On the ridiculous state of PC gaming

So I bought Brothers for PC in the Steam sale. Looked like something interesting.

  • I have three different controllers, two generic PC controllers and a PS3 controller.
  • None work. Apparently only X360 controllers are reliable and you need to make other controllers emulate them. OK then.
  • I try playing the game with keyboard. It’s tricky, and one part really feels like it’s buggy with the keyboard — do I really need to hold these keys down while my on-screen characters move very slowly for at least 30 seconds? The controller is a big part of this game, as you control each of the two characters with one of the analog sticks.
  • So, trying again for joystick support.
  • Solutions online point to x360ce for generic controllers and motioninjoy for PS3.
  • I find x360ce, but it doesn’t initially launch.
  • Motioninjoy’s site is down with a 502 error.
  • I find a semi-dodgy looking copy on a third party download site. It’s got lots of ads, and still doesn’t work. Giving up on the PS3 controller.
  • Downloading an older beta of x360ce.
  • It at least launches, my joystick is detected, I’m able to configure it, and then the newer version will launch.
  • I read online that x360ce needs to be launched from the game directory itself.
  • Of course it does. It didn’t bother to tell me, though.
  • I move it there, launch it, I get a couple of errors, and… the game won’t launch at all; it’s now missing a DLL.
  • I go through Steam’s local integrity check, and it finds a missing file, which it says it will reacquire.
  • Game won’t launch.
  • Go through Steam’s local integrity check again. Nothing wrong.
  • Game won’t launch.

Oh, and Sleeping Dogs? Doesn’t work. Won’t launch at all, but it played through the first few minutes of the game several times before crashing, which is even more tedious. Other people have the same issue, but tech support won’t help because a Mac running Boot Camp is apparently an unsupported platform, even though it’s got a PC graphics card.

Seriously? No, really, seriously? Why do people actually put up with this? I’ve been mucking around with computers since I was six and I’ve had enough. To be fair, not everything’s had the same issues. Skyrim’s mostly worked, and it was fantastic. Alan Wake might not be a great game, but it launched and hasn’t stuffed itself up. Most things have been OK, but the exceptions have been the most spectacular failures.

I don’t think it’s unfair to expect that joysticks just work. I don’t think it’s unfair to expect that games just work. You shouldn’t have to Google, you shouldn’t have to install weird crap from weird sites. Until it all just works, all the time, PC gaming can never go mainstream.