"How in the hell could Interplay release a game with such major, glaring, near-fatal flaws? Didn't anybody know? Didn't anybody care?" - PC Gamer Nov 98
"Running a close second in the shovelware market is Interplay, which also takes second place (after Sierra) as The Company Who Hates Its Customers The Most" - PC Gamer Feb 99
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Last update: 10/28/98 Join the Crusade
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Interplay Investors Lose over 85% ... $25,000,000!
Wed, October 28: The stock market is not closed yet, but already the value of Interplay Stock (IPLY) hit 1, yes ONE DOLLAR per share! Research shows that that same stock just a few months ago initially was sold to investors for $6 per share (one place said $5.50, but we think that it really was $6.00, correct us if this is wrong.) It is simple math to see that all 5,000,000 shares have dropped in value from 6 to 1 ... a loss of 85% (more if you include commissions that investors must pay to buy or sell stock). The total loss to Interplay investors has now hit 25 MILLION DOLLARS.
(5 million shares times a loss of $5 each). Check Yahoo IPLY Quotes Page.
Of course, Interplay themselves still has the ~27 Million Dollars it raked in on the initial sale of stock! But just where did all that money go? Now they say they are having cash problems! I know they refused to give me a refund on MAX2. What about you?
Interplay Financial Fallout Continues!
Wed, October 28: Some Financial Headlines:
Interplay Entertainment downgraded by Bear Stearns, Warburg Dlln Rd
Research Alert - Interplay cut
Interplay to restructure, faces cash pressures, sees lower Q4
Interplay Takes BIG Losses -- some staff laid off!
Tue, October 27: Interplay released their 3rd quarter financial results. Quote:
"Net loss for the third quarter was $15.1 million, or $0.83 per share"
Why the loss, you may ask ... well, how about another quote and then you take a guess?
"Brian Fargo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented, 'Our financial performance during the quarter was affected by several factors including higher than expected product returns and markdown allowances implemented during the quarter.' "
Returns on MAX2 were phenomenal ... I wonder if they set a record for number of games returned to the store. There were reports that BEST BUY in some locations has quit stocking the game because returns were so high. And MARKDOWNS? You bet ... it was selling for $54.99 at CompUSA but now is on the shelf for $29.99 (even less in other retail outlets). Here is some Yahoo! Finance HEADLINES:
Interplay Retains Investment Bank To Review Alternatives
Interplay Sees Q4 Results Significantly Below Expectations
Nasdaq Halt - Interplay news pending
Interplay Faces Cash And Liquidity Pressure, Needs Credit
Interplay To Reduce Costs, Cut Jobs, Restructure
Top that off with the opening sentence of the report from CNNfn (CNN financial network):
"NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Interplay Entertainment Corp., once considered a powerhouse in the computer-gaming field, reported shockingly dismal third-quarter results Tuesday as well as plans to reduce staff and possibly seek a suitor . "
The news article continues with this:
"Chris Kilpatrick, president of Interplay, said, "In response to this, we are attempting to negotiate an expanded line of credit and are implementing a corporate restructuring program." That restructuring will include an across the board headcount reduction, though Interplay spokesperson Kirk Green would not disclose how many jobs will be eliminated. The company will also reduce management salaries."
Read the FULL INTERPLAY PRESS RELEASE!
Jagged Alliance 2 is Now #2 in the PC GAME charts!
Mon, October 26: The Jagged Alliance 2 DEMO is now #2 in the Internet Download Top 40 charts of PC GAMES! The only game ahead of it is Railroad Tycoon 2. Both of these games are good alternatives to MAX2. I have not tried Railroad Tycoon 2, but I have played Jagged Alliance 2 for a couple weeks now and it has never crashed on me yet, and the game is VERY well done, great attention to detail, and FUN!!
The SAD state of the PC Gaming Industry!
Fri, October 23: IGN has a story and interview with Robert Sirotek that is not very long but very worthwhile reading. SirTech Publishing is sadly closing. However, SirTech Canada is totally independent of them and is going strong. So, BRAVO for the small independents. Take a look at the Jagged Alliance 2 DEMO. The quality is in it. It does not crash. It is innovative. And it has both Real Time and Turn Based with some very interesting characters! It is on my short list of games to get (along with Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri). I should start a Jagged Alliance 2 Heaven.
Yet Another 2 Alternative Games to MAX2!
Sat, October 17: Malkari is a simultaneous turn based game for up to 40 players at a time! It sounds VERY VERY interesting!
Then there is Raider Wars - a MEGAplayer game (the game never ends, it keeps going and going and going), you just join in whenever you want. They have special technologies to allow literally hundreds of players at the same time. They have a FREE beta test right now so you can check it out!
Play FULL MAX2 without the CD-ROM!!!
Sat, October 17: Play MAX2 Full game without the CD in your drive! Easy! Here is how I discovered this.
I use my PC to play music CD's all the time (DiscPlay is a GREAT program for it). That is the background to the story.
When patch 1.4 was released I really really wanted it to work, so I first completely removed MAX2 from my computer. Then I installed MAX2 FULL INSTALL (the BIG one). Then I installed the patch 1.4. After doing that I was working on my MAX2 HEAVEN website and playing a music CD. Finally, I got my webpages done and quickly started up MAX2 and headed to MAX2.NET for a game. I forgot to take out my music CD, however, but did not remember until we were playing a multiplayer game! Thus I found out that with a FULL INSTALL and patch 1.4 the CD is not needed to play the game single player or multiplayer. Seems like you can play the works!
This would be great under normal circumstances (so I don't have to take out my music CDs). However, MAX2 is completely unplayable, so WHO CARES!!??
Another Alternative to MAX2!
Sat, October 17: io HISS also recommends that you take a look at Jagged Alliance 2. There is a demo available for it already, and the game is due to be released in January.
Alternatives to MAX2!
Sat, October 17: For those who want to play a game like MAX2 but want the game to ACTUALLY WORK ... try these:
For Real Time: Total Annihilation or StarCraft (or just about any other Real Time Strategy game)
For Sim Turn: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri or Combat Mission.
Thur, October 15: The No To Interplay site has posted info on how to obtain a prospectus for Interplay (since it is a public company). If you get one, let me know if Interplay is not following it!
Interplay Can't Do Multiplayer!
Wed, October 14: One disturbing pattern I saw while reading the Any Game But Interplay site was that multiplayer mode does not work right in any Interplay game! MAX2 of course is the worst of the bunch, but does support this statement! Thus, a HUGE WARNING should go out concerning the Interplay game Baldur's Gate coming soon ... don't expect it's multiplayer mode to actually work right! Also note that Interplay is afraid to put out a DEMO for the game so you can see how it runs before you buy it! There are many other similar but worthy games out there to buy instead of Baldur's Gate!
Interesting MAX2 Letter posted at GameCenter.
Tue, October 13: Remember how Interplay SOLD MAX2 without Alliances as advertised ... and refused to put them in until we complained over and over ... then finally put them in with patch 1.4 (which is only for US, so US gamers CANNOT even play anyone outside the US now) ... well here is a letter about that at GameCenter!
Any Game But Interplay - new site spotted.
Tue, October 13: You'd be surprised what we get in our EMail (some things are under review right now ... make sure to come back every few days so you don't miss some good stuff once verified). Meanwhile, TRIPOD is an interesting service. We have half of MAX2 HEAVEN on TRIPOD. Over in the Alpha Centauri world, the new Alpha Centauri Web Ring is being run by a TRIPOD site. And now, a new and interesting site on TRIPOD with URL extension of NO2INTERPLAY ("No to Interplay" reminds me of "Just Say NO") and title Any Game But Interplay. Not much on MAX2 there yet, but it is amazing to see that Interplay does not do multiplayer right in any of their games ... and have a habit of abandoning customers with games that do not work right. Take that as a warning ... avoid Interplay games. By the way ... the site has a Message Board (really a guestbook in disguise) so leave a message about your painful Interplay memories!
Descent to Undermountain problem ... sound familiar?
Mon, October 12: Just you don't think that MAX2 is the first time Interplay released a mass of bugs and left their customers holding the bag ... here is a message from the Interplay Descent to Undermountain message forum:
"This game is a joke. I think that Interplay owes all of us something for this total waste of cash. If I buy a new car that breaks down every 5th time I drive it, I would expect compensation." Read original msg.
Hey ... at least Descent to Undermountain play OK once it a while ... MAX2 crashes all the time! In any case, Interplay deserted Descent to Undermountain customers just like they did to MAX2 customers. This is a corporate problem. Avoid Interplay games at all costs!
Interplay Customer Support - "Itty Bitty Brains."
Mon, October 12: Interesting. Interplay has picked up on the trend to put a small saying underneath your "signature" on your EMail. Customer Support starts their signature quote like this: "Itty Bitty Brains."*
Interplay adds INSULT to INJURY!
Mon, October 12: I bought MAX2 in June. It was unplayable. However, Interplay promised to fix it with patches. I waited. After FOUR patches Interplay has declared that the fourth patch was the last. The game is still unplayable. I wrote to Interplay Customer Support to get a refund. The replay I got shows how little Interplay cares about their customers or their reputation. In my EMail I specified that I bought MAX2 in June! Their reply was that they do not issue refunds. They said I should return it to the store I bought it at.
"If you did not purchase the game directly from Interplay, you need to return it to the point of purchase."
Are they totally clueless? What store takes back a game after 4 months? Do they really think we (customers) are idiots? And even if you DID buy it directly from Interplay, you only get 30 days to return it ... and Interplay drags out their patches longer than 30 days so in order to invalidate that guarantee as well.
"If you purchased the game from 1-800-INTERPLAY, we offer our direct customers a 30 day, 100% satisfaction guarantee. Just return the product along with the original receipt to the address printed on the top of the receipt."
Interplay does not deserve my business ... nor yours!
What does one do to maintain their integrity?
Fri, October 9: Jasper hit the nail on the head in his post on the Interplay Online Message forum when he advised Chris Taylor to keep his integrity and run! This brings up an interesting question: Just what do good programmers and designers do when corporate policy goes awry? Jump ship? Good programmers and designers likely are needed by other small game companies... and I would think it likely that good people are (or will be) leaving Interplay for this very reason! Sounds like it might be the start of a downward spiral to me. While I won't buy any further Interplay games myself (and suggest everyone do likewise) ... maybe in effect I will be saving myself much grief from poor games just being "shoveled out the door" (as PC Gamer put it).
A Refreshing Quote.
Fri, October 9: And the quote is: "The game doesn't have a shipping date at this time because Firaxis' distributor, EA, is letting them decide when it's done (refreshing isn't it?)". And what game are they referring to? A game that should be what MAX2 could have been ... (billed as the BEST STRATEGY GAME EVER) ... Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Want more info on it? Alpha Centauri Heaven! This game is coming from a REPUTABLE company!
Full Refund procedure now available.
Thur, October 8: Interplay Customer Support does not reply to EMails regarding refunds. Interplay "bosses" ignore EMail sent to them. Interplay "QA staff" ignore EMail sent to them as well. Interplay refuses to help via thier MAX2 Online Message Forum. What is one to do??? We have provided a GET REFUND procedure for you.
Please send EMail to CaptComal@hotmail.com with your story on how you got your refund (or any problems you had). Also, send any advice on how to improve this procedure. Thanks.
Netsquads is no longer supporting MAX2.
Thur, October 8: We have confirmed with Netsquads that they are no longer supporting MAX2.
MAX2 Madness website is winding down.
Thur, October 8: We have confirmed that MAX2 Madness is winding down. The webmaster there is upset and disappointed with Interplay like everyone else, so all he is planning on leaving up at his site is his files (1.4 icons and two scenarios). He also is now moving to Alpha Centauri!
MAX2 HQ website is CLOSED!
Thur, October 8: We have confirmed that MAX2 HQ is closed (and has been since mid JULY)! The webmaster there bought MAX2, played it for two days, considered it a catastrophe, returned it for a refund and never gave it second thoughts.
(Hindsight: wish we all had been wise enough to do that)
Interplay Investors Lose over 75% ... $22,500,000!
Thur, October 8: The stock market is not closed yet, but already the value of Interplay Stock (IPLY) hit 1 1/2. Research shows that that same stock just a few months ago initially was sold to investors for $6 per share (one place said $5.50, but we think that it really was $6.00, correct us if this is wrong.) It is simple math to see that all 5,000,000 shares have dropped in value from 6 to 1 1/2 ... a loss of 75% (more if you include commissions that investors must pay to buy or sell stock). The total loss to Interplay investors has now hit 22.5 MILLION DOLLARS.
(5 million shares times a loss of $4.50 each). Check Yahoo IPLY Quotes Page.
Of course, Interplay themselves still has the ~27 Million Dollars it raked in on the initial sale of stock! (see news item below).
Best Buy won't sell MAX2 anymore - too many returns!
Wed, October 7: Thanks to Ksnake for this news item. Here is what he reports:
"I went to my favorite store today [Best Buy] to peruse the Computer Games section that they have, and I couldn't find a copy of MAX2. I know one of the sales representatives working there, so I flagged him over. I asked him how long ago they had sold out of MAX2. His reply to me was interesting. He stated that they hadn't sold out, but they were told by their department manager to pull the title from the shelf. The store had received so many returns and complaints that rather than deal with it, they just pulled the title from the shelves."
Interplay Investors Lose HALF their money!
Wed, October 7: People who invested in Interplay by purchasing Interplay Stock when it went public last June have now lost half their money (hopefully this has something to do with the reputation Interplay is earning for it's treatment of its customers). Interplay stock (IPLY) closed today at 2 3/8. That means that Interplay investors as a group (holding 5,000,000 shares) have now lost over 15.5 MILLION DOLLARS (actually much more since they also had to pay commissions to stock brokers). Meanwhile, Interplay has the money they collected from the initial stock sale ... proceeds of over 27 MILLION DOLLARS. Yahoo IPLY Quotes Page.
NOTE: From the stock charts it looks like the stock was initially sold for $6.00 per share, not $5.50. If this is true, then the investors as a group lost an ADDITIONAL 2.5 MILLION DOLLARS! Can someone clarify this for me?
Wed, October 7: MAX2 Alliance (a Gamestats affiliate) has closed its web site. First run by GUILE and then resurrected by Stratosoft ... the Alliance was a fine web site. Unfortunately, MAX2 is unplayable and as such needs no website. MAX2 HQ site also appears defunct as of July 10 (I will check on it). And even this HEAVENLY site will be shutting down soon ... but I have a few surprising bits and pieces of info I plan to share with you before closing ... so do stop back every few days to check on it (and hope you follow me over to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri this January ... I have Alpha Centauri Heaven started already).
Interplay Wins Big - Stockholders Lose half their investment
Tue, October 6: Interplay raked in the money when it went public a few months ago (June 1998). They sold 5,000,000 shares of stock for $5.50 each (yes that is not a typo ... five million shares). Lets see ... 5 times 5 is 25, carry the 2 ... hmmm ... looks like Interplay raked in over 27 million dollars in one day (give or take a few thousand dollars for commissions and such).
Yesterday, the share price was listed at 2 5/8. So the poor investors holding the FIVE MILLION shares lost nearly half their money in just a few months (the same months we have been in anguish with MAX2). Those investors lost well over FOURTEEN MILLION DOLLARS!!!!
Now, I am not an accountant, so, someone please correct me if I am wrong here ... but it looks like simple math to me. Stock symbol is IPLY. Check the Yahoo IPLY Quotes Page.
PC Gamer Nov 1998 MAX2 Review 40% Ranking
Tue, October 6: Quotes from PC Gamer review pgs 236-237 (run out and get your copy of the magazine):
"Lows: Countless bugs; this game simply was not finished when shipped."
"How in the hell could Interplay release a game with such major, glaring, near-fatal flaws? Didn't anybody know? Didn't anybody care? Didn't anybody play test this product before shoveling it out the door? After this company's previous debacles (remember Descent to Undermountain?), one would think it had gotten the message."
The review mentions the first campaign game (supposedly the tutorial mission) where the enemy has one scout that runs and hides from you. I thought this was pitiful myself, but I like what the review says about it better:
"You just fan out and lumber along, turn after turn, until you accidentally stumble on that one remaining scout. I've played this one scenario three times, and the shortest game lasted three hours and six minutes! That's the shortest, folks. Ninety per cent of that time was spent beating the bushes, in a state of rage, frustration, and bewilderment, until I finally lucked out and found the elusive enemy survivor. This is a monumental exercise in thoughtless game design. I was so pissed off by the time I actually won this pseudo-tutorial that, had I not been given the responsibility of reviewing it, I would have returned the game to the store and never played another minute of it."
The review ends with this:
"But as matters stand, this is one of the major disappointments of the year."
MAX2 no longer in top 100 PC Games chart!
Tue, October 6: This is no surprise of course, but MAX2 dropped off the chart a couple weeks ago, after barely edging up to spot 90 or so. Sad.
MAX2 now seen in trash/discount bins!
Tue, October 6: It has been reported to us that a fellow paying MAX2 customer has seen MAX2 in their local computer outlet in the trash/discount bin. Here is their report:
"I'm sorry to report that I've already found MAX2 games in the trash/discount bins in a computer store. This must be a record."
Send your NEWS TIPS to CaptComal@hotmail.com (even though it is a HOTMAIL address, I really do read my mail every day).
If you find any errors please report them to CaptComal@hotmail.com so they can be corrected. Thanks.
[Official Interplay M.A.X.2 Site]
NOTE: This website is only in its
preliminary stages at this time. Any comments can be sent to CaptComal@hotmail.com
This site contains material that is copyright (c) 1998, Interplay Productions. All rights reserved.