This week we discuss the complexities of the universe and the far-reaching consequences of president Obama's policy decisions... Just kidding! We talk about butts and penises and Donnie Iris and The Cruisers. Good times for all!
Cast: Benny Disco, Zombie Orwell, and Occam's Electric Toothbrush
At awkward-fest 2013 AKA the Spike Video Game Awards, Telltale games confirmed the rumors that they were making a game based off of the popular Game of Thrones TV show (as opposed to the A Song of Ice and Fire novels that the show is based on, much to my dismay).
i'm predicting the game will turn out great, but I don't quite think the franchise is a perfect fit for Telltale's signature style. Here are 5 franchises that I think would be a great for Telltale Games:
Watch any episode of the mystery show "Psych" and it becomes clear that the characters are basically right out of a cartoon. With the show's great sense of humor and "murder mystery" format, it would be the perfect fit for an episodic San & Max style point and click adventure.
2. Breaking Bad
It's practically a cliche by now to say that Telltale should do a "Breaking Bad" game, but that's because it's such a great idea. The show could easily get the Walking Dead treatment and have different characters set in the same universe.
Breaking Bad's central theme of a normal man becoming corrupted by turning to a life of crime could easily be used in another great story.
3. The David Lynch Universe (See "Twin Peaks" and "Blue Velvet")
It's obvious that I'm a huge Deadly Premonition fan, but I don't feel like the idea that Deadly Premonition is essentially "Twin Peaks: The Game," is accurate. It had a lot in common with the show and made a lot of references to it, but I don't feel like a game have ever truly nailed the feeling of what I feel are Lynch's best works. It has more of a superficial Twin Peaks coating for what is a truly unique experience.
Judging from The Walking Dead, I think Telltale is one of the few companies that could make a game that's matches both the storytelling and style of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet.
Mushi-shi is a woefully underrepresented Manga/Anime series about a traveler name Ginko who is a Mushi-master (not quite like a Pokemon master). He researches small paranormal creatures called "mushi" and helps people who have problems caused by them. The stories can range from beautiful and optimistic to melancholy or even downright depressing.
It did receive a Japan-only DS game, but I feel it deserves more.
5. Clock Tower
Oh yeah! THAT Clock Tower!
Telltale is great at interspersing tense action scenes with adventure gameplay, much like what is needed for a great game in the Clock Tower franchise. I'm imagining Walking Dead/The Wolf Among Us adventure sequences interrupted by needing to run and hide from scissor man.
It would also have a great possibility for branching story paths, with the identity of the killer changing based on your choices.
I've done it once again! I have come up with a plethora of ideas that would make a video game company filthy rich! Why haven't I been hired yet, dammit?!
So they're actually doing it. Persona 4 is getting a dancing game spin off. To me, this sounds ingenious. Take characters from a well-known franchise and make them dance for our amusement. Brilliant!
It got me thinking though: What other games should get dancing game spinoffs? A few ideas immediately formed in the dark, stinky cellar of my mind.
1. Metal Gear Salsa: Eating and Dancing Action
Metal Gear Solid is still staying pretty strong as a franchise. It has two new games coming out soon, one of which has a horse in it. I don't know if that makes it better or worse, but that's pretty much all I know about the games so far.
There are two things, however, that I feel could really add to the series: Dancing, and Hideo Kojima's new favorite hobby: taking pictures of food.
This idea would take a lot of work to get right, as dancing and taking pictures of delicious cooked meats at the same time would be quite difficult, but if there's any man for the job, it's Kojima.
2. Densha De Groove!
You may be wondering "how would you integrate dancing into a train simulator? Would the people on the train be dancing? Would it be the conductor?"
Nope. The trains would be dancing.
3.Silent Hill: Pump it up!
Just look at this video:
People obviously want this to happen.
We could have cameos from all the games too! Who wouldn't want to see the Lying Figure boogie down with Richard Braintree, some Closers and Robbie the Rabbit?
Think about it.
4. Bioshock: Electric Boogaloo
I haven't played Bioshock: Infinite, but a lot of fans said they have been disappointed with the last installment of the series.
Well, Irrational Games, listen up, because I have the perfect idea to win those people over again: Bioshock: Electric Boogaloo (get it? Electric and shock? lol)!
The plot: You are a generic protagonist who gets lost in a nightmarish dystopian world where people have left America to form Disconia, a country that uses dance as both a currency AND a weapon! To survive, you must bust a move!
Are you ill enough to make it?
5. Ace Attorney: The Musical
I seriously don't need to make anything up for this one. Watch this:
This actually happened, and Capcom desperately needs to make a video game adaptation!
Come on, Capcom. You know you want to! Don't you want to make tons of money?
As you can plainly see, dancing can be applied to any game franchise. All you need is a little imaaaaaagination (and a tiny bit of cocaine)!
Animal simulators are a pretty rare genre to come across. The first that comes to my mind is Mister Mosquito: a game that simulated flying around as a mosquito and drinking the blood of humans.
All that sexy blood!
A few more I can think of are "Dog's Life," also for the PS2, "Shelter," a relatively new game for PC, and to some extent, the 'Ecco the Dolphin" series and "The Amazing Frog?".
For me, this isn't nearly enough. Here are 5 animal simulators we need right nyaow!
1. Lobster Simulator
So what do lobsters do all day? I don't fucking know! Let's discover it together through the magic of video games!
My guess is that they eat fish poop and little slimy things at the bottom of the ocean, which sounds fun... kinda.
At least you'll get to play as an armored badass of the sea! You'll also taste good dipped in butter!
2. Flea Simulator
Mosquitos have already been done, so we should follow that up with the next logical step: fleas! They're super fast, and can get high as fuck! (jump high)
Also, they're twice the assholes that mosquitos are. Mosquitos try to make sure you don't feel them suck your blood, but fleas? They don't give a fuck! They shank you with their little hateful dagger mouths and drink the warm red nectar that flows out!
3. Male Angler Fish Simulator
Male angler fish have it rough when it comes to romance. They spend their entire lives following female angler fish pheromones and end up getting dissolved into the female until they're nothing but a ball sack! Eugh!
Wait. Why am I erect right now?...
4. Drop Bear Simulator
This one is definitely one of my favorites! The drop bear is a close relative of the common Australian koala bear, with one major difference: Drop bears have adapted to feast on human flesh!
I can already imagine the game! Timing would be everything. You creep quietly along the branches, then, when an unsuspecting human walks under you, you DROP and tear him to ribbons in front of his horrified family!
Yes! So satisfying!
5. Reggie Fils-Aime Simulator
For those who don't know, Reggie Fils-Aime is the president of Nintendo of America... or so they say. That's actually all just a cover.
Reggie Fils-Aime is actually a big meaty creature that's a close relative of your average American sasquatch. While in America, Shigeru Miyamoto found his home and tamed him by playing Legend of Zelda songs on an ocarina.
Since then, Reggie has acted as the face of Nintendo of America. In return he gets fed 10 pounds of meat at least 5 times a day. If they fail to feed him he goes feral.
Anyway, being Reggie would be awesome! I imagine it would mainly consist of bossing people around and eating meat out of wheelbarrows.
Killer app for the Wii U for sure!
If only the animal simulation genre would grow in popularity. We'd have great titles just like these and more! See what we're missing? It's such a shame!
So earlier today I watched Jim Sterling's "Squirty Play" of Barbie Dreamhouse Party (seen here). The whole video was basically Jim forcing himself through the game's monotonous tasks while on powerful painkillers (he recently got a wisdom tooth removed).
As I watched I started thinking: "What if this is supposed to be monotonous because the game is actually a critique of modern American life?" That's when I started noticing more and more little details that supported this theory.
And I realized the horrifying hidden message of Barbie Dreamhouse Party...
They've... all had their eyes gouged out... why are they smiling?!...
The basic plot of the game goes something like this: Barbie and three of her friends (I don't know their names. Let's go with Beatrice, Sabrewolf, and Sharkeisha) are hanging out at "The Dreamhouse," when Sharkeisha accidentally activates an insidious computer AI named "Closet" that traps them all in the house. It them forces them to play games for it's amusement.
I'm not kidding. Jim described it as "The Barbie version of 'I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream." It's eerily fitting.
Still a preferable fate to the one Barbie and her friends suffer
In my theory, the computer is the society we have built for ourselves. Just as Barbie installed Closet into the Dreamhouse knowing what it was capable of, so too have we created a society that stifles us and creates unrealistic expectations for us. We are but mice running on wheels, never to reach the cheese that seems to be only inches from our faces.
Also, just like Closet, the world we live in watches us and judges eternally. We must keep our true feelings inside, lest we be punished mercilessly with no hope of escape.
He is always watching...
Before each mini game, the group must perform a ritual of sorts. They must search the room they are in for household items, like shoes or makeup boxes, and put them up on pedestals. Then the next game begins.
The symbolism is very obvious in this. Just like Barbie and her friends, we put up material items on metaphorical pedestals. American society glorifies money and consumerism. Clothes become defining characteristics of who we are, and brand names are raised to god-like proportions. Popular music "artists" will even write songs about them, just as travelling bards would write songs of gods and legendary heroes.
Here's a song about a particular brand of shoes:
After the ritual is completed, the mini games are unlocked. These are usually competitive and consist of simple activities performed over and over again. They symbolize our Capitalist system and the inherent daily struggle against each other to survive.
Much like the symbolism of workers being fed to Moloch in Metropolis, Barbie and her friends have dedicated themselves to repetitive labor until their bones turn to dust.
The first one shown in Jim's video consists of washing dogs. One after another, the dogs come up in a never-ending line to be serviced. This is similar to a retail job, where one must satisfy the needs of endless consumers every day.
The second mini game has the gang collecting shoe boxes as they fall from the sky. This symbolizes the constant wasteful nature of our society and the need for constant consumption to keep it running.
The third mini-game had them painting makeup onto a large idol as a sort of religious act, much like how we prop other people up as idols and dress them up as more than they really are before we decide to tear them back down again.
The dogs will never stop. Ever.
After each mini game the winner is rewarded with not freedom, but new clothing to wear. Much like society, there is no escape to the endless cycle of daily work until death. The only relief is through material items like clothing. Something petty we can distract ourselves with until the cold, sweet embrace of death takes us.
And there you have it. Barbie Dreamhouse Party is not a terrible game for extremely bored children, but an important work of social commentary that hold a mirror up to our faces and shows us what we don't want to see...
So the console launches came and went, and we're left with a bunch of forgettable ruggedly-handsome white guys again (and a robot made of toblerone). We also got some shiny new rubble to stare at while we shoot things and maybe some orange and blue here and there.
In my opinion, AAA games need an injection of personality. They need a franchise that'll mix things up a bit, and if any franchise deserves the AAA treatment, it's Lupin III.
For those who are unfamiliar with Lupin III, here's a brief rundown of the character's history:
Lupin III, like most anime characters, started out in a manga. It was written by a guy going by the name of "Monkey Punch" (seriously) and began serialization in 1967. The last run of Lupin III manga ended in 2008.
Monkey punch did the art for the first run of the manga, and stayed on as the writer for later runs. Monkey Punch's was unique for a manga, inspired by expressive MAD magazine artwork, although it wasn't technically amazing compared to other manga, it had a lot of personality.
It introduced most of the popular characters for the franchise, like the quiet samurai Goemon and Lupin's nemesis Inspector Zenigata.
As for Lupin III himself, he was pretty despicable early on. He was a huge pervert and had no second thoughts about cheating or murdering anyone. This changes in later adaptations to give him more mainstream appeal.
Lupin got his big break with three anime series that first aired in the 1970s. The first started in 1971, with Hayao Miyazaki directing some of the episodes. The second series started in 1977, and switched his jacket color from green to red. Thus these series became known as the "green jacket series" and the "red jacket series."
The red jacket series became the essential Lupin III show, with the red jacket becoming his iconic look. The series later aired in America on Adult Swim in 2003. There were difficulties with localisations earlier on because of associations with Maurice LeBlanc's Arsene Lupin stories (the rights eventually expired, putting Arsene Lupin in the public domain).
A third series, known as the "pink jacket series," aired in 1984, and has yet to be brought west.
The guy with the beard is Jigen. He's a total badass.
1978 and 1979 were great years for Lupin, as they saw the release of two of his best film's: Secret of Mamo and, probably the most famous part of the Lupin III franchise, the Hayao Miyazai-directed "The Castle of Cagliostro."
Cagliostro was known for it's fantastic storytelling, gorgeous visual style, and a very mainstream-friendly portrayal of Lupin and his friends.
After he third series, the franchise was relegated to OVAs and a few more theatrical films. My favorite OVA are Episode 0: First Contact (a prequel to the first series) and Green vs Red, which takes place in a universe where there are hundreds of different Lupins of all shapes and sizes.
It also has this:
In 2012 Lupin finally got a fourth franchise. It was titled The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, and centered around Lupin's primary love interest and only true equal.
The series was incredibly well received, with fantastic and smart storytelling and absolutely bonkers visual that looked hand-drawn.
It's a great watch if you don't mind some cartoon boobies.
The series was also unique in adding some horror elements
Next on the table is a live action film (the second one, actually. We don't talk about the first). That's great and all, but what we really need is a quality AAA video game.
There have been some Lupin III games in the past. Most were Japan-exclusive platformers for early Nintendo consoles.
The only Lupin III game to make it to North America was The Treasure of the Sorcerer King, which was a janky Metal Gear Solid-like PS2 game with some third-person shooter elements. I bought it, of course, because it's Lupin. But it wasn't a particularly fun experience.
Dem PS2 visuals!
It's a real shame too, because Lupin III seems perfect for a great AAA game.
The franchise has everything: globetrotting adventures, explosions, romance, and great personality.
It has also been through so many adaptations with so many different tones and themes that you could do practically anything.
Open-world shooter? Definitely. Telltale Games-like episodic adventure? Oh yes! Classic point-and-click adventure? Cool. Rhythm-based music game? Sure, I could even see that.
The possibilities are endless. As a huge Lupin III fan, I feel like there's so much potential in the character for a great video game. It saddens me that we won't be seeing one in the foreseeable future.