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Marnetmar

Discontinuing Games? (featuring the original Dark Orbit from 2001)

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This thread is actually copied/pasted from somewhere else but it pretty much states my thoughts)

A game from my childhood is gone and I'm not happy about it. There are many times that I wanted to play a game I haven't played in a long time, like the "original" Dark Orbit, or as I like to call it, the good one.



It's not the modern game that you can find by straight-up Googling "Dark Orbit", this was the old game where you were a ship attacking aliens and getting upgrades that was pre-installed on some computers many years ago, included with WildTangent's "GameChannel". My desktop had Dark Orbit on it, but it was only the trial, and yet as a kid I played that trial over and over again because it was so fun (buying games online was unheard of, to me games existed only as disks), though I only managed to reach the end a few times because I was so young.

I set out this evening to find that game, even planning to purchase it if it was still available. If not, I was perfectly content to play the trial version, as that was all I had ever really known anyway. I was just in the mood for a little nostalgia buzz. It was one of my favorite games from my childhood, even though it only lasted a good half hour at best. The only things I found were threads on the WildTangent (abbreviated as WT from here on) forums, filled with people claiming that A. WT had discontinued Dark Orbit, and B. they wanted it back. Upon inspecting the threads, I found posts by WT staff saying that they did, in fact, not support the game anymore and that it had been completely disabled.

Some people had actually bought the game and still wanted to play it;

I had purchased Dark Orbit years ago and Ran it on Windows ME. I have since upgraded to a newer machine with windows XP (sp2). Yesterday I found the backup disk (with key) and attempted to reinstall it. I get the initial screen but when I click on my screen size and click on "Play" it gives me a blank screen and says "loading" but then does nothing. Any one have a clue?

I still have the game, and (yes, don't tackle me for it) still have the registration key. Despite popular belief, that doesn't solve everything /: I tried typing it in to unlock the full version, but it needs to access the online database to validate the key.


To which a WT staff member responded:

I'm sorry, but Dark Orbit has been discontinued and will no longer work for you. Please click the Support button at the top of the page, and send an email to Customer Support. We'll be able to help you with an exchange.


I'd never heard of such a thing happening before. Sure there are games that companies don't sell anymore, but making it unplayable? That seems completely unfair to me. How could a company do that to their customers? I could see not allowing people to buy the game anymore, but actually disabling the game altogether? It's absurd! They may be offering a trade-in, but that doesn't make up for essentially destroying a game that people clearly still want to play.

I managed to dig up a download for the free demo, but just like the person above who wanted to play, I got stuck at the loading screen.

My attitude, as written by someone in another thread on the original site I'm not gonna bother looking for:

There are a lot of early Wild Tangent games that were decommissioned that no one will ever know about. What I couldn't understand is why the company cut it's self from it's early past. There are some other games that haven't been done away with like blackhawk striker2.

Back when these games were still available I couldn't justify the cost. And what a tease it was to have wildtangent software with demos from recent games come extra on my newly bought computer (not my dollar). And wile the games were all action they were all diverse - the a railshooter that seemed totally unique even now, SabreWing a space fighter, a modern combat rts and the rpg Dark Orbit. Unfortunately the computer was formatted and hard drive was put to factory settings and those demos were lost. I was able to find a copy of Dark Orbit from a download here on the site wile it was still available yet was still unable to purchase it.

It's been some time now since purchase page was taken down and I've long been able to afford the game. But it's gone for some obscure reason.

If I can obtain Dark Orbit here I will pay the full purchase price it was sold under wile still available. I'm tired of finding that the things I want have been discontinued. This is net based software and therefore I can't see why these programs can't be sold indefinitely.


Just needed to get all that out because I'm thoroughly pissed that it's impossible to play this game now. I may not know shit about how game companies work, but I can't see how removing a game from existence is a logical thing to do.

So, in closing: What the fuck?

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"I tried typing it in to unlock the full version, but it needs to access the online database to validate the key."

Welcome to the murky world of online DRM.

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Another scenario is the company goes out of business, and you can't even communicate with them*. No activation, no exchanges for another game, no nothing...

* whoever "them" is might be hard to figure out anyway (example: Strife)

BTW, if this game really means a lot, you could always try your hand at doing an open-source "remake" of it. I mean, in the spirit of the original game rather than an exact copy. Maybe suggest this to others who are in the same boat, and you could get a dev team going...

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WildTangent is a shitty company begin with; wouldn't surprise me if your trial copy of this game included spyware or opened some doors for a few shady friends.

I think I recall something like this happening to my grandma. She bought some shovelware game pack from Walmart that had to validate with the publisher's site, but there was some connection issue that caused the game to not validate, but when I tried to do it again it said it was already registered and wouldn't let me do it again. Tried going to the actual site and I guess they didn't support the game anymore or some shit, even though she had JUST bought it. It was only like $5, but still that's bullshit.

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hex11 said:

BTW, if this game really means a lot, you could always try your hand at doing an open-source "remake" of it. I mean, in the spirit of the original game rather than an exact copy. Maybe suggest this to others who are in the same boat, and you could get a dev team going...

Yeah right. It's like someone or something dear in your life dying, and trying to relive the moments by crafting a surrogate which is too ugly, symmetrical and whose head falls off.

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That's a pretty absurd comparison. About par for the course for EE, I guess. ;-)

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It takes a twisted mind to build a trial version that needs remote activation. Maybe it contains the full version. Of course, I'm speaking from ignorance here. I've never played a WT game and I never even had to think about supporting them at Dell, except to remove them for people.

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And that is why I do not trust WildTangent.

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This is the future of Blizzard/Activision games. Just try playing Diablo 3 in another 10 years, when their authentication servers have all been taken down because they'd rather everyone just buy their new games.

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I think this is an example of a consumer being emotionally attached to a product and not the company that provides it. It's usually in your best interest to research what kind of future a company is pursuing. Because if you're buying their old products, but don't like their new products, the money you spend on their old stuff is still funding what they plan on doing in the future. You may be getting the product you want, but you're literally paying them to make stuff you don't like. This is what confuses the hell out of me the most about how people talk about games here.

"This game is shitty because of this, this, and that is annoying as fuck and they better fucking make a patch for it. I'm gonna keep playing it anyway because there's nothing better atm and they're releasing a sequel next month can't wait!"

What the christ?

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