Saturday Morning Gaming: Sometimes There Are Happy Endings In Real Life Too
The original Star Control did something amazing back in 1990: it was a space combat game that had different alien races that had ships that all felt different from each other. Most of the games that I had played up until that point felt like you were either going to be the red guy or the blue guy (but they were otherwise indistinguishable (no politics)) but Star Control had ships that made you change tactics. The Ilwrathi ship had to get in close but it had a devastating flamethrower. The Chenjesu ship was HUGE but slow but it did SO MUCH DAMAGE. But it was slow. But it also spat out little ships that would annoy your opponent and make him fly around trying to crash it into a planet and, as he did, you could hit him with the big gun. The Spathi were cowardly and this translated to them having a rear-firing weapon. The Syreen stole crew from the opponent’s ship. The Shofixti did a small amount of damage but could self-destruct and do a HUGE amount. And there were 14 races! And all of them felt different!
And it was so much fun to go head to head with this game against your buddies (one guy on the keyboard, one on the joystick).
Star Control II was EVEN BETTER. You start out with a blank slate of a ship and then go out and explore the galaxy and, along the way, buy upgrades. Seriously, this was a decade ahead of its time.
Well, this was one of the pieces of intellectual property that went dormant for a while and then, all of a sudden, there was this great idea to bring it back and this group of guys bought the rights to make the new Star Control Origins game but other guys said that they made the original and so the other group of guys shouldn’t be able to sell it and, instead, you should buy THEIR game and there were suits and counter-suits and it was weird and the games got pulled from Steam and GOG because of all of the DCMA suits filed and it was all a big mess. I mean, to the point where you couldn’t buy the game anymore. It was awful.
BUT! THERE IS GOOD NEWS!!!
Ars Technica reports that everybody has settled. On top of that, the terms of the settlement seem to be fair (to an exceptionally outside observer) and, delightfully, they are even cute.
The high notes:
All existing lawsuits between Stardock and Ford & Reiche are dismissed with prejudice (this simply means the suits cannot be re-litigated).
All of the complicated arguments about who owns which copyrights and trademarks and who they bought them from and when and what’s copyrightable and what’s not are mooted.
Brad Wardell of Stardock must furnish Paul Reiche with a specific amount of honey from Wardell’s apiary.
In turn, Paul Reiche must furnish Brad Wardell with a specific amount of mead brewed from Wardell’s bees’ honey.
Now THAT is a happy ending. And the two groups of people can go off and make their games and might even raise a glass together from time to time.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is “honeycomb” by if-by-whiskey. Used under a Creative Commons License.)