I think Capcom hates gamers (Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and DRM)


Capcom’s Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D continues to question how much Capcom actually appreciate their market, or if they plain-old hate gamers. Here’s a snippet from DVICE:

It’s been confirmed that Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D for the Nintendo 3DS is a game that once finished, cannot be reset for complete replay. According to both the U.S. and U.K. game’s instruction manual “saved data on this software cannot be reset.”

Basically what Capcom has done is make Mercenaries 3D a one-time play affair. Once you’ve unlocked all the goodies and played the entire game, you will not be able to erase the game’s save data and start fresh as if it were a new copy. Consider this: lending Mercenaries 3D to a friend, a little brother or sister will be worthless because they’ll only be able to continue playing the game with your saved settings and create their own.
(Source [via Tiny Cartridge, via Eurogamer], and GameStop’s follow-up)

Capcom have made some terrible decisions with DRM in the past (Final Fight Double Impact and Bionic Commando ReArmed 2 need to “phone home” before you can play them on the PS3), and its disappointing to see them acting in such a hostile way towards consumers. While some may argue that this is potentially an act to sabotage second-hand game sales (as they derive zero profit from the on-selling of games once they’re past the first run at the retail counter), it’s important to consider the dependence many gaming stores have on second-hand sales in order to make up for the relatively slim margins offered at retail. Mind, I won’t go into that topic in more detail here, as it’s beyond the scope of this post and has probably been argued more intelligently elsewhere.

Returning to the topic at hand, I think this hurts a little more as I genuinely have a soft spot for Capcom games, having enjoyed so many of them over the years (during the Saturn and Dreamcast era, my purchases [at retail no less] led to many gaming sessions). This is the kind of move I would expect from some of the more aggressive players in the market, but not from them.

It also seems incredibly short-sighted in terms of being able to enjoy your purchase over time – I still crank out Atari 2600 cartridges every now and again, and the notion of anti-consumerist DRM would render this kind of thing impossible in years to come for new games. This means that, in the case of Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D, I can’t reset the game back to factory settings to start it afresh; or to give another skew on this topic, in the case Bionic Commando ReArmed 2, I probably won’t be able to play it in 10 years time despite having paid money for it in 2011.

It marks a very dangerous point on the slippery slope of DRM and anti-consumer licensing enforcement on behalf of gaming publishers. Whilst only a handful of games on consoles are toying with the concept of DRM that is ultimately detrimental to the gamer, it’s a dangerous path. I hope Capcom is taking stock of the reaction from consumers to what they’ve tried slipping through with Resident Evil: Mercenaries 3D and don’t attempt this kind of tomfoolery in the future.

Sega announces Monster World IV is getting an English release!


Read this over at Silicon Era – Sega have announced they’re going back and translating Monster World IV, previously only available in Japanese (though a fan translation exists that can be patched to the Japanese version), and are releasing it on Wii, PSN and possibly XBLA.

This is phenomenal news given the age of the game and the perceived lack of mainstream interest. This is is the stuff of fanboy dreams and legends, and it is amazing to see Sega leading the way.

From here, my only hope is that they get M2 to develop the emulator for the PS3/XB360, as previous emulators have been absolutely terrible on the machine in comparison to M2’s work on Nintendo’s Virtual Console and the Sega Ages collections on the PS2.

You can check out the full release over at the Sega Europe blog.

Streets of Rage Remake hits v5.0 Final!

BomberGames’ epic Streets of Rage Remake project hit v5.0 Final earlier this month!

This is an amazing feat, and the game is work of art. As a huge fan of the Streets of Rage series, having spent countless hours playing through the originals (especially through SoR2 on Mania level!), this game is a masterful tribute to the series, combining new characters, accumulated specials, tweaks, remixes of old levels, and plays perfectly, just like on the Mega Drive.

All the details are on their announcement page – grab it and enjoy it (currently available for Windows/PC). The only way it could be better is if it was on PSN and XBLA and distributed by Sega, because the authors deserve wide exposure of this project and remuneration for their efforts. In turn, the game demands being played on a big screen on a console 🙂

Thanks to elvis over at Aussie Arcade for the heads-up!


There should be more love for Explodemon out there

I haven’t checked if the internet is a buzz since Explodemon came out, but Curve Studio’s brilliant little platformer deserves accolades and then some.

The game borrows inspiration from Megaman X as its primary influence, but you can see all sorts of tips of the hat to other Japanese platformers (including the hilarious Engrish dialogue from Explodemon), and is imbued with the kind of creative feeling we got from EU devs on the Amiga and Atari ST during the 80s and 90s. This makes perfect sense of course given Curve are based in the UK, and that passion from an era past is omnipresent throughout the production. The visuals look amazing running in 1080p, the soundtrack shines with its chip-tune inspired synth and it controls super-tight, which is essential for a platformer running on a 3D engine, even though it’s only operating on a 2D plane.

If you haven’t given Exlodemon a whirl, go for it – there’s a demo up on PSN and the price for the full version is very reasonable. It’s a great, original title with plenty of charm worthy of your time and moolah.

PS3Jailbreak – is it necessary? Could it be something positive?

So the video game news outlets have been following the recent run of details regarding the PS3Jailbreak (and clone) devices on the tip of hitting the market. This poses some interesting questions.

First up is legitimacy. In the past, I’ve been an advocate for getting into the guts of your console and modding it – this could be for adding better a/v outputs, controlling the refresh rates (50hz/60hz), and breaking open region protection. Cue up the PS3 then – all the AV outputs I need, standard refresh rate, reasonably good media playback (with transcoding sorting out the rest, albeit a bit messy), easy backup of the whole system to an external device, out of the box 2.5″ HDD swapping and, most importantly, region-free.

Let’s go back to that last point – region-free.

So, most of the boxes are ticked, especially that last one – I’ve been actively importing my games since the Saturn era when I first got the internet at home and the gaming world opened its doors, and the fact that the PS3 is region-free by default and that the SATA drive can be expanded on demand? Perfect.

So for me personally, I have no need for modding my PS3. I mean, even in terms of the cost of gaming, this is easily the cheapest generation for gaming. With the competition introduced from the discount cycles from specialist and general retailers, readily available imports and favourable exchange rates, it is comparably very cheap to game this generation. Compare even brand new RRPs of $110 for a new PS3 blockbuster, and compare that to the early-mid 90s where the average cart would set you back $100. I can even list specifics – Sonic 3: $140; Super Street Fighter 2: $180; Virtua Racing: $200. Take into consideration inflation, and it’s pretty clear that prices in this generation are extremely favourable if you shop around.

So, given how open the PS3 is, is it necessary? Arguably no, it isn’t, and I base my opinion on the above.

To be honest though, it really isn’t surprising – the moment they took away Linux support out of the box, they raised the ire of their consumer base, but more importantly, they also raised the ire of the Linux community, who are notorious for making Linux available on any/all platforms (bless ’em!). I remember thinking that this decision would come back and bite them, and to be honest, I’m not surprised that this has come out of the woodwork post-Linux cancellation. In this regard, Sony have to take a bit of the blame for the knee-jerk reaction they had with removing Linux support. While I never used it, I liked what this symbolised about the PS3, and was disappointed to see it removed.

But so far this has all been negative – so why not look at this as an opportunity? The old mentality with regards to modding has been iron-fisted, and to stamp out change/challenges to the established order. Why not take this opportunity to make a pre-emptive strike against some of the issues users have raised with the PS3? Here’s a few to think about:

  • Re-introduce OtherOS support
  • Improve PSone emulation to add true high resolutions and nice filtering
  • Add PS2 emulation via software
  • Remove regioning for PSone and PS2 games, and for DVDs and BRDs
  • Add the option to install games to the HDD alla the XB360
  • Create homebrew licenses to allow groups to contribute to the PS3 legitimately
  • For the hell of it, make the system compatible with PSP games downloaded via PSN
  • Update the media playback functionality of the machine – MKV, subtitles (embedded or separate), better xvid/div support, etc
  • Introduce some interesting emulators – Neo Geo, CPS2 and CPS3 wouldn’t hurt for example, especially with some nice netcode

Sony pre-empted a lot of the reasons legitimate users traditionally modded their machines by introducing progressively better media playback, excellent backwards compatibility (well, at first), user-serviceable HDDs with out-of-the-box backup to any USB HDD, Linux support, 60hz performance and region-free gaming. Why not continue this attitude by making some progressive steps forward again?

Note that I’m not advocating piracy or any of that nasty business – if I like a game I buy it, and the reason I mod my machines is because of those points I raised in the second paragraph.

Just my $0.02.