Friday, December 16, 2011

Used Games Debate

Gamers can be annoying sometimes.  But they're lovable in their own little insane way, and anybody who is willing to spend 400 hours catching every single Pokemon is a certified badass in my book*.  No, the thing I really hate about the game industry are gaming devs.  Pack of crooks as far as I'm concerned.  Yeah, I know they're are a lot of people who legitimately love the medium and are trying to make fun experiences for their players.  But there are also a lot of people being really creative in ways to screw me over royally.  Just how much dick can they shove up their consumers' collective ass?  Western game developers are the worst at this, by the way, constantly finding new ways to screw you and make you buy new crap that you don't need.  Remember the days when you walked into a store and bought a game?  And it was the full game.  Remember that?  Those were good times.

But game developers hated those good times.  Because simply paying for a cartridge or a disc, taking it home, putting into your system, and playing it as long as wanted, that wasn't enough for them.  They wanted to bleed their consumers dry with all sorts of needless crap.  I don't need to put in a monthly fee or pay fifty more bucks for DLC or suck Bobby Kotick's dick in order to play the game.  I don't want a constant Internet connection or any other crap.  I just want to play.  Well, those days are ending, my friends, gaming is going to purely digital now, no discs at all.

You see, I happen to be a cheap person.  I'm Jewish, so maybe it comes from that, but it also comes from my basic responsible attitude towards life.  I know every dollar I spend more than I need to on a game is one dollar less that I'll be able to spend on something else - which includes things I really need like food.  Do you know how many video games I bought for new at full price this year?  One, "Skyward Sword", and I'm beginning to think I paid too much for that**.  Apparently this means that I'm a horrible person, becase none of the dollars I spent actually went to game developers - who, by the way, were selling the games at a higher price.  In fact, lots of crooks at nightmarish dictatorships like Activision and EA are planning to include all sorts of locks and codes on games so that the used gaming market will die out all together.

Clearly, that would be bad for me.  It would also be really bad for you.  It would be bad for everybody.  Yet I still hear blowhards on the Internet saying that used games are a "scam" and should end.  Well, folks, allow me to show you why you're wrong.

First of all, I don't care if I'm a bad person.  I do have morals, but only up until a point, all things are flexible in this universe.  If I don't have to be a bad person, I won't, but if I do, I will.  Simple as that.  So when I played "Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes" this Fall, I actually broke a variety of copyright laws.  But I couldn't play the game any other way, so I don't care.  I'm going to eventually download and play "Earthbound" and "Mother 3" for free on my computer, because Nintendo doesn't want to sell those games to me.  Should I import a version from Japan?  Yeah, I guess.  But why should I?  I don't have a SNES, and I don't speak Japanese, so Nintendo can go cry about it someplace away from me.

But anyway, even if my morals are flexible, buying a game used is not morally reprehensible on any level.  Let me explain:  this is what is called "Capitalism", children.  A person makes a product, and you want that product.  You can buy it directly from the source, or you can buy it from somebody else who will offer it at a smaller price.  Buying it at a smaller price is the logical thing to do.  Yeah, maybe the guy who sold you the product didn't pour sweat and tears into making it, but as long as he bought it legally, there's no moral problem at all.  A game is a product like any other.  You can buy used books at your local library for as long as fifty cents sometimes, that doesn't mean you're stealing from the author or the publishers.  Whoever says buying a game used is wrong, is a blowhard.  They're probably pissed that they spent too much on the game.

If you like to directly support a game company, that's wonderful for you.  When I bought "Skyward Sword" at full price from Nintendo, it was my little way of saying "thank you" to a series that has been a constant friend to me for almost a decade.  However, I don't think I need to give THQ charity.  I certainly don't want to give Kojima any extra Yen after he completely failed to make "Metal Gear Solid: Rising".  And EA and Activision are so obvious evil that I want to directly ask every one of my readers to not buy any game from them ever.  You aren't hurting anybody by buying a used game, because if the game is used, that means somebody already bought it.  The game developers already have their money, they should be happy with that.

Even if I wanted to give charity to multi-million dollar corporations that swim in seas of more money than I'll ever see in my entire life, I can't afford it.  I'm not a rich man, I'm not even a wealthy man, I'm a college student.  Worse, I'm an education major.  I'm going to be poor for the rest of my life, so don't go crying to me when I don't give your favorite game designer my ramen noodle budget.

And even if I had millions of dollars, I still wouldn't pay top dollar for no reason.  If the video game company's business model is not resulting in enough profit, that is not my problem.  This is America, make more fucking money.  Don't strongarm me to bleed enough twenty bucks out of my wallet.  Maybe the current shape of the video game market is unsustainable, has anybody thought of that?

Here's the difference between a used game and a used car:   a used car is noticeably worse than new, slowly but surely every part on the car begins to degrade and fall apart.  A used game however, will probably work at exactly the same efficiency as a new game.  My used copy of "Bayonetta" worked as well as anybody's new copy of "Bayonetta".  Ironically that game ran like a car with 500 thousand miles on it, but that's another issue altogether.  So if anybody has a problem with me buying a game used, they can go cry someplace else about it.  Because its my choice, I'm not hurting anybody, and its the best price.

This is why digital distribution worries me.  As long as I have a physical copy of a game, its going to work for as long as the matter holding it together lasts.  When you buy a digital game, who knows how long its going to last?  You may not be able to transfer your digital copy to another system, the people who control the game networks can easily disable your ability to play it, and any other issue can occur.  Quite frankly, I don't want my game collection to be at the mercy of greedy executives.  These are people so greedy that they aren't simply content with stopping piracy, they need to attack perfectly legal forms of secondary market transactions like used games.

If you want digital distribution to take over the market, game developers, you got to make the prices smaller.  And you got to give me the same freedom with the digital information I buy from you that I get from a disc.  I should be able to download the game and own the data on top of it to manipulate in any way I want.  Your copyright rights extend only as far as me not selling your characters and stories for my own profit.  Buying a game is buying it, it is not a long-term rent.  When its mine, its mine.  When I buy a car from Toyota, I can sell it to anybody I want for any price I want, and I paint it pink with orange stripes if I want.  Toyota does not get a say in the matter, neither do you.

Hey, do you what way I can get all the options I listed above?  Pirating!  And it is an option, game developers, don't think I'm going to play fair if you won't.  Remember, we only buy games at all any more because we choose to, everybody on Earth could get games for free if they wanted.   And you're not going to be able to stop that.  Technology is against you, game devs.  So I suggest you start being more friendly, because you're not in charge any more.  Yeah, its wrong, but its also satisfying as Hell to burn a greedy asshole.

As for anybody who disagrees with me, feel free to comment below.  I'll be laughing at you.

* My biggest accomplishment is catching over 300 Pokemon in "FireRed".  Never could finish it, because of Nintendo's inherent pure evil.  Because about a dozen or so Pokemon simply are NOT in the games, in any version.  You'd have to play the GameCube games or go to conventions or some other crap.  Not happening.  So yeah, I never finished it, and I weep every day I look at my unfinished "FireRed" cartridge.  Greatest failure of my life.

** Review Part 2 is coming as soon as I beat the sixth dungeon.  Also, I just reached an escort mission, so no, the game does not get better.


  1. I agree with you 100%. I will never understand why people who have more money than I will ever make in my lifetime feel like they need more.

  2. Yeah, I really worry about this new "digital age" as well. I want my physcial copies. I want to be in complete control. I want to have the pleasure of knowing that at any time i can pick up the game and play it or load it into a new computer at my discretion and not have to worry about anything.

    Back in July I pre-ordered The Old Republic, and I had a choice between getting a physical copy or just simply getting a digital download. I took the physical copy option without hesitation. And the ironic thing about this is that since I pre-ordered so early, I got into early access the first day it was offered, 7 days before launch. The game is currently loaded on my computer and I've been playing, and I haven't even recieved the game yet. Some might consider it pointless then, since I had to download for early access, to bother getting the physical copy, but I prefer it this way. I want to be in control.

    I truly, seriously worry if all videogaming will one day eventually become nothing more than digital downloads, not a physical copy to be had anywhere. It will be a sad day indeed if it does.

  3. This has nothing to do with the above post.

    Blue, have you heard about the Party Down movie apparently being shot next Summer with a possible release in 2013? Adam Scott gave an interview yesterday saying that the treatment is done and they just need to sort out schedules.

    I don't really think they'll have a screenplay ready for the Summer, but if they do that would be awesome. I'm betting we won't see the film until closer to 2014, but we'll see. Just knowing that there's progress being made on the project is good.

  4. Digital games means I have to have ties financialy with every random game company out there; who would ever want that?

    *Reads last part* Oh shit.

  6. My sister has pretty much caught every Pokemon. However, she did so using an Action Replay, therefore she doesn't deserve badass status. Instead, she should have Local Parriah status.