Myth 2 Review Turns Into Computer-Breaking, Frostbitten Ordeal

Myth 2 Review Turns Into Computer-Breaking, Frostbitten Ordeal

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A bizarre and potentially disastrous series of circumstances put one writer off reviewing forever.

Being a videogame reviewer sounds like a great job. In fact, it's hard to think of anything better than playing games and getting paid for it. But it's also a job fraught with danger, some obvious - like fanboy backlash - and some much less so. In Issue 298 of The Escapist, Robert Marks looks back at his first and only professional review, for the second game in Bungie's Myth series, which over the course of several weeks nearly cost him a hard drive and - indirectly - an ear.

Although there may not be that many people who remember it today, Bungie's Myth series was one of the giant leaps in the real-time strategy genre. Just about every RTS maker prior to Myth: The Fallen Lords had made RTS games that were as much about gathering resources and building bases as they were about battles. The Myth series changed that ... To be able to review the second one was an incredible thrill.

The first copy of Myth II arrived right on time ... I felt like a kid in a candy store ... until about midway through installing the game, when the installer crapped out. The CD was faulty ... A couple of days into my playing marathon - it was a big game - the replacement CD arrived. Almost immediately after that, my editor called me in a panic, telling me that under no circumstances was I to actually use the thing.

It turns out that Bungie had found a bug in the installer. If the game was installed into the default directory (such as I had done), everything was fine. If it wasn't, however, and you wanted to uninstall the game, the installer would get confused and try to compensate with thoroughness - by uninstalling everything. Yes, Bungie had accidentally created a game that could leave you with a blank hard drive as a parting gift.

As harrowing as the process of writing the review had been, it was what came after that soured Marks on the whole reviewing process. You can read more about it in his article, "Myth-Takes and Other Oddities."

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sounds like a perfectly good case to sue bungie ?

Ah yes, If I had a nickle for every time a PC game didn't work after I'd purchased it I'd have....taking into account floppy #4 for Carmen San Diego...carry the two....about a $1.20.

I had endless trouble getting PC games to work correctly on my family's computers in my childhood. It's really what put me off to PC gaming as a whole and drove me deeper into the console market. Always seemed like what I had wasn't good enough to run a game, and essentially buying a PC game became a gamble. I was young so I had no idea about system requirements and neither did my mother. We assumed that because we had a PC anything we bought for it was supposed to work, but I'm starting to ramble.

The point is having experiences similar to this (minus the whole frostbitten ear thing) still keeps me wary of PC gaming to this day, because why gamble on a PC game when I can buy a console game I know is going to work every time.

The first thing that sprang into my head while reading this article:
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phoenix352:
sounds like a perfectly good case to sue bungie ?

That's sarcasm, right? I'm mean it's not as if other companies have never released buggy software. Also, Bungie caught it before they shipped the game and issued a recall, the only reason the guy even saw it was because he had a review copy that shipped in advance of retail.

Loved that game. For all the author's bad associations, I have only good ones.

Logan Westbrook:

The first copy of Myth II arrived right on time ... I felt like a kid in a candy store ... until about midway through installing the game, when the installer crapped out. The CD was faulty ... A couple of days into my playing marathon - it was a big game - the replacement CD arrived. Almost immediately after that, my editor called me in a panic, telling me that under no circumstances was I to actually use the thing.

I'm a little confused here. It says the CD was faulty and then it says a few days into playing, a replacement arrived. How was it being played if the CD was borked?

Also why would the editor not just tell you to let it install in the default directory or just "don't use the uninstall" to avoid the bug?

I remember this Bug from way back in the day. Funny to see it resurface. Also, ah Myth 2...good memories.

solidstatemind:

phoenix352:
sounds like a perfectly good case to sue bungie ?

That's sarcasm, right? I'm mean it's not as if other companies have never released buggy software. Also, Bungie caught it before they shipped the game and issued a recall, the only reason the guy even saw it was because he had a review copy that shipped in advance of retail.

Loved that game. For all the author's bad associations, I have only good ones.

half sarcastically , buggy software that doesn't work is one thing but buggy software that completely erases your hard drive can have very hard repercussions at which point i believe suing is justified.

phoenix352:
sounds like a perfectly good case to sue bungie ?

No. They recalled the game at the last second to fix the bug. Only reviewers had to worry about it. And for the recall they had to re-package the new disks by hand.

phoenix352:

solidstatemind:

phoenix352:
sounds like a perfectly good case to sue bungie ?

That's sarcasm, right? I'm mean it's not as if other companies have never released buggy software. Also, Bungie caught it before they shipped the game and issued a recall, the only reason the guy even saw it was because he had a review copy that shipped in advance of retail.

Loved that game. For all the author's bad associations, I have only good ones.

half sarcastically , buggy software that doesn't work is one thing but buggy software that completely erases your hard drive can have very hard repercussions at which point i believe suing is justified.

Civil suits don't work like that: you can't just blame somebody for accidentally erasing your hard drive. You have to prove that it was either intentional or due to gross negligence. The simple fact that Bungie recalled all copies of the game before even a single copy was sold would almost definitely be deemed an adequate response to the situation by a civil court.

Now, theoretically, if Bungie sold the defective product anyway and you could prove they had known about it, you probably could put together a solid class-action lawsuit...

ZOMG thank you, I've been trying to remember what this game was called for a long time now and it has really been bothering me! Thanks to this article I checked out Myth and bam it hit me right in the face.

Well, to be absolutely fair, the only part of the process that I would call an "ordeal" was the installation process - I had to use Myth 1 to figure out where the files for Myth II should go, and copy them one at a time from a corrupted CD, frequently having to go file by file with the thing crapping out in mid-copy, and having to restart the copy. And CD drives weren't that fast in those days.

Otherwise, while I was definitely disappointed by the magazine cover and the edit job, I tend to look back on the entire experience with amusement and humour. After all, where else can you combine a killer CD uninstaller bug, frostbite, and a busty vampire popping out of her top? :-)

Ralen-Sharr:

Logan Westbrook:

The first copy of Myth II arrived right on time ... I felt like a kid in a candy store ... until about midway through installing the game, when the installer crapped out. The CD was faulty ... A couple of days into my playing marathon - it was a big game - the replacement CD arrived. Almost immediately after that, my editor called me in a panic, telling me that under no circumstances was I to actually use the thing.

I'm a little confused here. It says the CD was faulty and then it says a few days into playing, a replacement arrived. How was it being played if the CD was borked?

Also why would the editor not just tell you to let it install in the default directory or just "don't use the uninstall" to avoid the bug?

That quote is heavily paraphrased. If you read the full article you'll see he bypassed the installer by manually copying the game files into the correct drive. Thankfully CD's are so locked down to try and prevent piracy these days you'd think you were applying for Top Secret level clearance just installing the damn game that if you get a bad disc the only thing you can do is use it as a coaster.

 

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