Bioshock was a game I was looking forward to playing. I do copy some games, but I was planning to buy this one as I feel that great games deserve my money. Luckily, it wasn't released in time for my birthday and a friend came over later with a genuine copy he'd just bought. [Little did he know that he was about to regret that decision.]
We endure the tedious 10 minute wait for Bioshock to install - then the game immediately wants to go online to download an update. We decide to skip the update for now and just check out the game. Bad move - because without any warning, the game automatically uninstalls itself when we say no to the update. A disappointing start, but we tell ourselves we're made of sterner stuff - and we reinstall - agreeing to the update this time... a message says "Please be patient" and proceeds to download the update - without giving any approximate file size - and I'm on a dial-up connection. So, half an hour later this update is complete - it asks if we want to play the game now - I say no - because I feel safer being offline in single player games - and I want to disconnect before I play. Once offline, I click the Bioshock desktop icon - only to find that it now wants to go online again for "activation".
At this point it's getting harder to remain upbeat about doing our bit to help the software industry by purchasing original software. Anyway, we go back online to find we need to type the serial number - which has been printed on the supplied manual in such a way that only the lower two-thirds of each character are visible. That's right, we need to play guessing games about the serial key... and what's worse - the '1' and '0' characters are indistinguishable from "I" and "O" in the font they used. Yes, it's real
grit-your-teeth-and-start-searching-the-forums time. Another half hour of web browsing passes as we begin to realise that customers the world over are undergoing the same torture - and if their experience is any yardstick - our situation is probably only going to get worse.
Having uncovered the magic formula to deciphering the serial key [Only one number is included in each 4 character group of letters] we go through the two or three variations on the guesswork to read the remainder of the 2/3rds-visible characters. The online activation attempts to do its thing - then reports back that it can't connect and we should manually get an unlock code from the store we bought the game from... but after this hellish two-hour-long-install-period, it's now 7 PM at night, so that's not an option. We try to activate half a dozen more times - with the same result. In desperation we return to the forums - only to learn that the activation servers are down and nobody can play the game. We look at each other and curse DRM hell for its role in the bastardisation of the PC gaming scene.
We decide that our only hope is to give up on Bioshock until we can download a pirate crack to make the damn thing work. Wisely, we don't uninstall it, because the word on the forums is that Bioshock only allows a certain number of installs before it bans you from your own computer. We then load up a cracked game and enjoy some happy hours of hassle free gaming - where you just click on the icon and the game loads up. We begin to recover from the stress of dealing with original software. We vow to stick with pirated software in future.
Later, having calmed down, we ponder the plight of the aptly-named developer "Irrational Software". They had said they were counting on this game selling well to justify their design decisions over the years. We believed in the kinds of games they'd tried to create, so we did the right thing - and they burned us for it. If Irrational self-destructs over this, they only have themselves to blame.