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Yeah, you wait a week for an entry and then two come along at once

I also bought Half-Life 2, because there never existed a universe where I didn’t.

The game is amazing, captivating, well constructed, well plotted and has a gun with which you can throw washing machines at your enemies.

This is Good. It means I need more memory, but hey.

Steam is less good. Steam is Valve’s media distribution technology thingy. It’s blisteringly fast, easy to use, and doesn’t get in the way.

Except, of course, when it does. You see, the technology I can live with, it’s a good example of what can be done. It’s the politics I object to. Because I object to being made to feel like a criminal, and since in order to play the game (which I bought for 32.99 in Game) I have to prove I bought the game every single time I play it by contacting the Valve Authentication servers. And what happens when the servers aren’t working? Or my net connection isn’t working? I’m SOL. Okay, Steam has an ‘offline’ mode, apparently. But without a net connection… I can’t play the game, because I don’t own my copy of the game, I’ve merely got a license for it with Valve, which they can revoke at any time they see fit with no compensation.

Oh, and I still need the CD in the drive to play it. As well as the Internet connection.

Of course, within 24 hours of Half-Life 2’s release, a version with no CD requirements and that didn’t ever talk to Valve was up on bittorrent, ed2k and Kazaa. The only reason for people who don’t care about the legalities to buy the game is because at 5 CDs it’s probably quicker to walk to your local games shop and buy it.

On the other hand, the download version doesn’t take 20 minutes “Unlocking” the files it spent the previous 20 minutes installing.

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