In a recent interview, Nintendo CEO Reggie Fils-Aime was asked to discuss some of the challenges that come with trying to please the modern gamer. His, ahem, “diplomatic” answer, was that gamers only react well to the things that they themselves want to be shown, and no single release ever pleases all of them. This goes along with the “vocal minority” theory, the idea that it’s far easier to become the center of attention when you’re a bitchy diva.
By the way, “bitchy diva” is MY “diplomatic answer”. Squeaky wheel gamer nerdies are horrid beasts, fueled by entitlement issues, industry Kool-Aid, and absolutely no self-awareness. These cretins complain about the lack of originality in Nintendo franchises, while slavering over Generic Space Marine Shooter #983475. They spend years crying about adventure games being “on rails”, then bitch that Skyrim has too many storylines. And do I even need to bring up the whole console war thing? The eternal internet struggle that is fought with system specs, buy rates, average user demographics, and basically everything BUT if the games are fun to play?
Your system doesn’t support both PAL and NTSC color
systems? GTFO with that lamesauce, n00b.
And my personal favorite fallback of the “hardcore gamer” culture: INDIE GAMES. There’s a whole slew of grousing ninnies who thinks the problem with game companies is that they’re too big and make too much money, and we should “support the indie scene”. Best part: they are almost never talking about the games on the XBox LIVE Indie Marketplace.
There’s a reason for that. It’s easier to state your case, when games like “Fez”, “Braid” and “Limbo” exist – these shining examples have all the spit shine and polish of a big-name release, at about a sixth of the price. They challenge modern gaming conventions. They show what’s possible with a (comparatively) meager budget.
The following games… not so much. Good luck defending the indie game scene if you can’t find at lease some small measure of joy in these bad boys. All the games I’m listing have the following in common:
- Someone actually made them, thinking people would PAY MONEY TO PLAY THEM
- Someone else actually PLAYED THEM long enough to leave a rating
- They are all rated lower than “Avatar Falls Down Stairs“.
#1 – Eye-Ball
Somewhere near the Goatse Nebula, Ben Stein is shooting
the least accessible Clear-Eyes commercial ever.
Behold, “Eye-Ball”. The description says it’s “a little bit of pong and a little bit of tennis”, which in my book is a little bit of redundant. “Eye-Ball” is not by any means the only XBLI game in the “re-skin a game mechanic so old that even the POP Station won’t touch it” genre, but it is one of the funniest to point and laugh at. It’s like the designer was bored in health class, and thought, “You know what this picture of Stage Three syphilis is missing? Two big Monty Python fingers flicking an eyeball at each other.”
#2 Pumpkin Carver
Honey, help me drag the $900 TV to the window, I think I found a way
we can save $5 on a pumpkin this year.
Creativity games are all the rage on the indie scene these days, especially the ones that creatively rip off “Minecraft” (which is itself a creative ripoff of “Infiniminer“). And honestly, I can respect that. To a point.
“Pumpkin Carver” is so past the point, that it’s getting tag-teamed from behind by the hillbillies it asked for directions back to the point. This “accurate” simulation of Halloween’s messiest tradition delivers all the thrills of pumpkin carving, without all the thrills of pumpkin pie and toasted pumpkin seeds afterwards. Your children will feel entire seconds of excitement, paralleled only by deciding which XBox avatar nose looks more like Lady Gaga’s. And the best part? Only 80 Microsoft Points – that’s only like a dollar! Take that, overpriced pumpkin cartel!
#3 – The Book Of Biblets – Part 1
“I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIGHT, no man may come before
the LORD but by jumping over these marbles.” – Jumpman 3:16
Yeah, I know, I was disappointed too – those little halo dudes look nothing like miniature bibs.
“The Book Of Biblets – Part 1” is a game that will “teach your children about important Bible stories”. Now, I was raised in a heavily Christian-influenced household, and I’m pretty sure I missed the one where Ezekiel or Lazarus or Whoeverthefuckadiah climbed up Donkey Kong platforms to reap his eternal reward. The rest of the screenshots on the product page look like Trey Parker’s pecker was enclosed in a Saw-esque puzzle, that could only be solved by throwing together a “THIS IS WHAT SNAKE HANDLERS ACTUALLY BELIEVE” episode of South Park in under 30 minutes. In addition to mini-”games “like the one above, children will also need to answer vital faith-affirming questions like “How many people were on Noah’s Ark?” Because, as we all know, there WILL be a test at the Pearly Gates.
Pictured: Saint Peter
#4 – Avatar Zombie Massager Extreme
Apparently, “Vaginal Masturbation Of The Dead” was already taken
This one gets bonus points for trying really really hard to be self-aware. The product description for “Avatar Zombie Massager Extreme” features the following gem of a quote:
You know this is a surefire hit, because it has ZOMBIES! Yes, Zombies, the one constant known to launch any title, however stupid, to the top of the charts. But wait! Theres More! We even have AVATARS!
Brilliant observation there, jaded purchaser of an XBox Developer Kit! There sure are a metric shitload of games at the top of the Indie charts featuring zombies and Avatars! Of course, what you WON’T see at the top of the charts, are the umpteen million “massager” games. Yes, folks, there are actually SEVERAL titles on XBLI that invite you to burn our your controller’s vibration motors on, um, back-rubs, I guess? Foot massages? Scalp agitation?
Yeah, I don’t care what part of the body they intended you to massage while looking at Undead Gumby up there. The fact is, I know where that controller has been. I eat Cheetos and hot wings while playing games. My daughter chews on them because she’s like two and doesn’t know any better. My friends should not have to wonder if the same controller they’re using to assist me in Minecraft 360 has also been used to add spice to my marriage.
Although, in retrospect, that WOULD be a great comeback when I’m being beaten in a video game by my obnoxious nephew:
#5 – Overscan Sniper HD
Tom Clancy likes to test the limits of his Best Buy Extended
This, according to 532 votes, is the absolute worst product in the XBLI Marketplace, and I for one can’t imagine why. “Overscan Sniper HD” is the touching story of the player’s love for their HDTV, tinged by the doubt that not every single pixel of visual output is appearing at the edges of the screen. Determined to test this forbidden passion, our hero sets out on a quest to learn the truth.
And, if the unnamed protagonist discovers – betrayal of betrayals – that his HDTV isn’t giving him the full majesty of an extra 1/16th of an inch of audience in the background of Monday Night RAW? With tears in his eyes, he fires a single bullet. Thus ends the bitter saga.
You want originality and innovation? Here it is, gamer nerdies. I can guarantee, nobody has ever thought of this before. When Microsoft releases a brown and gray first-person HDTV tester/shooter starring grizzled space marines, you’ll know which indie game they were stealing ideas from.
Written by: Z. Mann Zilla
Z Mann Zilla is a guest author for NerdtopiaCast.com. If you would like to contact him, he can be reached at: email@example.com