Attn: All Mac Dads
If your kids ask for a PC for gaming, just tell them you can’t afford it. It won’t be a lie, specifically, considering how much time you have to spend updating drivers and frameworks.
Tonight my oldest wanted to try out a PC game called Rust. According to Steam’s Rust page, “The only aim in Rust is to survive. To do this you will need to overcome struggles such as hunger, thirst and cold. Build a fire. Build a shelter. Kill animals for meat. Protect yourself from other players, and kill them for meat. Create alliances with other players and form a town. Whatever it takes to survive.”
Sounds legit, right? I added funds to his Steam account, and told him to go ahead. Just kidding! PC gaming is so complicated that you can’t simply shove money into an account and say “go!” So after an hour of typing in passwords, birthdates, logging out, logging back in, putting my birthdate in instead of his, logging out again and then back in, I finally got through it all and then, stopped dead in my tracks by some pop-up window installer called something like “Super Easy Don’t Cheat Installer.“
Well, this was a new one to me for something we were installing from Steam. So of course I clicked cancel. And of course the game I just paid $20 for won’t run unless I allow it to run this unexplained installer and type in my admin password and agree to allow it to make changes to my PC. I spent another 20 minutes trying to figure out whether EasyAntiCheat Installer was Spamware, Spyware, Ransomware, or even RemotelyWorthTheRiskWare.
Finally, I figured out that the market is so massively profitable that game developers don’t take the time to finish the games they sell, much less make them secure, and their customers don’t care. In fact, this game is an Early Access title on Steam that has been in Alpha state since 2013. So gamers exploit security holes and find ways to cheat, ruining gameplay for everyone.
So the developers have been forced to come up with tricks to foil the cheaters. But rather than fix the crappy code in their stupid games, they have all signed onto third party tag-alongs that do the work for them. In this case, EasyAntiCheat which seems to have nothing to do with Steam. There’s a picture of a pixelated teddy bear with puppy eyes and that’s about the most you get to assure you you’re not being swindled. Puppy dog eyes.
If you’re not a gamer and your kids are, letting them install new games is basically admitting you’re a bad parent.
So, as a bad parent, I just signed up for all and whatever this game told me I had to. At this point, we’re three hours in and finally get a “PLAY” button. Click it and 2 minutes later, after downloading updates, I’m told I need to install some Windows updates relating to .NET or Nvidia drivers (it was both at some point or another, but I don’t specifically remember which right then). Ok. This takes ten minutes where there’s a progress bar never moving past 0%. So I finally forced a reboot.
Reboot is pretty quick, but when the stupid Windows logo shows up and that annoying set of dots chasing each other around in a circle where one time around they seem to miss the exit, but the next time they disappear into it, spend 20 minutes onscreen with the message “DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR PC“. Like, the consequences will never be the same! The initial request to install Rust was made 3 full hours ago.
Do not turn off your PC
I made dinner and loaded the dish washer and came back just in time to see that the progress percentage had moved from 30% (where it had been for 20 minutes) to 75% and then it jumped to 82% and then 90% in the course of 30 seconds. It finally finished and rebooted successfully into Windows.
I tried to start his new game for him by clicking the Rust icon on the desktop, and got another “updates required” message. Clicked ok, clicked “yes this program can make changes to my computer”, and typed in my password.
You better Direct X, or else…
Sparing you the details, I did this twice over the course of 20 minutes. All of it. Then finally it asked if I wanted to “Play game”, “Direct X 9”, or “Direct X 12 (Experimental)”. Very clear choice here. Obviously I don’t want to Direct X anything, even experimentally, so clicked “Play game”.
Well, apparently I actually needed to Direct X something, my only option being “Yes”. This download takes 10 minutes and then I have to reboot. Once I’m back at the desktop, I double click on Rust and am notified that I can’t play the game because Steam isn’t running. So I double click the Steam icon and run Rust from within Steam.
Now I get a notice that there are critical updates from NVidia. Ok, I think, perhaps it’s a driver issue. Click “ok, install that crap.” Downloads, installs, tells me to reboot. I reboot and I swear to god it said, “Your PC ran into a problem. 🙁” Literally.
Three reboots in a row, waking one or more children at least twice, and at least once it offered the option, “Restore a previous version” (or somthing like that), only to then tell me “No previous versions available”.
At 2 AM I had my son’s $850 PC back to where it was before I tried to help him get a game called “Rust”.