Should unlockable content be illegal?
April 07, 2007

There's apparently an editorial on some site that suggests that Guitar Hero II is illegal because it advertises all kinds of music on the back of its box, yet the music is not immediately available. Here's the Joystiq response:

Read through the feedback and see how long it takes before you want to throttle someone. I find it ridiculous that even two or three people agree with the article. They're enraged that a game doesn't let them play it the way they want to. Someone even said that yes, everything should be unlocked at the start of a Metroid game so that you can play it the way you want right from the start.

These idiots are missing the point of games. You play a game and you unlock stuff as you go and it's a reward for playing. When you get the hammer brothers suit in world 6 of Super Mario Bros. 3, it feels good not just because you can start running around and chucking hammers, but because you worked hard to get it. You can feel proud of what you've accomplished and the results are sweeter.

The article apparently argues that Guitar Hero II is illegal because it promises all this music, but you have to play the game to enjoy it. Nevermind that such games build their audience because people want to play and to unlock new music. I don't know about you, but I like that you have to unlock new areas for skating in the Tony Hawk games. I like that I don't just pop in a Mario game and select a stage right from the start, that I have to explore and get there on my own.

There is a growing percent of the gaming population that feels that games need to hand everything to them right from the start. They seem to feel that challenge is completely unreasonable. Admittedly, I am not the world's most proficient gamer. It takes me awhile to unlock stuff. But I would hate to see this trend catch on. Look how it screwed up RPGs. Do we want that malady to spread to other games? I think not.

Most recent blog posts from Jason Venter...

Halon Halon - April 08, 2007 (08:57 AM)
So people want that to be illegal because they suck? That's hillarious.

BTW Jason you look like the singer from Arcade Fire, whose name I don't recall at the moment.

EDIT: Here's a pic.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - April 08, 2007 (10:35 AM)
There's no law against unlockables.
pup pup - April 08, 2007 (11:48 AM)
The original article appeared on Game The editorial has been updated to defend himself against Joystiq, stating "Joystiq’s Justin McElroy completely misunderstood this article, stating I said unlockable content is against the law." Scroll down a few paragraphs though, and there it is, "This practice is tired, quite frankly, and also is quite illegal..."

Honestly, how does this JonahFalcon character call himself a gamer and keep a straight face. The whole point of a game is not easy and instant gratification. Games are competitive, either against another opponent or the game itself. The purpose of a game is to work your way through an obstacle to a defined goal. Why should a music game be any different?

To me, Jonah Falcon seems like the type of person who wants to be a gamer but lacks the skills to be one. Nor is he willing to invest the time required to obtain those skills. Does this mean that I can expect the world to adjust to my skill level? I would like to play professional Hockey, compete at the top level in a Quake tournament, and race against the pros on my mountain bike. I'm a realist though, and I know that these things will never happen unless I am willing to spend the time to become proficient at them.

To be fair, JonahFalcon is not complaining because he won't be competing in a Guitar Hero tournament any time soon. He wants to come home, pop in his game, and play his favorites songs for a half hour. Still, he is quite blatantly saying that games need to be customized to his exact needs. How spoiled can you get? Developers design games to be enjoyable for a specific crowd. If you are not a part of that crowd, don't buy the game and complain. From JonahFalcon's point of view, we might as well say that Contra: Shattered Soldier needed an easy mode, that GTA should have a no-illegal-activity option for the kids, or that FFXII should let you skip every battle because you like the story. You can not expect every game to be tailored specifically to you.
shotgunnova shotgunnova - April 09, 2007 (02:24 AM)
GH2 may've ramped up the difficulty slightly (for anyone coming off GH1), but, man, talk about Poor Gamer Syndrome. Although the guitar may only have five buttons on it, one thing still holds true for riffmeisters: you'll suck until you make yourself quit sucking...or just plain quit (and then one'll still suck in a different way). There's no illegality going on at all, and someone needs to put in the time and earn the unlockables.

Although I'll admit that I'm surprised GH2 has no push-button codes to unlock all songs. They've got hyper speed, horse-head mode, and some other junk -- I guess every game can't be jam-packed in that manner.

Jonah needs his gaming license revoked, or at least be retrained from Asteroids up. =p
Genj Genj - April 09, 2007 (06:52 AM)
I'm sick of these games where I have to play through them to see the ending. THIS IS SO ILLEGAL.
pup pup - April 09, 2007 (09:10 AM)
Go hang out at GameStop where they are supposedly playing game endings on the demo videos.
honestgamer honestgamer - April 09, 2007 (08:04 PM)
A lot of games have cheat codes that are released gradually by PR people. It's quite possible that a code exists in Guitar Hero II for idiots like this and Activision just isn't ready to release it yet.
cheekylee cheekylee - April 10, 2007 (11:14 AM)
On the one hand, unlocking stuff is good. On the other hand, I agree with every word written in the article below :

Stuart Campbell's take on this issue, from nearly 6 years ago!

He sort of repeated the rant 2 months later, but in a much more amusing manner :

Save me from the evil Scotsman, Daddy!

Unlocking stuff is a good thing, provided the unlockable stuff is, you know, WORTH UNLOCKING. Having to suffer the sheer boredom that is running over 53,594 zombies was only made bearable by the Real Mega Buster it earned me.

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