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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 12-16-09

Posted by nfinit on December 15, 2009

Four games this week; they’re all terrible, and I’m pretty sure that if I go back to right now that at least two of these will have been pushed back a week.  It’s a good thing no one ever plays videogames in the month between Black Friday and January the 1st, otherwise someone might accidentally release a game and I dunno, make money or something.

Reader Rabbit Kindergarten (DS)

Okay so I’m not a dad, kids scare me and I’ve rendered myself more or less terminally single by this point, so maybe I’m not the go-to guy for info on something like Reader Rabbit Kindergarten, but I do know that thirty bucks will instead buy your kid this pimp motherfucker right here:

Not only will it be more cherished by your child, you’re giving your kid a better chance at being a decent human being.

Look, maybe I’m being a curmudgeon here and not seeing the benefits of new tech to educate children, but c’mon.  Don’t buy your kid a DS game to teach them to read.  Don’t be That Guy, America.

Playmobil Circus (Wii)

Playmobil has ever been something of a dark, authoritarian version of Lego– very German, kinda creepy, probably fucks up kids who are exposed to it.  So when Playmobil got their own gaming franchise, I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised when it featured pantsless BDSM with knives.

Also, this:

what the fuck is going on with this game?

So while we’re on the subject of European polystyrene toys, I wanted to bring up Lego Rock Band, or rather the remarkable scope in which the game has managed to utterly fail, possibly taking Lego games, Rock Band games, guitar games and the economy of Scandinavia with it.

Lego Rock Band sold 13,000 copies.  This is despite being given away at Old Navy in return for spending twenty dollars on trendy, embarrassingly cheap clothing.  Thirteen thousand copies!  I’m pretty sure I could scrawl “Moon Patrol II” onto old copies of Madden 2004 and trick more than 13,000 people into buying it.

But more than the trouble this speaks for Lego games– I mean c’mon,its Lego, they’ll just release a Harry Potter game and make twelve bazillion dollars next year– what does this mean for guitar games?  Not a single version of Rock Band Beatles, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero or DJ Hero showed up on November’s National Public Diary and it’s rumored that if RB: Beatles fails to hit a certain unspecified sales point then EA owes Apple Music 33 million dollars.

What does the future hold for guitar games?  Underground Development is crapping out Guitar Hero Van Halen next week, despite Barry Kotik pretty much admitting that Activision killed the genre by flooding the market with too many releases, and (I shit you not) Rock Band: Green Day has been revealed as the followup to Rock Band: Beatles.  No Rock Band 3. Green Day!  They’re going from the Beatles to freaking Green Day!

Meanwhile Best Buy, Gamestop, Target and Wal-Mart sales directors are no doubt looking at the massive amount of real estate dedicated to these oversized game packages and thinking they’ve become an albatross about the neck of gaming retail.  There’s no way you can justify one copy of Rock Band: Beatles taking up the same shelf space as three dozen copies of Modern Warfare 2 when Modern Warfare 2 sold six million copies in one month.

Playmobil Pirates (DS)

Unlike the Wii game, which is basically a party game, the DS Playmobil title appears to be more of a traditional videogame, although the PR stuff is careful to mention that it takes place during 70-odd “missions”, so it’s hard to tell.  All the gameplay videos are in German and bring up stuff like



And not for nothing but I’m pretty sure you don’t want you kids exposed to any of that.

Konami Classics Volume 1 (360)

So when I was checking Gamestop for this week’s WAW– all four games of it– I assumed we were all being exposed to another week of post-Black Friday shovelware releases.  I mean, two Playmobil titles and a freaking Reading Rabbit game?  Really?  That’s what the videogames industry is relying on to feed its families this week?  It was almost (almost) enough to cause to rethink my premise for this article and perhaps wait for the downloadable titles to be revealed for Live Arcade and Playstation Network and Virtual Console.

But then I saw this.  Konami Classics!  Imagine!  The pre-Symphony of the Night Castlevanias!

Sunset Riders!

Sexy Parodius!

Konami is finally releasing a comp disc!  The possibilities are staggering!  Wait, let’s go back to Sexy Parodius again–

Right.  Okay, so maybe a lot of their classic arcade stuff– Aliens, Simpsons, TNMT, relies on licenses that they probably dont’ have the rights to anymore, but still!  These guys made Contra!  There has to be at least three or four Contra games on this, right?  I mean, Konami Arcade Classics released on the DS back in 2006 and included thirty games!  This at least has to compare with that, and probably include some more contemporary stuff.  So let’s break this list down and see how many classic Konami games twenty American dollars buys you in 2009:

Castlevania:  Symphony of the night:

Undeniably a classic, and something I’m dying to do a Greatest Games Ever piece on once i have the time to dedicate to it.  A little bit of a letdown though, as SOTN is already on Live Arcade and I’ve played it seventeen times through over the past 12 years.  Still, may as well include it, DVDs are huge and it’s not like Konami’s 16 bit stuff takes up a lot of room.  Moving on….

Super Contra:

Okay so that’s a wierd one to include as it’s easily the weakest of the 2d Contras– also anyone who wants to play Super Contra already has it on XBLA.  Still, it’s inclusion bodes well for the rest of the disc as if Konami is willing to include something as esoteric as Super Contra no doubt it’s chock-full of alien-blasting awesome.  Next!


Okay what’s this shit?  No one cared about Frogger back in 1981, why would anyone care about this now?  This is also already on XBLA and.. wait a goddamned second here.  What else is on this disc?

Wait, are you serious?


Dear lord.  They’re not kidding.  They’re actually doing this.  They’re releasing all the Konami games already present on XBLA and selling them on disc.  For $6.66 each.  To properly understand the magnitude of Konami’s cockup, a little perspective is in order.  Let’s take, oh I dunno, the first Capcom Classics Collection from back in 2006 for the original Xbox.  It too sold for twenty bucks–  Here’s what it included:

1. 1942
2. 1943: The Battle of Midway
3. 1943 Kai
4. Bionic Commando
5. Commando
6. Exed Exes
7. Final Fight
8. Forgotten Worlds
9. Ghosts ‘n Goblins
10. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
11. Gun.Smoke
12. Legendary Wings
13. Mercs
14. Pirate Ship Higemaru
15. Section Z
16. SonSon
17. Street Fighter II
18. Street Fighter II’: Champion Edition
19. Street Fighter II’ Turbo: Hyper Fighting
20. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
21. Trojan
22. Vulgus

Ninety cents a game!  But that’s not the only example– comp discs chock-full of retro goodness have become commonplace over the past couple years.  SNK released a comp disc last year that included 16 arcade classics for twenty bucks– something all of you need to go out and buy right now, mind you.  For something as recent as this very console generation, look no further than Sega’s Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection for the 360, a stunning 49 Sega classics for a mere thirty bucks!

In fact, Konami’s “comp disc” only becomes a value when compared with the outright act of larceny Microsoft is charging for points to buy content off Xbox Live.  Yes, all three of these games are available on XBLA, but collecting all 2000 points needed to buy all three would cost twenty-five dollars– with 100 points left over.  However, since the only game on this disc that’s remotely desirable is Symphony of the Night is itself only 800 points, you’d be far better off buying those same points yourself and using the remaining 1300 points on Braid or Castle Crashers or Portal or Shadow Complex.





4 Responses to “Wallet Abuse Wednesday 12-16-09”

  1. logan said

    YAY! Sunset Riders FTW!

  2. hugh betcha said

    Super Contra: Not so bad, akshully. Remember, this was the Contra where you fought a boss in mid-air while hanging by one arm from a missile that had been shot at said boss. This was the closest that videogames of that era came to destroying an opponent WITH THE POWER OF ROCK.

    That said, that is a pretty damning cash-grab by Konami. They’re clearly reaching out to the demographic who despite all efforts to make the process simplistic, STILL can’t figure out/are afraid of Live. And then trying to foist shit like Frogger on to them in order to buff the game-count of the disc.

    13000 Lego RB copies sold?! I think that’s less than 3DO’s “A Fork In The Tale” (which harnessed the unstoppable star-power of Rob Schneider).

    … No, wait, AFITT sold 600 copies.

    Still, hay. That makes the Lego RB I own darn near collectible! The tragedy is, LRB actually has a better song list than RB: Green Day is destined to have. Which isn’t a tall hurdle to jump- no disrespect to Green Day, but they are an Album Pack at -best-. Not a full release.

    Non-sequiter: jeeze, Julie Bell did the cover for AFITT? Those must’ve been hard times for the Airbrush Breast Art industry…

  3. nfinit said

    That’s not Super Contra you’re thinking of, Hugh. The one with the missile riding was Contra III on the SNES and actually may have made the package worth picking up as it’s not been seen since 1992.

    Also rocking game covers from Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo may well be worthy of a blog entry.

  4. […] Wallet Abuse Wednesday 12-16-09 « Bigredcoat […]

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