SimCity

Or should I just call it SimShitty, as some have taken to calling the recent launch?

The other day Pam plunked down her sixty bucks, minus five with a coupon, plus another fifteen for a strategy book… lemme check the math, that’s seventy smackers, plus some Florida tax… damn, my head’s swimmin’. And for what? Not a lot.

She’s gone through the tutorial and that’s about it. The Origin servers are all down and there’s nothing else to be done. No serv-o, no play-o. The stuff she learned in the tutorial’s largely forgotten. After all, what you don’t put to use in 24 hours of learning is gone the next day, the brain folks love to tell us at training seminars. Use it or lose it.

SimCityOkay, everything’s social now. I get it. But SimCity’s largely a game where a single player tries their hand at lording over an infrastructure that happens to include, well, a simulated population. It’s not like your city’s populated with Aunt Jane or the dork you went to school with or… damn… your boss. No, the social part of this title is nothing more than a bag on the side.

So tell me… why’s it necessary to connect to Origin’s server to play?

Oh, yeah, DRM. Those evil thieves… er customers… are trying to steal your stuff.

Listen up, Electronic Arts.

You’ve got this customer, her name’s Pam. She’s known about you since you were one of many. Back when I used to game. Think Archon on the Apple ][. Yeah, that long ago. She got into The Sims. I bought her a box to play it on. She bought every expansion pack. Then Sims 2. I built her a (then) kick-ass box to play that on and she bought all of those expansion packs, too. Sims 3? Yup. I think she has all of those packs. Books and guides for the lot of ’em, too. I know, I just packed and moved ’em all – a pretty big box – from Jersey down here to Paradise. So Pam knew Sim City from when I played it on the Amiga, and Sim City 2000, too. The ads and previews for the newest SimCity were pretty damned enticing. And not one review – as far as I know – had mentioned this insane reliance on a server connection. So here’s this customer, a good customer, a spendy customer, that threw Electronic Arts a pile of greenbacks for a promise.

And EA failed her.

Over the past few days she’s checked in to try to play, all hours of the day and night. All servers are down.

You failed her bad. There’s no reason to require a remote server connection for single player play. None.

If Pam listens to me, or to our son, or to countless others with similar experiences, she won’t be back.

Shame on you, Electronic Arts.

As big as you are, you really should know better.

Go ahead and say it.