PowerA and the Tale of the Ghostly Purchase
We’ve all heard the story about the haunted Majora’s Mask cartridge right? Well, just in case you haven’t this link (no pun intended) should prove handy. I have a similar tale of woe that occured to me just today.
It all began with the purchase of my Wii U last Friday. I’ve been playing it for a week with no problems, but I didn’t have a screen protector on it; having kids I knew it would probably be a wise purchase. So today I stopped in to GameStop and picked up a bundle that had two screen protectors, a cleaning cloth and two extra styluses, styli? It’s that package you see above, except my styluses were green and purple. I get home and I apply one of the screen protectors (mostly bubble free) and proceed to continue about my day. Nothing out of the ordinary, no weird occurrences; Jake had spent some time playing New Super Mario Bros U.
About 9:15 or so I decided to spend some of the credit that I had on my Wii U eShop account to pick up a game. I was thinking Darksiders II might be a good purchase. I do a search in the eShop for all of the Wii U downloadable and retail downloadable games. I’m scrolling through the list for a few minutes just checking out my options when Abby decides to wake up. I sit the GamePad on the arm of my chair, make her a bottle and sit down to feed her. I’m holding Abby in one hand and I decide to send my wife (who’s at the other end of the house) a message and ask her a question. As I’m typing out the message on my iPod I hear the GamePad making some noise. I look over to see what’s going on and I see the following message, “Confirming purchase” and the words Rabbids Land somewhere on the screen.
I say, “whoa, whoa, whoa!” and grab the GamePad to confirm my fears. Yes, my Wii U had somehow purchased Rabbids Land by itself. I’m now out $49.99 in credit and the game is downloading. The first thing I think of is that there must be a ghost in the house (I don’t believe in them, by the way) or that somehow someone has hacked my Wii U and is purchasing a game on my account. Lucking it was just with some points cards and not using any of my credit card info. Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now. I can’t call Nintendo and say that a ghost downloaded a game on my system to get my credit back. I’m stuck with a game that some jerk ghost downloaded for me.
Later in the evening I decide to start playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (working on the review) and while I’m running around the town, one of the on screen buttons on my GamePad is being pressed over and over. It’s just a button that changes some menu option on the touchscreen and doesn’t affect the gameplay. I’m not actually touching the screen. The game is doing this by itself. Again I think something really weird is going on, so I shut the game down and just leave it alone for a while.
I decided at that point to do a little research and see what might be causing this. I do strange searches like ‘Wii U buys a game by itself’ or ‘can a system turn itself on and off.’ Then I realize it might be the screen protector that’s causing this. So I refine my search and look for things like “Can screen protector cause touchscreen inputs.” I don’t find exactly what I’m looking for, but I do see a couple of threads about people having issues with touchscreen sensitivity linked to screen protectors and having the screen not register when they’re actually touching it. Some of the people say a stray piece of dirt gets trapped under the screen protector and can cause a system to think the screen is being pressed. The same name keeps popping up among all the searches and threads I see related to video games.
Apparently PowerA screen protectors are notorious for causing issues with touchscreens, whether it’s a stray piece of debris or static electricity charges. Some people said that it might even happen when no foreign object is detected. The location of the button in Monster Hunter got me to thinking. Since it was all happening on this one button and no other that maybe something in the eShop would have happened as well.
It turns out that while I had the controller, the purchase option for Rabbids Land was in the exact same place that the button on the Monster Hunter screen was located. Every subsequent button option for purchasing a game in the eShop also happened to be located on that same spot and that’s what probably caused the phantom download.
I pulled the screen protector off my GamePad, cleaned the screen and went back to playing. No more, for the rest of the night, did I have any issues with random buttons being pressed on my touchscreen. So, I don’t have a jerk ghost who likes to purchase party games or a hacker that wants to spend my money. I had a crappy screen protector that was causing interference on the touchscreen. Needless to say I don’t think I’ll be putting another PowerA screen protector on there. I’ll try another brand, make sure it’s applied even more smoothly than before and report back to you at some point in the future.
I can’t say that I would recommend that brand of screen protector, but the purple stylus I got is nice.