PC gamers take a lot of abuse. Not from console fanboys, but from the game companies themselves. So now, Stardock and Gas Powered Games have collaborated on a “PC Gamers Bill Of Rights.

I an whole-heartedly in favor of all ten points, and especially of these four:

#1 Gamers shall have the right to return games that don’t work with their computers for a full refund. Ah, that’ll be the day. I don’t know of any store that will take back an opened copy of a game. We know why: piracy. In this instance, I can’t blame the stores too much. How can they tell if you’re being honest that the game won’t run on your rig? And how would this work if you buy a a digitally-distributed game?

#5 Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer. Yeah, the evil of those “min requirements”. Too often, that term means: “You can install the game and get it to run. Just don’t expect it to run fast or well unless almost all the graphic features are turned off, and not too many monsters are on the screen at once”. We really need honesty in this area.

#6 Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won’t install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent. We know about those, don’t we? And let’s add poorly-implemented uninstallers to that (Pool of Radiance 2, anyone?). These days, you never know what’s going on your drive along with the game. Or what may be left behind when you take it off. End that once and for all.

#8 Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers. Personally, I feel this should have been in the #1 position. Because, let’s face it, this is our #1 complaint: that the game companies treat us like thieves instead of like customers. We, the people who buy their stuff and keep them in business. Yeah, they can talk about how much they love the “community”, but the DRM they use says otherwise.

Of course, while all the points are good, I can’t help feeling the list is more wishful thinking than anything else. Given the “corp think” behind almost every major game company, there is little chance for any of those points (especially #8) to become common features in gaming. But we can hope, can’t we?

The Gamers Bill Of Rights on Edge