By ahoodedfigure 4 Comments
Electronic Arts has a site called Pogo, with board game translations for games like Scrabble and Monopoly. I'm a board game designer, so I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I recently had a Monopoly craving that needed fixing, and I found Pogo had a Monopoly game set up, ready to go for free, zero commitment, and I didn't even need to register to play it.
Eventually I ran into problems, the kind of problems that make me wonder if the coders anticipated there being errors on their site. Most of the windows move around, but the notice that you have insufficient funds is not movable, and sits right over the "roll" button for dice, the trade button, the build houses button, the mortgage buttons... so if there happens to be an error where the thing doesn't want to drop down, then you're screwed for the rest of the game. In my case, I wanted to buy a property but didn't have enough money, so I traded a computer player some property for some cash. Dude gave me the cash, I bought the property, and I got this:
Online gaming to me has always been a bit of a dodge, especially in the PC realm. I spend time trying to get a high score, decide to register it, and seem some jerk with 999,999,997 points in a game that most people could barely get a few thousand. I don't think human nature, if you assemble everyone together, can handle the idea of having a system that can be broken down and messed with, without at least one person thinking it might be giggle-inducing to screw up the leader board. It only takes ten of these people to blot out a good number of these boards.
Folks like the World of Warcraft crowd are diligent, with paid staff whose job it is to hunt down all these weasels and try to keep things fair, but most companies, big or small, don't have the energy or resources to keep after these people, since the effort of cracking a site is probably less than the collective effort of stopping the individual who did it. I'm not even sure there's a solution to this. Maybe someone out there has a good idea, but no matter how complex you make site and software architecture, it's common sense to assume someone can break it. In a weird way, consoles are a better solution to this than I like to admit, with better ways to track hardware and software changes.
But users are a sort of untapped potential in the war against cheating and bugs. I sorta feel shunned by EA in their giving me a labyrinth to have to contact them with some simple, helpful tidbits. Maybe there's a way to help harness whatever honesty is out there? I dunno. All I know is I had a pretty sweet line of green properties that were aching for houses and hotels, but their needs could not be met. It doesn't mean I won't dive in again, but I doubt very much that I'd ever register with that place. I feel small enough in a world with a population approaching 7 Billion; I don't need my escapism to make me feel small too.
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I like a little human contact when I'm dealing with a company. Places like Nintendo and others may improve those form letters they dole out eventually, answering just about every contingency out there instead of often missing the mark. But until they do, it'll always feel like they don't give a damn as long as you give them your ducats. Hey, that may be true, but it doesn't exactly make me eager to buy.
What follows is your cookie for making it to the bottom. I don't feel like warning people about the subject matter, it's not that shocking:
The last gag was a bit low, but I still thought this was pretty good given my current Monopoly fixation. Not as good as the insufficient funds link, though.