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Dear Santa,

This is the 34th time I’ve sent you my wish list. I don’t know what your problem is. Admittedly, I’m not a kid anymore, but I keep hoping you’ll come around. Here is what I want this year:

1) Honesty about DRM

For about ten years I begged you to get rid of this ridiculous DRM business and you never did, you heartless bastard. So I understand this is the way things are now and there’s nothing we can do about it except endure this grim idiocy. Our only recourse is to be careful where we spend our money, which is impossible when publishers keep claiming their DRM is “mild” or that they don’t have DRM at all. I’m thinking back to when someone from Blizzard said that DRM was a waste of time, and then they rolled out Starcraft II, which required recurring online registration and a login just to play single-player content. That’s some of the most restrictive DRM so far, only surpassed by Ubisoft’s. It’s basically the same thing EA used for Spore, and people hated that.

Maybe I’m just bitter because changing my graphics card caused the game to lock me out and now I can’t play the game at all. Actually, yes. That’s exactly why I’m bitter. I’m not asking you to fix this. Not even with your magical powers could you cure something as daunting and pervasive as human stupidity. But maybe you could move these charlatans to the “naughty” list next year?

2) Twenty-four more hours a week

Have you heard about DC Universe Online, Santa? This game looks incredible. It’s like an MMO, but exciting. It’s got action combat, fun travel abilities, great production values, and Batman.

The thing is, I’m already playing World of Warcraft. I don’t have time for another MMO in my life. So if you could add (say) 24 more hours to the week that would be super-great. Maybe add four hours to every day except Monday. Nobody wants Mondays to be longer.

3) A rival to Steam

I hate to see Steam dominate the industry uncontested. Impulse is a good platform, but they don’t quite have the full community / store / client / social network / multiplayer integration that Steam does, and Stardock doesn’t have the clout to get the breadth of titles and discounts that Valve can.

Gamer’s Gate is a great platform that doesn’t require a client so people can just download and play without having extra crap running in the background. But like Impulse, they suffer from playing Mom & Pop to Steam’s Walmart.

Games for Windows LIVE should be the main contender, but it’s a comical tragedy of failure and ineptitude, and Microsoft doesn’t seem to care.

I guess I’d like to see Stardock hook up with more publishers, and Games for Windows to be hit with an asteroid. Can you manage that, Santa? I don’t know. Do you do asteroids? I guess a fire would work, too.

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4) Save us from fad controllers

I think motion controls are a really great novelty. They’re a nice change of pace and about the most fun way to get some exercise. All I ask is that Sony and Microsoft not forget how to make games that use buttons while they’re off chasing after that sweet, sweet Wii market.

5) A lump of coal for Activision

A quick search for Activision Lawsuit reveals that these guys spend more time looking for ways to sue people than trying to just make games that people want to buy. They’re suing rivals, former employees, former business partners. If lil’ Bobby gets in a fight at school, you can say maybe the other kid started it. If Bobby gets in ten fights with ten different kids, and if Bobby is the biggest kid in the class, it’s a pretty safe bet he’s a bully, not the victim.

And by “lump of coal” I mean “asteroid.” Again.

T’was the night before Christmas and all over the ‘net,
Nobody had presents, ’cause it wasn’t time yet.

The trolls were all flaming without repercussion,
’cause the mods were in bed and not Open » Discussion.

The tree was still boxed, not a light had been hung.
No music was playing, not a carol was sung.

No dinner was cooking, no ham had been roasted.
Instead I ate pop-tarts, cold and un-toasted.

No milk, no coca, no Eggnog to sip at,
Instead Mountain Dew, which was old, warm, and flat.

A Christmas disaster, caused by a Blizzard,
and by leveling alts with my main Gnomish Wizard.

No cookies for Santa, no lists have been made.
The only presents I want are ‘leet drops from this raid.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Shamus Young is the guy behind Twenty Sided, DM of the Rings, Stolen Pixels, Shamus Plays, and Drawn to Knowledge. He doesn’t actually play a Gnome, but “Orcish Hunter” doesn’t rhyme with Blizzard.

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