Sunday, March 17, 2013

SimCity Razed To The Ground

You know what guys, the EA circlejerk must continue.  "SimCity 5" is one of the most broken pieces of trash in recent history for a multitude of reasons.  I won't parrot the news but rather just give you my quick opinions as to what went down.  But first, a quick recap in case you simply haven't paid attention or you're from the future:

EA and Maxis announce SimCity 5 will only be playable via online connection.  Game is released and the servers keep crashing.  Hardly anyone can sign in and play it and those that do can only play for minutes before getting disconnected.  Those that do play it find the game has a multitude of flaws such as the city borders are too small and the traffic pathfinding is hideously broken to the point the game is hardly fun.  Maxis starts slashing features in a vain attempt to fix it, such as removing the fastest game speed and leaderboards, with little success.  Eventually Maxis & EA "fix" the servers, but not before a bunch of gamers complain about wanting to patch the game for offline play (LORD BLESS 'EM).  Maxis says "maybe, maybe not," EA say "no it can't be done" but hackers prove otherwise and prove that EA's PR machine is either ignorant or a bunch of liars.  EDIT: Oh, and you don't even need to be a l33t hacker to play offline--just change two config values in a text file (although you can't save your game offline).  Oh, and EA CEO John Riccitello rEAsigns.  In the meantime, anal gamers do what they do best and that is run to Amazon and other rating sites just to "stick it to the man" by downvoting the game.  DAMN IT'S A GREAT DAY FOR REDDITORS EVERYWHERE (kinda shitty when you think about it.../r/gaming sucks is abysmal too)...

Emphasis on the words: LIMITED EDITION.

You know, maybe EA is not to blame for all this.  Maybe this is Maxis' fault.  Good little Maxis with the Stockholm Syndrome, running to defend poor daddy EA, "it's not their fault!!!"  Yes it is, even if they weren't directly involved with the SC5 Lockdown.  They're like the problematic child on the playground who's always coincidentally around whenever trouble strikes.  SimCity 5 disaster?  Mass Effect 3 ending sucks (plus the on-disc DLC)?  Origin "spyware" and lousy customer service?  The assimilation and dismantling of smaller studios?  Monetization spam in all their games?  Need for Speed sucks?  There's just too much crap EA is tied to at this point for one to say "well, it's really not their fault" or "you people are overreacting."  If crap like SimCity and Need for Speed are the "future" of gaming, then I will not stand for it.

Look, here's a video. Despite how utterly embarrassing it must be to be this guy, there's one line the guy drops half-way through the vid that really gets to me. "When the servers go down, you can't play the game anymore." I pointed this out before but I guess now it's official--SimCity 5 will be NULL AND VOID in a couple of years. Tell me, how asinine is it that I can pick up a 24-year old copy of the original SimCity on the PC (1989) and still play it to this day yet in 24 years from now (2037) odds are I won't be able to play my copy of SimCity 5? I mean, not just the multiplayer aspects, the WHOLE ENTIRE GAME will be gone by then! For you "games are art" folks out there, isn't that kind of shitty--like burning a museum full of paintings or sculptures? It's 2013, I think we can preserve everything on computers, especially if its a game from a wildly popular franchise such as this one.

But this is the "rebuttal" of my point and it is this: How do we know if people will care about SimCity 5 in 20+ years?  And wouldn't there be a better SimCity out by that time?  Good question!  We don't know what people are going to want in the future.  But look at today--some of us still care about old games like the SimCity 1-4, Pac-Man, Street Fighter 2, Doom, DAYTONA USA, OUTRUN, and so forth.  It's why we have crap like emulators & ROMs for the sake of preserving these games "forever."

Also, who's to say the next SimCity will be better than SC5, or better yet, even exist at all?  Game franchises have fallen off the map before.  Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is a great example.  Loved the series up until Underground 1 but then it went downhill from there.  Underground 2 and American Wasteland's story and designs got less appealing and glitchier in nature but were still "playable."  Then comes Project 8 with a brand new engine and the game is even less fun.  A few games later and you have Tony Hawk: Ride.  Hell, at least I can still play the old Tony Hawk games so we should be thankful!

But yeah, we do know that SC5 has gameplay flaws and can be played offline but we don't know where it'll stand in a year or two--Maxis and EA may relinquish the game and allow modders to salvage it at last but otherwise, I'm not holding my breath.  I've been a SimCity diehard most of my life, playing the crap out of SC2000 and SC4, but now the series is dead to me.  Congrats EA on strangling another one of your franchises to death.

Also, here's another thing that really sucks about this DRM.  It doesn't allow any kind of user mods whatsoever.  Look, I've played enough of these old PC games where you can create your own mods, scripts maps, skins, models, gameplay rules, other fun stuff (Half-Life mods come to mind) and they were wildly enjoyable.  Yeah, this makes way for hackers and pirates but do tell me which games DON'T have that as a problem (last time I checked, Spore, despite the DRM protection, was the most pirated game of 2008).  As for SimCity, check out this screenshot:

Check it out--this is a whole gallery of SimCity 4 in-game screenshots made possible with modifications.  I'm serious, you look at SimCity 4 from 2003 and yeah, the game was rather glitchy and had performance issues when it came out.  But guess what--you can download fan mods like the Transportation Mod or the Opera House Fix which really tweak the game and make it much more playable.  Yet without any sort of fan-made mods, you're basically at the whim of EA/Maxis to fix the damn game for you...and odds are that they'll fuck it up more than the fans can.  Seriously, over the years, I've learned that fans can tweak a game better than the game designers themselves.  Dammit, EA, really?

EDIT: I guess one more point about this server nonsense is that it fosters multiplayer gaming. C'mon people, multiplayer is fun! You alway want to be in multiplayer, right? Um, not always! What if I *le GASP* don't care for playing with other people or I want to develop a metropolis without being molested by other pinheads out there on the Internets, how about that?? Like check out this city. Think this dude gives a crap about online play?

Honest to God, I'm not talking about SimCity anymore.  I do, however, want to talk about another EA published disaster.  It's called Real Racing 3 and it's an iOS/Android game similar to Gran Turismo/Forza's sim racing model.  It's free-to-play which means it's going to suck ass.  Seriously, check out the Eurogamer review--trashed it by literally limiting gameplay (making you wait X minutes before you can race again) and encouraging overpriced microtransactions for underwhelming car upgrades.  You know what, I'm not gonna fuckin' lie--I'd rather up front pay $10 or so for an unmolested, disturbance free experience instead of a "free" one that looks to inhibit me every step of the way.  But someone I know did say, "ain't nothing free, soon" but I counter by saying there's a difference between "offering microtransactions/advertisements" and "offering microtransactions/advertisements in such a way that it destroys any semblance of gameplay and fun."

To prove the point, here's a fun little game I downloaded for my iPhone recently.  It's called Tiny Tower.  It's a FREE game.  It's a "grind-it-out" Facebook-y kinda game that you really can't lose at.  You just save up money by clicking on crap and building new floors on your tower.  The only kind of advertisements that appear are ones on startup and they're very innocuous popups for games like "Sky Burger" and "Hungry Squirrels" that only last for two seconds before you click the red X.  As for monetization, there's a sly little option in the game's menu labeled "Get Bux" which lets you spend up to $30 for the in-game premium currency used to speed up construction, restocking of stores, etc.  But the good news if you play the game efficiently, you can earn tons of Bux easily.  Basically, I'm at 76 floors, have the best elevator, and I've spent ZERO United States Dollars on this game thus far.

I imagine the real life Samuel Willis has a James Earl Jones/Danny Glover voice as he utters, "Boy, my dream since I was a child was to work at the cheese shop."

And besides, even if someone DOES choose to buy Bux in the game, so what?  At least this game isn't being an ass about it like in EA games.  Seriously, man, if you're going to be a free-to-play game, you don't have to suck dick like an EA game.  Or at least grow a pair and charge $4 bucks or something like the Kairosoft games.  I got a lot of value and little grief out of games like Grand Prix Story and Mega Mall Story because Kairosoft chose not to go the shitty route when it came to monetizing games.

What a piece of crap.  When I choose to play a racing game, I want one where I can click a button that says "Go Drive/Race" and that's the end of it.  It's like the time Penny Arcade discovered that you had to wait in line to play bowling on Playstation Home.  WAIT IN LINE INSIDE THE VIDEO GAME.  Thanks EA (and Sony), thanks.

Anyway, this has been a scintillating discussion.  I'm sorry I haven't been posting as much as I should have.  Not only am I pissed about SimCity, I'm also pissed about the Rock Band weekly DLC coming to a close in a few weeks (although I have no qualms against Harmonix for choosing to do so).  Sucks man, everything does these days.  I only hope and pray to God that Sega doesn't make these mistakes.  That's all, goodnight everyone.

Also check this out: MAH TINY TOWER.


  1. Ever watched "EA in a nutshell" on YouTube? Yeah, that pretty much sums up how we all feel about this game.

    1. Overhyped Sellout Lens Flare Dubstep War Zombies 4 HD >>>>>>>>>>>>> SimCity 5