Battlefield 3 is one of the most highly anticipated title releases of the year, and rightfully so. It offers amazing graphics, countless hours of game play, and the chance to be humiliated online by a 14 year old kid screaming racial slurs into a headset.
It's like the meaning of Christmas in video game form.
Like the 800 Billon other people worldwide who made the game go super-triple-uber-platinum before it was even released, I rushed right out to reserve my Limited Edition copy, never once questioning how every copy of the game can be considered "limited". Ripping through the impossibly strong cellophane that they use on physical copy DVD's, I held the glowing disks towards the skies and thanked the Gods themselves for the bounty of teabaggings I was about to receive.
And then to initiate the installation process, I logged into...
As I am already the owner of several EA titles, I log into the EA Games website to register my newest purchase. Upon signing into the website I'm greeted by the four or so games that have been inexplicably quarantined here because they "mysteriously" stopped working in my Steam launcher. They sit there, huddled in the too empty white space of the webpage, trying to look like they're perfectly happy in their new home...
...and suddenly, I kind of feel bad.
It's like being at a dinner with a couple that can't stand each other. Everyone knows that they're fighting, but no one really wants to say anything, so we flash each other knowing looks of discomfort before staring down at our plates in silence. Taking sides just furthers the fight, and eventually you'll get cornered by one of them who drunkenly guilts you into agreeing that having all of your games in one easy-to-click location "really is for suckers" while you try to avoid their eyes and alcohol laced breath with equal nonchalance.
But f**k it, I love Battlefield, so I pretend that everything is cool and condemn yet another title to the Island of Unwanted Toys.
"In order to play this game, you'll have to install the newest version of Origin."
Sh*t. Forgot all about "Origin". EA's new girlfriend who is a lot younger than Steam, but has something not-quite-right about her that puts you off and makes you loathe to touch her. But video game mania knows no loyalty, so I agree to download the client in order to play.
Once quick file transfer later, I'm setting up my profile and ready to jump into the game. Anticipation dancing down my spine the like the fingertips of a teasing lover and...
Origin launches Battlelog.
Wait. What the f**k is this? Didn't I just install the game launcher? Why in the hell is it bringing me to a webpage interface to launch the game?
Another sign in?! Oh come the hell on, I just want to play my new goddamn game. I don't care if it does tie in with EA Games and Origin - I have to download and install plug-ins, configure the page and set up another avatar? What was the point of configuring a profile on Origin if it was just going to make me...
You know what? No. I can totally deal with this.
I just want to play the game, and if I have to configure yet another profile in order to do so, then so be it. Sure, I can skip the customization of my profile; but who wants to be another default avatar icon who rushed in to play without stopping to smell the roses and actually configure his gaming experience?
You know what? On second thought: THANK YOU Battlelog, for giving me this opportunity to slow down a bit and fully submerse myself in the game. I'm not just your default soldier, I'm Coyote and I am proud to have taken the time to make that distinction. Just let me change this default avatar and...
What. The. F**K.
The avatars aren't hosted on Battlelog, they don't import from Origin, and they have nothing to do with the EA Games site? I have to sign up for another website in order to change my default face from "Angry Black Guy" to "Sarcastic, Pasty White Guy" on the launching website?
Why in the Hell is this not hosted here? This is the third site I've had to log into and configure in order to play a game that I just bought, and I still HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO PLAY THE GAME THAT I JUST BOUGHT. You know what? Fine. I don't even f**king care anymore. Take your stupid "five or ten minutes" to change my avatar - I really don't f**king care. In fact, I'll just take this time to go through my Battlefield 3 box and look at the advertisements for other games and...
Hey. What's this flyer?
EA Gun Club
"Congratulations! You're ready to unlock the M1911 pistol for multiplay! To claim your reward, you must be a member of yet another website that ties into the previous four for no other reason than for us to see how many times we can get you to do this sh*t before you break down sobbing at your keyboard! Haha!
Gunna cry fatty? Gunna squirt some? You will waddle your mammoth ass through whatever hoop we hold up, won't you tubby? We have your soul in a little jar and every once in a while we hold it up to the light and just shake the ever loving piss out of it in order to make a snow globe out of your tears."
I fully admit that the "EA Gun Club" is absolutely optional, and is in no way necessary in order to play the game. That being said, why isn't this on the EA Games, Origin, or Battlelog sites? Why does the EA Gun Club, which tracks its own items and achievements, have to have yet another website? And I'm not even getting into the Dr. Pepper website, or the cross promotion through them where you can sign up and get in game items.
I'm just going to sit here and enjoy my beverage while you exploit my primal love of free sh*t, because I happen to love the taste of battery acid mixed with prune juice, so your marketing ploy failed.
Besides, all of the websites are now configured and in sync, and my content has loaded. The launch process might be a little cumbersome at first, but now that I've gone through it, I never have to again.
It is finally time to play the game.
"Punkbuster has detected an older version. Please download the current version of Punk Buster by signing up at..."
The good news is that Battlefield 3 is amazing. The graphics are second to none, and the game play is smooth and draws you in so quickly, that the world around you disappears.
So far I've knifed twelve people, shot seven, and I'm taking cover behind a bullet riddled pillar as I load my last clip and get ready to lob a grenade. I know in my heart that I'm going to die, but I'll take as many of them with me as I can.
The bad news is, I'm doing all of this in real life because loading the game made me f**king snap, and at this point I fear that I'll never actually get to play Battlefield 3 before they take me down.
When you see this on the news, and they blame my violent killing spree on video games, I beg you not to correct them. In fact, tell them…
...tell them that EA made me do it.