It’s Monday, and here at MyGaming HQ, we think Monday is best served with a big order of schadenfreude. Nothing puts the pep in our step like pointing and laughing at other people, especially when they totally had it coming.
Max Payne 3
Cheaters spoil the game for everybody else, but it doesn’t have to be like that – instead, why not simply make cheaters spoil the game for other cheaters? That was the clever thinking behind Rockstar’s decision to restrict confirmed cheaters to their very own private “Cheater’s Pool” in multiplayer matchmaking. Invincibility is so much more interesting when the other players have it too.
It’s pretty much impossible to go into a multiplayer game lobby and not hear that guy. You know the one I’m talking about – it’s the prepubescent neo-nazi beatboxing, swearing, and threatening all sorts of elaborate non-consensual sexual activity with members of your family while Linkin Park blares through his microphone. The quick solution is to mute him, but the long-term solution is to mute him automatically and save everybody else the trouble – and that’s exactly what happens to repeat offenders in Halo: Reach. The game servers keep track of those people who are consistently muted by other players, and if it happens often enough, the player is flagged and silenced. Permanently.
Predictably, this has resulted in a lot of whiny complaints, but it’s not hard to imagine where those whiny complaints are coming from. What’s that? We can’t hear you.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Proving that old maxim about the burned hand teaching best, this game lets you cheat, then never lets you forget it. If you steal something from the shop in Mabe Village, you won’t get caught by the shopkeeper (at least, not immediately), but the game will change your name to “THIEF”. Your shame is right there, spelled out in big capital letters for everybody – and you, you THIEF – to see. And if you go back to the shop for any reason, the shopkeeper will kill you instantly because you’re a nasty THIEF.
In an intriguing twist, stealing from the shop is also the only way to get 100% completion in the game, so you might as well just call yourself THIEF right from the start and get used to it.
Nobody said managing Heaven and Hell would be an easy job, and even the most dedicated deity is going to have to grapple with morally and ethically dubious decisions from time to time – like using a cheat code for extra cash when the holy vault is empty. Use it too much, though, and a Death Star will appear and destroy everything. Obviously.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
You can’t stop people from pirating a game, maybe, but you can stop those people from ever finishing it. Shortly after Batman: Arkham Asylum launched, the game’s support forum was inundated with reports that Batman’s glide ability wasn’t working. Turns out, it was a glitch intentionally built into the DRM, which only manifested in pirated copies of the game. Eidos’s response was elegantly subtle – “It’s not a bug in the game’s code, it’s a bug in your moral code.”
No glide to glitch? No problem! Taking the Batman: Arkham Asylum gag to a whole new level of mega-lulz, Croteam deployed a gigantic, immortal pink scorpion… thing into pirated copies of the game, then sat back and enjoyed all the sanctimonious snivelling about pre-release testing and quality control.
Team Fortress 2
Back when Team Fortress 2 was first in the transition from class-based FPS to real-time hat simulator, some players were using third-party idling applications to exploit the item drop system. Instead of banning those players for their unscrupulous behaviour, Valve put a shiny halo – The Cheater’s Lament – into everybody else’s inventory to wear as a testament to their resolute incorruptibility, while the others could only look on in wretched, weeping envy.
Like just about every other MMO ever, RuneScape has a problem with players using bots to level up their characters and grind gear when reality intrudes with inconvenient imperatives like sleep, work, and prison time for child neglect. So developer Jagex Games Studio came up with a cunning plan – player accounts found using bots were banished to a sort of purgatory court called Botany Bay, where their fates would be decided by player vote. Those fates include crushing by the great and terrible Claw of Justice, being devoured by an abyssal worm, and incineration.