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Sunk by Games for Windows Live

This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

I had a copy of the BioShock 2 Collector’s Edition nestled in my office closet for an indeterminate amount of time after finally acquiring it cheap off Amazon in the wake of a relatively underwhelming, in comparison to the first title’s, release. Having not so much as played it on my Xbox, I felt it was a waste and moved to trade the case and disc away via /r/gameswap on Reddit, hoping someone else would enjoy it as I struggled to make time to put a dent in my backlog. I didn’t regret doing so, but still made the effort to acquire it via Steam at a cheap price amidst one of Valve’s many ridiculously tempting sales. While I was happy to have it in my PC library as a digital entry, I’d soon be reintroduced to the nightmare of Games for Windows Live.

For those who haven’t experienced this, Games for Windows Live is Microsoft’s garishly grotesque offering that is meant to offer the same interface on PC that Xbox Live users don’t struggle with on the Xbox 360 equivalent. Theoretically, it should be a seamless transition allowing Xbox Live users to straddle the line between their computers and consoles while acting as a roughly rudimentary form of DRM. The problem is, it’s more obtrusive than a Soviet guardhouse in East Berlin, circa 1960.

Finding myself free of obligations for three or so hours one evening following a long day at the office, I decided I would finally get around to playing BioShock 2. At least that was my original intent when installing it via Steam. After the install button changed to play, I quickly clicked, excited to pick up against the backdrop of memories I had from the original. Big Daddies, Little Sisters, Andrew Ryan, Atlas, and Tenenbaum fondled my imagination as the logo crawls played before dropping me on the main screen. Then, without so much warning, an albatross popped-up on my screen with hapless indignation.

Games for Windows Live prompted me for installation and subsequent update, required for me to make any progress or save, before initially starting BioShock 2. Capitulating, I allowed it to run, which took roughly an hour of the time I’d set aside to play before instructing me to close and restart the game for GFWL to conclude the process. Upon doing so, I was forced to watch the opening logo crawl again, but that was okay since I was finally going to get to enjoy a bit of Rapture.

Wrong.

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