Do you remember when we could play games whenever the hell we liked?
When I was younger – not young, I had more important things to do when I was young – you could buy a game, install it, and play it pretty much wherever you liked. True, there was the odd hoop to jump through, bizarre hieroglyphics on a cheaply photocopied paper wheel, entered on request to fend off the e-police. The thing was, however, that once this little ritual was done, the e-police buggered right off home.
The more people try to sell a DRM solution that requires you to be online for the entirety of your singleplayer run, the more suspicious I become. I don’t want to leave my internet on all the time. Sometimes I even go outside. But most importantly of all, I don’t want the sneaky little buggers nosing through my pipes and having a gander around my hard drive.
There is an unspoken agreement between all men, gentlemen and prole alike. We are aware that men have needs, that the internet can provide a way to satiate these same needs, but under no circumstances do we acknowledge that we know this. Try and converse with another man about this situation and the look you will receive will tell you all you need to know – ‘do not press this,’ it will say, ‘for this is not something to be discussed’. It is an unspoken truth about every man of internet traversing age, and it must not be spoken aloud.
Now, I don’t have to resort to the internet to satiate these needs – I possess a moustache, fine suits, and pocketbook large enough to club a stallion to death – but having to converse with real women can be, and most usually is, more effort than it is worth. They demand attention and compliments and all manner of things that I would rather pay someone else to deal with. In those cases, I may turn to the internet, and not once has another man dared to question that.
But now there are these oh so clever men advocating this permanent connection via your internet tubes, making sure you play fair and don’t pirate or cheat. This is like having a man peer through your window at all times, and I can’t help but worry that he will eventually stray outside his purview. If I wanted you to know what I was doing, I would write it in the clouds with a laser, or perhaps send it into this website as a column for the millions of readers I have accrued. It is my prerogative as to whether you get to know what I am doing.
It would, in fact, be preferable, if these men just gave up the pretence. What they really want to be doing is to have in their employ a group of sartorially adroit men, a score or so, who travel the country knocking on doors at random.
‘Are you now or have you recently been playing Satanicus 4: The Bloodening?’ they would ask, mirrored sunglasses perched at the end of their hawk-like noses. ‘If so, we need to come inside and have a look around your house. We’re sure you won’t mind.’
And then they would enter, wing-tip shoes gleaming in the afternoon sun, and then out would come the clip boards.
‘I see you have a legitimate copy, sir,’ they would say. ‘While we’re here, would you mind if we went through your internet history? And your bank statements? And anything to which you have foolishly saved the password to on your browser? We’ll be subtle.’
Then, before you know it, little Jimmy Jackanape from number 74 will know which sordid corner of the internet you spend your lonely evenings, and you’ll be on the front page of a tabloid.
All because of DRM.
Mercurio Silver is a grumpy misanthropic immortal with bold statements and a narcissistic need to force them on others. With his sharp tongue he shares his most recent realisations and thoughts right here on Midlife Gamer every Sunday.