That’s right, this is a review, not a critique. It’s something really easy to explain you see, in a few words, I couldn’t get the damn thing to work. So sit back and enjoy my tale of bile and misery. But if you want to just go to the point of this “review”, just scroll down to the picture of a horse and take a look at my demands.
There I was, happy with life, downloading a 500MB demo of an adventure game. Sure, it may not advance the genre, it may not do anything different, but dammit it looks cool and the protagonist is evil. Those were all the reasons I needed, I guess I’m easy to persuade.
So I installed the thing and noticed that it takes it’s sweet time. Mmmmhh, it seems to install the latest dotnetfix. Weird, I thought I had it updated. Anyways, it finally finishes and it asks me to restart before I get to play. Seriously? When was the last time that restarting was required for a videogame installation? I guess this has to do with the dotnetfix thingy, oh well. I restart, grumble a little and wait for two minutes. There, all done, let’s fire this thing up.
Heh, I don’t know why I expected something different, but the game changes the resolution to a 4:3 ratio. Typical. Is it so hard to detect current resolution? At least don’t force 4:3 in a widescreen monitor, it always looks ugly and stretched. It’s an issue only acceptable when treating with videogames more than 3 years old, anything more recent should recognize widescreen by now.
Oh, this is weird, I can see my cursor even though the company’s logos already started to appear. Huh. Well, right now I’m at the menu screen, all stretched out and ugly, so naturally the first thing I do is change the resolution to 1440×900. It’s my native resolution, and I don’t know yet if my PC can handle this game, but I can go back at any time I guess. Grave mistake, or rather, the developer’s mistake as we’ll see later. Oh, it says that I need to restart the game if I want the changes to take effect. Lovely, that’s just lazy programming.
So I close the thing, wait a few seconds, then execute it again. Same logos, not stretched this time, Yay! Although a solid green screen flashes between the transitions of logos. Huh. I click through them, I’ve already seen them, I’m getting a little impatient.
Aaaaaand then I get a solid green screen. Eh, this didn’t happen before. I can still see the cursor… bah, something like this always happens, I can’t change the settings without something going bad. I’ll have to change back the settings, surely there’s some registry key or ini file where the configuration is kept.
Alt+Tab does nothing and Alt+F4 seems to close the game, but I still have a green screen. Ctrl+alt+del works but I can’t see the window, all I see is green and my cursor. Bah, screw it, I hit the reset button.
No, scandisk, I don’t want to check anything, stop wasting my time. There, on Windows again. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to skip the logos? Let’s try again and don’t touch anything…. nope, green screen again. I hit the reset again. I sigh again.
Well, well, well, what do we have here? A config file! Let’s see… nope, the only resolution it mentions is 1024×768, which it says it’s the default. No mention of any other resolution. Huh, it must be in one of the other million files with nondescript names, let’s search inside the files with the text “1440×900”. Nothing. Then let’s search with “1440”… nothing. Bah, screw it, I’ll just uninstall it. Surely no game will keep hidden data in my pc after uninstalling. “The resolution configuration will be gone” I reassure myself just like a normal person slowly turning mad would, so I uninstall the thing. It doesn’t ask me anything about keeping save files or configuration… that can’t be good.
I install it again, still with hope. To my surprise, the thing installs the dotnetfix again, and it takes it’s sweet time doing it. Again. It asks me to reset the PC, which was expected at least. It’s those little things that count, one little bothersome detail adds to the next very easily. My patience is wearing thin, surely now it will work. Half an hour later, execute->logos->green screen. At this point I’m beginning to mumble expletives at the developers. How can they be so sloppy on configuration management? I sigh yet again. I still have a few things to try, let’s uninstall the thing. Again. Now, let’s see if it leaves some files behind after install aaaand… nope, in program files there’s nothing left.
Oh, I know, maybe it’s stored in the registry. I don’t know about you people, but I hate it when applications leave registry entries behind. So I run a few registry cleaning applications. Naturally there are loads of errors, since I haven’t done this in a while, but there are little to no mentions of Ceville.
That probably didn’t change anything, but let’s give it another chance, shall we?. I install it yet again. Another fifteen minutes lost. Boy, am I pissed. Test it again, no green screen between logos O_O Is this it? Problem solved? A few seconds pass and … nope. It’s exactly the same, but instead of a green screen, I get a black screen. At least the bug has some variety to it.
And now I… give up. I tried every method I could come up with. I installed this thing 5 to 6 times (yes, I did even more tests than what I mentioned here, but they all ended up with the same result), wasted something like 3 to 4 hours and went from happy and ful of joy to screaming for the developers blood.
But why am I telling you dear readers about my troubles? Doesn’t everybody go through similar experiences? Yes, that’s exactly my point. This problem ends now, I’m going to do humanity a favor. I decided to take action, so please be wise and warn every developer that you know of about my demands. (Whoever takes this threat seriously shall be stoned to death, with weed or actual stone throwing, you decide)
Developers of the world, here are my demands, and if any of you shall not listen to me, don’t be surprised if someday you wake up with a horse’s decapitated head next to you:
Demand number 1: Make your games Alt+Tab friendly. The PC is a multitasking machine, that means that it does more than playing videogames. That means that at some point some players will want to do something else with their PC. Alt+Tab is a mandatory feature for any application, and that’s includes yours. Plus, if the game glitches out or crashes or freezes, etc, then the player can just alt+tab his problems away and kill your buggy application.
Demand number 2: Detect widescreen monitors. I don’t care how you’d do it, just do it. I’m frankly tired of changing the settings to widescreen every single time I install a new game.
Demand number 3: Offer your graphical configurations in both, outside and inside the game. This way, you don’t have to even worry about demand number 2, and as a bonus you will also avoid cases like mine where a particular configuration crashes the game before the main menu even appears and there’s no easy way to fix it (if you don’t know where the settings are stored).
Demand number 4: When uninstalling, ask the user if he wants to save or delete his save files and/or configuration. This is common sense really, why should the user have to delete your garbage when you can do it for them? Ask them about it before actually doing it of course, maybe they are uninstalling now but they want to re-install it later.
Demand number 5: I’m hungry, make me a sandwich. Yes, all of you developers make a sandwich. Whoever prepares the worst one will be sacrificed to the gods of gaming in a ritual of one straight week playing counter-strike against 30 cheating super-bots. That or seeing the movie of House of the Dead with your eyelids permanently open like in the Clockwork Orange.
That is all. I’ll be expecting the sandwiches by tomorrow morning, and the overall changes to your games in a few weeks. Just remember: Horse head.
PS: I think I found where the freaking game stores it’s graphics configurations. I still don’t know if the game will actually work after the main menu, so wish me luck. Or don’t, it’s entirely up to you.