In real life, war is messy. Mistakes get made, civilians get hurt, families are shattered and once-thriving countries are bombed back to the Stone Age, often because of the misguided actions of their politicians. Wars in videogames, by contrast, are a hell of a lot more convenient and clean. Because they’re (usually) fictitious, the justifications are clear, the goals relatively simple and the opposing forces completely, irredeemably evil.
But that’s not always the case. Whether by design or through slapdash writing, some of gaming’s most notable conflicts – when examined objectively – are completely meaningless, stupid exercises in futility for all involved. Here are some of our favorites...
Has it really only been 12 months since the last avalanche of “Best Games of 200X” awards? Well, we all love a good list, and you won’t find a better barf bag of random praises than our own Platinum Chalice awards, the place to have someone else’s gaming opinions shoved upon you. How important are these awards? So important. Real important. What do the other guys have, gold trophies? Screw that.
Thanks a bunch, Christopher Nolan. Ever since Batman Begins took the universally-reviled cinematic bastardization of a cool character and redrew it in the drab colors and long shadows of The Dark Knight Returns, the “gritty reboot” has been back in fashion. In Hollywood-speak, the term's a nice way of saying “we've screwed this up, can we have a do-over?” Of course, games being a forward-looking sort of medium, players have been wise to this trick for years now – and we're still suckers for it.
Whether it's a deeper-'n-darker sequel or restarting from scratch, rejigging your series with a darker palette and more distorted guitars is a great way to draw attention to what might otherwise be just more sequel-abuse. But how well does it work? From a player's perspective, a gray coat of paint is hardly going to turn gameplay upside down... but from a “cataloguing the tricks they'll pull to sell a new installment” standpoint, dark reboots are just gravy...
If allowed to run rampant, ambition can occasionally be a bad thing. If not handled responsibly it can turn even the most laudable idea into a bloated, unfocused, or just plain misguided folly. Want proof? Cinema has Waterworld and Dune. Gaming? Well gaming has these...
We recently took issue with the claim that “gaming has not yet had its Citizen Kane”. As you can see, we managed to find 25 games that qualified for that title – and you had plenty more suggestions besides.
We’d have had no trouble whipping up a counter-list of dismal flops.
December may offer the true
climax of the holiday season, but in terms of new game releases, it's very much
the calm after the storm. Most of the giant blockbusters of the season made
their way out between September and November, but the final month of 2011 isn't
barren by any means: big releases like Mario Kart 7 and Star Wars: The Old
Republic lead the pack, while system-specific versions of some notable recent
titles also find their way to store shelves. But if you read this over and
don't see anything on the horizon that works you into a tizzy, surely November's overstuffed
lineup holds a few leftover options to consider...
We absolutely know that you've been waiting with eager anticipation for a feature to come along that catalogues examples of new games that share an identical name with an old game. It doesn't happen very often, so it's genuinely exciting when it does. Anyway, we've written that feature, and this is it. Direct all messages of thanks and amazement to the comments thread. K? Cheers.
Afrika | PS3 | 2009
The new Afrika: Is
So what would happen if amoral Balkan sociopath Niko Bellic was in everyone's favourite cute and cuddly cartoon racer? Would Mario and chums accept him into the line-up with grace and humility? Would Niko keep the lid on all his murderous rage when Yoshi was firing red shells up his tailpipe? Of course, not. This is what would happen if the worlds of Liberty City and the Mushroom Kingdom clashed...
And that got us thinking. What
Who doesn't love zombies? Well, apart from Jill Valentine, communists and possibly the Wolfman. It's also a well known science type fact that the living dead automatically make any game they appear in amazing. And who are we to dispute scienticians? That's why we've taken some games we'd love to see stuffed full of the undead and, thanks to Photoshop, made our zombie dreams so.
In the context of a game, Achievements and Trophies are harmless. They're just carrot-dangling tactics that we're happy to indulge for our greedy pursuit of intangible virtual rewards. We wouldn't think twice about nail-bombing a kitten orphanage if it meant five more gamer points.
But, let's say, purely for the purposes of this here article, that we take Achievements and Trophies out of their virtual world settings and reconsider them