I haven’t been much of a gamer since I graduated college. Back then it was mostly Quake and Command and Conquer. There have been one or two games that captured my interest in the years since (Alice and Undying). But for the most part I’ve fallen out of touch with them.
For me, the last great game was Duke Nukem 3D. I have a lot of good memories attached to that game – learning to use a null modem cable, late nights spent trying to figure out the right AT commands for my modem so I could play against my friend Tuck, trying to figure out the optimal CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT configuration to make the game playable on my old 386DX.
When Duke Nukem Forever finally came out back in June, I had to buy a copy. How could any Duke fan not, right? So I did. And I discovered that I pretty much loathe the modern day PC gaming experience. Why you ask?
1) Steam – I had no idea what this was before installing DNF. I was a little put off by having to create a Steam account during the game installation process. But I didn’t think it was such a big deal until I realized…
2) At least half the game content doesn’t come on the disk. The installer ended up downloading quite a sizeable chunk of the game over my broadband connection. Combine 1 and 2 together and I realized…
3) In 10 years, I probably won’t be able to install DNF. I can STILL install and play Duke Nukem 3D (using Dosbox). And it runs great. How am I going to recapture the magic of my 30’s when I’m 50?
4) You can’t play the game if Steam doesn’t want you to play it right now.
5) Goodbye impulse game playing. On a number of occasions, I found myself in the mood for some simulated carnage and was instead greeted with this.
After 7 minutes, I lost my patience and the desire to play altogether.
Bring back install disks with the full game. If the installer finds an update when it’s finished, make the update optional. Don’t require a network connection for a game that doesn’t need it (DNF Campaign mode). And, for the love of God, don’t make me sign up for a gaming service just to play a single player game.