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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 85: Steam Box, Listener Mail

Dylan Collins's picture

We are reaching into the listener mail bag again! We learn Brad's favorite food, and what game is like Amelie...if Amelie could fly! Also, Special guest Christopher Floyd stops by to talk in his Irish accent. Oh yeah, we also talk about what we've been playing and have a lively discussion about the Steam Box! With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard "Sexiest Thumbs Alive" Naik, Special Guest Christopher Floyd and Dylan Collins.

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Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   Vita   PS3   3DS   PSP   PC   iPhone   iPad  
Developer(s): Valve   Ninja Theory   Capcom  
Genre(s): Adventure/Explore   Horror  
Articles: Podcasts  

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Steambox Games will cost more

One thing that didn't occur to me until after the recording is that the cost of PC games are deflated due to the splintered marketplace and lack of uniformity/development of the platform. If Valve is going to be a serious player in the console business, then they are going to need to reinvest in the platform and that's going to lead to higher prices for games.

I also wanted to add that David Sheff's Game Over is the first time I realized that video games were more than just games and had cultural relevance.

Steam Box

When I read rumours of Valve developing a pseudo-console I immediately felt that it could lead to the demise of so many things gamers are sick of, namely non-competitive prices of digital games compared to physical (success would surely remove the grip of retail over publishers), and the lack universal, free, online play between consoles (a Steam Box would link console gamers to PC gamers).

However, once it was pointed out that there will be various versions of the hardware I just sighed. What's the point of having various versions of - what I assume - is supposed to be a device for non-PC gamers? One of the main barriers people have for PC gaming is the complex web of hardware configurations. I assume the reason Valve encourage this process is because of their freedom/open philosophy of technology (which I think we all respect, but in this regard it is perhaps best not to have hardware companies dish out, essentially, mini-PCs).

A potentially missed opportunity, I feel.

Dark Souls Port

Just wanted to comment on the quality of the PC port of Dark Souls. Richard put this port into context with "good PC ports", which are supposedly hitting the PC market.

I don't know what version you were playing, Richard, but for me this was one of the biggest pieces of crap i have ever played, and this is coming from a guy who played MGS2:Substance and Resident Evil 4 with mouse and keyboard (and enjoyed it). If you don't know what i am talking about consider yourself lucky.

This port was so bad I actually had to hook in two external libraries just to get it in a semi-decent state. The first one was to up the graphics (Durantes) patch, so the game didn't look like someone eating lots of corn just shat on my monitor.

The second one was a library that enabled me to play the game with a PS2 controller, as there is no way to remap the controller, neither in-game, nor in ini files. This is simply unacceptable and there is no excuse. I am not going to buy a sh*tty XBOX controller to play games on my PC. I still wonder why at least the EU hasn't put a stop to the practice of forcing consumers to play software with a specific set of hardware peripherals, which locks all other hardware-competitors out.

My willy-extending juggernaut of a Gaming-Rig was unable to display the game smoothly in extended sections of the game -- even slowing down at the end of the DLC (on which 80% of the screen is black). Sometimes the game was almost unplayable, dipping down to 5-10fps at parts. And i'm not even going to delve into the internal rendering engine being locked at 30 fps and all the other crap that is wrong with it.

Additionally the game also forced Games for Windows Live on me, which is an even worse plague than Steam. Just starting the game without the Windows Live Marketplace open, caused the game to crash at start-up, and getting the Marketplace to start was an adventure in itself! I wanted to log in to my account, but it wouldn't let me as there were, via the programs description, some account-"problems" i needed to fix. No indication of what the problems were or what i needed to do. After half an hour screwing around on the main GFWL website, trying to get this thing to work, I searched around for the cryptic error code it gave me and found out, that I needed to log in to some xbox website and accept a license, before i could even log-in to the g*ddamn marketplace!!! WHAT THE F**************************************K?! There was no indication of this anywhere in this g*ddamn marketplace program, instead it provided a broken link to a website on Microsoft which came up 404ing! I was raging the entire evening, how could i have fallen for such a ploy. I should have listened to my gut, but no, i got played like a chump. In the end i felt impotent, violated, dirty and used, like someone just barfed on a pizza i ordered, heated it up, forced it down my gullet, robbed my wallet, and then didn't even have the decency to shut up about it and instead was taunting me, laughing and giggling, prancing around, all the while me being unable to punch this SOB in the face.

I am especially saddened by this port as Dark Souls is otherwise such a fantastic game, which i have completed about 7 times (1 on PC) and have spent about 400 hours with. If it was some random garbage i wouldn't have minded. I'm still waiting for a personal apology from Miyazaki himself, and i'm not even joking.

BTW having written this travesty of a rant I can totally see the appeal of the steam-box. If the (hardware)-Linux support is decent i think i will get one, at least i know that i can plug in any peripherals i want, and the games will (hopefully) be properly supported. And if it doesn't work i'll cut my losses and put it to use somewhere as a server.

Hi TickTock, I actually

Hi TickTock, I actually haven't played the port (or Dark Souls at all) but I brought it up as an example of a traditionally console-only game being brought to PC. I was actually scared off of buying the PC version by a lot of bad reports from friends. That sucks that you has such a bad experience though.

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