Starforce is hideous.
There’s no getting away from that. Despite the geek-baiting ‘illegal’ installation of drivers, the punitive disk-checking before being able to run anything and the fact that uninstalling the game leaves behind unwanted copy-protection drivers, there’s one critical fault in the system that annoys me far more than any of the commonly-discussed issues with it.
It’s the fact that it relies on the game disk being in the drive when you run it.
I absolutely fucking despise that. I’ve had over a decade of absolutely unneccesary disk-swapping with PC Games and I could cope with it until now. It was fine as long as I could scoot off to everyone’s favourite crack repository and download a no-cd patch.
Whenever I surveyed my PC’s desktop to pick a game to play, I knew I could just run it without having to find the game box, take out the CD, put it in the drive, wait for it to spin up and then close the autostart menu, with its inevitable explosion of obtrusive and obligatory menu music.
But good old Starforce and its contemporaries defy that simple, elegant solution in what is admittedly a triumph for anti-piracy software technology, but a massive pain in the arse for legitimate users. This latest generation seems impossible to circumvent without some hideously technical bluffing exercise, so the delight of disk-swapping, checking and autorunning has returned.
The fact that the only reason the disk has to be in the drive is for validation is actually horrific. I’m not sure why PC gamers put up with it.
Imagine if whenever you wanted to listen to an album on an Ipod or whatnot, you had to plug the unit into a CD player, find the CD you want to listen to and then put it in the drive and wait for it to validate before you could listen to a song.
It would fucking suck.
That’s what systems like Starforce are forcing legitimate PC owners to do. They’re perpetuating a draconian, aging method of validation that inconveniences the good guys.
It’s a fucking disgrace.
In this day and age, with something spastic like 90% of PCs having access to the internet, why can’t we have online validation systems for ALL PC games? Sure, keep the traditional copy protection for the poor, deprived motherfuckers who haven’t got internet access, but for those of us living in the modern world, let me prove my game’s genuine in a modern, non-intrusive way.
Let me install my bought game and then put the disk away, so it doesn’t add extra clutter to my already apocaplyptic hell-hole of a room.
As I mentioned in my rambling and near-incoherent Splinter Cell 3 review, Starforce was the only reason I didn’t buy Chaos Theory for the PC. I didn’t download Trackmania nations because it had Starforce - and that fucker is free!
I’m not going to buy any more games that have disk-checking copy protection that I can’t get rid of with a simple no-cd. What’s more, you can tell the copy protection companies from me that they’re all a bunch of fucking cun[message truncated for length]