So, I was excited about a free demo for a computer game that I had been anxiously awaiting, Bioshock. Last night I downloaded the demo, cleaned up space on my hard drive, installed it, fired it up…and it doesn’t work. The people who made the game decided that they wouldn’t take the time to enable it to run on graphics cards that don’t have a shader model technology called Pixel Shader 3. This is especially frustrating to people with good, $300+ video cards that they bought recently and that can play other brand new, graphics intensive games just fine.

Somebody who doesn’t have anything to do with the game or the people that made it, other than the fact that he wants to play it on his expensive Pixel Shader 2 video card, has started hacking game files to get it to work on Pixel Shader 2 cards! It looks like it doesn’t fix everything (some textures are still missing or the wrong color), and it sounds like less powerful ps2 cards like mine might still not be able to handle the game when modified this way. But it says a lot about how lazy the company was for excluding a large segment of possible customers due to an issue that a novice programmer fan was able to partially bypass. Maybe this means the company will revisit the issue themselves and eventually enable me to play their game with my current video card. But I’m not counting on it.

I’m not too disappointed anymore though. 10 years from now, when this game is in the $10 bargain bin at K-mart, I’ll pick it up, and play it on whatever relatively underpowered, but more than good enough to play an old game, family computer we have at the time. Hurray for staying behind the curve, right?

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