I played Skyrim recently and, discovering that it’s really nothing more than Fallout 3 but with dragons and fruity renaissance speech, replaced it with Otomedius Excellent. Granted, Otomedius Excellent is really nothing more than Gradius with tits and archaic graphics but at least I can instantly play the game without having to journey across a mountain of tutorials. Also, and this is the best bit, I can turn it off after a half hour, feeling completely satisfied with my gaming experience.
For the record, I actually enjoyed Portal. If you can tune out the Internet hype and lower your expectations you’ll find a genuinely clever game with a satirical wit that subtly grows as the player progresses through the test chambers. As I’ve stated before, the Internet just can’t handle subtle. They took all of the satire and throwaway jokes and ran with it, turning what was once good into obnoxious memes.
Valve took notice of this. “People liked the funny,” says Gabe Newell, who inexplicably sounds like a Dalek in my head, “Up the funny! UP! THE! FUN! NY!” And up the funny they did. If the first Portal was satire, the sequel is parody. Bravely tossing subtlety aside, Valve puts the comedy right in the player’s face to ensure that you don’t miss a second of the funny. Enter: Wheatley.
Jesus Christ, Wheatley.
I used to hate DDR. A lot. Imagine going into an arcade and seeing that your beloved Virtua Fighter 3 machine has been unceremoniously replaced with a loud, ugly typing tutor for your feet (this only works if you first imagine that you don’t have a life). It was an insultingly simple game—step on the arrows in sync with on-screen cues while being assaulted with terrible music—and I was going to have none of it. Every chance I got I’d mock the game and those who play it, sometimes while they were playing it.
I was really popular in college.
There’s something to be said about the art of discovery in games. Something like, “Hey, whatever happened to the art of discovery in games?” Alice: Madness Returns is absolutely gorgeous and American McGee makes sure you damn well appreciate every single gorgeous aspect of his game. He grabs the player by the shirt and drags them from one interesting locale to the next saying, “See? See?! Do you know how long this took to make?!” in a terrible British accent.
My affinity for bad games has surged recently like the need to vomit after seeing the words Portal and hilarious in the same sentence. Don’t get me wrong, Portal is a clever game with a handful of mildly cute moments but I think I am either too jaded or too unhip to find it drop-your-pants hilarious. I admit, my expectations had been raised to a rather unreachable level by the ridiculous amounts of Portal references floating around the Internet at the time. I temporarily forgot that the teenagers running the Internet can turn subtle and even mundane gags into outrageously saturated meme so I often found myself thinking “What? That’s it? That’s what people won’t shut up about?”
Game journalists—wait, no such thing. Game bloggers went wild over the writing which I can only assume was because it was penned by someone who wrote for a website that was once popular among said bloggers. Said bloggers, particularly bloggers that cover geek culture, have a frighteningly exclusive clique so it seems that any time one of them is featured in a non-Internet-related project they all form a giant circle jerk and unleash a barrage of name-drops and praises onto the unsuspecting reader.
When I finally broke down and purchased an Xbox 360 it was late enough into its life cycle that the majority of its first generation titles had hit the bargain bins hard. Among the piles of out-dated sports titles and those obnoxious Burger King games were some real gems, including Earth Defense Force 2017, Dead or Alive 4, and Ridge Racer 6.
Everyone loves LittleBigPlanet—1UP.com gave it an A+, Edge a 10/10, and GamePro called it the Game of Year. Despite the praise from critics LBP was hardly the killer app that Sony was looking for. Eventually it did sell quite a few copies, but why did it take so long and why wasn’t it a huge hit? They had an adorable character, stunning graphics, endless playability options…what was the problem?
The problem, at least one of the problems, is that LittleBigPlanet is a giant pile of pretentious, avant-garde crap. It’s not so much of a game as it is a cumbersome Lego set for adults. The type of Lego set kids in the gifted program get for Christmas that are loaded with things like pistons, motors, pulleys, and absolutely no fun.