I grew up in New York City, and have been playing video games pretty much as soon as I could pick up a controller. The earliest game I remember playing was Nintendoís ďBaseballĒ, and all I really remember from that was hitting a home run, only to be stopped by the game freezing right before I saw any recognition of my achievement. Thatís why I became a gamer.
Let me get the big cardinal sin out of the way, and tell you my favorite games. My favorite game is Metal Gear Solid 4, for its amazing storyline, with Final Fantasy 10 following up for the same reason. Killer 7 and No More Heroes are next, Killer 7 because of its absolutely extravagant storyline and extremely fun gameplay, and No More Heroes because it is extremely, extremely fun. Currently its a tie between Fallout 3 and Uncharted 2 for the 5th slot.
I am a big Matt Groening fan, and am eagerly awaiting the return of one of my favorite shows, Futurama. Another eagerly awaited show for me is the third season of The Boondocks, which is just one of the most hilarious shows ever made.
I listen to all different kinds of music, but mostly what I refer to as ďalternative hip-hop.Ē Currently my favorite rapper is Chali 2na, who has a ridiculously awesome voice. Then there isThe Gift of Gab, who is part of the duo Blackalicious. Silly name, great group. (yes its where I got the name) The Third place trophy goes to Lupe Fiasco, whoís over the top references and unreserved style remind me heavily of The Wire.
So, who can explain why there's a a white square where my gamertag and psn ID are supposed to be? greatly appreciated.
95% of ďhardcore gamersĒ can be summed up in one category. We all want to see the new games, play the new cool games coming off the shelves. It is the basis of our whole relationship with new games. Iíve been doing something recently in direct contrast to that. Iíve been playing bad games. Games I knew were bad when I bought them, and I still bought them. Iím not attempting to make any kind of point with this article, just to pose to myself the same question all of my friends have consistently asked me since I did it. Why?
One quick tidbit before I start: I will admit I havenít been consistently buying bad games. I bought one and was given another one for free, but still play it. I am actually determined to finish them both. However it obviously goes contrary to all thought. There are very few movie lovers who watch bad movies because there bad, and iím pretty sure nobody reads bad books anymore. So why am I doing this?
First, lets name the games in question: I was in the store and saw that Play N Trade had a buy one get one half off on some games, so I looked through it to see what I could find. It had always been a running joke with me that should I ever find Sonic the Hedgehog (the PS3/360 version) for around five dollars I would buy it, to show my friends how bad it was. I was given the game as a gift while at college, and found it to be hilariously bad, but still sold it before I returned. I found Sonic: Ultimate Genesis collection for fifteen dollars. I figured that was a cheap enough price to ride the nostalgia train, so now I had to choose my half off game. I came upon Sonic the Hedgehog, and proudly proclaimed to my friend next to me: ďI have to do this. It has to be done.Ē After getting over the initial embarrassment of walking to the counter with of all things Sonic the Hedgehog in hand, (this included getting stopped by someone who thought I was a Sonic fan, to which I responded no, but this game is so awful I have to buy it. This brought a look of such confusion that it was probably the basis for the article you are currently reading.) I managed to make it out of the store, laughing with my friend on how terrible we both knew the game was. Honestly, what is there left to say about Sonic Team, ďI admire theyíre tenacityĒ?
So after the nostalgia had run out on the Ultimate Genesis collection, we then turned to Sonic the Hedgehog. Since we were obviously in the mood for bad things after marathoning ďThe TesterĒ, we turned to Sonic the Hedgehog with an almost glee-like anticipation of how hilarious this game would be. And I think that is the first reason. Certain games are so terrible that they are honestly hilarious. Sonic team has more loading screens than the PSP trying to load Tekken 6, and they come so frequently that they might as well be high school freshmen. It just isnít in any way good. The dialogue is so bad it might as well be on Engrish.com. This aspect provides an endless amount of hilarity for me, (like F.K in the coffee) and at least in short bursts, I can actually say that I want to put myself through that.
A normal phrase that is used when people donít know how to react is, ďWhat were they thinking!?!?Ē This is especially prevalent in Sonic games. But the tone is different: I legitimately want to know what they were thinking. You have to know the game your putting out is terrible, it couldnít have gone through any testing, and how did anyone sign off on the final product? There should have been more red flags than a slalom course on this game, especially because it was supposed to be ďthe rebirth of SonicĒ. Someone was making this game, with all its furry undertones, and thought it was just going to be like the original Sonic game. For those of you who donít know, Sonic and this princess have this weird relationship that I havenít figured out yet. Why they felt the need to add a relationship (especially a human one, Iím sure Amy is pissed) to Sonic I still have no idea. The day I see Pikachu and a human in a relationship is the day I declare war on Pokemon.
I think the only concrete reasoning I have for why I want to play bad games is as simple as this: I want to analyze them. Everyday I spend buying and playing the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to games, and I have to spend time researching and evaluating them. But in all honesty, evaluation of a known terrible game opens so many doors on how to evaluate good ones. To a certain extent, you know what your looking for in every game you buy, and you know what is good and bad about it, but after playing such a terrible game, you start to notice things in games that you would have never noticed without them. It isnít a real tangible effect, either. Iíve even started appreciating my good games more when I play them. If youíve ever seen ďThe OblongsĒ then you know that Pickles will take a ďcigarette break, where sheíd smoke a different pack than her regular brand, in order to take a break. The same thing applies to bad and good games.
I recently traded my iPhone 3GS for a PSP, because Iíll be purchasing the iPhone 4. So I was given a used PSP, and about 3 games with it. The games were Sonic Rivals and Crisis Core FFVII. Given the two options, I chose Work Time Fun. (I had it from the last time I owned a PSP) But after a while I popped in Sonic Rivals, because the DS Sonic game was good, why couldnít the PSP one be? Granted I had not seen or read a review of the game beforehand. Now to be completely honest, Sonic Rivals only has two problems. The story sucks, and the camera is in a 2D position. Since itís a PSP game (and since itís Sonic) I donít really care about the story too much. But every single problem with Sonic Rivals stems from the fact that the camera puts you at the center of the screen on a 2D plane. I canít see enemies, I canít see traps, I canít see holes, I canít see where Iím going. These things are important when youíre racing. Imagine a Burnout game where the car is in the middle of the screen in a side profile. and there were bombs and angry robots everywhere. It would be kind of difficult. While these games are both undoubtably bad, they still happen to be fun, even in the most basic sense.
Then there is Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. If this game is anywhere near your current location, you should stop reading this and go get it. It is without a doubt one of the most fun games ever created. It is also a terrible game when compared. The voice acting is bad, the characters do nothing but scream, itís easy to get lost, so many problems with this game. None of them matter. It is literally what would happen if you put Mortal Kombat in a Streets of Rage setting, and it is just as fun. Itís one of the best things about the game industry in my opinion, that fun is the spade set. Itís the one thing that trumps all other aspects. No matter what else is happening, you have to be having fun.
I am still determined to finish Sonic the Hedgehog someday, and it has led me to believe that itís important, every once in a while, to play a bad game. A fun bad game is better than just a terrible one, but somehow, playing a couple of bad games every once in a while is relaxing. I still look upon bad games with disdain (at the ending of Assassins Creed, I took the disk out, put it back in the case, and stomped on it for at least 20 minutes) but some manage to be charming in their own way.
(Sorry about the large picture, it's the only one I could find)