Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gaming Trend Pimpslaps StarFarce

Over the years computer game developers and producers have gone through different types of copy protection schemes because it was assumed this would stop pirates altogether. The only things it did was: 1) slow them down by hours instead of minutes, 2) piss off regular paying customers who would experience slow-downs and any number of problems caused by wonky copy protection. The most recent and nefarious of all these schemes was Starforce.

The short version is that it installs hidden hardware drivers onto your system then forces a reboot before you can fire up the game that came with it. The drivers regularly phone home to Starforce HQ (located in Mother Russia) and have been traced back to corrupting optical drives and CD/DVD burning software like Nero. Most other game sites just took it in stride and rarely if ever mention whether a game has Starforce on it.

My editor at Gaming Trend, however, has decided to take things one step further.

He posted this thread at the official Starforce forum and the gist of it is that any and all reviews of games with Starforce installed on it will receive an automatic 10 percent penalty straight off the top of the final score. Regardless of how good the game is, that 10 percent is automagically gone before the game is even played. If, however, Starforce screws up our computers during any point of our review window that score drops to a big fat goose egg.

I can't wait to see what happens when publishers and other sites get wind of this and we have a major AAA title receive a 0 percent score because the install of Starforce screwed up one of our machines. I am absolutely behind this because draconian copy schemes are only going to remain in effect as long as we the consumer put up with it. If we actively strike out against this sort of thing then maybe the little guy can make a difference after all.

Viva le Resistance!

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