Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So what's this disk thing for, again?

I purchased the special edition of Fallout New Vegas the day it came out. I have loved the Fallout games that came out on PC, played them repeatedly, and generally consider them to be some of the best computer games ever made.

But I was going through a lot of effort to get through Chemistry. And I knew that that distraction of a really awesome game would be a drag on my studies. So I tortured myself by leaving the game sealed for two months.

The day after Chemistry ended, Thursday the 9th, I opened it. The special edition goodies are really cool. A deck of cards, a special platinum chip, chips from various casinos in the game, a graphic novel about what happened just before the game pulls you out of a shallow grave, and the game itself. Happy, shiny! What I've been waiting for! My reward for all that hard work (I mean besides a grade and a shot at a career). I placed the disk in my drive and got ready to install.

Oh. I have to create a Steam account in order to verify the game. I didn't have a lot of luck with Steam the last time I tried one of their games, because I'm still on a dial-up connection.

Yes, I could join the rest of the world and go to some sort of speedy internet, but that's going to cost me some $240 a year to play a game I paid $80 for. Does that make sense to you?

So I start the Steam up, create a new account, one with a password I can remember, which takes some time. And then the verification procedure, after which Steam tells me that the server aren't ready. Lovely. I restart the process, made easier by the fact that I don't have to create a new log-in this time. And the servers are still too busy to acknowledge me. A third try, and I've got it! YAY for me! As Steam starts to download the game to my computer.

All six point nine gigabytes.

Which will take until the heat death of the universe on dial-up. Which is weird, because I've got those six point nine gigabytes of data on this shiny physical object sitting in my disk drive. The bit I paid for. Steam doesn't care. It wants to download the game from their servers. Well, there must be a way to get it to acknowledge the disk, right?

After a few days of poking around Steam's website, I discover that there's a command you can use if you want to install a game from disk rather than download it. Well thank God, because I was starting to get a little frustrated. This was my reward for finishing a class on Wednesday, and it's now Saturday.

Only the command doesn't work. Steam thought about it, and spit back an error at me.

So I have my disk, which I have paid for, and all that data which my computer cannot access. Thanks Steam!

Eventually, after a week of screwing around, I went to the Grotto with my CPU, (YAY, walking around with my CPU doesn't make me nervous!) and spend four hours downloading the game. Which I had on disk. Did I mention that I have the game on disk and that Steam either couldn't or wouldn't acknowledge this?

But I got the game downloaded, started it up, and it's fine. I'm playing it. But really Steam, why can't I, a moderately average user except for my dial-up connection, get the data off this shiny disk thing with all the data already downloaded onto it? And what happens if, in ten years, I want to play the game I paid for again, and Steam has gone the way of the Heat.net?

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