Editorial: Games That Do Not Need To Be Made

First, appy-polly-loggies for not completing my Lusipurr Week post. Incidents well beyond my control conspired to remove me from Internet access by forcing me to travel over the entirety of the weekend, and I have been in court all week. This is the first free time I have had. I can sum up my feelings on Advent Children Complete in a single sentence: SquareSoft hates its fans and creates fanservice that is actually painful to watch; however, they do this anyway because you are their gimp and like it when they are rough with you.

With that out of the way, we can turn to the point of this post, which is a shocking true fact: every year the gaming industry wastes untold amounts of money, untold hours of employees lives, and untold millions of words promoting what are basically shit games.

Entire consoles are dedicated to this kind of “shovelware.”

The thing that most people do not realize is that these games do not just grow on the moist underbelly of society, like mushrooms or other assorted fungi. No, someone, in a business suit, sitting in a fancy corporate boardroom somewhere, gave the OK to a bunch of scruffy, neckbearded programmers to make these games happen.

Yes, you too can watch Japanese cinematographers continue the immortal legacy of Akira Kurosawa with 'Advent Children Complete.' Or not.

Gormless investors with more money than sense and no idea of what a “vidja game” is beyond something that their grandkids play instead of learning their family history from their elders finance these things. Checks of money in so staggeringly high of amounts it would make one’s asshole cringe are passed between these august parties.

Meanwhile, children the world over starve in a world where we literally produce enough food to make people too overweight to move.

For every Assassin’s Creed there is another Mario Party game. For every God of War or StarCraft II there is a Final Fantasy XIV.

The problem, I believe, is that there is no filter in the mind of game companies. They exist as many-tentacled horrors, like the blind idiot god Azathoth, sitting in the null void of infinity that is a corporate executive boardroom simply rubber-stamping this shit before it makes it to shelves of a Gamestop somewhere, so that a pimply employee can try to upsell his annoyed customers with something entirely useless like “scratch protection.”

So, naturally, where everyone else fails, I shall be the guardian of truth, justice, and everything else that is good with the world. Naturally, given my tendency to hate games that do not cater to my bland, mollycoddled American tastes (such as games which do not punish the player for playing video games, a shameful act), some of these will be “Japanese RPGs.” It seems like Japanese RPGs are taking a beating of late (last month’s EGM, for instance, had a cute infographic that suggested that JRPG plots could be broken down into a spiffy two-page flow chart. Exegesis? More or less entirely accurate), and with good reason. Name a single Japanese role-playing game that came out within the last ten years that has added something meaningful to the roleplaying game canon.

Go on. I will wait.

Now that we are back from that little jaunt through cut-and-paste land, let us get to business. Here are three current games that absolutely, 100 percent, without a doubt in our minds do not need to be made.

Hyper Dimension Neptune

Here is my formula for concocting a JRPG name: take three or four fairly dense words from the English, French or Latin languages, and put them together in any order conceivable. This will yield titles like “Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana” or “Wild Arms Alter Code: F” (using random letters at the end of the phrase grants bonus points). These titles tell players absolutely nothing about the game.

Take “Hyper Dimension Neptune” as an example. Were I to interpret this title literally, I might assume it had to do with another, watery dimension, perhaps populated by the Dread Cthulhu, who waits in his watery tomb in sunken R’lyeh for the day when the stars align and he may return to feast upon our weak and impure flesh.

But no. This game is (and stay with me here) about console/goddesses that look like inappropriately-developed Japanese schoolgirls who do battle with bad analogs of software piracy by summoning spells from other people’s intellectual properties.

Apparently, Japanese contains no word for “irony.” Or perhaps “irony” is pronounced “Neptune” in Japanese; alas, my own studies of the language stopped far short of learning the terms for dramatic figurative speech. I can order a mean bowl of curry rice, however.

Hyper Dimension Neptune is of course being localized by NIS America, who are the aforementioned corporate stooges that sat around in big leather chairs, staring at the wads of crumpled up paper in front of them, stinking of desperation and middle-brow coffee, and said, “OK, this will sell.”

Neptune Game Console
Sure, she looks fun, but unless you raise your attractiveness by 100 points, all you get is the red ring of death.

This game probably did not sell in Japan, which has a much better tolerance for bizarre shit that no one else will touch. Outside of otaku modders who will re-skin the models to include “moar nudity,” who would buy such a terrible waste of electrons? [Answer — Jenifer, and probably Shawn too. — ed.]

Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman

Say it. Seriously. Read the title aloud. Yes. It really does sound that stupid. Record yourself reading it. Play it back. That grating, awful sound emerging from the speakers? Yes, that is this title.

The sad thing is that I could go on PSN right now and download this. I could quite literally pay money and obtain a game by the name of “zee aych pee, un-losing ranger versus dark death evil man.” NIS America is once again to blame.

Z.H.P.
Ah, that Mom... always not waking me up and shit. It is dark down here in the basement, alone.

Why is this game so bad?

Point one: prinnies. Yes, that is right: penguin demons from hell. Prinnies.

Point two: fan service. Fan service is a nerd’s way of saying to another nerd, “we are as one.” The fact that players can unlock “cosplay” versions of popular manga/shonen material for the random dungeons even though there is no relation to the game other than a sly wink and a nod at shut-ins cooped up in their parents’ basement furiously masturbating to both Christine O’Donnell and Asuka at the same time. Encouraging this kind of behavior is not helping.

Point three: unlosing is not a word. I refudiate NIS America’s attempts to make me learn new words. I am an American, dagnabbit, and that means I stopped learning at the point where I learned that the Earth was 6,000 years old, scientists are always lying to me and making me pissed, and that got-damn socialist government better keep its filthy Marxist hands off my Social Security and Medicare. I do not know what this “ranger” is or why he is unlosing instead of lone, as is proper for Rangers, but I can tell you right now that only one force in the universe is malign enough to have dreamt up such a game.

No, not Satan. Even the Dark Lord has more mercy than to inflict “ZHR” upon the world. Only Nate “Bup” Liles is evil enough to concoct something this foul. Get him.

Fable III

But Lane, everyone is saying, Fable and Fable II were moderately successful games that got scores a lot higher than Final Fantasy XIV. Even the latest entry got a 7.5 from Gamespot!

Yes, that is true; but Gamespot will give anything a decent review for a price. Molyneaux should have spent more on his bribes.

Fable III
There is a dick joke in here somewhere...

Fable III is not a game I will play; dropping $60 on a Fable game is not a mistake I am like to repeat. I assume, with no more reason than I hate Gamespot, that the Gamespot review will be the most positive. Here is the literal, word-for-word synopsis of Gamespot’s “The Bad” column for Fable III.

Shallow, tedious combat. Lack of interesting moral choices until the end. No emotional connection to any characters. Lots of small technical problems.

In other words, it is just like every other Fable game before it.

I might add that this game apparently continues Fable II‘s insistence that players complete an annoying large amount of mini-games to play the damn thing. This game represents nothing more than Molyneaux and Microsoft attempting to bilk honest, hardworking gamers out of their money. It is downright shameful that anyone has reviewed this game positively.

Even if the game has positive moments, moral outrage among gaming journalists and uppity bloggers should be enough to convince people that the only reasonable reaction is to march in to Lionhead Studios and demand that Molyneaux present himself, tar and feather himself, and then absent himself back to the confines of his office.

There. I hope that I have managed to clear that up, gaming industry. My consultant’s fee is $1,000,000.

12 comments

  1. 1) I would never buy Hyper Dimension Neptune.

    2) What’s wrong with Prinnies? You’re a bastard!

  2. 1) I SPEAK ONLY THE TRUTH.

    2) I SPEAK ONLY THE TRUTH.

    3) WHEN THE FACTS CONTRADICT ME, THE FACTS ARE IN ERROR.

  3. I will buy Hyperdimension Neptunia (the official English title from NISA), and I fully expect it to be terrible. But I enjoy terrible, just like I enjoy inflicting pain on others by having them watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

    It’s made by Idea Factory and Compile Heart who made Cross Edge, Trinity Universe and Record of Sausage War.

    ZHP was a lot of fun. And yes, it’s a ridiculous title, and that’s part of its charm.

    And finally, screw Fable III. No interest there.

  4. “Record of Sausage War” had better not be the real title of a game. Because if it is, I will hurt someone. Making fun of “Record of Lodoss War,” a landmark in Japanese fantasy, is strictly verboten around these parts.

  5. Figures Lane wouldn’t put an Activision game on the list…..

  6. The last Activision game I bought was Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. It did, in fact, rock. Ergo, Emperor Kotick’s dark reign continues despite the pathetic rebellion.

  7. -The funny thing is that the Bioware narrative flowchart can fit on one page, yet that doesn’t prevent their tales from being fully satisfied.

    -I’m quite interested in Neptune.

    -The most ridiculous thing about Fable III is that they’ve removed the menu screen, and must instead load the protagonists ‘sanctuary’ if you want to do something as pedestrian as equip some armour, initiate a quest, or even check your statts! Molyneux is clearly allowed waaaaaaaaaaay too much latitude in his game designs, and must be surrounded by programmers too frightened or stupid to inform him when one of his bloody stupid ideas runs counter-intuitive to effective game design.

  8. Well, after a little looking, I have determined this:

    (1) It bears no relation to the Lodoss War series, which is good, because the last time someone made a Lodoss War game it was awful and ruined a formative memory from my childhood.

    (2) It apparently crosses FFT-style turn-based RPGs with dating sims, my two least favorite types of RPG gameplay.

    (3) Therefore, it is probably not for me, but I like the art style. If I had nothing else right now, I might play it, but I’ve got an awesome MMO to play, and the new Assassin’s Creed coming out next week.

  9. The battle system is not really FFTish at all. Enemies are encountered on a board, but the battles the mselves are not typical SRPG fare.

    (Yes, I played through Record of Agarest War, and I enjoyed it. It did not receive good reviews, though, which I totally understand.)

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