on May 13, 2006
I just got a “new” video card, and I thought I’d check out the Half-Life 2 HDR demo. I couldn’t see it in action before, since my old GeForce 5200 couldn’t make with the fancy pixels. So, with grim determination I began installing HL2, which means installing Steam. I had totally forgotten about this part of the installation process:
Oh yeah. Thank goodness Valve encrypted my software. Otherwise I might, you know, use it. I have a fancy new system, and it still sat there for fifteen minutes chewing on data so that I could run my own software. I’m still amazed at the audacity of these punks to LOCK a game from the ostensible owner.
ME: I’d like to run my game now.
VALVE: Oh but it’s locked.
VALVE: Don’t be stupid. If it wasn’t locked you would be able to run it.
ME: Yeah, that’s the point.
VAVLE: Yes, well, if YOU can run it, then ANYONE can run it. Maybe even your pirate friends, who run those warez sites?
ME: I never… what? Look, how am I supposed to play my game?
VALVE: Just ask. Just sign on to Steam, and let us know you’d like to play.
VALVE: It’s quite fast and painless.
ME: That’s not the point.
VALVE: Only takes a second!
ME: Look, do I own this software or not?
VALVE: If you owned the software, would you be locked out of it?
ME: Er. No?
VALVE: There you go. Enjoy the game. But not too much. And only when we say you can. And only by yourself.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.