Gotta add another "Ugly" to my GDC list. . .
Those little business-card sized CD's that hold about 40 meg. Several places were giving 'em away with demos. I asked the guy at the Diskmakers booth if there were any problems with CD players. He responded that 100% of CD-ROM drives will read 'em.
True to form, my brand-new CD-ROM drive won't read 'em.
As a final postscript to my GDC adventures, I must post the manifesto of. . .
Zontar: Destroyer of Hasbro!
OK, a bit of background. Down in the press-lounge, there were several tables where companies could dump their press-kits in the hopes that press folks would pick 'em up and give 'em publicity. Early in the conference a small stack of bright orange sheets appeared. On them were written an incoherent manifesto written by an anonymous person who had a beef with Hasbro and their lawsuits. The paper had obviously been written by some kid who thought that he was much more than he was.
Later that day, I presented the sheet to the rest of the GameDev.net guys, who were as entertained by it as I was. We quickly dubbed the anonymous flyer-placer "Zontar: Destroyer of Hasbro", and we set out to building a legend around him. It turned out to be a gag with legs, as the anonymous Zontar kept placing orange flyers on every flyer-table there, entertaining untold numbers with his claims of representing an army of hackers and gamers who intented to force the hand of Hasbro.
Anyway, without further ado, here is Zontar's message to the world. . .
Hasbro Interactive: A New Monopoly
We represent a group of developers, hackers, and gamers around the world and we want to make it clear that Hasbro Interactive's recent lawsuit against eGames, GT Interactive, Xtreme Games, et al. for copyright infringement is beyond ridiculous. Hasbro has no business in the game business, and they are not only going to ruin it for small developers, but for the public also. Already, shock waves are propagating through the gaming world, legal departments are doing 10x more work for due diligence on games, developers have been put on notice for using wording, graphics, sounds, game play, or anything that could be construes as being a "rip off" or clone. Basically, the entire creative process has now been stopped. We think that Hasbro's recent loss of 53M and their pending lawsuit of 100M dollars against them for a child choking to death on one of their PokeMon balls are just some of the reasons that they are applying pressure to these developers to make up for some of their losses.
Ironically, our intelligence shows that the amount of money the defendants are making on the clone games pales in comparison to Hasbro's income. Thus, Hasbro's isn't interested in damages, but in dismantling these competitive companies. Hasbro's "big brother" tactics are not something new. They recently lost a case against a private sole proprietorship "Clue Computing" which was a company that has nothing to do with the game "clue" for copyright infringement. The poor owner held his ground and won in the end, but Hasbro is using its deep pockets and the legal system as a means of monopolizing the market. It doesn't matter if they aren't right, if you can't afford a defense then they win! Thankfully, in the case of "Clue Computing" they lost and got some egg on their face.
We are going to start and all out war against Hasbro in the upcoming weeks consisting of everything you can imagine including boycotting their products and we hope you do the same. Although, many of us are in competition with each other, we have to stick together on this and fight to keep our rights. I'm personally a web designer and just learning to program games in Visual Basic, and the first game I made was an Asteroids clone, now I'm afraid that if I sell it as shareware, I will be sued!
My favorite part is how the message starts out as a "we" that represents a diverse group of people. When it ends, though, it turns out to be some kid learning Visual Basic. That's the whole thing, though. No signature or contact information. I guess he was afraid that the Hasbro-cops would come after him.
I probably ought to add a new rule to "Common Sense". Something like:
If you intend to be a leader of a cause, make sure you're not a shmuck, or you will do more harm than good.
Unfortunately, that's something that applies as much to society in general than it does to game development, so I'll leave that one to Steven Covey. . .
. . .then I'll threaten to destroy him when he prints it :)