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

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 6-16-10: Phoning it in edition

Posted by nfinit on June 15, 2010

I’ve never understood the game’s industry insistence that Summer– and E3 week in particular– should be a slow time for games.

After all, people — well okay, fat gaming nerds, but still people— tend to stay inside in the Summer, where’s there’s air conditioning and iced lemonade and endless cans of sour cream and onion Pringles.  Sure, people used to go to the movies during this period, but at some point over the past year theatre owners thought it wholly reasonable to charge eighteen bucks for two hours of entertainment.

In other news I’ve not seen a movie since District 9 and I remain firmly convinced that Avatar is some form of cult.

As our earth warms and our seas boil away this problem is only going to become more pronounced, to the point where otherwise healthy people will be forced to stay inside lest their lungs catch fire upon contact with the open air.  So why is it the games industry has mandated that 90% of it’s most important titles be released in a three-month stretch leading up to Christmas?  Who thought that was a good idea?

Sure, Singularity comes out in a couple of weeks, and that probably won’t suck.  And Crackdown 2 is important, but that’s not until a week into July.  And from there there’s basically nothing on the horizon but weird Arc Systems Works shooters and some Atlus PSP stuff until Madden 11 sometime in September.

The week of E3 is all the more confusing to me.  Apparently somewhere along the line game marketing execs got hold of the idea that gamers don’t want to play games during the one time of the year that we’re most hyped about games.  This is crazy– When I watch real-time demo footage of Raiden chopping dudes into easily stackable bits in Metal Gear Solid Rising, it makes me desperately want to play -that- game, but I’m willing to settle!  I just want to chop dudes up.  The games industry could throw out some absolute crap right now and as long as it’s halfway geared toward the hardcore set I’m willing to bet it’d do decent numbers.  After all, it’s not like we have a lot of time to read game reviews in between keynote speeches.

(speaking of E3 demos– it’s 2010, all three consoles have enough storage options and built-in connectivity– why isn’t every demo on the show floor available for download over their respective console service the same day the crowds at E3 is allowed to do so?  Okay so maybe this stuff is in barely playable alpha states, but just make sure people understand this and pull down the demo once E3 is over.  Wouldn’t this generate an enormous amount of hype among the people most likely to buy hardcore games anyway?  This would also alleviate the phenomenon where the people most often chosen to play games are also woefully bad at the act of playing videogames.)

Anyway, I bring up all the above so I can introduce this week’s list of games, and specifically why I won’t be talking about them.  Here.  You fucking bastards.

100 Classic Books
Dance on Broadway
Family Game Show
I Spy Universe
Kid Adventures:  Sky Capitan
Legend of Kay
Let’s Play Garden
Let’s Play Ballerina
Naval Assault:  Killing Tide
Super Bike World Championships SBK
Toy Story 3
Western Riding Academy
XG Blast
Yard Sale Hidden Treasures:  Sunnyville

I mean, that’s a lot of games!  Usually we don’t get half that many in one week, and they’re all awful!  And I don’t mean in terms of “ha ha Deadly Premonition is pretty bad, right guys?” I mean there’s literally nothing in that list worth spending money on even in an ironic fashion!

(meanwhile, it’s entirely possible that Toy Story 3 is decent, but oh hey it’s E3 week and no one is available to review games because the entire games journalist community is too busy drinking free booze and playing Twisted Metal PS3.  Come to think of it, that’s another excellent reason to release hardcore-oriented games of marginal quality at E3– no one is around to review anything.  Just imagine the sales Dante’s Inferno would have enjoyed had no one been around to warn people how godawful it was.  Also if  Fairytale Fights had released six earlier  it wouldn’t cost fifteen bucks brand new right now and Playlogic might have made enough money to buy the game its own domain name.)

Although I can’t be bothered to scour through press releases to pry whatever nugget of useful information can be found about this week’s games, there is some weird crap going on in a few of these titles that I wanted to elaborate on further.

Kid Adventures:  Sky Captain. Okay, wasn’t Sky Captain its own media property a couple of years back?  Did the movie do so badly that the IP holders no longer care if some fly-by-night videogame dev comes along and steals half their trademark?  Do these games take place in the same universe?

Western Riding Academy– Based on the title alone there are some really interesting directions this game could have taken, but sadly nothing indicates that this game involves any creative uses of the riding crop whatsoever.

Naval Assault:  Killing Tide: I think this game sets a new record for disparity between a game’s title and the quality of the game itself.   Amazingly this record would only be held for roughly thirty seconds until:

Super Bike World Championships SBK Was released.  And this is one of the most telling differences between the sixteen bit era and today.  If you were growing up on the Genesis or SNES and you saw a game with the title:  NAVAL ASSAULT: KILLING TIDE or SUPER BIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP on the box, you’d buy that game immediately.

Yard Sale Hidden Treasures:  Sunnyville: I first misread the game’s location as Sunnyvale instead of Sunnyville, and was immediately irrationally excited by the idea of rummaging around Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s hometown searching yardsales and flea markets for ancient magical artifacts before rival sorcerers and demons could get hold of them.  But y’know, if any game developers want to make that game please do so!  Just give me a copy, because I badly want to play that game!

So that’s all of the insight I could wring out of today’s list of “games”.  Next week looks to be even worse than today’s dregs, as the only thing worth noting is War of Cybertron, which might not suck, but considering the industry’s remarkable knack for fucking up Transformers games, I don’t have much hope for that.

Also next week is Wipe Out.  For the DS.  But not -that- Wipe Out.


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