Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 10-21-09

Posted by nfinit on October 21, 2009

As majestically wallet-violating as last week was, this week looks to be terrible insofar as quality games.  Of the thirty some odd games Gamestop has listed as releasing sometime this week, I would classify maybe a half dozen as something other than shovelware.  The absence of quality gaming  is all the more perplexing  when you realize there’s a little more than a month left until Black Friday– Maybe this week looked better before Modern Warfare 2 scared everyone else into January 2010.

Let’s not mince words.  This week sucks.  But that’s okay because

Love. And lazers. But mostly love!

still loves us!

People who played the first Space Invaders Extreme can skip to the next part where I try to find something bad to say about Borderlands; you’re either already buying SIE2 come Wednesday or are sick in the head and need professional help.  For you poor benighted folk who’ve yet to play Space Invaders Extreme, this is for you.

The glory of Space Invaders Extreme  It’s hard to explain in pictures because, well–

man what

man what

It’s sorta incomprehensible in stills.  Even the videos don’t really explain what’s going on as Taito’s official trailers look like they threw a hundred dollars at a kid operating Windows Movie Maker and still got ripped off.  Instead, I’ll try to explain in words:

Lumnies + Space Invaders.  But even better than that! It’s one of those zen-inducing games that can wreak havoc upon your life, causing you to miss train stops, conference calls, cries for attention from your children, fire alarms, oncoming traffic, the beeping noise large trucks make when they’re rolling backwards– and it’s a fantastically deep experience on top of that, with strategies and skills that only become apparent after you’ve sunk dozens of hours into the game and have long since been served with divorce papers for marital neglect.

I don’t know how to make a game sound better than that without also including free booze and/or oral sex.  Maybe also Araknoid?  Because it has a little of that, too.  Plus it’s dirt cheap, for $20 you’re simply not going to find a better way to spend your gaming dollar this holiday season.

Let’s be perfectly honest– you shouldn’t buy this version of the game.  If you’re buying Borderlands, you’re buying it for the PC– the only conceivable reason to ever own this for the consoles is if your PC isn’t powerful enough to run Borderlands, and if you’re the type of gamer who wants to play Borderlands what’s the point of owning it on something other than the PC in the first place?  No, you wait a week and buy the PC version.

Here’s the real question– Does Borderlands secretly suck?  One has to go all the way back to Gearbox’s very first game, Opposing Force, to find a game they’ve had published that’s not been either a generic WWII shooter or a pc port of a console game.  Nick Breckon’s (of Idle Thumbs podcast fame) impressions were that the game felt buggy and rushed, and the core concept– Diablo With Guns– isn’t exactly new territory.

Note:  The above paragraph ws entirely me being bitter because my PC can’t possibly run Borderlands.  It’s probably a good game, or at least competent enough to make the concept work.  You wander around a wasteland, you blow up mutants, you collect loot from their still cooling remains.  It’s a timeless theme, the sort of thing that’s hard to fuck up unless you’re trying. But unless you’re the sort of person who’d rather play Left for Dead on a console there’s no sense in buying the PS360 version

UPDATE:  nevermind, I’m wrong;  it’s pretty awesome

This is a weird, neutered version of the original DS game that was itself weird and neutered as compared to every post GTA3 game released.  It’s a console GTA with at least two abstraction layers placed on top of it and the most compelling part of the original DS version– the stylus controlled minigames– shunted to the thumbstick, which sounds like a terrible, terrible idea.

Chinatown Wars PSP best serves as an example of just how far the games industry has moved away from Sony over the past console generation.  Three years ago we’d have been discussing Chinatown Wars as a PS2 port brought over from the PSP original– Now you have Rockstar games developing fully-realized GTA games with a Nintendo handheld as the lead platform.  Grand Theft Auto has gone from a flagship Playstation franchise to an afterthought for Sony hardware, and if it’s weren’t for Sony’s huge push for developers for PSP Go development  Chinatown Wars probably would have ever moved off the DS to begin with.

(on another note, is anyone concerned that Chinatown Wars PSP is the lead– and only– standalone title for Rockstar going into 2010?  I mean, this and Gay Tony are all Rockstar has to sell for this Christmas.  It’s almost enough to convince Take 2 to take desperate measures, maybe like seeding GAF with hyperbolic viral marketers for Borderlands or something. Oh wait)

I’ve only been doing this three weeks and I’m already tired of these DS JRP– waitaminute

Are those…

Airships!  GLEE~!



Okay wait all that is predictable and bland, but outside of the generic JRPG party-based stuff this looks a lot like Skies of Arcadia, and that’s good enough for me, as apparently Overworks is only interested in making alternate history tank battle games for the foreseeable future.

(tangential:  Why hasn’t Squeenix made a Final Fantasy Airship game already?  The Highwind, Blackjack and Airship Invincible are icons for any game who grew up playing JRPGs and are perfect fodder for the sort of nostalgia wankery Squeenix has built it’s post-Spirits Within empire upon.  I could go on all day about the neglect of the Final Fantasy airship fleet– where is the Blackjack Lego set?  Why can’t I buy a Lunar Whale gashapon?  Where is Einhander II starring The Sthral?  Why have I talked twice as long about FF airships as I have Nostalgia DS?  Why couldn’t I find a place to work in a Balloon Kid joke in this entire paragraph?)

This time around Cooking Mama opens things up a little by including what appears to be a Phoenix Wright-like minigame where you have to berate grocery store clerks to find the stink cabbage or shark testicles or ground magnesium or some other godforsaken Japanese delicacy.  That’s cute.  Sadly we’ll never see Southern Style Cooking Mama, where the grocery store portion would be finding Crisco, buying Crisco, cooking everything in Crisco, returning to the store for more Crisco; dying at age 40 due to massive heart failure.

I’m taking Gamestop’s word for this as there’s no way in hell I’m searching google for “Wii Water Sports”.  I predict a steady stream of sales in Germany, however.

I have nothing interesting to say here as this is Soccer and I am American.  There are some things I remain steadfastly old-fashioned about and an utter inability to feign interest in “The Beautiful Sport” remains atop the list, along with holding doors open for women like a proper Southern Gentleman and a firm belief in the continued subjugation of carnies and albinos.

New rule: I get to relegate any game related to a Cartoon Network property to the shovelware pile.

I am also extending this rule to properties that should be on Cartoon Network, but for inexplicable reasons are not.

It is so awesome that the Carly Fiorina campaign is making a videogame.

They are using the media in new and creative ways.

(note:  Joke stolen from the mcc @

Hey, Majesco!  Who’s the laziest publishing company on the face of the earth?

That’s right, you are!

Holy shit!  A new RPG by Bethesda!  I need to jump all over that shit oh wait

Oh yeah.  Wii Game.

Oh yeah. Wii Game.

Sadly not to be mistaken for Mid Evil, the boardgame:

Coolest picture of the update BY FAR

I feel I could show this to XSeed and get a job

Yeah.  I was going to talk about wrestling this week, but honestly Hell In a Cell ruined whatever renewed interested I may have had in the current WWE product.  Also Botchamania is dead so there’s nothing worth following anymore.  Good luck with your hour of Cena vs Orton, guys.

For people who thought Marvel Ultimate Alliance was perhaps too hardcore but Lego games aren’t quite hardcore enough.  Actually this might be a worthwhile little brawler that serves as a stealthy way for geek parents to introduce Marvel lore to their children, and it may indeed prove a more worthwhile game than Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.  Also it’s just darned adorable.  Alright I can’t find anything bad to say about this, let’s move on.

Oh much better.  Of course the crown jewel of this collection remains Pajama Party, which is a set of Wii Games for girls during sleepovers.  Although if porn has taught me anything I don’t see how EA expects teenage girls to have time for this thing  in between the constant experimental makeout sessions.

Wait, that was horrible and creepy of me.  Let’s try this again:

If EA didn’t co-develop this series with federal and state child predator law enforcement divisions, they’ve missed a huge opportunity.  Pre-orders for any of these games should provide sufficient cause for a visit by Chris Hansen.


Madagascar Kartz (everything)
Imagine: Fashion Designer World
Tour (DS)
AstroBoy: The Videogame (PS2)
Alien Monster Bowling League
Littlest Pet Shop:  Beach
Dragon Ball: Revenge of King
Piccolo (Wii)
Littlest Pet Shop:  City
Friends (DS)
Mytran Wars(DS)
Backyard Football 2010 (wii)
Mountian Sports (Wii)
Littliest Pet Shop: Country Friends (DS)


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