I want my Dragon Age!
January 27, 2010 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Is there any hope for a MacBook (NOT pro) + Dragon Age: Origins?

My boyfriend has been dying for Dragon Age: Origins since he saw the first commercial on TV. He does not own an xbox360, PS3, or Windows machine, so he kind of gave up hope of ever getting it. We are both in college, so getting him a whole new gaming system + a $60 game was not feasible.

But! He got super excited when he heard it was coming out for Mac, and bought it immediately from Direct 2 Drive. Big mistake. Neither he nor I noticed at the bottom it said "This game will not run on PowerPC (G3/G4/G5)-based Mac systems, or Intel GMA class of video cards," which is the video card inside a MacBook. Honestly, he is not terribly technically savvy and would never have known that meant his computer. So he upgraded to Snow Leopard, bought the game and, surprise, it doesn't work. I never even considered it flat-out wouldn't work on his computer -- he has a decent amount of RAM (I can't tell you exactly how much since his computer is not near me) and our friend got the Windows version working on an identical computer using Boot Camp.

For reference: The error message we get is "Unhandled page fault on read access to 0x0fe31230 at address 0xffff08a0. Do you want to debug, yes or no?" Googling this returns a lot of unhelpful results about Spore, ultimately leading to the conclusion he must upgrade his video card.

As far as I can tell, video cards in MacBooks (not pro!) aren't upgradeable, so he's pretty much screwed. D2D does not offer refunds since it's a digital download, and honestly, at this point it's probably outside any window for refunds anyway. I've suggested he attempt to sell his download/serial code on Craigslist but I think he's just so embarrassed by the whole situation he wants to put it behind him and count it as a loss.

But. He would really love to play this game. Is there anything we can do? Options I've thought of:

1) Figuring out someway to upgrade the video card in the MacBook. Google tells me it's not possible.

2) Buying Windows 7 and running it via Boot Camp. (We're students, so I think we get a discount?) If I did this, do you think it would be possible to download the Windows version from somewhere (or maybe from somewhere slightly sketchy?) and use his serial code?

3) ... What else? Has anyone seen this error before? Is there any way to solve this problem and let my boyfriend play the game he paid $70 and can't return? My hopes aren't high, but I'm crossing my fingers.

Anonymous because he occasionally reads AskMe and, if there's a solution, I'd love to present it to him for V Day.

Throwaway email: gy8gym2sjdbvj34@jetable.org
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
 
Best bet it to try to get a refund from Direct2Drive- at last contact them, they might help you. It's not going to run on his Macbook running Windows 7 either and there is no way to upgrade the GPU.
posted by wongcorgi at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2010


Best bet it to try to get a refund from Direct2Drive- at last contact them, they might help you. It's not going to run on his Macbook running Windows 7 either and there is no way to upgrade the GPU.

They already said Direct2Drive don't give refunds and the game runs on an identical machine running windows via bootcamp.

Do none of his friends have it that would be willing to let him borrow it? IMO I wouldn't bother going to trouble of buying and installing windows on what sounds like a GPU that could just about manage to run it - its a really beautiful game and I think he'd be missing so much if he had to run it on the lowest settings. I would save up for the upgrade - IMO its worth it.
posted by missmagenta at 1:54 PM on January 27, 2010


No, there's no way to play Dragon Age on an old Macbook. The video card simply can't handle it. Dragon Age isn't really a laptop sorta game, honestly.
posted by Justinian at 2:10 PM on January 27, 2010


I should expand so I don't get nitpicked: It's theoretically possibly for you to upgrade the Macbook to Windows 7 and assign more memory to the video card or whatever with Bootcamp. But if you've got an older Macbook it may well have as little as 512mb of RAM, which isn't enough. So you'd first have to upgrade the memory. And then it would still likely barely scrape by.
posted by Justinian at 2:18 PM on January 27, 2010


@missmagenta:

The OP didn't specify if they tried to contact D2D or not.

from Direct2Drive's TOS -

If you feel you qualify for a refund please contact Customer Service. Refunds or credits will be issued solely at IGN's discretion.

Refunds may be offered if all the following conditions are met:
  • The time of your request for refund/credit is fewer than 48 hours from time of purchase
  • The game has not been activated
  • The game activation key has not been disclosed to you by email or webpage*
  • We find your request reasonable due to special circumstances

  • posted by wongcorgi at 2:26 PM on January 27, 2010


    Okay, okay, okay. I am OP. Looking like no fun VDay worthy solutions are coming about and now he'd have to go into my comment history to track this down so I think I am safe if anything does pop up. So I can answer questions.

    He has 4GB of ram.

    Re woncorgi's comment: This was definitely purchased more than 48 hours ago and he has installed and activated the game (only to discover it didn't work) so I don't think D2D will give him a refund (plus it specifically states no refunds on the game page). We may try emailing them.
    posted by elisabethjw at 2:39 PM on January 27, 2010


    Aha, if he's got 4gb of RAM then you've got a fighting chance. Your best best would, indeed, be to install Windows 7 and use bootcamp. With 4 GB of RAM the game will probably be playable although I wouldn't take any wagers on how laggy it is.

    As you said the issue here would be the cost of buying Windows 7. You'd have to decide if that is worth it to you. I don't think pirating an operating system to play one game is a great option. Lots of hassle.
    posted by Justinian at 2:54 PM on January 27, 2010


    They used to have a pretty good student rate on Windows 7. I don't trust pirated OSs anyway so that wouldn't be an option. Does anyone know if we'd be able to use his key / download on a Windows version of the game?
    posted by elisabethjw at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2010


    There's no way youre playing that on GMA video graphics. That game stresses my nvidia 8800. If you install Windows you'll have the exact same problem. Its a hardware issue, not a software one.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 2:56 PM on January 27, 2010


    If you're really looking to get him set for Valentines Day then could you rent him a new Macbook Pro or iMac for a week or so? (depends how long it takes him to play through it). I know you can rent them in the UK and Australia but google isn't giving me any US-centric options - maybe its a terminology issue?
    posted by missmagenta at 3:03 PM on January 27, 2010


    missmagenta, that's a good idea. He's kind of in the middle of nowhere right now so I'm not sure how feasible, but I'll definitely look into it!
    posted by elisabethjw at 3:06 PM on January 27, 2010


    Just food for thought though, it is a really good game but it'll be just as good next christmas but cheaper - and the expansion will be out and that'll probably have come down in price too.
    posted by missmagenta at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2010


    Data point: I'm able to play Dragon Age on a Windows 7 using a Macbook Pro 2 GHz with 2 gigs of RAM and a Radeon 1600 with 256 megs of VRAM. Do the fans scream and does the whole game slow down when there are large area effects like lava or smoke? Hell yes. Is it a kickass game and totally worth the annoyance? Hell yes.
    posted by Addlepated at 4:30 PM on January 27, 2010


    The rental idea is okay, but bear in mind that there's no way even a week would provide a satisfying experience. I've been nerding out on that game (on my imac) for a month now and am not near finished.
    posted by dervish at 4:44 PM on January 27, 2010


    What damndirtyape said. Not even on low graphics.
    posted by themel at 12:46 AM on January 28, 2010


    If you're really looking to get him set for Valentines Day then could you rent him a new Macbook Pro or iMac for a week or so? (depends how long it takes him to play through it).

    N.b.: I played it in the evenings after work and it took more than a month. There is a lot of filler combat so make sure the rental is for long enough to actually have a chance of completing it, or the stuff that Bioware did to make the game take longer to complete so they could claim there is a hundred hours of gameplay will get stressful.

    You are a nice SO and it's a fun game. Do prepare yourself in advance for the experience of looking over his shoulder only to get a glimpse of cringe-inducing romance novel "sex" scenes.
    posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 1:34 AM on January 28, 2010


    I'm able to play Dragon Age on a Windows 7 using a Macbook Pro 2 GHz with 2 gigs of RAM and a Radeon 1600 with 256 megs of VRAM.

    That would be the Radeon X1600, correct? If so, it's a different chip with the 3D support needed to run Dragon Age, a quick search suggest that Intel GMA won't support the game even under Boot Camp.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:37 AM on January 28, 2010


    If you're really looking to get him set for Valentines Day then could you rent him a new Macbook Pro or iMac for a week or so? (depends how long it takes him to play through it).

    N.b.: I played it in the evenings after work and it took more than a month. There is a lot of filler combat so make sure the rental is for long enough to actually have a chance of completing it, or the stuff that Bioware did to make the game take longer to complete so they could claim there is a hundred hours of gameplay will get stressful.


    Also, it can take some time and a few tries to learn how to build the kind of character you want to play, so he may want to play through the early part of the game a few times while he gets the hang of it. That's how it's been for me, anyway, but I'm taking my time. I got it in late December and I still haven't finished it.
    posted by homunculus at 10:19 AM on January 30, 2010


    BTW, it sounds like Awakening should be coming to Mac at some point.
    posted by homunculus at 9:29 AM on March 20, 2010


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