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Monkey Island Creator Slams Corporate Control Over Game Publishing 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-another-business dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ron Gilbert, co-creator of classic games Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island 1 and 2, and many more, has spoken out against corporate censorship — the way of large companies getting a say on what does or does not get published on the distribution channels they control. Although his insightful rant applies to a number of corporations (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Comcast are mentioned), most of the direct examples single out Apple. Quoting: 'Apple has maintained an almost North Koreanish dictatorial control over the devices, becoming the arbitrator over what is good and bad, what is allowed and not allowed. They don't have this control over the Mac because it is a real computer and an open device, but they can do this with the iPhone because we (as consumers) were convinced by the cell phone carriers that they needed this control to protect their networks (in the same way they wouldn't let us own our own telephones in the '70s) and Apple was happy to jump on that ship because they could finally control everything that went on the device and we bought it into it. Apple apologists say that Apple needs this control to maintain the "specialness" of the device. I say that's a load of crap.'" He also mentions Adidas dropping out of iAds because they couldn't accept Apple's excessive creative control, and a photography app that was rejected because it used the volume buttons as trigger."
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Monkey Island Creator Slams Corporate Control Over Game Publishing

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  • Oh man, now I'm jonesing to play Maniac Mansion.

  • by Tsiangkun (746511) on Monday October 04, 2010 @05:45PM (#33788624) Homepage
    I bought the iPhone because I know they are controlling the user experience. I'm greatly enjoying my user experience on my iOS devices. I feel like I got what I paid for, and am likely to get more apple products in the future.
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday October 04, 2010 @05:50PM (#33788664)
      It's amazing you can still type while stroking Steve's member like that.
    • by dintech (998802)

      Let me guess, you jailbroke it? :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      No one is denying that the user experience can be a pleasant one. What Ron Gilbert is trying to say is...

      Eff it, you know what?

      Obligatory [xkcd.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StikyPad (445176)

      Your post may (or may not) be a joke, but there are merits to the walled garden approach; namely that while it's harder to get out, it's also harder to get in. This form of managed security really is ideal for many users who have neither the skill nor the inclination to concern themselves with technical issues. The situation becomes even more tenuous when the difference between a legitimate and malevolent app is neither obvious nor, in many cases, distinguishable. This is a very real issue on Android-bas

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jedidiah (1196)

        Being "hard to get in" only benefits Apple.

        This is handily demonstrated by Apple's other platform: MacOS.

        You simply don't need to castrate a platform in order to make it "safe".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chyeld (713439)

        No, there is no guarantee it's harder to get in, the guards are too busy watching to make sure you don't get out to pay attention to the other side of the walls. The articles that came out a few months ago about Android and iOS apps that were leaking your info all over prove that. And if you think that Apple is actually going over the code of the apps in the App Store, I'd remind you of how many times they've retroactively pulled an app when they suddenly find out that it does something that they've decided

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          there is no guarantee it's harder to get in, the guards are too busy watching to make sure you don't get out to pay attention to the other side of the walls.

          Nonsense. The plethora of App store rejections is prima facie evidence that it's harder to get in. Note that harder != impossible, just more difficult, and it goes without saying that *any* barrier is greater than no barrier at all. And in many cases, simply being *more difficult* is enough to make it not worth someone's time. This principle is ampl

    • by Snufu (1049644)

      I bought the iPhone because I know they are controlling the user experience. I'm greatly enjoying my user experience on my iOS devices. I feel like I got what I paid for, and am likely to get more apple products in the future.

      If you would like to hear again how great Apple products are, press my silver button. If you would like to hear my opinion of Apple's competitors, press my red button. If you are finished using the robot, please push my power down button.
      (pause)
      Thank you for using iShill and come again!

    • by Bob9113 (14996)

      I bought the iPhone because I know they are controlling the user experience. I'm greatly enjoying my user experience on my iOS devices. I feel like I got what I paid for, and am likely to get more apple products in the future.

      The existence of the iTunes app store is a fine thing. It creates GDP and should be an option for people who want to have a controlled experience. When you, the silent hand of the free market, choose a product based on your free and sober reflection on the merits of the market options,

  • by goombah99 (560566)

    And we all see how android is filled with back doors and hemmoraging data. Moreover google is now back peddling and starting to lock things down. Sometime you want freedom sometime you want security. I'll take freedom on my desktop and security on my phone. why? because in the future the phone will be my credit card and for that I want something close to trusted plat form computing.

    the good news is you have a choice. DOn't buy an iphone, get your freedom, and as the singer said, perhaps nothing left t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      The problem with Android is that even though it lets you see what other apps can do, Google doesn't offer something simple like a checkbox to turn off their capabilities when people don't want them to run. Once Google implements something like that, it will be smooth sailing for Android.

      But you've also got the black box problem, everything you run on the iPhone is based on trust with Apple, for all we know, there -could- very well be malicious apps in the app store that got through. The difference is, i
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by halfEvilTech (1171369)

      well I hate to rain on your parade. But Apple's iOS has been caught to be just as guilty as the Android App market with applications that constantly transmit private information to servers. Just because Apple wants their fancy walled in garden for their app store does not make them immune to that happening to them.

      I am personally sick of people who think since I own a Mac or Linux box, I am immune to viruses and other crap that people get with windows. And the same holds true for iOS vs Android vs Blackberr

    • >>>because in the future the phone will be my credit card

      Oh man, I hope not. Otherwise this is the future we'll be facing: http://video.yandex.ru/users/sotniko-aleksand/view/142/ [yandex.ru]

      Darn it's in Russian. Well basically it's a Sci-Fi Channel episode of Sliders where everyone is a number and no one talks to real people, except through online chat rooms. You can not do anything but what Data Universal (equivalent to Google) let's you do and based upon your Google-determined preferences.

      Let's keep the

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday October 04, 2010 @05:48PM (#33788646)
    When will Apple learn what Nintendo learned back in the 90s, consumers don't like censorship and will but their games from the platform that doesn't have censorship.

    If Apple intends their iPhone to be more than "the obsolete product that started a revolution" they need to change their policies. People want to use the devices that they paid for in the ways they want, otherwise, a rival platform (probably Android) will have a "killer app" rejected from the Apple app store and Apple will pay the price like Nintendo did with Mortal Kombat.
    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      I'm not sure its only consumers that always drive the shifts from platform to platform. Developers got screwed by Nintendo since there was only one game in town (so to speak). When Sony offered the relatively dev-friendly alternative of the PlayStation, devs jumped at the chance to free themselves from Nintendo's shackles, not to mention the high cost and relatively low capacity of cartridges. Once Sony got a near-monopoly in the PS2, they started acting just like Nintendo did. I was developing games fo

      • The PS1 had a period of undesired control too. Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night almost didn't happen because Sony was blocking all non-3D games.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Remember: Android is open to OEM's not the end users. The second generation of Droid devices are more locked down than the first and I suspect that the next generation will be a return to the days where the carrier dictates what is on the device and what markets you are allowed to buy/install from. After all, the Carriers are the OEM's customers, not you.

    • Apple app store and Apple will pay the price like Nintendo did with Mortal Kombat.

      Right, let me get back to you while I get done playing Sonic Adventure 5 on my Dreamcast 2.

  • by ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) on Monday October 04, 2010 @05:49PM (#33788658)

    What the mans says is true. Yet people still buy and use the products (including many here on /.). Given that there exist alternatives, people must be OK with the compromise (design/"sexiness" vs openness).

    We each have a most powerful weapon against such authoritarian control - do not buy the offending company's product. No-one truly needs an iPhone. Either go without or buy a more open alternative.

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday October 04, 2010 @06:10PM (#33788856) Journal

      >>>against authoritarian control - do not buy the offending company's product.

      That's what I do. I don't buy Apple or Microsoft or Comcast or another other product I don't need (or can get free). Unfortunately that's won me the label "cheapass". I wonder if the time will come when not buying will be considered unpatriotic.

      • Already come. Our government has been telling us to "go out and spend" quite a bit recently. They didn't really say it was unpatriotic, I guess.
      • I think if you swerve a bit more toward that direction you'll go from cheap ass to weirdo/eccentric. I used to get a lot of heat from acquaintances here in silicon valley about getting rid of my old (1998) Saturn I had since grad school, and get something fancier. Well, I took half of their advice and sold the damn car. it was costing too much pain and money to service. Now I commute by bike and am happier. And suddenly people stopped asking me to get a nice car, and instead seem to be a tad jealous: "I'd l

    • by gutnor (872759)
      From an end-user point of view, the iPhone (like Android) is a well designed smartphone with a convenient app store. There is no shortage of application of any genre on the store, no real difference with Android.

      The real authoritarian part of the iPhone and all other Android phone, is the shitty contract you need to take with the operator. If you are ok with that, then there is the fact that the phone are made in China - which people seems happy enough considering that everything is made in China.

      That's

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday October 04, 2010 @05:53PM (#33788688) Journal

    Mod Robert Gilbert - 1 Troll for attacking apple.
    .
    joking

  • by sapgau (413511) on Monday October 04, 2010 @05:55PM (#33788702) Journal

    If it sucks so much then fortunately we are not forced to buy it.
    I don't own an iPhone and don't have a burning desire to own one. So reading this is kind of entertaining.

    $30 dollar phone with pay as you go airtime for the win.

  • If you look at games to be had, Apple applies only the barest degree of quality control. What exactly are the limits of the machine he is raging against that matter to game development?

    There should be someone to at least say:

    1) Does it run.

    2) Does it run on the devices it claims to run on.

    Otherwise the store would be full of applications that didn't even run, or rampant IP piracy like you see in the Android Market with a bunch of apps that make copious use of material from Disney and elsewhere...

    I would th

  • Rantfail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday October 04, 2010 @06:06PM (#33788806) Homepage

    From the article:

    I love my iPhone. I bought one day-one and continue to own one and an iPad. They are truly amazing devices, and in my opinion, there are none better.

    Aaaaand that's where you lost me. Beaten Wife Syndrome: if you keep going back for more, after a while you have to take some responsibility for enabling the whuppings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)
      I feel the same way, though. I do not like Apple's policy of keeping things locked down and I hate how they got into bed with the phone companies (and they likely soon will with the content companies), but they do make very, very good devices and good software for them. I haven't come across anything comparable yet, although some Android stuff is getting close. The thing is, Apple's policy of locking stuff down doesn't really hurt the iPhone. It does to some degree on the iPad, but again, until somethin
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cheesybagel (670288)
        In my opinion Apple's hardware is lagging behind that of Samsung. It would be hard for them to do any better, most components they use are manufactured by Samsung after all. HTC also does nice devices. The software of current Android is good enough. I will not be buying another Apple phone again.
        • Apple's electronics might be behind a bit, but their design isn't (even when counting cock-ups like the antenna death grip). The competition is catching up though... but I really wish manufacturers would learn from Apple and spend a few bucks extra on better materials. Case in point: the Samsung Galaxy looks rather nice but when you pick it up, it feels really cheap and plasticy. The HTC Desire does a lot better on that score; if I'd want to ditch my iPhone I would probably get something like that. STil
  • I seem to remember the Atari 2600 games that were mostly junk because of the complete lack of control over the quality of content. If you've ever played the ET and fell into a hole about a thousand times, you know what I mean. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.T._the_Extra-Terrestrial_(video_game) [wikipedia.org] Extremely strict oversight might not be great, but neither is total anarchy.
    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      Quality of the games has been the one thing no gateway company has ever given to shits about. Titles continue to be horrible even today, and content control hasn't effected this.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      That's a false dilemma, you can have some quality control without having a complete lockdown police state platform. The thing which gets people on Apple's case is that it's more than just quality control, it's that they won't let people change the interface, they won't allow people to access content which they don't approve of and they don't allow you to choose to use apps that aren't in the store.

      I believe that last point is still valid, last I remember hearing about this you had to jailbreak to install
    • The Atari 2600 had more issues than lousy games. The hardware was obsolete the C64 was cheap enough to compete with it. What killed the consoles back then was cheap home computers.
  • by DodgeRules (854165) on Monday October 04, 2010 @06:09PM (#33788842)
    Thank you Ron Gilbert! At last someone finally gets what I have been saying for a long time and has the gonads to say it out loud. (Be careful though Ron, some blogs will ban you for such treachery. I know because I tried to say this very same thing and got my account deleted from a female blog dictator.) Now, don't get me wrong. The iThings are very nice products from a hardware point of view with the MAJOR exception of no user replaceable batteries. (Sorry, but having to spend $79 to replace the battery in a $99 iPhone 3GS is just plain idiotic.) The hardware is attractive, user friendly, and usually well designed (with another exception of the user-touchable antenna which de-tunes it.) I just have a major issue with someone else telling me what I can or cannot install for apps on my devices. If I am paying that much, I feel I have bought the right to install what I please as long as it doesn't interfere with the phone company network.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by explosionhead (574066)

      Sorry, but having to spend $79 to replace the battery in a $99 iPhone 3GS is just plain idiotic.

      I'll preface this by saying that I don't like non-user-replaceable batteries either, even just because you can't take a spare battery if you're not going to be near power for a while.

      But you should know better than to say "$99 iPhone 3GS": It cost a lot more than that and it's subsidised by your fixed term service contract with the telco. Although you consider $79 too much, compared to $600 - $800 to purchase the phone outright, it's not wildly out of proportion.

    • by DarkJC (810888)

      (Sorry, but having to spend $79 to replace the battery in a $99 iPhone 3GS is just plain idiotic.)

      That would be very idiotic if the 3GS cost anywhere close to $99 to produce. I thought people understood the concept of subsidized hardware, especially on Slashdot, but it appears that even here the concept is lost on some.

  • ...send me a new Dial-A-Pirate. I lost mine 15 years ago. :(

  • Wow, where is the "+1 Insightful for the original article's author" button when you really need it?

  • Inevitable. After a business grows over certain size, it starts to assert its will over the market and society, instead of obliging with the wishes of the market. At this stage, the business is not a social group that is conducting business in a market anymore, but a feudal kingdom of its own self with power and clout. Inevitably, like most self-interest oriented social organizations that acquire power, they use that power to assert their own will.

    gaming was not immune to this. internet, may make it immu
    • Precisely an argument for Co-op or Communist control. Communist societies can be democratic you know.
  • When I was in college there was one polisci grad student who loved to write for the college paper. It was clear that he had no context of reality, all he wanted to do was force his opinion on other people. He was repeatedly denied a doctorate, and he repeatedly claim liberal bias. It was in fact just a lack of willingness to recognize reality. It would be like building a thesis on the 'fact' that Obama was not America, or that Palin never shot anything in her life, or Limbaugh takes trips to the DR to m
  • I am an Apple fanboy. I have been for many many years. I believe that Apple makes some of the best hardware and software available today, and one of my biggest regrets about my current job compared to my previous two is that fact that I don't get to use Apple equipment or systems in it (all MS and Lotus and MS and RIM and MS).

    But Ron Gilbert's criticisms of Apple are essentially correct.

  • In this case, I think "arbiter" would be a better fit than "arbitrator". And not just because I think "arbitrator" sounds clumsy:

    arbitrate
    1580s, from L. arbitratus, pp. of arbitrari "to give a decision," from arbiter (see arbiter). In modern usage, an arbiter makes decisions of his own accord and is accountable to no one but himself; an arbitrator (early 15c.) decides issues referred to him by the parties.

    - Source [etymonline.com]

  • the way of large companies getting a say on what does or does not get published on the distribution channels they control

    This can be generalized to consider the negative impact of all forms of extra-market powers. Powerful entities distort the free market in all industries. Those distortions cost us GDP. The free market is sensitive to coercion from governments, corporations, organizations, and influential individuals. The price of a market free from bias -- free from performance-robbing distortion -- is et

  • I'm Not Buying It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Monday October 04, 2010 @07:35PM (#33789598) Homepage Journal
    Minecraft guy has made a couple million dollars posting his early-alpha game on the Internet. You don't need Apple. You don't need EA. You just need a game that doesn't suck and an IP address.
  • they wouldn't let us own our own telephones in the 70s

    It was 1968 when the decision came out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carterfone [wikipedia.org]

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. -- George Orwell

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