Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Give me an alternative!
Published on March 26, 2006 By Draginol In PC Gaming

Spent yesterday playing Oblivion. Very impressive RPG.

But today I wanted to go back to playing one of my other favorite games.  My desk is a mess and I managed to find the CD and put it in. So I try running the game and I get a "Cannot locate the CD-ROM".

Ack. So I dig up the other CD for it and try that. Same thing. I've played the game a zillion times before, never had a problem.  My Dell has two CD drives (one DVD, one CD). So I tried putting both CDs in the drive, same thing.  Then I tried disabling one of the drives and trying both CDs in turn. Same thing.

I then uninstall the game, reinstall it. Installs fine.  But I can't run it. I get that damn message every time. So what's the issue? There's only two CDs for the game in question. I've tried both. They used to work fine. They've worked fine for months. The only thing I've done new is install Oblivion which I don't see how that could affect anything.

I try logging on as another user, same problem.  I try deleting every other process I can, same problem.  Either the CD somehow got damaged in some subtle way (but had no problem doing a full reinstall of the game) or something on my system has changed that I can't figure out.

Either way, it's incredibly frustrating to be wasting hours on a Sunday trying to figure out why I can't play the game when I know, all the while, that people who warezed it had no problem. 

I've googled and the only other people who had something similar that I could find are people who put the wrong CD in the drive (due to a misprint) but that's not an issue here since I've tried both and played the game successfully for months.

Give me activation or some other mechanism. I just want to play the game without having to mess with some stupid CD ROM, especially if the checking is flakey due to whatever reason (it's probably not even the game's fault, it's probably something that's changed on my system).  All I know is that I can't play the game.

It's exactly the type of reason why I hate CD copy protection though. The game's using 1.5 gigs of hard drive space and I can't play it because the "dongle" doesn't work.  Heck, sadly, I would prefer a real life dongle. Give me a USB dongle I have to use or something. I have a zillion USB ports, I'd happily sacrifice one. I just want to play the game without inconvenience.

Comments (Page 3)
on Mar 29, 2006
Out of curiosity, what game was it? I had this same problem with Civ 4 when it came out and I was trying to fix the renderer initialization errors. After uninstalling and reinstalling it a few times, suddenly it couldn't find the disk no matter what. It finally took again after 5 or 6 additional reinstall attempts.

Some games are just flaky and stop working when anything changes on the system at all.
on Apr 03, 2006
I am glad I happened by this post. I was wondering whether I should get Oblivion or not, because I didn't know how intrusive the copy protection was. This post has helped me decide not to buy it.

That leaves only one game that I want to purchase when it comes out. (I wanted Heroes of Might and Magic 5 [HOMM5], but the idiots are using Starforce... grrr...) That game is "The Witcher". Of course it isn't out yet, or even close, but other than HOMM5 and GC2 that is the game I was following. (I followed Oblivion a little bit too, but it was less important than GC2 and HOMM5.)

It is too bad about HOMM5, because I actually think that will be a good game. Oh well, I have better things to do than play games anyway.
on Apr 03, 2006
You know, I had similar trouble with "Knights of the Old Republic". I played the game before, with no problem. Then, in the meantime, I upgraded to a DVD-R/CD-RW Drive. Suddenly, I Couldn't Play anymore. I checked online, with bioware tech support. They said that it was because of the copy protection. Which translates as: It was because of the poorly designed copy protection.

Fortunately, I still had an old-fashioned CD-RW as a secondary Drive, from which it worked fine. But If I, like many, had only one Drive, and it was a DVD-RW, I wouldn't have been able to play the game. Bioware doesn't fix the problem. You have to contact the maker of the Copy protection itself for a workaround. I am sure they would be happy to help.
on Apr 03, 2006

I am glad I happened by this post. I was wondering whether I should get Oblivion or not, because I didn't know how intrusive the copy protection was. This post has helped me decide not to buy it.

Hmm. I thought people said that Oblivion doesn't use any particulalry intrusive copy protection scheme.

In fact I downloaded my version from Direct 2 Drive, and all it wanted to do was have me type in a loooooooong serial number (which i just copy and pasted), and I think it connected to D2D for a bit to confirm everything. After that I don't even think it connected to the internet when I started it up (my machine is barely over the minimum spec for the game, so I would have my firewall block internet connections, then I would disable the Virus Checker).

As for HOMM5, Gamespy claims its due out this month, but they've been wrong on such dates before.
on Apr 03, 2006

You know, I had similar trouble with "Knights of the Old Republic". I played the game before, with no problem.

Patch it up to 1.3, then hunt down the NoCD crack for it, thats what I use (simply so I can switch games without hunting down my CDs). You own the game legitimately, so there is nothing wrong with using the NoCD crack on it. Unfortunately there is no NoCD crack for KotOR2 as it is currently 'in vogue' to have another piece of software on your PC pretending to be your CD (and this is an improvement, how?)

Bioware uses SecureROM or something like that (or at least did when KotOR was released). They used it on NWN as well, and ho boy did it cause them grief. They later actually patched the software to NOT use the SecureROM component as it was causing them so many problems.
on Apr 26, 2006
Biggest problem I have had lately was with FEAR. Not only did it have copy protect but if you had even "HAD" an emulator (Gmedrive or Alcohol) on you system it would not run. I had to jump through several hoops just to get it to run. It looked in the registry for emulator tags, if you had a particular CD type driver for the emulated drive, FEAR wouldn't run. THEN to top it off I finally got it to run and the AUDIO was half crapped out. It turned out you had to have a special codec to get the damnable character voices to work. I played through the game enjoyed it quite thouroghly and then went back and playeed a couple of other games.

Went back a short time ago and there were some user made maps I wanted to try. The thing was the emulator stuff was all back and this time I just said pass on it. Unloaded the entire mess and gave the game to someone that had none of that junk.

Sierra just really screwed up on that game and now I won't even look at another Sierra product. Heck Half-Life 2 isn't that tied up and it is a lot better game. The Steam thing online is a drag, but it at least runs well on emulators.

Stardock, you guys took a chance and left off the CD in drive thing. I paid for my copy. Right now I am not even messing with new games. Have not touched Quake 4 or a number of others. I finally bought FarCry and tried it. Was a good game. I just don't do warez. I do have 2 computers that will run most everything and if I can't run software on both it just isn't worth it. Most of the soft I buy runs on both and a buddy comes over and we do LAN games on Sunday. Good stuff means several copies bought. Bad stuff means no copy kept.

I have 2 sets of Battlefield 1942 and 3 of Battlefield Vietnam. Battlefield 2 required winning online play to "get the goodies" Which sucks worse than CD protection. I gave it away, and probably won't get another one of those titles. That was $50 down the drain. Whereas the earlier games were so good I bought several sets.

To be honest Best Buy had GC2 on sale and I had a coupon as well, but had already considered buying GC2. They just made it easier for me to part with some bucks that I am currently being quite stingy with.

So it is possible to see that GOOD games with modest protection will win out (the early Battlefield games) The overdone protection and problems of a better game (FEAR) actually hurt its long term sales, and future sales from that publisher. So far while GalCiv2 has some little things I still find as pain in the south end, I can also see that they are being dealt with in a timely fashion.