Archive - Mar 23, 2007

Pixellhated

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Memo to EA, Wiiners, and small, bitter countries: YOU ARE DUMB.

Political junkies can click away now. Hoping for some quality Rove-bashing and poignant cynicism on the state of the world? Tough shit. Because like a 30-dot Donkey Kong flinging barrels of his own poo at a helpless plumber, today is a special all-video-game edition of SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY.

I cannot believe nerds are already bitching about the Wii. Oh, wait, I can. They're nerds. This is the kind of sentiment you'll only see on video game website comments and blogs, because out in the real world, people who want a Wii still can't find one. But in the insular nerdworld, the people who were lining up in the cold four months ago are sad. Disappointed. "Where are the games", they cry, as if teleported to our dimension from a magical world where brand new game consoles have hundreds of exciting, top-rate games released for them. In February.

Fucking wiiners. You can parse that first vowel sound any way you want - it still works. I actually did the math on this - the XBox 360, which has been out for 16 months, has twice as many "good" games as the Wii, which has been out for four months. Admittedly, I did have to find a rough methodological definition of "good", settling on a 7.0 or higher from Gamespot. But still. There are plenty of Wii games for people to play. It's just that there's only one ZELDA.

If you bought the Wii for Zelda and Zelda alone, then tough shit. You deserve to wait, because you're a sucker. You knew what the lineup was like, you knew what was coming, and you bought the console anyway, thinking, I don't know, Nintendo would decide it was a brilliant marketing move to release all the games you got stiff over in the previews during the deadest retail months of the year. Suck it up. And if you can't suck it up, box it up and stand outside a Toys R Us for an hour. I'm guessing someone will come along and relieve you of your terrible burden.


And speaking of the Wii, Electronic Arts has announced a new game called "Boogie" for Nintendo's beloved wave-it-around console. Here's how they describe it. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We're creating something new and different for gamers of all ages to enjoy; the complete party package where gamers can dance as well as sing. Nintendo's Wii is an amazing console that really gives us a platform to be creative and to re-think traditional game development.

Now, I spend a lot of time complaining about companies like EA, who produce slick, soulless franchised crap year after year after year. So I should be happy that they're branching out, trying something different, and re-thinking traditional game design.

The problem is, companies like EA can't be wacky. They can't be weird. And every time they've promised a complete party package, we the gaming public have ended up with a big empty box with one paper hat in it. When EA promises me something new and different, all I can do is dread, with extra horror, the kind of plasticine, focus-grouped "fun" usually found at employee retreats and prison activity yards.


And finally, a note to countries like Mexico and Venezuela. CHILL.

A couple of weeks ago, the mayor of Juarez got all enojado because Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2's levels set in his town were an "attempt to divide the good will of the residents of American and Mexican cities". And now, Venezuela is trying, for some reason, to get Bono to intercede with the makers of Mercenaries 2, which lets you shoot and blow things up in a Virtualzuela.

I understand their concerns, but video games have to be set somewhere. If the mayors of Mazetown and Girderia had thought that way, where would we be now? If the Sierra Club had complained about ecological damage to the world's longest looping jungle*, we'd all still be playing Solitaire. So lighten up, and remember that every minute developers spend trying to make up fake country names that end in -istan, that's one less minute they can spend making the game fun.

*You know, the one with the ponds containing alligator triplets every five hundred feet.