When it comes to developing video games, it turns out that "Kick Ass And Be Awesome" isn't a specific enough mission statement. You can't blame people for all the games that suck, because anyone who went into gaming and ended up making Bratz: The Movie for Wii no longer counts as a person. Their dreams have been murdered so brutally they couldn't get work as a Dementor because they'd make their coworkers uncomfortable. That's why designers tend to make such terrible My Little Pony games: They're trying to warn children that dreams can hurt before it's too late. But this is a list of much less excusable misfires -- games that used real effort and missed the point harder than SEGA, and they added furry romance to a game about a killing robots with spikes.
Didn't Get It: Resident Evil
Resident Evil was as scary as the number at the bottom of a tax bill: you knew exactly what was coming and where it would be when you started if you'd bothered paying attention to one of these before. Capcom's Japanese department mistranslated "survival horror" as "point your gun at every window you see." A dying police officer spent the second game telling me to save myself, and I did so by pointing my shotgun at him at all times. When he inevitably leaped at me it was more disappointment after a longer buildup than my first kiss, with the same amount of failed biting. They used "jumping out and shouting BOO!" as the plot for three games, and anyone who could actually be scared by one couldn't work enough hands to pick up the controller.
Every window installed by Umbrella corporation comes with a free monster.
Got it: Silent Hill
The first Silent Hill on the other hand was scarier than waking up next to the girl from The Ring wearing a broken condom. It could scare the shit out of you when nothing was happening after a week without fiber. Little things like music, fog, the flies buzzing round the blood-soaked blanket draped over a broken wheelchair in the corner.
Anyone who didn't piss themselves at this point is lying or dehydrated.
The core difference was effort. When
Didn't Get It: Metal Gear Solid series
Metal Gear Solid was the K-T extinction asteroid of 3D gaming. Before it struck, warm-blooded gamers suffered under clumsy, lumbering games which were as three dimensional as the pyramids: they had depth but moved at the speed of continental drift and were visibly blocky from four miles away. Metal Gear kicked the entire industry in the ass, and to this day Psycho Mantis is the only individual who could convince many gamers to put the controller down for a second.
Luckily gasmasks and rubberwear are already an established fetish.
Unfortunately Hideo Kojima thought this was because he included a personalized
Got It: Half-Life series
Gordon Freeman is the smartest first person shooter ever, and proves it by kicking ass and shutting up. His refusal to speak even once demonstrates more respect for his user than the Emperor's Geishii.
They had inhumanly photoshopped fetishes way before computers.
Dr Freeman understands both particle physics and that if you wanted to listen to assholes you wouldn't be running around throwing toilets at people.
This is basically internet commenting.
This is a man who ripped a hole in reality rather than stop for one second to ask, "Should we be doing this incredibly dangerous experiment with me at ground zero?" He figured that slowing the game down by 13 words was a worse fate than ending the world, and for that he's the greatest action hero of all time.
Didn't Get It: Killer Instinct
Action movies claim that one man can beat up the world, and video games claim that person is you. Disbelief isn't so much suspended as given a jetpack. The idea that one hero can triumph over waves of idiots if he's skilled enough is the exact fantasy of thousands of IT workers, and why they want to beat people up for fun. The ultimate example in fighting games is the combo: a sequence of perfectly timed moves pounding your opponent into an insensible heap, where (unlike the real world) you're just so good he doesn't have a chance, a gun or five friends behind you with tire irons.
In reality kicking one man in a bath house only begins your problems.
Her combo is about as believable as her anatomy.
Got It: Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
Street Fighter III was the most self-aware fighter of all time. It elevated everything about Street Fighting to Ph.D. level and even admitted that Capcom photocopies its games. The first version had a subtitle, so Street Fighter III: New Generation might as well have been called SFIII: You Bet Your Ass We're Making More. 2nd Impact tuned it, and 3rd Strike performed the even more vital task of fixing the broken tuning.
If you don't play fighting games, this clip kicks more ass than destroying the Death Star. Except the one responsible actually knew what the hell he was doing.
Didn't Get It: Blur
The best racing game in the world is Mario Kart, and every asshole whining about the blue shell doesn't realize that's the only reason people are still playing against them. You wouldn't be winning without it, you'd be alone without it, because it turns out people who don't play games much don't enjoy being lapped by an obsessive. But mixing weapons with real racing lines is hard, which is why Mario Kart tracks have turns the size of small countries. In 2010 two games tried to combine attack with real racing lines, and only one deserved to die. That one was Blur. It started with a gaming campaign mocking Mario Kart, which is like a presidential campaign promoting communism.
Mocking Mario Kart is how you tell gamers "I don't understand fun."
Then it ripped off the wrong parts of
Got It: Split/Second
Instead of glowing energy balls, Split/Second had "power plays," parts of the course you could blow up including "crashing cargo planes" and "the entire background." Some dismissed this as just another movie game (you play it once and you've seen everything) but it was a perfect fusion of racing with weapons. To even hit other people you needed to know the course, the whole point of racing. Even better, the game balanced the Michael Bay with the Michael Schumacher: You could take 1st by blowing up an entire airport but one bad corner later you're in 8th. And if you know the power plays it's possible to out-drive them with sheer skill, because screw you blue shell! In
Yes this happens, and yes it's awesome.
Didn't Get It: Time Crisis
Scientists are trying to build machines which can see into our deepest thoughts and dreams, which is weird, because Operation Wolf did that in 1987: we want to shoot everyone without getting into trouble. Light gun games are the porn of action gaming. You don't have to move, make decisions or organize equipment, you just get an endless series of money shots right in their eager faces.
Got It: Rambo
If you don't want to play this already it's because you have never understood balls.
The game is unadulterated adrenaline injected through your trigger finger. There is less than no reward for conserving ammo, you pussy. Your gun has a clip the size of the Empire State building and rewards rapid fire with RAGE! This rewards killing people and explosions with even more killing and explosions while Stallone screams RAAAAAAAAAGH! and the sheer testosterone instantly gives you an invincible and much bigger weapon. It also gives you a bigger gun in the game.
THE GREATEST TUTORIAL OF ALL TIME.
Got It Wrong: War Games
Gaming is currently through World War III, the massive struggle between expert players who can not only tell the difference between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 but actually seem to care. So many people haven't been upset by such minute differences since Darwin.
One of the games.
We realize that talking about
The other one.
This is just the worst case of an industry-wide problem. Players are dealt with instead of entertained, and handed a few buttons to push during quicktime events so they feel they're still involved.
The Elder Scrolls series has always understood that the games are toys, and if a kid enjoys breaking it then, hey, their toy. The series is famous for ludicrously unbalanced builds, with low-level characters more invisible than a Romulan warbird's air supply and even more likely to kill innocent people. Games like Skyrim realize that invisible walls and locked doors are the combovers and viagra of game design: horrible signs of insecurity in people who can't keep up with young people but still want to screw them.
Some players like to level up "massage" and "musk." Also: "accessorizing."
Yeah yeah, I'll get round to that.
Because Bethesda understands that a video games are meant to be played, not obeyed.
For more gaming disasters, check out 10 Days As a Skyrim Widow and The 7 Most Elaborate Dick Moves in Online Gaming History.
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