Flame Rounds: Half Arsed Data Gathering Social Companion Apps

Flame rounds lets us fulfil our yearning passion to be Frank Skinner, taking on his role as Judge, Jury, and Executioner in Room 101. We will be presenting a case for a particular Trope/Character/Item/UI element that pisses us off and then trying to justify whether this thing should go into room 101 (get flame roundsded?).


Richie: Last time on Flame rounds we found a verdict was suspended, due to a creepy revelation.  Yo Cunzy, what do you got for us this time?
Cunzy1 1: Right, we had a bit of a discussion already about what the collective name for these things are. This week, I want to consider those publisher 'Social Club' type websites that are annoyingly advertised on menu screens (even after you sign up) with the incentive being that your data will be harvested, sold or just leaked logging into this side app (link your Facebook, Twitter, Google and Insta accounts for no reason!) rewards you with 'icons', 'epic loot' and probably a smattering of one of the fourteen in game currencies. It's your Resident Evil. Net, Ubisoft Club, Rockstar Social Club and the fourteen different kinds of Nintendo ones currently out there. Now, here's why I want to Flames Rounds them, it's not the principle of them, it's that with rare exception they're all a bit crap. A bit half-arsed. Often they're completely unintuitive, requiring speculative clicking around to try to find where 'challenges' or 'unlockables' are. There's almost always an extremely limited social element to them as well that rewards Tribes/Clans/Buddies/Friends but ends up being just you and that one random person who requested you and then never logged back in. So why flames rounds them rather than just ignore them all together? Because occasionally, there's some really cool stuff buried in the dung pile of these social platforms or whatever you want to call them, and I imagine a lot of people miss out on them altogether.

Richie: Maybe you are just too old to understand how websites work nowadays?
Cunzy1 1: I wish that were the case instead I think the obfuscating UI on many of these is a deliberate attempt to mask how shallow they are.


Richie: What "really cool stuff" have you missed out on, or had to fight to find?
Cunzy1 1: Well in the pre-'share' button era these HADSCA were often the only way to take screenshots and unfortunately I think this is where all my artful photos of dead people are forever stranded thanks to a throwaway email address I signed up with now lost to the mist of time. Resident Evil Revelations 2 has a loot-box-lite thing that rewards you for logging in daily (almost not worth the effort). Although Nintendo have scaled back recently limited edition soundtrack CDs and other high quality merchandise was only available through the Nintendo S.T.A.R.S (not that one) catalogue and we've picked up more than one 'free' game with platinum/gold points points on the My Nintendo account. Then there's all the shiny legendary Pokemon International Tournament giveaways we keep missing on the Pokemon Global Link. You've been looking at Steam Cards and there's a whole Square Enix Members Club. There are some cool tracked stats buried in here, for example I know that my Splatoon 2 lifetime Octoling inking covers the same area as the CERN Large Hadron collider. And these are just the ones I know of/use!

Richie: If you could improve one thing about video game microsites what would it be and why?
Cunzy1 1: Tricky. It's a toss up between better optimisation for mobile, just general UI improvements or actually invest in them to genuinely have a compelling reason to come back to them.

Richie: On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your experience in this blog post?
Cunzy1 1: 3

Richie: As part of our ongoing satisfaction program can you please enter your card details?
Cunzy1 1: Sure, do you want my Blockbuster card and expired Subway stamp card too? Can never be sure how much information to give you!

Richie: As a cog in our machine what morsel of dopamine type of "epic loot" would keep you hooked be most appealing to you?
Cunzy1 1: I'll have to answer honestly here and say probably something that I already have but with a bigger level/damage/rarity number on it

Richie: For a chance to enter our prize draw, please let us know, your pet's name, your mother's Maiden name, the town you were born and your CVV number.
Cunzy1 1: Oh cool, I've been hankering for a new forum icon since 1996*. Let's see. Robofish, Alexa, Raccoon City and L337.

Richie: To reset your password please click here
Cunzy1 1: I do need three more Advance Wars Dual Strike wallpapers**.

Richie: 100% No brainier, of course these get flame-rounded! Linking your game to any additional site/microsite platform etc. beyond the already compulsory sign-ins is just going to spread discomfort and annoyance. Games don't last forever and these sites just end up poorly maintained holding a silly domain name for some reason. They are a underhanded scummy way to grab your details cuz someone in "marketing" says its important. It is pursued in the name of "engagement" is it bollocks!  Fuck these sites.

Please also sign in to www.fuckthesemicrositeengagementplatformthings.com and express your distaste for these sites, you too can get a wallpaper for your original iphone in a resolution that is no longer pertinent, best part is that its already a picture we used for promo art, but trimmed down to portrait, and called it exclusive wallpaper!


* Secretly really glad these existed actually for the images on this post. Err thanks Resident Evil.Net actually.

** I don't. I still have a dozen from the good old S.T.A.R.S (not that kind) catalogue days and I've never used them. Because they're desktop wallpapers for Birkin's sake.

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