Goodbye Fallout 3

11. November, 2009

I made a mistake. A big mistake. I admit it. I shouldn’t have. I still did. I bought the game officially in a store. Sorry. Won’t happen again. Bethesda is now on my “Don’t Buy” list and Sony is close.

What happened. A year ago, I bought Fallout 3 in a shop. It’s a German uncut version. I’d actually preferred the cut version; the splatter effect is probably some nice piece of FX code but blood doesn’t give me much. Can’t have that. I’m in Switzerland and I can’t do as I please. On top of that, it seems my shop sold me the Austrian version. It’s German, too, but different. Somehow. I don’t know. I’m just a stupid gamer. The main difference is that when I buy the addons in Sony’s PSN, then I get something that doesn’t work with my game. Because I must have the Swiss version. Since I’m in Switzerland. And I bought the game in Switzerland. And I have a Swiss PSN account. I think. I don’t know. I’m just a stupid gamer.

So what happens is that I have an illegal copy of the game. Illegal as in “if you’re in Switzerland”. Why Bethesda decided to produce three German versions? I don’t know. I’m just a stupid gamer. I don’t need to know such things. Why were the DLCs available for months for Xbox but not for PS3? I don’t know. Why did everyone say that the DLCs would never come to the PS3? I don’t know. Maybe it was because Bethesda knew what would happen. Or maybe Sony treats them like their customers. I don’t know.

The net result is that I have a game which I can’t upgrade (at least not without illegally creating an Austrian account on PSN). I probably can’t buy the GOTY Editition without loosing my save games. I don’t know for sure. I’m not sure I care anymore. My blood pressure raises when I only see the game box. I buy games to relax, not to heap more problems on my plate. I don’t care who is responsible for this crap. I don’t understand why it’s more cheap for Sony to put some text in the game description (“Don’t buy this unless you have BLES-00399”) instead of checking the list of installed games. It’s also sad that Switzerland doesn’t have any laws to protect customers who buy over the Internet. Sony can put anything in the rules of the PSN and I can only weep. I can’t even sell or ebay things I buy on PSN.

Makes me wonder what happens should I ever have to move back to Germany. Will I have to buy all my games again? Or will Sony be nice and allow me to keep my Swiss PSN account even though I’ll lose my Swiss credit card? Maybe they’ll expect me to live close to the border, so I can still buy games. Or carry the PS3 over, hook it up to PSN via my mobile phone, so I can update the games I bought.

Some more frustration: Fallout 3 has left about 600 save games on my harddisk. It would take me approx. 24 hours to delete them (it’s a process that involves pressing eight buttons in the correct sequence).

Or how about this: I bought a Sony LCD TV because the PS3 can talk to my media server. I was naively assuming that the TV would work just like the console. Well, it doesn’t. I can watch photos and videos on my PS3 but not directly on the TV.

Well done. For some reason, Xbox and Wii sell better than the PS3. I wonder why. The PS3 looks so much better!

Found My Friends From The Talon Company

5. March, 2009

Disclaimer: This is a cynical virtual diary of my journey through Fallout 3. If you don’t like strong language or cynicism, this is not for you.

While wandering the landscape, I ran into this fort. Fort Bannister. Guess who lives here? The friendly guys of Talon Company! You know, the guys who supply me with ammo, guns and armor in the field? Whenever I need it, three of them would show up and, after a friendly round of sparring, they’d hand over their goods to me. XP for free, too!

What can I say? As I saw their crest, I had to drop in and say hello! Until I reached the poorly hidden access grate, like seven guards had forced their stuff onto me. I could barely walk under the weight!

Down in the guts, the boss, a Commander Jacobs or Jabsco or something, couldn’t really hear him over the firing of my brand new laser rifle, stood target himself so I could improve my skills in energy weapons! Whow! That’s customer service, eh? And every time I as about to run out of anything, another of his chaps would shop up and leave me stuffed!

Guys, I’ll miss you.

Guinea Pig

25. February, 2009

Disclaimer: This is a cynical virtual diary of my journey through Fallout 3. If you don’t like strong language or cynicism, this is not for you.

Moira actually talked me into becoming her guinea pig. Isn’t that what women are for? The things I do to get get laid …

The first task was simple enough. Go to this old supermarket and kill everyone inside. You didn’t believe when she said “abandoned”, did you? I only regret that I didn’t notice the old protectron in the back earlier. Could have done some slice’n’dice for me. Instead I had to waste another bullet to be able to loot it myself.

On the way to the market, I ran over an old school. Yeah, over – not into. Think “bulldozer” instead of “tourist”. Why do these guys have to leave such a mess? I almost tripped in the pools of blood on the ground floor! One day, I’ll find a way to pick up a bucket and a mop. Then, they’ll have to clean the level before I kill them!

Found some new friends, too. Great guys from a “Talon Company”. They seem to be into field delivery of supplies. You know. Guns and armor. And bullets. Plus a little workout to make it worth my time. I like it. Right on, commander!

After returning, I had to stand in the cold, radiated water next to the bomb until I feel sick. I felt sick after a few seconds … can’t this old fool stop mumbling for even five seconds? I’ve been watching him. He’s standing there, slobbering at the thing as if it was the greatest invention since the big bang. The original one. You know? 14 billions years ago? That one. Right. Where was I? Oh, yeah, he’s standing there, mumbling, day in and day out, 24/7. I get fried by the radiation after only a few minutes but this guy … ignorance is blizz. It just seems that the radiation in the water ignores me ignoring it.

After surviving that mostly intact … I hope … thinking about it, I wonder what that trip did to my most precious parts … damn! Maybe Moira is a better actress than I thought. Anyway. I have to visit a playground in a minefield. Knowing that things ain’t gonna be so easy, I start my exploration of the city Minefield from the back side. And what would you know, there is this old cracker running around, firing bullets at me. Why is everyone so hostile around here? A headshot emphasizes my peaceful intentions. After that, I can loot to my heart’s contents. There is so much stuff, I can hardly walk back home.

If I was asked, I would be hard pressed to say whether I prefer to kill or to loot. Maybe I’d be happy with looting alone. It’s only that people are so egoistic. They only always think of themselves instead of me!

Shootout Cancelled

23. February, 2009

Disclaimer: This is a cynical virtual diary of my journey through Fallout 3. If you don’t like strong language or cynicism, this is not for you.

Talked to lots of people. Weirdos. Only this Mr. Burke seemed to a nice guy. He gave me some equipment to wipe this rotten town from the landscape. Hm. That gave me some cool ideas.

Messing with a bomb is more complicated than it looks. Nothing that a little help from my friends can’t fix. One pill later, the bomb is as dangerous as a paperweight. OK, one that glows in the dark, but hey, that only makes it more useful!

Now for the fun part.

I visit Simms. You remember Simms? The sheriff? The nice guy? Whoa did that change when I showed him Burke’s toys. I stay on his heels as he races to the saloon to have word with Burky. One word for you: Shootout. Yes! Finally! Haven’t seen fresh blood for several hours by now, getting itchy.

It’s great to watch that sleaze slime his way around Simms. I was laughing so hard, I almost couldn’t keep my 10mm pinpointed on Burky’s head.

But Simms was a big disappointment. Really. Instead of crippling Burky’s arms and legs, search him, one bullet in the head, and then ask questions, he turns his back on the guy! Oh well. Got what he deserved and I got all the goods from both of ’em. For only two bullets, too. Only … how do I get my house keys, now? And come to think of it … how do I know that Simms was supposed to give me the keys to “my” house … he never mentioned that when we talked. Odd.

Offered the ghoul behind the bar some really fresh meat but Gob (that’s his name) didn’t want it. Apparently, only zombies eat human meat. The things you learn out here! Amazing.

Time to cash some of the loot at Moira’s. Nice body in the blue skin. I feign interest in her stupid idea of a book. Hey! My girlfriend dumped me before I had sex with her! A man gotta do what a man gotta do, right? Right!

Just Got The Boot

21. February, 2009

Disclaimer: This is a cynical virtual diary of my journey through Fallout 3. If you don’t like strong language or cynicism, this is not for you.

First day. My girlfriend just gave me the boot. Threw me out of 101, too. Stupid bitch. Next time, she can kill her father herself. Why was he yelling anyway? I didn’t let my father just walk out on me. And I only clubbed ten or twelve or so of his security into a pulp with my baseball bat. Some people!

I wonder what I did yesterday. Somehow, I can only remember three days of my past life. Odd.

Blast. It’s so … open. And that sun. No good for my complexion. Wasn’t  there supposed to be an eternal night after a global nuclear war? Black rain, thick cloud layer, downpour? Maybe it wasn’t so global after all. Probably just a few big gun freaks speaking their mind about politics in D.C. With the little I remember from history 101, they’re probably heroes of the world, now.

Anyway. That red thing on sticks is a water tank. Contaminated water. Great. Just what I need. Next, the food will be radiated, too! How did I ever deserve this?

Luckily, I ran into this town. Megaton. Built around a bomb. Weird. But funny. Megaton. Get it? Megaton? As in bomb? Ah, forget it.

The sheriff seems to be OK. But let’s not judge him to quickly. I’ll wait until he finds me in a big pool of blood. Someone else’s blood. Probably several someone else’s … but at that time, nobody will be left to worry about these petty details.

Fallout 3 or How To Annoy The Customer

17. February, 2009

Math anyone? It’s simple. Bethesda sold 4.7 million copies of Fallout 3. They made $300 million from that. Not bad for a game. Someone got rich. estimates 1.24m sales for the PS3 version, 2.02m for the XBox. Since there are no figures for the PC version, I assume that this was somewhere between the two. Amazon’s sales rank (111 XBox 360, 157 Vista and 188 PS3) support this.

For a simple minded person like me, this means that Bethesda made between $50 and $80 million dollars with the PS3 version. Obviously not enough to supply the game with more patches and downloadable content (DLC). A pity. I liked the game. I didn’t like the gore; too much blood for my tastes and no way to switch it off. Distracts me from the good parts. I like the immersion, though. Touch decisions. Who to save and who to sacrifice. Seeing the results of your “help”. Going for your own good or the common good. I find myself spending more time in the dialogs than in the fights, trying to find my way in the options, wondering what evil twists the designers might have hidden behind each.

Since Bethesda treats a third of their customers second class citizen, I guess when Fallout 4 comes out, they won’t need to bother for one of the three supported platforms at all. I’m sure that the decision makers have thought long and hard about this, probably watching a big heap of money piled up in their front lawn by Microsoft. And rightly so; why should Microsoft care whether they ruin other peoples lives? They never did, and, since it’s such a successful strategy, they never will.

If you find that legal document hard to read, try this one. Microsoft has made a total revenue of $16.37 billion of which $6.48 billion are operating income. To drive the point home: For every buck Microsoft charges you for anything, they make 39% profit. Not bad for a company in a business area where a 6% margin is “a lot” (Dell, the world largest computer distributor has a meager 6.48% profit margin). Someone with a conscience would say, hey, we make enough dough, we can reduce our prices. My point exactly. Someone with a conscience.

Yeah, I’m in a foul mood. Microsoft is responsible for most of the pain and misery in my life and now, they are telling me which games I can buy. Or which console. Great. That will really make me reconsider. Guys, I don’t buy from Microsoft because other products are better, I don’t buy from Microsoft because I hate them. I’d rather buy a broken PS3 for $500 than a working XBOX 360 with a lifetime warranty for $1.

Or well, yeah, I’d buy the 360 for $1 … to smash it to bits when I’m angry. Can someone recommend a paint shop who can put Bill’s face on it? If the warranty would cover that, we’d have a winner. Or when one of the plastic pieces scratches my skin, I could sue Microsoft for 1% of their profit. Whow! I’d be insanely rich. I could buy a small country. Gibraltar is probably too expensive. Liberia doesn’t look like a nice place. How about British Virgin Islands? Heck, why not? I’d even have some small change left.

So if you’re pissed like me and would like to do something about it, sign here.

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