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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 12-23-09

Posted by nfinit on December 22, 2009

it’s the last week before Christmas and gaming pickings are dire indeed– so dire in fact that the Big Red Coat staff has received word from North Pole Heavy Industries, Ltd that due to skyrocketing coal prices thanks to the industrialization of China and India, Santa will instead be resorting to using the games released this week to pass judgement on naughty children instead of the traditional lump of coal system that has served him well for hundreds of year.  Luckily we have come up with a handy conversion chart of how many lumps of coal each wretched excuse for digital entertainment translates into, so your will know exactly how disappointed Santa is regarding your actions of the past year:

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (Wii)

Remember the first Crystal Chronicles, a multiplayer super-deformed Final-Fantasy themed dungeon romp that was wildly popular and well-regarded despite needing nearly five hundred dollars of extracurricular attachments to get the full use of not counting the game itself?  Yeah, this is nothing like that, instead being a thoroughly single-player action title with an average in the low sixties at Metacritic.

Lump of Coal Index:  Three lumps of coal.  Not necessarily punishment for naughty kids as much as it is a dire warning for boring, ultimately disappointing children
Guitar Hero Van Halen (PS360, PS2, Wii)

Think quick, what’s more relevant in 2010, Van Halen or yet another Guitar Hero band-based expansion pack?  I don’t have much else to say about GH:VH as sometime this week I hope to have a guest article up on the release and to be quite I’m the world’s worst person to be judging guitar games.  I’ll just leave this entry with the observation that despite Activision’s refusal to include any post-David Lee Roth Van Halen songs, (presumably on grounds that anything without DLR would not be considered  a”true” Van Halen song), 19 of the 44 tracks aren’t Van Halen songs at all, but standards from bands like Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age– people who have jack all to do with Van Halen aside from employing long-haired dudes with guitars.
Lump of Coal Index:  A Cabo Wabo shot glass packed with coal.  Remember, not only is Santa giving you a terrible game, he’s giving you a terrible game Activision gave away with Guitar Hero 5  hoping to sink Rock Band Beatles sales.  This just isn’t for naughty children, it’s for children for whom Santa holds in utter disdain.
(before we go on I’d like to break character for a bit and point out that the Sammy Haggar section at the Van Halen online store is The.  Saddest.  Thing.  I mean, just look:
I mean, you can just picture Sammy sitting on a crate of boxes explaining to the website design guy saying “okay look, just make sure they know that these picture discs are very rare, okay?  They’re in limited supply. It’s very important that I sell these goddamned discs I don’t even know who ordered the stupid things”
And that’s not even going into the bit where apparently Sammy has spent a sizable chunk of his fortune buying up all copies of any magazines to ever feature him on their cover just so he can resell them as collector’s items.
World Party Games (Wii)
This title confuses me.  Is it World Party Games, as in party games that the game itself takes you over the world to experience, or World Party Games, which would imply party games from the world over that have presumably been collected and brought to one location to be experienced?

At some point over the past year the “shitty Wii mini-game collection” managed to become a full-fledged genre. Provided we’re willing to remove Nintendo’s own efforts from this market it could prove interesting to see which, if any, games in this genre are capable of providing a legitimately interesting gaming experience– you know, something along the lines of watching and rating reality TV shows, only instead of Jersey Shore you to sit down and expose yourself to insipid Mario Party ripoffs.    That said, I somehow
doubt this is one of those games.  Mainly because of this
If I’m reading this right, apparently one of the mini-games features the player slapping caricatures of little Asian dudes that could not be more offensive if they were wearing coolly hats and talking about “flied lice”.  Which… okay might actually be kinda cool, but man those graphics are horrible.
Lump of Coal Index:  Two lumps and a handbook on understanding Buddhism.  Santa is unsure if you’ve been bad or not but would rather not take the risk.
Cold Stone Creamery:  Scoop It Up (Wii)
So apparently this is happening now.
Anyway, I’m developing a new theory as to why EA and Activision and pretty much any other third-party not named “Sega” refuses to take development for the Wii seriously, and it’s this:  crap like Cold Stone Creamery has rendered the entire Wii library radioactive and the big players would rather not have AAA-level titles associated with the product.  That makes at least as much sense as any theory offered by the Nintendo fanboys and allows me to blame Nintendo for being too successful.
Lump of Coal Index:  A pickaxe and a one-way Greyhound ticket to Sago, West Virginia.  If your child finds Cold Stone Creamery in their Christmas stocking you really ought to look into professional counselling services as Santa believes the little brat is well on his way to being the next Eric Robert Rudolph.
Savage Moon:  The Hera Campaign (Downloadable; PSN for PSP)

Among the more confounding movements in gaming over the past couple years as been the transition from tower defense games as something you play in your browser for free to full-fledged gaming products that people are actually compelled to spend money on.  Of course sense this is on the PSP no one’s actually going to be compelled to spend money upon it, but it’s neat to see a publisher as high-profile as Sony itself try to market a tower defense game.  It could even be that the entire single-player RTS genre has either already shifted to or is in the process of becoming a giant game of tower defense.
Lumps of Coal Index:  Neutral. Sure, a tower defense game on the PSP may be a dubious proposition, but seeing as how it’s a PSP game it’s effectively free.
Polar Panic (Downloadable; Xbox Live Arcade, PSN for PSP)

Developer Eiconic Games went into development of Polar Panic with the expressed purpose of creating an updated version of Pengo and… well, they’ve certainly managed to do that–
I just worry that maybe Eiconic Games have greatly overestimated the popularity and relevance of Sega’s early arcade library.  I mean, they made a spiritual successor to Pengo.  That’s great.  Maybe next they can work on a Tac Scan sequel next.

Lump of Coal Index: Half a lump of coal, milk and cookies untouched, presents left sitting on your roof.  It’s not so much that Santa hates you, you’re just sort of puzzled as to why Santa came over in the first place.
Dragon’s Lair (Downloadable; DSiWare for DSi)

So I know data compression tech has advanced a great deal since 1983, but I mean c’mon.  This thing was a laser disc game!  The entire point Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace was to watch a 30 minute long interactive Don Bluth cartoon– well that and this
Dragon’s Lair, much like Polar Panic, is targeting a very specific retro market that wasn’t spectacularly successful to begin with.  I mean, sure squeezing a laserdisc game into the 2kb of data or whatever Nintendo allows for DSi Ware games is an impressive technical feat, but can’t you just download some Dragon Pink hentai to an SD card and watch that instead?
Lump of Coal index:  3 lumps of coal and discovering that Santa has shuffled through your DVD collection and put your collection of Cool Devices back in the wrong order
0 Day:  Attack on Earth (Downloadable, XBLA for Xbox 360)
So let’s say I were to tell you that Squeenix were making a Geometry Wars-style twin stick shooter.  How would you think Squeenix would go about lending the game an air of undeniable Squeenix-osity?
Player’s ship is covered in belts?
Player’s ship is of indeterminate gender and/or sexual orientation?
PS1-era pre-rendered backgrounds?  DING DING DING DING
Lump of Coal Index:  Ten pounds of coal stuffed inside your stocking and then used to repeatedly smash a copy of Einhander.
Pallurikio (Downloadable, Wiiware for Wii)

Alright, look.  I give up.  I tried, I honestly tried to find something interesting to say about Pallurikio that doesn’t revolve around its silly name but it’s just a downloadable platform game.  You direct where you go by aiming the Wiimote cursor and jumping in that general direction.  I guess that sounds neat, but it only got 50% at Nintendo Live, and I mean, Nintendo is their life.  This game is godawful!  Seriously, please save your WiiWare points for Super Meat Boy.
Lump of Coal Index:  4 lumps of coal and a note from Santa mocking you for not buying World of Goo.
“Nfinit” you say “What if I’ve not been a bad boy and/or girl? Don’t I deserve something better than passive aggressive symbols of disapproval from some mythical amalgamation of Winter Solstice mythologies?”
Well boys and/or girls, you’re right.  You do deserve something better.  That’s why, if you’ve been a very very good boy and/or girl, ol’ Kris Kringle will work his holiday-of-undetermined-origin magic and present you with a Gamestop with a loose concept of release dates:
That’s right, motherfuckers!  GOTY 2010 Bayonetta’s street date has been wrecked worse than the career of Brittney Murphy’s pharmacist!  So go out and buy it!
For you poor benighted fools who are still reading and have yet to experience the glory of Bayonetta’s leggy mistress of spectral destruction and are at a loss as to why Bayonetta is Santa’s ultimate expression of love,   allow me to explain thusly:
Bayonetta is mainly Ninja Gaiden + Devil May Cry along with:
but mainly lots of this:
If you’re not grabbing your car keys to head out to Best Buy RIGHT THIS SECOND then just throw yourself into the nearest available means of mass transit as you HAVE NO SOUL.
If you already have the pleasure of being exposed to the Bayonetta experience, whether it be in demo (download it now!) form or in in it’s full-broken-release-date-glory can explain that Bayonetta may well represent the apex of the 3d brawler as we know it.  As precise as Ninja Gaiden, as stylish as Devil May Cry, more boobs-per-second than God Of War, Bayonetta is no less than the ultimate action game.

One Response to “Wallet Abuse Wednesday 12-23-09”

  1. Dsi Games said

    Thank you for a great post

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