Friday, May 23, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

So here's some news for you; some of it good, some of it bad and some of it could just be down right ugly. We'll have to see how things play out.

1) The Good

Some people say you should start with the bad news and end with the good news. Sometimes the bad news is so bad you can't really enjoy the good news when you finally hear it. I like to start with the good news that way if you don't want to know the bad news you can stop reading and then you won't get mad at me for ruining your day. There will be a return to the brilliant world of gaming better known as Oddworld. The Oddworld games are the only games that I know of where farting and belching are integral in the gameplay and not just what you hear over an open mic in online play. I remember the very first time I played Abe's Oddysee and learned which buttons farted and which ones belched. I found it totally funny to walk up to a Mendokan and fart right next to them. I think I spent more time laughing than playing the game that first day. This was also the first platform puzzle game that I played where I actually had to think sometimes to figure out the puzzle and what I needed to do. It was funny, it challenged me and I've enjoyed every minute I've played all those Oddworld games. I'm glad they're coming back to that world. There are some worlds that just shouldn't be left dormat for long.

2. The bad

Back in March I called Xbox Live Support to report that I had 3 Arcade games that I had purchased but I was unable to play the full game. Every time I booted up the game it would revert it to a trial version. For the last couple of days they've left a message on my phone saying I needed to call them back and check on the status of my original call. So I finally got around to calling them last night to see what's going on (they originally said things would be fixed in 30 days and that was back in March). I had to call them twice last night. The first time I got stuck in the automatic transfer purgatory (for 10 minutes) so I hung up and redialed hoping for the best the second time. The second time I got someone who barely spoke English and obviously didn't know what the Xbox Live Arcade was at all. Even though I gave them the reference number for the situation I still had to explain the whole thing to them all over again.

After going back and forth with that person for 45 minutes she finally transferred me to "the correct department" so I could go over it was them. That person also didn't speak English very well and they spoke awfully fast which made it that much more difficult to understand. I explained everything again a couple of times before that person put me on hold. When he came back he said that my original request should have been completed by now and that I had been requested to call back in so they could tell me that it wasn't. Well duh! I could have told them that just by trying to play one of those games. They said they would escalate the matter and I should hear back from someone within 24-48 hours. Yeah right! After 1 hour I was finally able to hang up and all I learned is that my games still weren't fixed.

3. The Ugly . . . maybe

There's not going to be a major Spring dashboard release instead they've been working on other things. One of those things is work on the infrastructure for Xbox Live. That's actually a good thing if you ever tried to play during the 2007 holiday season. One other thing they've been working on a tool to help with the DRM problems some people have had. That's also a good thing so why am I listing it here?

Because of another item that was mentioned in the article. Microsoft is now going to start "delisting" poorly reviewed and poorly utilized Xbox Live Arcade games. What does that mean? That means they're going to take them off the Marketplace so you won't be able to download them. Why could that be ugly? Because if you ever run into a problem where "delisted" games are deleted from your hard drive or if you ever run into DRM problems (like I have) those games won't be available for redownload. That means a game you've paid for someone else is going to take away so you can't play them anymore. At least that's how I read the article. Maybe those games will still be available on the servers they just won't list on the Marketplace. How you're suppose to find them again to redownload them then I don't know. I'm sure we'll hear more about this process in the future.

This DRM license tool might be helpful for unlocking these Xbox Live Arcade games and since it's suppose to make it so you don't have to be connected to Xbox Live to play the games I'm hoping it's everything they say it's going to be. But "delisting" Arcade games seems like a really bad move. If you lose one you could be screwed. I'm tempted to go out and get another hard drive and redownload all my Arcade games to that drive and then just store it. That way if I ever lose a game I'll still have a back up somewhere. I don't know if that will work but it's better than losing something completely that I've paid for. If I'm done with a game let me decide when I don't want to play it anymore not someone else deciding for me.

So did I ruin your day? Did I tell you anything you didn't already know? Do you think I'm over reacting about the "delisting"? Maybe . . . maybe not. There is one more good thing out there. I just got a new CD from Amazon. ANThology by Alien Ant Farm. I got the album for one track: Smooth Criminal. I was listening to that album while I typed all the bad news but after listening to that song now it doesn't seem so bad after all. Maybe music can heal all wounds. If so then Microsoft needs to stop playing Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" as their theme song. If you've ever heard it you know how annoying it can be.


metallicorphan said...

them deleteing the arcade games of the marketplace list is gonna lead to a lot of problems

just like some people,like my sister,can re-download Hexic(the original)onto her 20gig HDD,as that game still isnt available on the marketplace,and never has been

Abe games are okay,i loved the last one,the cowboy one(i liked the good,bad and ugly refferance as well) hopefully i will like this one

and talking to people who are hard to understand mainly because of their accents on any phone service is a real pain,i am hard of hearing,so i usually just agree with them and hang loss :(

metallicorphan said...

'just like some people,like my sister,can re-download Hexic(the original)onto her 20gig HDD,as that game still isnt available on the marketplace,and never has been'

that was meant ot be that she 'CAN'T' redownload Hexic


pengwenn said...

dain has the same problem with Hexic because he got a different console back when he sent his in for repair. He kept his hard drive but it won't let him unlock the full game with the new system.

Another thing that ticks me off is Microsoft is not trying to fix my DRM problem on those three games because they know they're going to have a fix available in a month. We'll see how everything turns out in a while won't we.