I love the stink of my PC in the morning

I’m following up on my last post, which admired the creative thinking behind a fake product, with one about a real product that seems best delivered as a gag gift to an unwitting recipient: a USB PC addon which adds smellovision. I kid you not. The device bills itself as ‘The Web Connected Smelly Robot’ and you can buy your very own by adding your name to their mailing list over here, or you can head to the MIT Foundry site where there are instructions on building your own.

Ain’t life wonderfully absurd? I’ll pile on by observing that this isn’t actually the first time someone’s tried to market a fragrance emitter for computers (!!!) Perhaps the fear of prankster nephews stank bombing their relatives has kept wary consumers away…that’s just speculation by me though.



Example of why Games for Windows Live sucks

This is not even close to the best example of why it sucks, or the worst experience I’ve had with it (I’m thinking of you, Bioshock 2), but it’s fresh in my mind so I’m going to share it.

I wanted to try the new free-to-play RTS Age of Empires Online. I had been following a ‘No more games that use Games for Windows Live’ policy ever since a set of really awful experiences with Bioshock 2 a year or so ago, but a free game from a studio whose games I’ve really enjoyed in the past convinced me to give GFWL another chance.

I downloaded and installed the game, but when I tried to login to GFWL, which I have to do in order to play, it wouldn’t let me. Tried on the GFWL website and was informed someone has been trying to login to my account with the wrong password so many times my password is invalid.

I reset password, a reasonably straightforward process, hurrah! I am pleasantly surprised.

Try again to login. I’m informed I must provide product key and am unable to login. wth? It’s a free game, and anyway, why should that block me from logging in? Confusion.

Examine email looking for product key. Find none

Examine spam folder looking for email with product key. Find none. Grossed out by contents of spam folder.

Examine Age of Empire Online FAQ and message boards looking for someone with the same problem. Find nothing.

Google this problem. Find nothing.

GFWL lets you specify a backup email address. Look there and in that account’s spam folder for an email with a product key. Find nothing. More hot spam folder grossout action.

Ponder. Wth? With these things you can always find someone with a similar problem via google, and eventually arrive at a solution. I can’t so…what does that mean? It’s unique to me? Seems inconceivable? What out of all the parameters in play would be unique to me? My password. I check. I’ve made a typo. Try to login using the correct password. Eureka! I’m in.

Why the FUCK did GFWL send me off on a 30 minute goose chase looking for a product key when its issue was I had an invalid password?

Because it’s Game For Windows Live, a product seemingly designed to put anyone who tries it off of gaming on windows.

Age of Empires Online is ok – it’s definitely worth a look if you’re into RTS. Pluses include fantastic art direction and a ton of content. Cons are incredibly bad unit pathing issues and a brain dead AI. Message me if you’re playing and want to connect. Meantime, I’m back on my ‘will not buy products which require the use of GFWL’ policy. Developers and publishers, please: spare your customers the agony of this entirely shitty product. There’s no money hat large enough to make this worth the bad mouthing your product will get. Look into steamworks or anything, anything at all*, besides GFWL. It’s shit.

*(Except the stuff Ubisoft is doing, and, err, EA’s Origin stuff…jesus. Software publishing is going to the dogs! Just fucking use Steamworks, they appear to be the only company that recognizes customer experience should be primary).