Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Blog Banter: Digital Distribution – Loving and Hating it

Posted by deckard47 on June 21, 2008

I download so many demos of games, full games, and episodic games these days, it’s hard to remember when this kind of thing was impossible. Of course, back when all we had was a 386, Simant, and Doom, we wouldn’t have been allowed to use the internet. Even when Counterstrike originally came out, we had a 56k modem, and it was always a struggle to play through matches, hoping to go unmolested by lag. And downloading games? Forget it.

Now, I have a fast connection, and I love what it allows me to do. Sure, boxed copies make me a bit nostalgic, but the ability to snap up a game on release day without braving crazy gaming people at the store (although you often have to brave a very slow download) is fantastic. I picked up Bioshock on the first day, and was playing it about an hour after starting the download. The same goes for The Witcher, Penny Arcade Adventures, and others. Sure, there are a few problems in the various downloadable systems out there (Steam, Stardock, etc.), but fixes are being introduced all the time. The only thing you might miss from an actual boxed edition is the manual, and the box itself, I guess.

For most games, this doesn’t matter. I love some of my old games, and some of my new ones, but the only reason to get a boxed version is to get a Special Edition. Unfortunately, there’s no way I’ll pay 70 or 80 dollars for a little pewter toy and some bad extras. I expect quality box pack-ins, for a regular price. Of course, I barely ever got my wish. I can count on the fingers of both hands the box art and doodads that were worth it: the first and foremost would be all Bioware games (before KOTOR). They had cool little cloth maps, great manuals (oh, the Baldur’s Gate 2 manual, so much like a D&D Rulebook), and they came in those badass big boxes. While we’re on the subject, I loved the big boxes. They had huge foldouts and great art. Along with those games I’d include… nothing else, really. As I recall, flight sims and strategy games were always supposed to have cool stuff, but those weren’t for me.

In the end, the possibility of scratched discs, shitty padding, bad pack-ins, and of course, lost CDs, make digital distribution a godsend. Sure, I miss my miniature Monstrous Manual and silly maps, but the triumphs of a couple of games can’t offset the crimes committed by all the others. Look at Mass Effect, Freedom Force or any new PC or console game, really. You’d think they were worried about scaring us with interesting stuff and a comprehensive guide. So many games are so poorly documented: I love to read the unnecessary backstory in manuals, it makes me happy, in a very geeky way.

In the end, I couldn’t be more happy that digital distribution is here to stay. Maybe they could ship me a map or two, to make up for all those authentication problems?

Welcome, welcome to the 6th installment of Blog Banter, the monthly blogging extravaganza headed by bs angel! Blog Banter involves our cozy community of enthusiastic gaming bloggers, a common topic, and a week to post articles pertaining to said topic. The results are quite entertaining and can range from deep insight to ROFLMAO. Any questions about Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!


Check out these other Blog Banter articles! Living Epic, Silvercublogger, Mahogany Finish, Video Game Sandwich, thoughts and rants, weblog.probablynot.com, XboxOZ360, Zath!, Delayed Responsibility, Gamer Unit, Hawty McBloggy, Triage Effect

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4 Responses to “Blog Banter: Digital Distribution – Loving and Hating it”

  1. Zath said

    I used to like to have a physical box in my hand having bought a game, I used to enjoy reading through a huge manual as I rode home on the bus, I used to like displaying my games collection on shelves – but these days I just want to play the game on release day without fear of missing out and without added clutter into my home.

  2. bs angel said

    As I read more opinions on this subject matter, I wonder if age comes into play at all in preferences. I would think the younger generation that is growing up in the beginning of the digital distribution age is more likely to adapt to it quicker than old fogies like myself who are more set in their ways. Hard to tell! 🙂

  3. silvercube said

    Yeah, as bs angel says, age might make a factor in this, our are video game experiences through life.

    I just will always like the nice disc copy…

    Not everyone has internet, or access to it all the time.

  4. "comme caresse" said

    Oh wow, James, George, and I were just reminiscing about this *exact* thing last night. The big boxes with all their assorted manuals, usually inches thick, the artwork you got to hold in your hands and look at for as long as you wanted. And reading backstories does give me a kind of geeky pleasure, maybe because I am so used to reading books where I have a complete rounded history of a character, rather than just this person with some obvious attributes and somewhat flat front.

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