Immediately upon returning to my gloom-wrought domain, I cranked up my 360 and downloaded Battlefield 1943. I’d seen it at New York Comic Con, pulsing in some cluster of kiosks, and its familiarity was a comfort to me. I didn’t really understand what it was at first, but it quickly became apparent that they’d made a subset of Battlefield 1942 on Bad Company’s Frostbite Engine. I’m fundamentally alright with that. We were in the beta for the inaugural Battlefield title, and enjoyed it thoroughly - what’s more, I think that console gamers need Wake Island, even if they don’t know what that is. They are missing a critical vitamin, and when exposed to it for the first time, I am certain their bodies will respond.
I have to say, I’m also fascinated by the notion of it. Like EA’s thoroughly experimental “March Madness” edition of NCAA Basketball ‘09, Battlefield 1943 (particularly at fifteen dollars) represents a very strange niche in the downloadable universe: something like Gourmet Fast Food. I wonder if it’s working.
Getting it playable took two full days, during which time molten rock began to roil beneath my crust. I was enraged twice over, because I’d been betrayed by a product whose philosophical underpinnings I was in such fervent agreement with! This is the sort of problem that might be unique to me.
For two days, I wasn’t able to see matchmaking at all. It wasn’t until last night that I got it working, learning that the “network error” was nothing of the kind, but was instead some kind of problem with my profile. I was able to learn this by turning to a trio of witches with one eye between them, hunched over an unseemly broth, as opposed to the game’s main site. I learned later that the solution (download another EA demo, sign in from there, and then try to sign in to the game you actually want to play) was available on their Twitter, which is not the first place I think to look for technical support. After that, it couldn’t find any matches to join. I understand that Playstation 3 owners were able to play with less rigamarole, but that was no comfort to me. Once you are able to get in, then you just have the lag to deal with, which an official update tries to distinguish from some mythical species of true lag.
When am I going to learn not to buy their products on day one? When am I going to learn that EA products include free misery?
A couple years ago, when we were trying (unsuccessfully) to set up a round of Tiger Woods with Gabe’s father, I can recall that the Elder Krahulik was almost flabbergasted by the notion that you could buy a product that simply didn’t work, or worked partially, or worked according to the voodoo whims of some witch calendar, or that buying had been divorced from ownership, or any one of a hundred other treacherous ambiguities brought on by the alloyed Eden of the digital age.