By Alec Meer on June 8th, 2009 at 10:26 pm.
Hah – got you! You totally thought this was going to be some 8,000 word rant against Sony’s widely-loathed DRM, didn’t you? Oh, there’s enough of them on the internet already – I’m quite happy to say limited activations are horrible and stupid and everyone involved should know better, and leave it at that. This sorta-RPG webgame game goes further, pitching the devil-DRM as the ULTIMATE EVIL in a world also populated by the villainous likes of the RIAA and Disney Corp. Or so Brain Chef pretends to be, anyway. It’s fooled a fair few sites with its devious subterfuge… Below: mild annoyance.
It’s half My Brute and half Kingdom of Loathing – turn based fights based on behind-the-scenes numbers rather than frantic button-pushing. It lures people in with its wry tutorial, in which you tackle monsterised versions of the technorati’s major foes/whipping boys. We want to play it because we want to see the ghost of Walt Disney lose his temper when you search for Little Mermaid Slashfic, or the boss of the RIAA lose hitpoints when you donate to the Pirate Bay. At the end of it all is the clockwork beast SecuROM, attempting to lay you low with rootkits and limited activations. It’s well-observed and tongue in cheek and then…
Then it collapses into a fairly dime-a-dozen PvP webgame, in which you patrol a cute pixel-art maze-world reading some hit’n’miss gags and smacking other players (half of ‘em human, half of ‘em zombie, and none of ‘em anything to do with angry BoingBoing posts or online petitions about Spore) to level up and win stuff. It’s too crude and ordinary to be compelling, and it’s a terrible shame.
If this took its opening concept further, it could have been an ace companion piece to ForumWarz – web culture as sardonic meta-game. As it is, it just feels like it’s come up with a neat concept then mysteriously thrown it away in favour of something relatively worthless. Hopefully, the creators will realise what they’re onto and rejigger the thing to make more of the DRM-rage satire.
Oh, far too many words on that one. Spent too long playing it not to write about it, alas.