonic laughter.

I have to venture into the ‘Desk Drawer of Ultimate Doom™’

Everyone has a drawer like this. It’s the drawer that houses all those things that aren’t really important enough to keep, but you don’t want to throw them away, just in case you need them at some point in the future. It’s arranged in the Biblical System…aka “Seek and ye shall find.

So, after about a half hour, I stumble across install discs one and two. Now I only have disc three!

About an hour later, with nearly the entire house turned upside down, something in my head clicks.

How many install discs are there? I thought it was a four disc set, but maybe it was only three?

I do a Google search. Guess what? It is a three disc set!

I’d just spent an hour searching for a fictional disc. I’m sure the third disc exists somewhere in potentia, the mystical universe where anything that could exist does exist…only not in this universe…it doesn’t.


Oh well, live and learn.

So I put in install disc one.

Please enter your CD key. This is located on the back of the Jewel Case.”


You see, my version of Return of the King didn’t even come with a jewel case. Like I said before, it was in a compilation. A compilation that came with lots of very small, and above all losable bits of paper with this kinda stuff written on it.


The little bits of paper, very much like the ones I threw out a few weeks ago, in a fit of madness, when I decided to try and be tidy. The bits of paper that I looked at and thought:

“Damn this drawer is untidy! Why am I even keeping this crap?! I haven’t taken a thing out of this drawer in over a year, I’ll clean it up a little!”

Double Uh-oh.

I looked anyway. Let’s just say that if I had a bit of paper for every bit of paper in that drawer…I’d have exactly one butt-load of paper.

Now, at this point a lesser man would have given up. It had been almost three hours since I got out of bed…but I wasn’t going to be beaten by a piece of god-damn paper.

At this point, I realized I had two options:

  1. Email Electronic Arts customer support, wait about a week for a reply, end up sending my actual game CD’s to them (The only proof of ownership I had…the receipt was lost in the “Desk Drawer of Ultimate Doom™”) then wait six weeks to get my CD’s back and a new CD Key…that’s if EA would actually do that for me.

  2. Use my 1337 H4XoR skillz, and get a CD key off the internet.

So, about 30 minutes later, I had finished removing the myriad of spyware programs from my PC, and had just finished the virus sweep that I carried out after I got virus warnings from every single site I visited looking for the CD Key.

But I had a CD Key dammit!

(Paulius After School Special Corner: Hey Kids, Paulius here! I’d just like to point out that I didn’t do anything illegal because I actually own the game I got the CD-Key for. Getting CD-Keys for games you have pirated is against the law, as is pirating the games in the first place.

Just say no to software piracy, kids! Not only could it land you behind bars, it also makes you a dirty commie, a racist, a homosexual, and bizarrely, a Lithuanian pole vault second place winner.

Besides, EA needs more money to roll in while worshiping their heathen Gods.

We now return you to your previously scheduled programming.)

So I was all set. I put in my recently acquired CD Key, and started the installation.

Now, why all games aren’t released exclusively on DVD is beyond me. Surely DVD-ROM drives are standard equipment these days? Plus, you can buy one for about $20 now.

But, I was stuck with the CD’s:

Insert disc one

Insert disc two

Insert disc three.

Insert disc one again. (Why? Why God, Why? Couldn’t it have got everything it needed the first time?)

Insert disc two and three together, while wearing disc one as a hat. Lean slightly nor’ east, and slightly oil a whale fisherman’s buttocks.

Nah, what’s the point of putting a single DVD in the drive, starting it and walking away…when you can be stuck in front of your computer for 30 minutes swapping discs like a…a…a big disc swappy thing!

Anyway, I finally got the thing installed. I started the game up.

Now, one of the few bad things about Return of the King is the first time you start it up, you’re stuck watching about 15 minutes of introductory video (Read: Film Clips) that are non-skippable.

It’s like EA sat there and thought: “We’re paying a lot of money to get these clips in the game, so you’re sure as hell going to watch them! I don’t care if you’ve seen the films a hundred times! I don’t care if you’ve seen all this before! I don’t care if you actually want to play the game you spent your hard earned cash on! We’re EA dammit! Kneel Before Zod!”

This is the part of the game that you spend staring at the screen, pressing every button on the keyboard, mouse and gamepad, because somewhere under that cynical, life-hardened outer-shell, the eternal optimist in you is thinking: “There has to be a way to skip this damn thing! They can’t force me to watch this!”

Finally, the opening scene is finished and I’m at the main menu. I configure my gamepad, I start the game.


I’d forgotten. Not only do you have 15 minutes before you even get to the menu, you also get treated to a 5 minute introduction to each leve,l the first time through (Sod the fact I’d already played the game through and  had beaten it…all the crap that gets left on your hard-drive when you un-install something, they couldn’t leave a little line of code that says “He’s seen this, skip it.”)

Dear Games companies:

Stop making non-skippable cut scenes and full motion video segments…or I will kill you…that is all.

(Maybe I was wrong, video games DO cause violence).

So, it’s been close to four hours since I decided to play this game. I’ve found the discs, got a CD key, installed the damn things, and just sat through 20 minutes of non-skippable video.

The display changed from movie clip to compute generated. I’m about to be given control of Gandalf at any second. My heart quickens.

YES! I’m actually PLAYING the damn thing.

The Battle of Helm’s Deep. Shit hot! The walls are in front of me, there’s Orcs and Uruk-hai a plenty between me and them. I set Gandalf in motion.

At that precise moment, Sunny walks into the room.

“Ah! You’re up!” She says.

“Uh-huh.” I say…that first Orc is within spitting distance/

“Well, get your shoes on, you’re coming with me to take the trash to the dump.”


I bash my head against the desk.

“God!” Say’s Sunny. “I’m so sorry I’m interrupting your little computer game! Get your shoes on.”

I weep.

…and do you wanna know the worst part? When I actually got to play the game, I remembered why I un-installed it in the first place. It’s good the first time through…after that, it gets a little boring.

  • Sidenote.

Earlier this evening, I was sitting at the computer while frank listened to some music. He was playing the CD through the DVD player, in order to hear it through our surround sound system.

Strangely enough, ‘Ice Age’ was on the TV at the time.

Apparently, rap music lip-syncs almost perfectly with Ice Age…leading to the most fucked up music video you’ll ever see...


Miz S said...

LOL- You know way back in the day when I had nothing better to do than sit around with my friends and play drinking games and goof off all day.....back before i had kids and bills to pay and responsibilities one of my favorite things to do was catch a buzz and turn on MTV and turn the sound down. Then i would put in my favorite cassette...I mean CD which at the time was probally Golden Earring or ZZ Top Or AC/DC and listen to the music and watch the videos at the same time. It was great......

God I would love to do that again....not on a regular basis, mind you....but as an occasional thing it would be great!

MC Etcher said...

Bwa ha ha ha! We program games that way on purpose. Oh, the fun we have.

:::wiping away happy tears:::

MC Etcher said...

If faith means anything is possible, and you fully believed that there was a 4th disc, shouldn't your faith have created a 4th disc?

Yeah. I don't know where that just came from...

rayray said...

and why, prey tell, would the staff at EA Games worship the biggest criminal Krypton had ever seen?

Paulius said...

I could tell you, Rayray, but if you actually knew, they'd probably send someone after you.

I'm only safe because of what I have in my safety deposit box, and that if I don't report my condition to a secret accomplice every 12 hours, the contents of said safety deposit box get sent to the world media.

Kato said...

I feel your pain man, I've been there (well, except for the wife part). CD-Keys are the worst thing ever, another stupid "oh crap, someone is gonna copy our stuff!" tactic that just ends up pissing off the consumer and is no effort for the real pirates to get around. *sigh*

As for the DVD thing, who knows? I read something awhile back where that very question was asked of some game company person and they said "Our research shows that most people don't have DVD-ROMs". Whatever, dude, it's standard equipment. Get with the times.