Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Steam is pissing me off

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Are you familiar with Valve and their Steam software service?  Are you a user of their service?  If so, here’s some information you may want to know.  Because Steam is really starting to piss me off.

In general, Steam is a decent way to buy games online.  It had a horrible start with the launch of Half-Life 2 and the industry had all but written Steam off at that point.  But Valve was able to fix the problems and make Steam into what it is today.  Normally, I would be generally satisfied with that.

Unfortunately though it seems that Steam has felt the need to use region restrictions on their retail software just like the movie industry does with DVDs.  This doesn’t affect most people who only buy their games and software locally but for those of us who travel or order from online retailers, this can be a serious issue.

While I was living in Hong Kong I purchased Valve’s The Orange Box because I wanted to play Portal and Team Fortress 2.  So I took a train to a software store and picked up a copy.  Nowhere on the box or packaging does it say it’s region restricted and everything is in English like I would expect back home in the States.  Excellent.  So I install it and play and all is well.

Now I’m back home and this past weekend I decided that I wanted to play Team Fortress 2 again.  I’ve had to get a new PC since my previous one died after the move so I needed to reinstall.  So what happens?  When I try and install any of the games in The Orange Box, it pops up a message that says that the CD Key I used is region restricted and unusable in my territory.  WTF?

I tried changing my time zone and my location in Steam but nothing helped.  I guess it must key off of IP addresses since it is an online service.  So I contacted their support for help.  The answer I get?  That they can delete the region restricted key from my account so that I may be so priveleged as to purchase their software again.  Uhhh…  NO.

They referred me to a very unhelpful FAQ entry on their site that says that the message I got was from region or territory restriction and that I should return my software to the retailer.  I’m not sure if these guys at Steam have ever had to buy and return a piece of software but it’s not possible.  Stores do not allow returns of opened software.  Idiots.

And that unhelpful FAQ entry also states that all region restricted retail boxes are clearly marked that they are restricted.  I still have the case and everything that came in it.  There is not a damn thing on it that says restricted in any way.  So my next step is to scan in the sleeve from my retail box and send it to them.

I’m not asking for much.  They recently sold The Orange Box on sale for $9.99 USD.  I’ve already invested almost $50 USD into buying this software so I don’t see why they can’t just give me a new key code without the restrictions that are not listed on what I bought.

I’ll let everyone know what happens.  Because if this doesn’t end with my getting what I paid for, then I will figure out every SEO trick just to see what $9.99 USD worth of BAD PUBLICITY can really do.  Which should be interesting since I work at a PR and communications company.

La Vida Poco

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Bachelor life is starting to get to me I think.  I’ve played so much Beautiful Katamari that I think my hands have permanantly contorted into grasping claws.  Which is actually rather convenient for playing XBox games to be honest.  Makes typing hard though.

Add to that bizarre Japanese game the fact that I have been watching nothing but Japanese language movies and TV (with English subtitles of course) and I’m relatively sure I can here The Vapors invading my internal soundtrack.  And that’s never a good thing.

As you can see from my Most Recently list over on the right, it’s been kind of crazy.  I’m also watching Kagemusha but I didn’t get to finish it last night due to various phone calls and laundry, but that’s another that will be added to the list.  I actually haven’t completely finished watching Haibane Renmei yet either so please do not post anything about that or any spoilers (that pretty much means Insomnic).  I would hate to have to kill you in your sleep.

I’m currently downloading Neon Genesis Evangelion so I can continue this craziness.  I can’t get an English version here in Hong Kong, so… well… piracy to the rescue!  Don’t worry MPAA, it’s still on my Amazon Wishlist.

Perhaps I’ll get some sushi for lunch today.  Hmm….

2:15am, too scared to sleep

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

I’ve spent the past three hours playing Condemned: Criminal Origins on my XBox360.  I played it for a few hours just a few days ago too.  I knew what I was getting myself into.  Except it was daylight when I played that day.  Tonight I started at 11:00pm.  After the first half-hour I reluctantly turned off the overhead light because the game is so dark, the light in my room just makes it harder to see.  Most of the game is spent walking through corridors and checking every corner for crazed madmen… in the dark… with only a small flashlight and a single weapon.

Now, three hours later, it’s 2:15am and I want to go to sleep.  My blood pressure and adrenaline are up.  I heard all sorts of creaks and other odd noises as I went to use the toilet and then brush my teeth.  I kept watching the bathroom door reflected in the mirror for any movement or shift of shadows beyond the crack of an opening.  More noises… more blood pressure.  I had remembered to lock and bolt the door to the flat before I started playing.  I knew I would be paranoid after playing.

I found myself looking around the bathroom as I brushed my teeth.  Looking for makeshift weapons like you do in the game.  I decided that the shower curtain rod was my only real option.  I could get that down in a hurry if I needed to.  I touched it… it seems sturdy.

This flat makes a lot of strange noises now that I’m alone here.  My imagination loves that.  I hope it’s just my imagination.  I’m going to go run to the bed and hide under the covers now.  I’m just glad that the wardrobes are gone so nothing can hide in them while I fall asleep.  And the bed has storage underneath instead of being open space.  Something might otherwise grab my ankle as I get in bed.

Maybe I’ll just sleep right here… in front of the computer.  Safer that way.  I hope….

Contest Alert

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Yoshi over at Hello! Yoshi is having a contest this week which you should definitely check out.  He’s been planning a contest for the Blogathon ever since the last Blogathon, but they have decided to cancel it this year.  So what is Yoshi to do with his fabulous prizes that he bought for this event?  He has two brand new MP3 players just itching to be given away.  That’s the reason for the seemingly random contest.

The rules are simple and you only have till this coming Sunday to enter.  So hurry up and head over to enter the contest today!

Lego Indiana Jones

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

So we’ve watched the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie (which I still say is an outrageuosly long title for a movie).  Before that we refreshed our Indy knowledge rewatching Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  [Have you noticed that the first move now has “Indiana Jones and” prepended to the title on the newer releases?  It wasn’t like that when it released.]

So you would think I’d be all work out at this point of anything with a fedora and a whip.  But I really want to play the new Lego Indiana Jones game.  Muse and I played the Lego Star Wars II game on Playstation 2 for a bit but we never really got very far.  I thought it was a lot of fun though and I can see how the Indiana Jones franchise could really take advantage of the Lego game formula.

I just need to add it to the ever growing list of games I want to buy before I leave Hong Kong.  XBox360 and PS3 games are quite a bit cheaper here since the market won’t support the ridiculous $60 USD per title price that is charged in the United States.  Most games releasing in Hong Kong start at or around $39 USD per title when they come out and you can always find some older/cheaper ones too.  I will definitely miss that when I’m gone.