Is it Okay to Put DLC on the Main Menu?

The recent release of Destiny kicks off a busy Fall for exciting new releases.  Tons of triple-A games are coming out in the next few weeks and months.  But up till now, there hasn’t been that much to play on PS4 and Xbox One.  As a result, the game I’ve played most on these consoles recently is a small shooter for the PS4 called Resogun.  For those who don’t know, it plays like a simplified twin-stick shooter.  I say “simplified” because part of the premise is that you can only shoot horizontally, left or right, as you move your Galaga-like craft around the stage.  As an aside, the game is excellent though short, technically only having 5 levels.  Being excellent but short, the player might be expected to finish the game wanting more.  This brings me to my topic for today, which has to do with the placement of DLC in Resogun, an issue that started to peeve me with the release of Mario Kart 8, the recent racing game from Nintendo, but has now annoyed me enough to warrant a good venting.

The main menus of Resogun and Mario Kart 8 are actually very similar considering the disparity of genres.  Both contain the following options: Single Player, Local Multi-player, Online Multiplayer, Options, and Shop.  The Shop option takes the player to a place that lets the player purchase and download add-on content.  In the case of Resogun, it directs you to the Playstation Network Store, where you can buy the “Heroes” expansion for Resogun, containing two new modes and a bunch of unlockable trophies.  In Mario Kart 8, it takes you to the Nintendo e-Shop where you can buy 2 packs of additional characters to play as and two sets of Courses to race on.  This is fine with me.  While it is true that both the PS4 and Wii U have buttons on their controllers that let you instantly go to their respective online stores to purchase DLC add-ons without quitting the game, I can understand the desire to put a place in the game were players would see it and think to check the store.  Otherwise, I might not know there was any Resogun DLC at all unless I happened to check the store on my own just on a hunch.  Having a place for DLC seems reasonable.  But both games go a step further, which is where we get into the meat of today’s topic.

One menu deeper from the main menu in Resogun, there is a curious thing.  If I select “Single Player” from the main menu in the game, it gives me another menu with four options: Arcade Mode, Single Level, Survival, and Demolition Mode.  However, the latter two of these options are greyed out, so the player can only choose Arcade and Single Level.  At first, you might think the other two must be unlocked.  After all, the “Master” option on the difficulty select screen is greyed out in the exact same way.  But if you try to select Survival or Demolition Mode, the game give you the message that these modes are part of the “Heroes” DLC for Resogun, which can be purchased for $5.99 from the Playstation Store.  Mario Kart 8 does something very similar.  When go to the character select screen, the bottom row of characters has a colored band on them.  If you try to select any of those characters, the game will inform you that they are part of the upcoming DLC packs and asks if you want to pre-order the DLC for $11.99.  The same situation exists for the last two sets of courses on the Course select screen.

Downloadable Content is by definition an add-on to an existing game.  So, seeing these options, it would be fair to wonder how options exist in the menus for game modes, characters, ext. that didn’t exist when the original game was finished (I can’t confirm for Resogun, but Nintendo expressly stated that they did not begin work on the DLC characters and courses until after the original game had shipped).  Well the answer is that in both cases, mandatory software updates to both games added the menu items after their original release.  As you might be able to tell from my tone thus far, I have an objection to SONY and Nintendo automatically placing these menu item into the games of consumers who have not chosen to buy the content that these menu items are for.

Essentially, this tactic amounts to a dirty marketing strategy.  And in the end, it offends the same sense that many gamers today have when they hear, for example, about Activision developing the DLC content for Call of Duty concurrently with the regular game, but choosing to hold those muti-player maps and bonus items back to be sold piecemeal to the consumer at a premium after we have already purchased the main game.  Gamers feel, perhaps rightfully so (though that is an argument for another day) that they are being tricked into buying an incomplete product and resent paying more to experience everything a game has to offer.  This is a feeling that SONY and Nintendo are using in reverse to drive sales and advertise their DLC in Resogun and Mario Kart 8.  Even though they didn’t actually hold back content, by putting the DLC menus in front of gamers that have’t purchased DLC in this way, they are making us feel that our games are incomplete and temping us to pay to complete them.  Whether that is fair from a logical supply/demand ethics standpoint is debatable, but I can testify that when I select “Single Player” in Resogun and fully half of the Modes that are displayed are inaccessible, I certainly feel like my game is missing something, and I fully feel myself being manipulated by SONY.

SONY and Nintendo are essentially going the extra step to dangle a product in front of you and deny you access unless you pay.  This is the equivalent of the grocery store finding a way to make it so that you don’t need to choose to shop for food to see their products, but instead they come uninvited into your home and put a bunch of delicious looking food on your shelves that you can’t touch unless you pay a premium.  It seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? It’s actually just like the mini-bars in Hotels.  And we all know how reasonably priced those items are, right?  $5.00 seems reasonable for a bottle of water (sarcasm)!  Temptation is powerful, which also raises an ethical question for children, especially considering that both company’s digital stores allow you to store credit card information and then are dangling products in front of children that are just a few clicks from purchase.  Just last year, Consumer rights groups in the European Union got a new set of laws passed restricting just this sort of tactic in downloadable games for phones because too many children were being tricked into spending large sums of money on micro-transactions in games while playing on their (or their parent’s) phones.  Maybe we are not yet at the point of legislation with home consoles, but we seem to be heading in that direction.  I for one have concluded that I would prefer all parts of a product, including its menus, to stay in the store until I choose to go to the store myself purchase it.


Sorry for such a lengthy article this week, but this one really got my goat (so to speak).  What do you think about DLC and micro-transactions being forced in front of consumers?  Let us know at or by leaving a comment.  Also, check out Daily D Pad on YouTube!



Role Playing Games are Better When They’re Friendly

Last week, an ESRB leak revealed that Final Fantasy IV was being ported to mobile and computer platforms.  By coincidence, I happened to be playing Final Fantasy IV right now, specifically the Nintendo DS remake.  Why was I playing a game that is almost 10 years old (more if you mean the NES original version, but anyway…)?  Well, it’s a symptom of a problem I often have where I get excited for a game and start playing it when I first get it, but then something comes up, I don’t have time to finish it and I never get back to it.  I a similar problem I’ve had with some books.  Books, like video games, are lengthy experiences and when some time has passed and the plot isn’t fresh anymore, I can’t bring myself to just finish the thing without a refresher, so I always start from the beginning.  When I’ve already failed to finish once before, this means I tend to wait until I know that I’m going to have the time to finish.  In the case of an RPG, that can take awhile.

Anyway, this has all been a lengthy way of getting around to my wondering why some games seem easier to get back to than others.  I realized that it comes down to intimidation factor.  I played an obscene amount of Pokemon earlier this year and I realize that Pokemon is so easy to go back to because it’s super friendly.  The whole thing is framed a fun adventure, there’s lots of people to help you, and the worst that happens is you lose a match and “white out” which is a weird form of denial about losing that is part of the greater brand of weird that exists in Pokemon.  But I digress.  Far from being friendly, FF IV is filled with hostile environments and situations that make it clear that it is you, the player, versus the game in a battle of attrition.  For example in the desert after meeting Rydia early on, if you grind for experience points in the desert before  going into the next dungeon, you occasionally and randomly come across an overpowered sand-worm that slaughters you in two hits even though all the other enemies in the area are weak.  This kind of thing happens all the time in the game.  You can die at any time and God help you if you don’t save after every little bit of progress.  This is a game where the first of the four elemental Bosses “dies” than after you cross the bridge to get your reward, attack you from behind so all your weak support characters are in the front line and can get mowed down.  The game constantly tries to trick you and every time you make it to a town, there is a palpable sense of relief.

Of course (and this is something I’ve mentioned before on this blog), with greater adversity comes a greater sense of achievement.  I’m about halfway through my current play through, but when I finish I know I’ll remember for a long time my experience with FF IV and the satisfaction that came with overcoming it.  With Pokemon, the long term challenge comes from the after-game content and the player vs. player modes.  The single player story has always been a bit of a pushover.  Still, I feel like many more people have finished a Pokemon game than have finished a Final Fantasy game.


Send your thoughts to and take a look at the videos on the Daily D Pad YouTube channel.  This muddled post hopefully served some food for thought, but we’ll be back with another video game argument section in the next couple days.  Stay tuned!


The Stupid Things We Do for %100 Completion

It seems like this problem might be a growing one with the popularity of Achievements on Xbox and Trophy Hunting on Playstation, but even when it comes to in-game rewards in older games, we sometimes do some ridiculous stuff to “finish” a game.
Perhaps it is presumptuous of me to use a royal “we,” as I certainly don’t know how your OCD, dear reader, stacks up against mine, but I do at least know that I’m not alone in the world of crazy %100ers. But let me give you an example of my own neurosis. This past week, in anticipation of the upcoming release of Super Smash Bros 4 (the 3DS version comes out in less than a month!), I went back to polish off and put away my copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

For those who don’t know, there are 544 trophies and 700 individual stickers to collect in   my favorite Wii fighting game.  So doing everything means investing some time.  Most of the trophies require the completion of specific objectives.  I had finished most of these years ago when the game first came out, but I still had to collect a bunch of the single player trophies that require hitting enemies with a specific trophy stand item to unlock and two requirement based ones: defeat the boss battles arcade mode on the hardest difficulty, and collect %100 of the stickers.  Through more hours of effort than I will admit to here, I finished getting all the trophies save the Stickers trophy; and this is where its gets silly.

If you do a YouTube search for “Brawl Sticker Factory,” you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I found myself involved in.  Stickers appear randomly during regular matches in Super Smash Bros Brawl as well as when you defeat enemies in the single player.  But when you’re short a few (I need 24 more when I started), the easiest way to ensure you get the sticker you need is to collect a huge number.  After all, there is only a 1 in 700 chance of getting that last sticker (actually less because of pre-set rarity levels, but whatever).  So I created a custom stage with conveyor belts, played with custom rules with only sandbags as items (when all the other items are off, the sandbags real ease stickers when hit), parked my character in a corner and tapped the “A” button nonstop for 10 minutes while the conveyor belts funneled the sandbags to me.  In a 10 minute match, I collected about 150 stickers.  Then repeat.  It took me about 5 hours of this, usually done while listening to a podcast or watching Sunday Night Football to get every last sticker.  If that doesn’t sound fun, its because it isn’t, though it is probably a good way to get carpel tunnel syndrome.

By hour five, I certainly thought “what the Hell am I doing?”  But of course, I kept going until I got them all.  Now, I know I’m probably a little sick in the head, but I’m not the only one.  I recently saw the number of hours it takes to get the Platinum trophy in Killzone: Shadow Fall, and let me tell you that’s one I won’t be doing.  Let me just say this to video game designers out there: please make collecting stuff in your games fun, because I can’t help myself.  Oh, well.


What have you done to get %100 completion in a video game?  Let us know by commenting or e-mailing us at!  And be sure to check us out on YouTube at Daily D Pad.  Thanks for reading!


Online Multiplayer takes investment.

Here’s the thing.  I’m an online multiplayer dabbler.  I like to mess around with it some, but I’ve never gone full in on a game.  Unfortunately, it seems like the current online space requires more and more in the way of serious dedication to have a good time online.

There was a time when almost all multiplay was local.  When I was in middle school and high school, I would have friends over and we would play Super Smash Bros, FIFA, and Need for Speed long into the night.  Some of my fondest memories are of playing double elimination tournaments in Need for Speed: Underground 2.  We’d spend hours taking turns customizing our cars for the big showdown and organize our own brackets since only two people could race at once.  Or we’d take turns wrecking havoc in GTA: San Andreas.  And of course there was always the one kid who wouldn’t do anything dangerous so that his turn would go forever.  We hated that kid.  Anyway, I digress.  My issue is that people don’t seem to play video games in the same room with each other anymore.  And I have a specific problem with the new brand.

At the end of the day, my issue is this: online game are like sports.  Now I love sports, but sports require practice, teamwork, and they aren’t any fun if you always lose.  When I finish the single player in a Call of Duty game, or Uncharted, or even Mario Kart, I think, “won’t it be fun to take my skills and mess around in multiplayer for a bit.”  I always somehow think that it will be a fun little epilogue.  The problem is that it’s a completely different game.  People are obviously a lot smarter than AI opponents but the real problem is that when I hop in, say, a Call of Duty match just to have some fun, everyone else there has played the map 150 times, knows what to do, where to be, and possibly has a bunch of friends on their team with headsets to better coordinate my death.  So what ends up happening is that I run around a corner and get blasted in the face before I can react because they know that that’s a choke-point.  Or I stop moving for one second and get shot in the back.  At the end of the match, I have 15 death and 2 kills and the whole thing just seems stupid.

Now I want to be clear, I’m not condemning online multiplayer here.  What I’m saying is that in my desire for variety in the games I play (and indeed that I also watch some TV, play some sports, etc.) means that I’ve never had one game that I’ve committed enough multiplayer time to to be good enough for me to enjoy myself.  There’s a whole set of people who learned Call of Duty, and with the flurry of similar-feeling multiplay shooters out there, have staked hills that I don’t have the patience to climb.  In the end, it seems to me that the sport of online gaming is something that you do right or you don’t do at all.  What’s it they say, the mark of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try a little Last of Us factions mode…


Do you enjoy online multiplayer?  To tell me what I’m doing wrong, comment or send an e-mail to  Check back here every week for more gaming commentary and take a look at Daily D-Pad on Youtube for some cool videos!