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I make games. I also play them. I talk about both activities here.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

And I'm Actually a PC Fan...

Choose your own adventure post! You can either read this post or go watch this movie, followed immediately by this movie. Like a real Choose Your Own Adventure, you can actually go watch those movies, and then come back and read this post too if you want; it's up to you!

This will not be a typically long post; I just saw something that forced me to update.

Remember last year, or the year before that, when I would frequently reference my computer? You know, the one that cost more than all my consoles combined? Well yeah, just recently I replaced that old computer with a newer, much more expensive one. As pretty much any computer made after 2002 can check e-mail and browse the internets just as well as my new computer, it can only be my love and devotion for PC video games that demands this heavy tax. I even have a rather gaudy 26" LCD monitor for no other purpose than compelling my PC games to run in only the most stressful of resolutions.

But quite frankly, it's hard out here for a PC video game fan. Not only are the titles worth buying few and far between, what with many of the great PC developers escaping to the relatively pirate-free environments of consoles, but when a game worth buying actually does get released, the hoops one must jump through to get the thing to work properly hovers somewhere between masochism and dark ritual. I used to scoff at people who tried to tell me this before, chalking the assertion up to a general lack of basic computer savvy, but somehow, when I wasn't paying attention, things became very real.

Case in point: Mass Effect's PC release. Now I know I said something earlier that made it seem like I would be talking about "a game worth buying" on the PC, and maybe to some of you console guys, talking about Mass Effect now might sound strange, but, well, it just came out on the PC. I purchased it when it came out on console, and didn't feel that strongly about it then or now to talk about it as a game, but it's current situation makes it post-worthy in my eyes.

There's a good chance that those of you who've purchased Mass Effect on the PC know where I'm going with this. For the rest of you, the ones with sense, let me fill you in: if you purchased a copy of this game, it's more than likely that the thing will just not work for one obscure reason or another. This is actually a shockingly common experience had with PC games, one that I've had personally more than once. Typically, a trip back to the store is all that's required to solve this issue, but that is obviously a crap shoot, as these types of issues are rarely isolated. And hey, Mass Effect is a very big game from the very biggest of publishers, so it, more than any other game, ships with a basic expectation that it should at least, I don't know, install without significant issue. Bioware has somewhat humorously posted a set of installation instructions to be used as a work-around if you have one of those copies of the game that won't install. The humorous part is just how involved a process it is. For your indulgence:

You will need:
1) access to the contents of the data directory (either off CD, download, temp files, etc)
2) WinRar or 7zip or any tool that can extract .rar files.

1) Create a folder on your system somewhere. Default for the installer is "C:\Program Files\Mass Effect\" or a games folder.
2) Open each .rar file in the utility chosen (WinRar for e.g.)
3) Extract each .rar file into this folder. If you are using an English build, you won't need to extract any .rar file that has a different language code (_es, _fr, _de, _it, etc)
4) After extracting all files, your folder should look like this:
...\Mass Effect\Binaries\
...\Mass Effect\BioGame\
...\Mass Effect\data\
...\Mass Effect\docs\
...\Mass Effect\Engine\
...\Mass Effect\MassEffectLauncher.exe

5) Run the MassEffectLauncher.exe and quit immediately.
6) Run the "Mass Effect (tm)_code.exe" from the data folder. Enter your CD Key, click next, it will exit out.
7) Run the Launcher again, hit "Config". under the "Repair" tab, you can re-create your shortcuts if running XP. If running Vista, I'm sorry, you can't add the game to the Game Explorer in these instructions.
9) Quit back to the launcher.
10) Play! (everything should work nicely now)

Anyone else as horrified as I am? And before a single one of you defends this process as being "not that bad," I have something for you to read. When you get back from reading that, if you still feel like commenting that the process is "not that bad," well, go right ahead. I'll be over here, playing this game about killing monsters and staying trendy. I don't know if I like it, but I'll be damned if it didn't work straight away after I inserted it into my DS (note that my DS does not look like that, because I am not a moron. I would, however, love a DS that looked like this).

Thanks for reading.