How HMV and Activision made me destroy a game I bought

December 26, 2005

Well, not the game itself, but certainly the packaging.

A month ago or so, I bought COD2 from the HMV store in Trocadero in London on Piccadilly square. A few weeks later when back home when starting to install it, I just couldn’t open the box since there was some red tab preventing me from opening it. Initially I couldn’t figure out what it was, except that it was keeping the box absolutely closed. As I tried various methods of opening, it appeared that it’s some sort of anti-piracy/anti-theft device that was supposed to stop you from opening the box unless removed. Which I guess is fine for anti-theft, but for me as the legit owner of this particular box it was annoying. I literally had to tear the case to pieces to get the game DVD out. This is what was left of it.

The red tab is the anti-theft device which was inserted from the right side of the case and kept the two halves of the case locked together until you removed either the device with some specialised removal tool which I of course didn’t have, or tore your case to pieces as I had to do.

What’s especially weird is that there was an anti-theft radio tag on the device, but the alarm never sounded when I left the store. I guess it was deactivated when I paid for the item, but why the counter clerk never removed the red thingie is a mystery to me.

If nothing else, then it’s a lesson of being smarter when I go shop for games or DVD-s next time, and insisting on all the protection being removed and double-checking it myself before leaving.