Sunday, March 06, 2011


Setting the Record Straight

The problem with video games is the kind of people who enjoy them. They're idiots. They have no concept of what's fun or worthwhile. Sometimes it gets to the point where I just want to scream. How can people be so wrong?

So today I'm just going to take a moment to correct some of the opinions held by gamers that have really bugged me over the years. Feel free to disagree, there's always room for more idiots.

The Subspace Emissary is Awesome

As I mentioned way back in my Super Smash Brothers Brawl review, The Subspace Emissary was my favorite surprise that the game had to offer. It's a huge platformer beat-em-up kind of game for one or two players co-operatively, featuring every Nintendo character ever in lots of wacky and unlikely partnerships and rivalries, it's loaded with gorgeous cutscenes -- it's basically the adventure game that I had imagined ever since the first Smash Brothers game came out, every Nintendo fan's dream come true. Who could possibly be unhappy with it?

Quite a few people? Apparently?!

The first criticism you hear about The Subspace Emissary is that it's long and repetitive. And, you know, fair enough, it's not exactly New Super Mario Brothers Wii, is it? But the first time I played it, I found it really difficult to stop. It really sucked me in. I loved watching the story unfold and seeing which new character would appear around every turn. Everyone points to The Maze as a total deal-breaker, but I dunno, I kind of liked it. Not that I've ever sat down and played the whole thing in a single sitting, but it reminded me of exploring a dungeon in an RPG. You eventually get a map to show you where all of the boss encounters are, and it's mildly amusing to sort of ferret out the paths that will take you to them.

The next criticism you hear a lot is that the story is just like this huge Nintendo crossover fanfic. I guess the implication is that it's all just Nintendo fan service, but that just raises the question: What did you expect? Complaining about fan service in Super Smash Brothers is like complaining about meat in a hamburger. I mean, are there people who aren't Nintendo fans who bought this game because they were looking for a hard core competitive fighting game? Why would you buy this game if you didn't want to watch Princess Toadstool having a tea party with Sheik and Fox McCloud on the deck of the Halberd?

Wii Music Does Not Play Itself

There are so many perfectly valid reasons not to like Wii Music -- the song selection isn't exciting, the performance venues are bland, the motion controls are wonky -- so why do you insist on hating it for a reason that's demonstrably false?

I mean, in the same review, Matt Casamassina calls Wii Music "a product so unsophisticated that it practically plays itself", and then goes on to provide video proof that the music will sound like shit if you have no fucking clue what you're doing.

I mean, I know you shitheads were upset that this wasn't a Guitar Hero clone, but I'm sure you can wrap your brains around the concept here. Wii Music provides you the notes without the need to understand the exact mechanical nature of whatever instrument you're pretending to play. You still have the freedom and the responsibility to put those notes together in a way that sounds good. That's a far cry from "playing itself".

"EHHHGNHHUUHHN, but the game doesn't score you, you have to score yourself! You can just give yourself 100 points for every song you play, there's no chaaaaaalleeeeenge!"

But this isn't about playing a game or scoring points, it's about making music. If you were playing a guitar -- a real guitar, not one of your toy guitars with the happy colored buttons on the frets -- would you complain because you don't get a score for playing a song you want to play?

Oh, who am I kidding, of course you would. Go fuck yourself.

Jam Sessions is Quite a Dandy Thing

Yeah, as long as we're talking about music, let's talk about Jam Sessions, this cool little program that turns your Nintendo DS into a guitar. It's got recorded samples of all of these different guitar chords. You assign them to directions on the control pad. To play a chord, you hold that direction on the pad and strum the screen.

Whenever I've shown this to people who aren't gamers, there's always been this moment where their faces light up with delight. It's a guitar that goes in your pocket! What a wonderful thing for someone who likes to play music to carry around!

But when I've shown this to a gamer, he didn't understand the concept. "Oh, so it's like Guitar Hero?"

"No," I explained. "It's actually a musical instrument. There's no game to it. You can just play any song you want."

"That sounds stupid," he scoffed in that snobby, hardcore elite gamer sort of way. "I'd rather play a game and be challenged than just play whatever song I wanted."

I thought he might be an outlier, but I've heard the sentiment echoed on the Robotronic Dynamite podcast and on forums and such. What is it about gamers that they're perfectly happy with pressing buttons in time to someone else's song, but they think that making music themselves isn't a valid pursuit?

Retro Game Challenge is Not Repetitive

Retro Game Challenge is magical, top to bottom. It's amazing that such a game was conceived to go along with Game Center CX, it's amazing that it was done so well, and it's super amazing that it was localized so well for a region that had no familiarity with the source material. It's a museum of 80s gaming that goes in your pocket.

But read enough reviews of the game, and you'll get the snobby asshat who has to complain about how two games out of the eight are "copies" of other games in the set. "How lazy," they sneer. "What a waste of space."

For Christ's sake, how do you not understand the point of this game?

The Haggleman series is, among other things, a commentary on the Super Mario Brothers series in Japan. The first game was sort of basic and became wildly popular, the second game used the same basic game engine with harder levels and modest graphic enhancements, and the third game was a total departure with all sorts of new stuff added and RPG elements and everything. If you complain about Haggleman 2 being too similar to Haggleman 1... first of all, you're missing the point, and second of all you're wrong. Play one game after the other -- I mean, play them, as if it were a recreational activity that you were doing to enjoy yourself and not trying to be a nitpicky game critic -- and it's pretty clear that, despite the same mechanics, Haggleman 2 is a much tougher cookie to crack.

And if you're going to complain about Rally King SP... well, obviously you just don't get the joke. Try not to draw too much attention to yourself, it's embarrassing.

Link's Crossbow Training Deserves a Sequel

I really dislike Zelda games. I mean, I appreciate the fantasy setting, and the games do have some interesting ideas, but on the whole you spend too much damned time on puzzles that don't make any sense, looking everywhere for items, and just sort of generally wasting time.

And I really dislike first person shooters. They're all war games or space marines or zombies or whatever, and they're always these dark, dank, dismal, bleak, gritty worlds. I don't want to waste my recreation time getting shot at in a nightmare world.

But there's something about Link's Crossbow Training that just clicks with me. There's the basic shooting gallery stages, but then there's the stages where you have to defend a position as waves of enemies approach, and stages where you actually walk around through an environment trying to find all of the enemies and shoot them. Like, the first time I went through this little goblin camp, dodging flaming arrows and peeking between walls for clear shots, it was like a lightbulb went on in my head. Suddenly I liked Zelda and I liked shooting games. "If only there was an entire game like this!" I thought to myself.

So when I heard that a more developed version of the game had been pitched at Nintendo and turned down in favor of yet another fucking 50-hour borefest, my heart sank a little. What a shame, I thought, that it had been a possibility and now maybe it isn't.

And, of course, the guy who wrote the article for Joystiq has to sneak it at the end, "And to the Nintendo executives who killed a sequel to Link's Crossbow Training, we'd like to personally thank you."

[(Nov 15, 2014) Edit: In light of recent events, I've decided that the end of this rant went too far, and I've removed it.  It was not meant with any actual ill intent toward Ben Gilbert, but even with the over-the-top tone set by the rest of this blog post, it was in poor taste, and I've thought better of it.  This post was written with the intention of venting some general annoyances in a silly, childish way, and singling out and targeting individuals, even as a joke, is in no way appropriate.  I know this blog reaches an audience of approximately 0, but if any harm was done through my thoughtless writing, I sincerely apologize, and if I have such personal disagreements in the future, I will raise them in a more sober and mature way.

I stand by the bit about Matt Casamassina though; dude wrote a dumb review.]


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?