Pay attention to that demo

It seems implicitly apparent to me that when someone bothers to create and distribute a demo version of their software product, it must be because they want people to have a go at it and hopefully so impress them that they will want to fork up money and actually buy it. So when somebody invests thousands upon thousands of American dollars on carefully designing and building a product and expends further effort creating a less functional demo edition, the least that one expects is being able to actually use it. For some mysterious reason however the demo of the game Battlefield 2142 does everything except allowing you to play it!

The demo edition does not allow you to play solo even though the full version supports it (doesn't it make more sense to make the demo edition single player only and reserve multi-player for the full version?). You absolutely have to go multi-player. When you launch the game it takes you to a page where presumably it would list all the game servers that are currently available. After waiting a while it listed exactly 1 server! When you try joining that server however it doesn't work. I forget what exactly the problem was.

But there is this other tab called "Advanced" where it lists lots of servers (why is this the advanced tab again?). At last, I thought I was making some progress. When you trying joining a server for the first time it makes you wait for like 5 full minutes assuring you that it is only "caching shaders" or something like that. Once you are through that you finally enter the game and are plonked into a spawn point (you are actually made to select a spawn point - how on earth is the gamer supposed to know where on the map s/he should spawn - at least while joining a game afresh?).

After sitting through all of this you're finally in the game world. You have the gun in your hand and you've just looked around for like 5 seconds when it suddenly pops up a message saying you've been kicked out of the server because everybody else voted on it. Clearly it was some kind of private game server (I think it is about time game developers used less brutal messages for notifying somebody that they have been ejected from a server for whatever reason; kicked out is quite. demeaning eh?).

I had just about run out of patience by this time. Figuring I'll give one more shot at it I tried joining another server. A couple of minutes later I was back at square one - kicked out of the server by something called punkbuster. Turns out punkbuster is some kind of bot that looks for gamers who have got cheats turned on in their game and kicks them out. Needless to say I had done nothing of the sort. But that really was the last straw. Not only am I not likely to buy that game; I'd probably be giving it some bad publicity too!

Moral of the story: pay more attention to your demo software!

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