Why I’m Becoming a DS Pirate

When I went to Japan last year and asked the girl working at the hostel to help me translate the menu screens of my newly purchased Japanese version of Tetris DS, she asked “why did you buy the Japanese version?” I explained that this was no longer available in the U.S., and Tetris is the same in any language.

“You should just get an R4,” she told me.

I’ve never been secretive about the fact that I download music like crazy. All I do these days is illegal downloading and buying vinyl. There’s hardly any CDs in my present, and even fewer in my future. That said, I’ve always been anti-pirating when it comes to videogames. It’s always seemed like too much work? I’ve always felt dirty about it for some reason? I can’t explain why this is so, but I’ve never pirated a game before.

Until now.

And here’s why.

I got very excited about the release of Puzzle Quest: Galactrix. I was a huge fan of the original, so I bought this one without reading any reviews … before I go on, I should just include the email I sent to D3, the publisher of the game, after playing their game for an evening.

Hi,

I’ve never written to a video game publisher before with comments on a game, but I’m so disappointed by the DS version of Puzzle Quest Galactrix, I just had to say something. This game is so chock full of bugs, it’s painful to play. I really enjoyed the first Puzzle Quest game, so I bought this one without waiting for reviews, and at Best Buy where I clearly can’t return it. I feel ripped off.

These are the bugs I encountered when playing it:

1. On the screen you go into after going through a gateway, when you press a new system, the software performs an instant autosave, then brings up a loading screen. In three hours of playing, this screen froze three times. At least it knows to save first.

2. On the actual puzzle screen, five times in the same three hours, I would select two pieces to exchange, and pieces on the opposite side of the playfield would move instead.

3. When I would go to a planet’s menu, and try to click on one of the options, more than half of the time, my click would send me moving toward the corner of the screen, and not actually select my choice off of the menu.

4. The amount of loading, and length of the loading times, is ridiculous. I’m not sure this is a bug, but it seems like somewhere in development, D3 just gave up on trying to get it right.

I’m surely not going to buy any other games from your company without waiting for unanimously good reviews. And the Puzzle Quest brand is now sour to me. Feel free to call me or email me to discuss further.

Thanks for your time,
Gordon Elgart

And here’s the response they sent:

Gordon Elgart:

Thank you for writing to us about the game Puzzle Quest: Galactrix for the Nintendo DS. After reading your email, it seems that you are experiencing many issues with the game. I have a few suggestions that might make playing the game a little more enjoyable for you. First, the issues dealing with the gems on the opposite side of the board moving when you select a gem and your ship moving to a corner of the screen when selecting menu options may be fixed by calibrating your Touch Screen. To calibrate your Touch Screen, turn off the system and remove any game cards game paks that are inserted into the DS, then turn the system back on. After bypassing the Nintendo Health and Safety warning screen, you’ll be taken to the IPL screen. At the bottom of the IPL screen, you’ll see a little Nintendo DS icon at the bottom center of the screen. Touch that icon to go into the Nintendo DS options. In the options menu, touch the orange square on the right side of the screen that has a cross-hair in it. This will take you to the Calibration menu. Follow the instructions on-screen to calibrate your Nintendo DS’s Touch Screen. After testing the game, we’ve found that holding the stylus in the most upright position that you can, and pressing firmly, but not hard enough to do damage to the Touch Screen, was the best way to use the Touch Screen and Stylus to control the game. Also, while in any of the battle boards or mini-games, firmly touch the gem that you would like to move, make sure that it is highlighted, then drag it to where you would like to move it. This will ensure that the gem moves to where you would like it to go. As for the game freezing three times in the span of three hours, this may have been due to the amount of objects on the screen. The DS has a small amount of available memory that can be quickly used up when there are a large amount of objects on the screen. To keep this from happening in the future, I suggest clearing off any enemy ships by either battling them or by using Psi Powers gained by completing the series of “The Lost” mission that start in the Ceti system. Also, if you start to collect side missions and main storyline missions, you’ll see exclamation points, question marks, and crosshairs focusing in on certain systems. The more of these that you have on the screen, the more available memory will be used up. I suggest that once you get a mission, you complete it, to keep the number of these objects off of the system and galaxy maps. I hope this information is helpful. Thanks again for taking the time to write to us.

Sincerely,

Support Services

So I wrote back:

Hi,

I’d like to breakdown your feedback piece by piece.

1. Calibrating the touch screen won’t help. The pieces I touched were highlighted, but then OTHER pieces moved. This is a bug, not a hardware issue.

2. The game freezing cannot be blamed on the hardware either. It’s a software flaw. One that you decided not to bother fixing.

3. This information was not helpful. If the game is so bad I don’t want to play it, playing it differently is not going to help. You sold me a crap game and I can’t return it. It can’t be patched because it’s for the DS.

4. I can’t believe you blamed the user. I’ve been playing console games for near 30 years. I think I know how these things work.

-Gordon

Of course I never heard back from them, and I felt like a fool for having been taken like a sucker for $30. The reviews of this game have been pretty good, but if you look at the Amazon page for the DS version, you’ll see nothing but pure hatred for the experience.

I decided at this point that I was no longer gonna be a sucker. I would do what I do for music: download the game to sample it, and then reward quality with a purchase of some kind. And it turns out it’s remarkably easy to find games to download. I downloaded a bunch of them, then went shopping for a “homebrew” card, and soon I will be sampling DS games instead of buying them.

And if anyone in the quickly dwindling ESA happens to be reading this, and wants to know why people are moving toward piracy, it’s not always about the money. Sometimes it’s about being treated properly as a Customer. An overreaction? Probably. But once the card shows up in the mail, do you think I won’t use it?

1 Comment

Filed under State of the Blog

One response to “Why I’m Becoming a DS Pirate

  1. I’m a little surprised you even got a response to the first message. However, I’m not at all surprised at the *contents* of their response.

    It pretty much matches the majority of responses I’ve ever received for any hardware or software issue for PC.

    “It’s not our fault.”
    “We don’t support it anymore.”
    “You can do A, B, and C to workaround a flaw, when it shouldn’t exist in the first place.”

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