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So when I boot up NFS and get ready to tick off another event on that big map I instead skip over to the Autolog and see what my friends have been up to lately. I then spend the next hour and a half trying to beat their times and reclaim my top spot on the wall. So for a game where I would normally run straight through trying merely to complete every event and reach 100% completion, I'm now basically wasting time re-racing events competitively against my friends list. And you know what? I'm loving it. I think this is actually the best way to enhance replayability that I've seen in a long time. And it's not like leaderboards are anything new in games, far from it. But that connectedness is really addicting. I've yet to play one multi-player event. I will at some point but I'm still having fun with the single-player. Fun that indeed benefits from the connected, social features they've weaved into the game.
And yea I'm not a Facebook guy but from what I understand this is a pretty common thread among Facebook games as well. It's an interesting way to game.
I remember some weeks later seeing tiny screenshots in early previews of id Software's next big thing "Doom" in a PC magazine in Walden Bookstores in the mall. I specifically remember seeing the shotgun and Imp enemy. Hell I remember the specific map, just not by name, pictured in that screenshot. I remember holding the shift key upon rebooting to play this incredible new game.
Gaming, PC and console, has come a long way since then but few titles have captured that same kind of energy. As pretty as their games have been, I miss the id Software of my youth.
Especially if we didn't just like Netflix. I feel like I'm taken care of with them in a way I can't say many other companies whose goods and services I buy make me feel. Lose a disc in the mail? No problem, we like you so not only are we going to forget about it, we're going to go ahead and promptly send out the next disc in your queue right away. They even do this if a disc is scratched. That is, if you tell them it's scratched. They just go, okay go ahead and mail that one back to us, but in the meantime we're going to send out another disc right away. They don't even wait for the damaged disc to return to them for evaluation. This is a company that values customer satisfaction over their own stock. Because ultimately my satisfaction is more valuable than a few pieces of their stock.
Then there is a company like Blockbuster Video. I was living for a time in a separate town from my girlfriend. So no Netflix for me. There was however a Blockbuster right next to where I worked. I went there occasionally, mostly because I had long had a membership and it was just easier than signing up for a new place. What can I say I'm lazy in odd ways. Then Blockbuster finally decided to get into the online game and I let a cute girl go ahead and sign me up. I figured I could rent some dvds, rip them that night and return them when I went to work in the morning. I powered through entire series of television shows in days and after two months of membership I canceled and had months worth of entertainment to watch at my leisure. I realize I was still giving money to Blockbuster, but I like to think that with all the processing costs I was at least a small loss for them. In fact I seem to recall them hiking their rates around the time I canceled, probably just due to them not fully appreciating the cost of their program, but I like to think that abusive customers like myself had something to do with that.
Because fuck Blockbuster. After years of exorbitant late fees, charging 1/5 the price of a game for a rental, hawking crap at the register, and finally just flat out pulling late fees off my credit card (this unexpected action cost me an overdraft fee or two in my lean college years!), I have slowly built up an attitude of contempt for these guys. I hope they fail in their bid for online and I hope they die a miserable death. I see the Blockbuster sign and I loathe it. I see the Netflix logo and I feel kind of warm. Sooner or later these businesses will come to understand the value of that.