If you're making a list of must-play video games of the ‘00s, the classic GTA games might not come to mind immediately, but they absolutely deserve to be a part of that conversation. Though their perceived influence has dwindled somewhat over the years — largely due to the fact that their shooting and driving mechanics have aged quite a bit compared to other consensus classics of the era, from Okami to Halo — as a teenager who grew up in their heyday, they're absolutely up there with my most-loved games.
Given all this, you might expect that I'd be the first to snap up the new Definitive Edition of the classic GTA trilogy, which includes 3, Vice City, and San Andreas. But while I was skeptical about downloading yet another publisher-specific launcher for "exclusive" access to these ancient games, it seems that Rockstar has made the decision easy for players like me, because the publisher has now officially pulled GTA Trilogy from sale on PC.
Give me liberty — It was already ridiculous that you had to download the Rockstar Game Launcher in order to plunk down $60 for three decades-old games. While I'm not crazy about the price — especially now that we know that over 40 songs are missing from Vice City and San Andreas due to licensing issues — I've paid more to indulge my nostalgic whims before, and I'm sure I'll do it again.
But it's still frustrating to see Rockstar try to leverage these classics as a carrot to make desperate freaks like me download a storefront that can play such disparate classics as Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA 5, and... GTA 4. But apparently the Rockstar Game Launcher can't even do the bare minimum of allowing players to, you know, purchase the game, as the platform has been down for almost a full day now.
While Rockstar is far from the first major publisher to force players to jump onto its platform for the sake of profit margins — Steam takes a cut of every sale, mind you — they don't quite have the expansive library that Ubisoft and EA can boast. As such, this feels like a particularly value-free proposition for most customers even if the platform works — which, we should reiterate, it is not. In the meantime, fans are taking to social media to poke fun at the remake's character models, which are... uh... spotty, to say the least.
An Epic problem — Look: when hordes of gamers took up pitchforks a while ago to complain about Epic Games Store exclusivity, I shook my head at such antics. After all, I thought. How much work is it to download a game launcher? Well, after a few years of this, I think I'm finally ready to put my foot down. Sega, Capcom, even Bandai Namco. If you're reading this, please keep your games on Steam. I don't think my computer can take another one without shedding some tears, and that's not good for my components.