Command & Conquer Shenanigans by EA
So in preparation for my Of Tiberium and Time series I dug out my copy of Command & Conquer The First Decade, so I could easily have all the games at hand. I believe I installed it on my old computer as well, but I had certainly forgotten the hassle it requires to get running.
I run Windows 7, so I started with the usual cautionary measure of setting the installer to run in XP SP3 compatability mode, and then started the thing up. It told me to enter the serial key for Command & Conquer The First Decade. Okay, easy enough, I dig out the manual, flip it around, and see… seven serial keys. Seven. 7. It is asking for just the top one, so I hope beyond hope that it’s not going to ask for the other 6 after this, even though I know better. And sure enough, the next page tells me to input the next 5 serial keys, and then another page for the last one.
So what EA wants me to believe here, is that even though the went into the gamecode to update all these games all the way from MS-DOS versions to work on Windows XP, they couldn’t consolidate the need for serial keys down to just 1? That’s bullshit. There are serials in here for most of the games (except the two first ones, Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert) and even some of the expansion packs, though I think the fact that not everything has serial keys speaks for itself. They only needed 1. They included the rest to be bastards.
I’m sure some argument can be made about how it’s needed for multiplayer stuff, but come on. If you don’t need one for each game and expansion, I can’t imagine why you’d need for most of them. Why couldn’t you have just stripped it down to one? And why did the collection need its own brand-new serial key if you were just going to include all the ones you could find for the old games anyway?
Now this isn’t the worst DRM I’ve dealt with in the past years, it’s just a big pain in the arse, and it seems even more redundant than most of these schemes. I won’t go as far as to say I endorse piracy, but I certainly do understand it. And when the original developers are disbanded and probably don’t see any of the money you’d pay for it anyway…
On the positive side, EA have actually released the oldest titles of the series as Freeware (apparently as a build-up to C&C4, so I have a feeling they knew how bad that game was even before release), and you can find them here. In here you can find the first C&C, the first Red Alert, and C&C2: Tiberian Sun. Enjoy. 🙂