Editorial Miscellany: Game and Wowio!

Yes, that is a Virtual Boy.
My favourite game so far. The most immediately appealing.

I will be frank with you LusiFranks. I am tired. After my late night bus arrival back in Canada on Thursday, I preceded to work the entire weekend on what I can only assume is the Canadian equivalent of the Teen Choice Awards. I am assuming because I have never seen the Teen Choice Awards, but if they are a vapid glamorization of shallow youth obsession, then it is an accurate comparison! Anyway, I had one day off yesterday and I used it to discover a pleasant surprise that is going to serve as the bulk of the content for today’s delayed article.

Game & Wario

Yes. Game & Wario. That game that is sitting at 61 on Metacritic and got a 5.1 from IGN. IGN! Yes, that is that site that appears to usually think the lowest score is a 7. Because of the lukewarm reception when it was released, I promptly ignored the game despite loving the Gamecube title.

But then John Teti included it in a list of Nintendo games that he thought showed off Nintendo’s recent surge in development quality and it was a list that reflected my thoughts. He also appears to think about games in a similar fashion to me, so it was enough to give me pause. It was his Six Feet Under reviews that made me think The A.V. Club was a smarter site than it actually is, after all. Basically he is one of those rare people who I do not know in real life that can occasionally make me purchase something from only a recommendation although I did have to unfollow him on Twitter due to a strange increase in tweets about retro game shows. That was weird.

Doesn't seem to be the most creative game, but like most of them, it has legs.
The splash pages are amazing.

Anyway, I downloaded Game & Wario and I love it. There is something I noticed about myself that struck such a chord that after I noticed it I started to see it in other life-long gamers around my age, including game reviewers. I think we gamers forget that games are often something we need to improve at. Good games often require skill to get full mileage out of them. As gamers, we notice familiar things and recognize mechanics quickly and this often means that we have a head start on most games we play, but it can also serve as a detriment. It can mean we judge games too quickly as a result of our overconfidence.

I used to say I was not good at video games and it was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but a number of years ago I decided to start playing games on harder difficulties and after working on – the now sadly shelvedLFoPD I started thinking about playing games from the perspective of designing games and it has expanded my appreciation of modern gaming drastically. Starting each game from the perspective of “let me try and understand how this game works and get better at it” instead of “I understand this and let me see if it is fun” has made me notice how detrimental my old view was to noticing the evolution of game design. It helped for the times I got frustrated and used to think “this game sucks” when now I first consider that I might not be good at it yet. It is a tough pill to swallow for me sometimes against my pride of over two decades of gaming, but it has ultimately made me a happier and – I feel – more perceptive gamer.

Although those are the two I suck the most at, so...
Tied with Taxi as my least favourite.

Of course, there can be no escape from this in some ways. We are all far busier than we were as children and teenagers and we do not have hours upon hours to play every game to find out if we have misjudged it. These filters are good for our own schedule, but they are not great for the gaming industry as a whole. Game & Wario is far from flawless, but it starts from the ground up and it sells the Wii U as a console better than anything I have played. I am convinced that most of the negative reviews were written by the reviewer trying the games once, assuming he understood them, followed by writing them off as underwhelming, and then going on his merry way. Game & Wario is a game that is made to last, however. It is designed to have players discover ways to cram better and better scores out of single player games and designed to nurture creative and engaging local multiplayer experiences. Even the Miiverse function is a thoughtful use of the feature. The game requires the active and eager participation we had as children and not the constantly judging criticism we retain as adults. Of course, the criticism can come in later. Like I said early, the game is certainly not perfect and I do not even think it is the best game on the system, but I do believe it was massively misunderstood by the mainstream press and that the misunderstanding is indicative of a problem I feel every adult gamer struggles with. The games we love from our youth probably are just as good as we remember, but it is possible that we would pass them right over today, thinking we know everything there is to know about them already.

Mario Kart 8 becomes a better, more balanced game the better I get at it. Super Mario 3D World rewards players for thinking using its logic and Game & Wario does the same. Just like our favourite games from the past. Good video games are slow to reveal themselves just like the best art or even – as Cricket recently taught me – the best sports.

For those willing to give it a proper long chance, even during the motion sections, and especially those who have access to good couch co-op companions, Game & Wario is an excellent purchase.

Yes, I Understand Cricket Now

And it is awesome. One of a number of highlights from my most recent trip to Castle Lusipurr. I planned to talk about it at length a little more, but I also did not expect to go on such a rant about Game & Wario.

Final Thoughts

I also downloaded Weapon Shop de Omasse but I am not far enough into it to give any firm thoughts about it. It appeared to start strong if not a little slow, but that is just a first impression. Anyway, enough about me, how much do you all disagree with me about Game & Wario?

5 comments

  1. “Yes, I Understand Cricket Now”

    One by one, I shall work through the entire population of the world.

  2. Really? I love WarioWare but this got dreadful reviews. Maybe I’ll pick it up when I see a cheap physical copy somewhere.

  3. I never really cared about WarioWare, but it’s sad to hear about LFoPD. It’s been a good, what? 8 years in development?

  4. @Lusipurr – Seems like a worthwhile venture to me!

    @Kisaki – I know it got dreadful reviews, and I honestly believe it is because the games require you to be good at them to understand how good they are, but the games are also easy to pick up, especially for gamers. From the reviews I read, I truly believe the reviewers played through “story” mode once and maybe returned to the games that left a bigger impression, but that was it. It seems to me people wrongfully felt they understood the games simply because they had a basic grasp on the controls. I can’t really blame them because of the current state of most game design and the busy schedule of game reviewers, but I do believe it’s why this game was misunderstood. The “story mode” is essentially a wash to introduce you to the concepts. The harder levels, competing against another user or yourself for high scores. These things start to reveal that the games – while not all innovative masterpieces – are designed to last. The local multiplayer is top notch too and the reviews still seem to give credit to the people they chose to play with and not the fun experience the game skillfully cultivates.

    @DA – Six years, yes. It’s a complicated thing for me to consider. The full announcement is here: https://thedaytonight.com/2014/06/13/official-suspension-development/

  5. That’s disappointing but understandable. Best of luck on your future endeavors. Why isn’t that linked on the front page?

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