While installing Mankind, and idly wondering why I’d never heard of it since, you know, I try to keep track of all the new and promising game developers I can crush underneath my iron heel, I read the box packaging. The game, which was apparently designed by Frenchmen, promises
“an intuitive interface”, where you can “trade with other on-line players and barter with the Empire.” Ooh, dreaded galactic Empires. Sounds good so far. “Time never stops. Logged in, or off-line, your space crafts [sic] keep performing your directives: Your mines keep on extracting resources! Your planets keep on manufacturing space crafts! Players can attack you while you are sleeping, and your space crafts will automatically fight back! Receive messages on your mobile phone notifying you of an attack!” Wow. And I thought Sovereign was going to be the first game which actually interrupts my staff meetings to inform me that the Zarquon Hierarchy was ass-raping my corpse. The box also uses the word “exploit” repeatedly. Since I’m a Republican, I approve of exploiting the teeming hordes. I anxiously fired up Mankind and spent the next fifteen minutes or so staring at the patcher, complete with helpful ad banner.
Finally, after patching, I got the following screen:
Clearly, Mankind had defeated me this go around. I was on #lummies IRC at the time, and asked for advice at this point. “Demand they surrender”, one helpfully suggested. I stared at the screen coldly. All right, demonic French program, you send Coco Chanel out to fluff the pillows and leave fresh mints for the Wehrmacht, but for me, you give cryptic error messages? Oh, this will not do, mon petit cher. Mankind obviously was terrified by my resolve, and stopped crashing.
Hm. Lots of, um, stuff. Lots of dots on the screen. “Those are the ships of all the people who gave up”, someone in #lummies explained. Well, I WOULD NOT GIVE UP! I cracked open the helpful tutorial, and figured out how to make my little ship move around. Hah! No newb I!
So, I figure, I should probably find some unsuspecting planet on which to begin my reign of real-time terror. So, following the manual, I begin to manipulate the “helpful interface” and see lots of eye candy as star systems zoom into galaxies which zoom into nebulae which zoom into other star systems which then tell me I’m too far away to actually go to.
I land my ship on a planet, finally, which I think was the planet I started orbiting around, and start following the tutorial’s directions for building my first base.
As I tried to deploy my base, I was told I had no money to buy my base with. I looked in the documentation for how to make money, and apparently it involves building a base. Obviously this is French logic, and probably socialist in nature. Remember, I’m a Republican. I believe firmly in the principle of working for your imaginary space credits to begin your reign of terror against the hundreds of other players who gave up long before you did and left their first ship in orbit in a massive junkyard of construction ships. Maybe you’re supposed to pull into the space station, look up a government functionary, and plead for your monthly space welfare check before beginning aforementioned reign of tyranny. I don’t pretend to understand these things.
I’m a fairly experienced guy when it comes to online games. I mean, I understand how UO’s skill system works. I actually believe that you can make money off of EQ’s trade system. Yet cunningly, Mankind has defeated me. Zut alors!
And so, instead, I played the other game I bought, which involved lots of mindless slaughter. And life was good.