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28

Taking The Pith

This is a metaphor.

Slightly unsettling news: the apparently awful Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights only supports Xbox 360 controllers (as confirmed by angry Amazon user reviews). That’s the PC version of a racing game, and thus something that really needs a gamepad (or a wheel, if you don’t mind your PC desk looking like a nursery), not the clunky, binary inappropriateness of a keyboard.

So, anyone who buys the game pretty much has to also drop around £30 on a 360 controller. Which is about as obscene as the topless picture of himself Gillen inexplicably sent to his friends to demonstrate his new beard a while back. The horror, the horror.

I note it’s a THQ game, and they’re a publisher who’ve always been pretty big on Microsoft’s ludicrous, pointless, benefitless Games For Windows branding program (not the broken, obnoxious Live thing, just the badge on the game box that makes vague promises of quality and compatibility).

Anecdot-o-interlude: I met one of THQ’s US staff on a press trip a while back, and he wouldn’t say “PC game” no matter what. Just “Games For Windows”, again and again – “this is a new Games For Windows title” and suchlike. It’s a really odd thing to hear a person say from their mouth and not just in an email – I did ask him why he kept trotting it out, but he wouldn’t divulge whether or not he was following a directive from above or saying it of his own volition. That’s not a criticism of the guy, incidentally, merely an observation of A Strange Thing, and possibly A Strange Thing we might hear more of, should Microsoft ever manage to ram this silly program down other publishers’ throats.

Anyway, does THQ’s ongoing support for GFW explain Juiced 2’s cruel support for only an official Microsoft controller, and not the proud pantheon of painfully-shaped third-party gamepads that fit just as snugly into a USB socket? Could be. Or could be just that the game’s an incredibly lazy port from its 360 version. Either way, our spies reveal that the game’s a bit of a horror and y’all should steer well clear of it. STEER. LIKE IN A CAR. Do. You. See. What. I. Did. There.

Let’s hope this isn’t the start of a trend, at any rate. Know of any other games that do this, readers? I seem to recall that the Steam version of Geometry Wars was similarly fussy, but a few other pads turned out to work in the end.

Edit – I’m informed that Kane & Lynch only supports 360 pads, which is another reason to hate it. Of course, you’d want to play it with a keyboard and mouse anyway, but it’s the principle of the thing, innit?

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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