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Worst dick moves ever pulled on developers by gamers

We gamers can be real dicks. We're spoiled, entitled, and seem to feel that we’re owed great games. And we want them for free. We’re called out as dicks from time to time on forums, and when we step back and look at it, we must admit  have a hard time disagreeing. Gamers have a nasty habit of biting the hands that feed us. Don't believe us? Ponder these colossally boneheaded gamer behaviors, ripped right from the pages of history.


Case #1: Half-Life 2 stolen


Above: Yoink! 

Developer Valve dropped a bomb on the world before E3 2003. Not only was Half-Life 2 real and coming out, it was only a few months away from completion. Gamer heads everywhere exploded in anticipation. At the show itself, Valve unveiled gameplay demos that showcased the game's unprecedented physics system and graphics that rivaled the show's other eye-candy kings, Doom 3 and Far Cry.

Then things went to hell. Valve missed its release window by a long shot. The company pulled back and went into “it's done when it's done” mode. Forums cried foul, and no small population of gamers ruled that the game was DOA and couldn't live up to the hype (of course this didn't stop them from buying and raving about the game when it came out in 2004). One disgruntled gamer decided to take matters into own hands.

A man calling himself “Osama Bin Leaker” gained access to Valve's network and used keyloggers and software exploits get his hands on the source code for Half-Life 2. By October 2003, the source code and a playable version of the game were online for anyone to look at or try. As if that wasn't a big enough dick move, Leaker tried to justify his actions by claiming that he was on a crusade for truth and merely unmasking the lies of Valve. “I'd like to point out this is what you wanted Valve to release on 9/30/03...I'd like to point out the E3 demo was one big fake by Valve.”

Nice try. Dick.


Above: Mr. Leaker (left) runs from German authorities (right) 

Mr. Leaker, who turned out to be a 21 year old hacker from Germany named Axel Gembe, was later arrested on unrelated charges after a sting operation, in which Valve tried to lure him to the States with a fake job interview, failed. He wasn't the only jerk in this unfortunate incident, however. Gamers started advocating conspiracy theories that Valve leaked the code themselves, a claim that Newell called “utter bullshit.” Several played the leaked code and judged the game to be a complete mess, while retailers in Russia packaged it and put it on sale.


Case #2: Valve makes a sequel, fanboys lose their shit

One of the most incomprehensible things about the entitlement gamers express is that the more a game developer gives them, the more they expect. Let's take a look at Valve again. These are good people. They released the original Half-Life and gave players Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat. They supported those games for years and years after release. Then they released Half-Life 2 with free updates of both Counter-Strike and the original Half-Life. A few years later, they give players five games - Team Fortress 2, Portal, Half-Life 2 with its episodes - for the price of one in the Orange Box. They follow that up a year later with Left 4 Dead. Oh yeah – and many of those products were originally created by modders, whom Valve had supported since the very first copy of Half-Life rolled out of the factory with its level-building tools packed in for free, and many of whom Valve hired and legitimized.


Above: Makes your stomach churn, doesn’t it? That’s it, let’s start a boycott… 

Let's step back and look at that track record; how many freebies, how much added value is there? Valve is one of the last remaining PC-focused developers for a reason - they gave consumers more, while others gave them less.

Enter the Left 4 Dead 2 announcement. Instead of feeling excited about a follow-up to an amazing game, a very vocal group of fans leads a boycott, toting a manifesto filled with the most irrelevant, nitpicky, bullshit attacks since the HL2 code theft. The planks of the boycotters' platform included these gems. (We've included translations in parentheses for those that don't speak fluent asshole.)

A) L4D2's release will result in a drop in quality and frequency for L4D1 content, even compared to before (We got our $50 worth months ago, but we are concerned you won’t give us any more free shit. This is perfectly understandable and within your rights, but we are outraged. You are taking food our of our children’s mouths… somehow. You heartless greed monkeys!)

B) Valve put little faith in L4D1 since they almost certainly started working on L4D2 right after release (Not only are you not giving us free shit, but now you’re calling this game that you made and that we love a pile of the bad kind of shit! How dare you!)

Above: Please note that none of these points prevented many boycotters from playing the game 

C) The new character designs seem bland and unappealing so far. (We haven’t heard any of them speak yet, but we nonetheless think the original characters of black guy, old guy, biker guy, and girl were way deeper.)

D) L4D2 is too bright to fit in with L4D1's visual aesthetic. (Playing a game with colors threatens my status as a licensed and certified basement dweller – though again, we’ve got squat to actually base this upon. But remember: We care more about this game than you do.)

E) The community has lost faith in Valve's former reputation for commitment to their games post-release (We fear this may establish a precedent of you making more new games instead of more add-ons for existing games, and expecting to be paid for them. We think that is total bullshit.)


Above: Valve Grand Poobah Gabe Newell (center) with two of the boycott members that came to Valve on the company’s dime 

In the end, Valve ended up inviting the leaders of the boycott to Valve HQ in order to show them that making games is freaking hard work, and takes money. They recanted, but several diehards remained in the group. Of course, once the game was released, they bought it anyway. They probably felt they were just victims and the merciless greed demons at Valve had left them no other choice.

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98 comments

  • sfdrew - October 15, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    I hate to be a dick, but pirating is not the same thing as stealing. Anybody whose even taken a 101 economics class will know what a demand curve is; the lower the price, the more people will buy it. Obviously, if the price is zero, a lot more people will buy a game than if it costs $60, or even $5. When it comes to things like apples, or frying pans, or bookcases, there is a limited supply. The availability and demand for those products, along with competition, determine the price. If I take a dining room table from a store, I've also taken value away as well. Digital goods don't work that way. The supply is basically infinite. Everything is value-added. The games themselves have no inherit value, like the wood that makes up a table, for example. Once the cost of development has been recouped, each new copy can be made for practically nothing, especially if other people are doing the copying. When EA did their Humble Indie Bundle (the thought of which still makes my stomach turn), it didn't cost them anything. The games were already made. "Stealing" a copy, doesn't take any value away from them like it does when you swipe an apple from the grocery store. The argument made by the RIAA and game companies that a pirated copy is a lost sale is complete nonsense, as I pointed out before. There will always be far more people who will take something for free rather than pay for it. All the people who thought the game was worth the asking price, bought it when it went on sale. Would some of the people who pirated the game paid had that not been an option? Perhaps, but they likely make up a tiny portion of the "pirates". The fact that people pay so little (around 5-10 on average) for most Humble Indie Bundles just goes to show that most people find those games to be nearly worthless. I'm not entitled; as an author, game developer, musician, or whatever; to decide what my creations are worth. The market will decide. If some people find them to be nearly worthless, then so be it. I don't download things without paying for them, but that doesn't make people who do a thief either; It doesn't equate to a lost sale, or take food out of the stomachs of children. Game companies are exactly that. They are interested in making money. Most of them, especially the large ones, have gone to revolting lengths to take advantage of their customers. Why are gamers to blame for doing the same?
  • RiksK - January 25, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    People pirate if they don't have enough money to buy the games, not even used or old ones. But if you have the money to buy the games, but you pirate them instead, you are truly pathetic. Pirating a game is like boycoting the game and saying, "Please, don't make a game like this anymore". So pirating a game you like but not buying an original copy of it, is insanely pathetic.
  • Shuuvuia - January 25, 2011 6:57 a.m.

    The Left 4 Dead controversy still makes me laugh. We spend all our time complaining that Valve takes 10 years to release sequels, and when they finally release a sequel in a reasonable amount of time people go crazy. The Humble-Indie Bundle is probably the lowest gamers have ever sunk. Pirates are already insufferable douchebags, but stealing from charity (and from people who are making personal sacrifices to make games that will benefit charities) is just low and inhuman. I don't know how those people sleep at night. Oh, and the two words I had to type in the "human-validation box" thingy are Flagellum Appointed. What?
  • MassEffective - January 25, 2011 3:37 a.m.

    Dicks!
  • LordUberDowzen - December 25, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    @ misfit199, why can't you use that same TV for your computer?
  • misfit119 - December 23, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    I can definitely agree we need more articles like this. Except, ya know, to actually get their facts straight when they're trying to sound clever. As it is this particular article is terrible. I can get the sarcasm and all but if you're going to tell me I'm a dick, even in jest, get the facts right. #2 You do realize that part of the reason people complained about L4D2 was because Valve ran their mouth Peter Molyneux style. They promise a bunch of free stuff and then only gave survival mode. Then we got Crash Course which was a half a campaign. Great. I also like how the concern that this would split the player base so soon after the game was released isn't mentioned. #4 So we throw "justified" whine fests when movie producers have no idea about a game franchise they're working on but it's unjustified when those people who know nothing about a game franchise are working on the franchise? Makes sense. Fallout 3 was awesome in spite of some parts of the dev team I think. #5 Many of us complainers don't WANT to play 90 levels for $50 bucks. All we want is to get to play as Zerg or Protoss in non-multiplayer modes. But we have to pay $50 to start the story up and then $50 and another $50 to get to the installments we actually care about. #7 The Crysis developers have nobody to blame but themselves. Here's a great strategy - let's make a game that's major selling point is the graphics, then require that you have Windows Vista (garbage) and a ridiculously powerful (and expensive) PC to enjoy said graphics. Then lets be surprised when most of the gamers out there can't be bothered to pick it up and the pirates inflate the numbers. Great idea! Totally not the developers fault. @LordUberDowzen - That doesn't make sense. I have an apartment, I buy a TV to watch television. Oh look a video game console let me hook it up. I don't just have a monitor lying around that I can then hook up to a PC. You add on monitors to prices of computers because it serves no purpose otherwise.
  • LordUberDowzen - December 23, 2010 9:39 p.m.

    @ gilgamesh310, I'll tackle your points in order: The load times are much shorter on PC (except for the elevator rides which can't be shortened because of the way the game is coded). The ordinary load screens in that game appear for about 5 seconds whereas the elevators take at least a minute. You're right that most people will already have a TV, my issue is with the cost of a monitor being added onto the price of a PC but the price of a TV not being added onto the price of a console, which seems a little bit unfair. Slight confusion, didn't mean big controllers. "Big Tv" + "expensive controllers". They're not that expensive, but I wouldn't call them cheap either. The constant upgrades thing has kind of disappeared too. I'm still using a PC that I bought in 2008 which hasn't been upgraded and I can still run almost every new game at full. Crysis is an exception, not the rule. Crashing can still be an issue, but it doesn't happen nearly as much as it did 5-10 years ago.
  • EarlyGrayce - December 23, 2010 4:58 p.m.

    @Rufnux I think you are just trying to balls up things. Either pay up or wait for it to go on special instead of looking like a dick
  • EarlyGrayce - December 23, 2010 4:29 p.m.

    I wonder what the numbers Bought to Downloaded copies of the Humble Indie Bundle really mean as since I last commented I purchased the second bundle for $10 just for the charity and a few games for my partner then downloaded the games for PC, Mac, and Linux just in case I have to use any OS other than Windows in the near future. Will this make the stats say that three times the amount of copies were downloaded as bought? I am now off to register the pack with Steam so that if I lose the files I will then redownload them through that service. The HIGB website also recommends that you keep your email from them as a safeguard to data loss so they are advocating downloading the data again if you have any issues or lose the data.
  • ZakanSparta - December 23, 2010 1:38 p.m.

    Oh yes, about StarCraft 2... Mark my words, with second part of the trilogy, BLizzard will add small amount of new units per side, maybe one, and some balance tweaks, that will only be avalble to those that will buy the addon/second part. They well know that only small amount of the buyers will get it for single player. The majority is in for MP, casual or hardcore, but still. And BLizz got them by the throat. They did that with WoW, and they sure won't pass the oppertunity to do it with another huge franchise. So it will be another 50$ for campaign most players dont care about, and minor MP tweaks. Thats what gamers were realy upset about, and - imo - justly so. Sad thing is - Blizzard said that with Wings of Liberty you will have full MP part. Sure, sure. Untill the next one comes out, and you will have to buy it again, for full sum.
  • ZakanSparta - December 23, 2010 1:25 p.m.

    About that HL2 theft - while I don't advocate it, I can't stand that almost all those that cry for poor Valve seem to ignore the huge videocard war that was about that time, and the fact Valve with their "Nvidia cards can't handle HL2, go ATI" repeated PR basicly saved ATI at that generation. Newell gave tens of tech reasons to that, basicly trashing Gforce 5 (if I'm correct at the tech gen) but somehow forgot to tell one interesting fact. When that Leaker got the HL2 code out, it came out that huge chunck of the rendering code was done by ATI *ENGINEIRS*. If you didint got that, please read again. When one GPU company makes the rendering tech for you, what right have to to say that one video card or another is better? Say that you prefer one side, and that that you work with them - fine, its your call, nothing wrong here. But blaming Nvidia for making lousy tech, when your renderer built to NOT work on it?? I still didn't got HL2, and not I intend to. Its maybe game of the year,and excellent product overall, but thats my way of saying some things done by companies won't be ignored by me.
  • EarlyGrayce - December 23, 2010 6:01 a.m.

    I am a PC and 360 Gamer. I am am on a Disability Support Pension and can't use either most of the time as I am too sick to get out of bed or even think straight enough to string together three words so even this comment is written by my carer. I get almost every PC game as a pirate copy then bin the copy after 6 months as the local game market is priced at between $80 and $110 for a new game so I would rather spend money on the games I still want after the 6 months when most games have come down to a reasonable price as in $40 to $60
  • fenris117 - December 23, 2010 5:56 a.m.

    As a PC gamer myself, it makes me ashamed about how others are hacking their own arms off by pirating games and complaining that developers are looking away from PC.... c'mon guys really?
  • EarlyGrayce - December 23, 2010 5:56 a.m.

    I forgot to mention The Humble Indie Bundle and downloading screwups, how many of the extra DLs are because of a download or other data problem
  • NightCrawler_358 - December 23, 2010 5:33 a.m.

    I love PC gaming but people can be such dicks in it, because they take it so seriously. But really, who wants to have fun with a video game!? Pirating is wrong because the devs dont get anything for their hard work, but often times its really hard to say no. Its not like theres consequences on the internet... ._.
  • jonathanaltman - December 23, 2010 4:44 a.m.

    Blaming piracy for the demise of PC gaming is pretty silly. Not that it's not a valid component, but it is far from the main one. That is, maintaining a PC to perform for new games is really expensive. Also, when was the last time you walked into a Gamestop and found any PC games beyond that one depressing rack with three City of Heroes expansion packs alongside a bunch of games from 10 years ago? I see piracy as a library. Because I am poor right now, I have to go to the library instead of having the pleasure of going to a store and buying something outright. Making the argument ALL about piracy would be like blaming the fall of print media on Libraries.
  • mgpeacewalker - December 23, 2010 4:38 a.m.

    Paying one cent for the humble indie bundle doesn't make you any less of a dick than someone who pirate it. Hell if you did pay 1 cent you might as well have pirated it to save you the effort of going thru the process of buying it.
  • TR4rules - December 23, 2010 4:18 a.m.

    First of all,lay off Fox News, the only news station that reports the truth. Secondly I am one, probably of the few, that has never wantd any part of pirated or mode gaming. I cant stand the state of mind that every thing is owed to an individual and that the companies providing there services can afford there dishonesty. To all you DICK, F@#$ you.
  • MikeT - December 23, 2010 2:58 a.m.

    Its hard to realize the full scope of douchebagginess that developers have to deal with. These guys gotta be thick skinned to deal with this, and think about the indy developers working so hard on something just to have it ripped by kids that probably don't get it, that's really the sad thing is that the people who do this don't really know how hard the developers work. We need more articles like this and a community that educates and promotes knowledge.
  • Markstone - December 23, 2010 2:12 a.m.

    Its sad when people refuse to pay a PENNY for multiple excellent games, they should be ashamed (especially since it helped benefit charities!)

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