Monday, October 30, 2006

My Rant About the Price of Incomplete Games

Now I will admit that I get excited occasionally when there's an incomplete (called a beta) version of a game I like available on the internet. I got excited when 3D Realms released "LameDuke" which was a beta version of Duke Nukem 3D years ago. I also got excited when I first played the early versions of DOOM.

As for Sonic games, we've been fortunate to have a couple. We have early versions of Sonic 2, Sonic CD, Knuckles' Chaotix, Sonic Spinball, and now recently Sonic 3D Blast. From what I was told, there's also talk about another Sonic 2 beta version on eBay.

I have a complaint, but it half-way contradicts itself so bare with me. My complaint is back in 1999, you could buy a beta version of Sonic 2 for $200. Now we're paying $700 to get another early game? I do not intend to offend anyone here, but lets be frank for a moment -- that's dumb! I see people get all excited over this, and those same people bid up the price because they're actually willing to spew money for something that isn't even finished. Forget about "doing it for the community" and finding all these secrets. People research these incomplete versions and find them so interesting as I do a couple of them, but what will it ever give a person out of life? Not a darn thing. Nobody in the real world cares if a person owns an incomplete game or not. You can't put that on a job resume or anything. People are paying $700 instead of $100 or $200 because they are easily sucked in over something that isn't that great to begin with.

Here's something else to think about -- why should you have to pay even one penny for something that isn't finished? Would you pay someone to take your car apart to fix something but not put it back together for you? If you pay for a job that isn't done, you're being ripped off. What's even funnier is people who are willing to spend money on incomplete games are not only being ripped off, but they're doing it to themselves! Are secrets in a video game that is 15 years old all that important? Sure it's fascinating at first, but a year later you will look back and say "oh that's old news". So you basically pay a big load of money to get psyched for a couple months out of your life. Unless you don't plan to live very long, I'd say that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.

If Sega really thought the beta versions of those games were all that great and were worth money, they would have put them in stores and sold them. Instead, these games are being illegally sold, and they're being sold at prices that are way above those of the complete versions. I will take a beta anyday if it's free, but I will never pay anyone even one cent to get my hands on one. 8 years ago I would have considered spending my money on a beta version, but I'm mature enough now to realize it's a total waste of time and money.


Rolken said...

"So you basically pay a big load of money to get psyched for a couple months out of your life."

"You can't put that on a job resume or anything."

That's not maturity, that's lack of perspective.

OrdosAlpha said...

I couldn't have put it better myself, Sax.

Upthorn said...

I almost agree completely. Except for three things.
1) Much can be learned about a program by comparing it to a prior version, purchase of a beta is the reason so much is known about it today. This is a lasting effect which potentially betters the community through generations to come.

2) The last Sonic 2 prototype brought never-before-seen levels with it. Incomplete, mind you, but they were a great source of inspiration to numerous hackers. There's always a chance of something like that, and while that chance may not necessarily be worth the exorbitant prices for a single person to pay, when you get a whole forum together, everyone need donate only $10. Plus, the new levels also can inspire new members for years to come. Another lasting effect.

3.) What can and cannot go on a job resume is hardly the only important thing in life. If that was all that people cared about, life would not be worth living, let alone perpetuating.

Still, though, I do agree that the prices these days are blatantly jacked up for no other reason than that the sellers people think they can get that much. As well, I agree that purchasing them at these prices will simply serve to continue to drive the prices higher and higher.

Damian said...

Okay, but learning about what was different... it's interesting, but why pay a bunch of money to do that? I could care less if I learned another thing about the Sonic games. I researched them to death because I enjoyed it, but I got depressed about it later on because I realized how much of my life I wasted away on something that the only people in the world who could possibly care are people in the Sonic community... and that doesn't get me far at all.

Inspiring new members is great, but in the end, does it matter if they have yet 'another' beta or not? New members have plenty to look at. The only thing in my view this does is make older members stick around a tad bit longer... but they will all leave sooner or later because like me, they too will bit by life and realize how much time is going by and how useless this stuff is to them.

A job resume is important, and it's true it's not the only important thing. However, spending $1500 on a beta is defintely not important! Nobody in real life cares if you own a beta or how much you know about it. It won't make you any money, it won't get you a job, and it won't get you friends (except the online people, most of which often 'pretend' to be your friend). I see absolutely no point in buying these betas. 8 years ago I did, but now I just think it's completely stupid.

I'm glad we at least agree on the prices being bid up. I would immediately reject anything above $200... I'd say "if you want me to buy this, you have to pull your price down". If that risks losing the beta, so be it. But these people are doing a scam. They're sitting back laughing their butts off because people are paying them hundreds of dollars. I wouldn't give them the opportunity to do that to me.

SMTP said...

Your logic is slightly wrong, its more about rarity. That is why the price is so high.

Think if the person who dumped sonic 2 beta never paid for it, there would of never been a sonic community, really. =P

Damian said...

I really wish we had never had the S2 beta now though, because people have gone on spending spree's ever since. The S2 beta was obtained illegally, and it's value will not increase, but will only ever decrease. It's not worth what they say it is, and I think more Sonic community people will realize that in years to come.

Anonymous said...

It's retarded to care about what other people do with their money.