Beloved games we hate

Okay, I understand that Guitar Hero/Rock Band are “good” games, in that they are fun for a lot of people and are well-constructed to deliver an intended experience. It’s just that I find them horribly boring, full of terrible music and misleading, giving people the false impression that they’re doing anything remotely musical.

First, let’s take a look at a basic chord on a real guitar:

Note the number of strings (6), and the placement of my fingers. Does this resemble anything done on a plastic controller? (Holding two buttons doesn’t count.) No, and yet it’s part of the basic grammar of guitar playing. Guitar Hero would have you believe that playing a guitar amounts to plucking one string while pressing your fingers on areas vertically aligned on the neck (those colored buttons). Yes, I know it had to be simplified to be accessible, but as someone who’s played the real thing, it annoys the hell out of me that these games claim to be about the love of music when they get the basics so wrong.

As for the gameplay itself... again, the spirit of music (expression, creativity, SOUND) is all pushed to the outer regions. Instead, it has you playing Simon Sez by watching moving colors and mechanically pressing required buttons. Yes, yes the newer iterations let you “create” music, but without actual CHORDS (see above picture) you’re not making anything like real music.

Above: Yes, truly HEROIC and ROCKING

Ugh, and don’t get me started on the songs. Glam Rock should’ve died a painful death in the 80’s and been swept under history’s rug. The Star Power tilt says it all: a dated, pathetic “look at my surrogate penis." Yes, let’s glorify a douchebag maneuver.

There are a few songs I can tolerate, but trying to play with my friends forces me to slog through cheesy phallus/butt rock because playing the same three good songs gets old fast.

For the love of the Rock Gods, if you find these games fun, please try playing a real instrument. It will be vastly more rewarding.

I've barely even played Super Smash Bros Brawl and I hate it. I can't help it. I'm a bit rubbish at all fighting games, so tend to treat them all with a juvenile "not bothered" attitude anyway. There's something about SSBB, however, that snaps me violently out of my comfort zone of indifference. Something that strokes my goat in places that, frankly, my goat doesn't enjoy being stroked.

I just get this real, nasty sick taste in my mouth when I see how much gamers are willing to praise Nintendo for selling them the same old stuff over and over and over. And Super Smash Bros Brawl is the game that really dribbles on the biscuit when it comes to extreme asset regurgitation. Gamers should be up in arms, not loosening their friggin' trousers and taking it. Honestly. Jerking off to the same porno for 30 years gets pretty tedious.
But fans suck it up and get weak in the head with excitement. Want to play with all of gaming's oldest characters? Get Super Smash Bros Brawl. Want all the stages to be comfortably familiar? Get Super Smash Bros Brawl. Want to hear tunes that you'll recognize from when you were a little child? Get Super Smash Bros Brawl.

The characters! The music! The legacy! The heritage! THE ULTIMATE FAN SERVICE! Face it, suckers. It's not fan service. It's taking the piss.

MMORPG = Mostly Men Online Role-Playing as Girls. With over 11 million players worldwide, World of Warcraft can boast a virtual population that rivals the city of Los Angeles, California. With such a large pool of players, you can count on meeting your fair share of soon-to-be-divorced husbands masquerading as sultry Blood Elves as they swan and swoon over flirtatious 16-year-old boys plying their cybersex skills for some spare gold.

If you manage to find a group of like-minded friends and form a guild, you can look forward to tiring marathons and repeated deaths as you attempt to conquer the game's hardest dungeons in raid parties. Frustration from failures in these epic trips will eventually turn you and your friends against each other before your guild dissolves and joins the ranks of other burnt out crusaders.

But for me, World of Warcraft’s biggest crime is that it perverts the simple joys of questing, leveling-up, and exploring into an obsession. Before long, it becomes less of a game and more like a never-ending checklist of chores that grows each day. Eventually, you’ll skip past quest descriptors just so you can get your reward a few seconds earlier. You’ll find yourself grinding in fields of monsters long after you’ve reached the level cap just for the chance that you’ll find a rare material.

In the end, you’re no longer enjoying the moment. Instead, you’re forever chasing an ephemeral carrot-on-a-stick. You want that new piece of loot. But as soon as you get it, it’s no longer good enough and you’ll be obsessed with finding something even better. 

Call of Duty 4’s single-player is an utter myth. The supposedly devastating emotional pull of the narrative, the brilliant set pieces, even good ol’ Cap’n Price; it doesn’t mean a jot to me. The story is a generic Tom Clancy rip-off and the core characters never resonate.

Sergeant Paul Jackson’s death had as much emotional impact as a Tom & Jerry episode. He’s a voiceless, personality vacuum with no discernable personal motivation. So he carks it in a moment of existential brilliance that leaves the player feeling utterly helpless, mimicking the futility of war. Blah, blah, blah. If that scene really had you blubbing, tear up your man card right now.

Above: No more man card for you, Dawson 

Want to see a scene that really sums up the disquieting power of war? Pick up a copy of the original Call of Duty. The Russian charge on Red Square easily trumps anything done in Modern Warfare.

And screw Price. An iteration of him has been in every Call of Duty game Infinity Ward have ever made. Why would I cry when he bites it when I know the next Cap’n clone is just around the corner?

Technically, the game’s also infuriating. How the hell can you fight 100 guys spawning from an unseen location, kill them and then be left with four corpses when the dust has settled? "Gaylo" might have its faults, but at least everything makes logistical sense in the Chief’s game. Every single alien you murder stays on the battlefield. I. F***ng. Hate. Disappearing. Bodies.

Above: 100 dead men equal four dead bodies, apparently 

And the multi-layered, ever evolving multiplayer, with its peerless sense of reward and ingenious perk system, can take a running jump. If the core game can’t grip me, why the hell would getting shot by shouty 15 year olds - calling me "teh Suxorz!" - change my mind?

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  • Awesomeitude1523 - March 25, 2009 7:21 p.m.

    Thank you God! I now realize that I am not the only person who hates Final Fantasy, Halo, and World of Warcraft. Great article, and I totally agree with the Halo "hype" diagram. Oh yeah, as is custom, FIRST. ......Sorry. I had to.
  • Morning Ninja - March 25, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    Yes, Rock Band and Guitar Hero is over-rated, and apperently I'm not the only one that thinks so!
  • deathrebellion - March 25, 2009 8:24 p.m.

    Top Gear anyday lolz gr6 work guys
  • schmeidenkamp - March 25, 2009 8:38 p.m.

    i love gran turismo, but I completely agree with pretty much everything that was said about it. lol "coming 2007, 2008, 2009. screw it, wanna watch top gear?" LOL Completely agree with GTA: San Andreas. I live in southern california and I'm surrounded by this 'faux gangster' bullshit. reenacting it in that game wasnt fun to me. micro managing your health and 'hood' was annoying as shit. I respectfully disagree with Silent Hill 2 though. That game was so fun and scary. Its all about immersion. re captcha: 28 playthings
  • heartskuppy - March 25, 2009 8:40 p.m.

  • KillDrone - March 25, 2009 8:44 p.m.

    Personally I think Matthew Keast needs to stfu. I play Rock Band all the time and utterly love it. It's why I got into drumming, because I wanted to do that for REAL. Just because some jackass thinks he's cool because he can 5-star "Through the Fire and the Flames" doesn't mean that we all act or feel that way. Yes real musical instruments take a hell of a lot of talent and patience to learn, but Guitar Hero and Rock Band also have a learning curve. Musicians who complain about Rock Band and Guitar Hero making their profession/hobby look like a child's sport are MORONS. These games should be embraced for what they are really doing, and that is enlightening today's youth with the classic genres that were left behind in the Hip-Hop/Rap uprising.
  • Bazookatier - March 25, 2009 9:18 p.m.

    This was pretty cool, but some of the arguments are pretty weak. For example, the attempted thrashing of COD4 was pretty bad. Let me sum up 6 paragraphs: 1. I am angered by 15-year-olds talking smack. 2. I hate dead bodies that disappear. I think that's almost every game dude.
  • Danomeon - March 25, 2009 9:19 p.m.

    Games that I love on my list, and my reason for loving them... Halo 3- yeah, the single player does suck. But online, the game turns into a bit of a party game, the kind when a large group of people are all drunkenly laughing as their ghost crashes into someone, crumpling them to the floor. By myself, the game is a complete mess. But add friends into the mixture, and the game becomes an explosion of joy. Call of Duty 4: I loved seeing all of the cinematic moments, not for the plot, but just for the sheer eye candy of being able to open up a can of pop and watch as explosions fly around me. The multiplayer's online matchmaking system also gave me an incentive to keep playing, and made each kill feel like a joyous, progressive step forward in the rank. World of warcraft- Yes, it is a little too obsessive, but when I reach the top tiers, the joy of teaming up with 25 friends to take down some completely massive and awesome badass while utilizing my character's special abilites makes for a great joy on the weekends, and like call of duty 4, that incentive to continue getting better gear breathes longevity into the game. Braid- What? You thought it was difficult? My 11 year old sister completed the game without any assistance! Anyways, I guess since this is the week of hate I will pitch in my two cents about a popular game I despise... Gears of war (Both.) The controls feel very narrow and sluggish, and I hate the feel of the weapons. Besides the brutal chainsaw kills, none of the weapons feel like they are making a connection with the enemies, and my kills never get that entertaining zing like in halo or call of duty that makes you think, "I OBLITERATED THAT GUY!" I also hate the look of the characters. I can't relate to massively beefy men, as not only are they unrealistic, but they also take up most of the dang screen while I'm playing! And don't get me started about the level design. How do you people find constantly black, dark levels fun? Take gears 2 for example. Level one? A destroyed city. That was in the first gears, so what else can you cough up? An underground cavern. Great, what else? A dark labratory. O...k? Anything more??? What? More underground caverns? What now? AN UNDERGROUND CASTLE? And then, what else? ANOTHER DESTROYED CITY?!?!??! All of the environments seem dark and lifeless, and they just drag on forever and ever. I also hate the fact that truskill matchmaking can't get me into a single multiplayer match. Really. I've even left the console on for an hour while it was searching, just to see if it would drum up some results, and it never did. Go figure. Fallout 3- I dont' care how large your game is, if you can't populate its "massive" world with anything interesting, don't bother making it in the first place. Really, the game has the equivilent of two environments. Dark, deserted buildings with trash everywhere, and a massive, boring wasteland with trash everywhere. I'm constantly getting deja vu from the subway trains, and I think that there aren't enough weapons. throw in terribly abrupt and boring ending, and a giant bucketload of glitches, and you've got yourself a game I hate! Oblivion- Basically, take my explanation of fallout 3, and change the 2 environments from "Dark buildings with trash everywhere and a large wasteland with trash everywhere" to "Dark maze-like caves and boring wilderness that all looks the same."
  • flare149 - March 25, 2009 9:56 p.m.

    I think my pick for this would definitely be Half-Life. It's the most overated piece of garbage I've ever played, and it makes no since to me why people think it's "the greatest FPS ever". In my book it scores about level with Time Shift...screw that, in Time Shift you could mess with time and there was an explosive crossbow, so it scores LOWER than Time Shift.
  • skelt - March 25, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    I can understand how you could hate any of those except for ico.
  • ian edgar - March 25, 2009 10:16 p.m.

    I thought Super Mario World was a really good game. Super Mario Bros. 3, however, is the biggest classic that I hate.
  • Shadowhatchi - March 25, 2009 10:26 p.m.

    Also it's good to know I'm not the only one that hates CoD. People always harass me at school for not liking it the ask me why and I tell them the truth. Cause it is awful
  • FadedLineVigil - March 25, 2009 10:31 p.m.

    Wow, for once I agree almost completely with this 'article'. The only game on here I disagree with is Silent Hill 2. It still stands as the scariest, most disturbing, tense game ever for me. All the others- Halo, CoD, WoW, Sims, etc, I COMPLETELY agree with. Especially Halo, maybe I'm too old, but I DO NOT understand the fanfare over that game, especially considering the competition.
  • game-thugsta - March 25, 2009 10:47 p.m.

    gta: san andreas is one of my favorite games of all time... suppperr duper saddd face
  • Sabtos - March 25, 2009 10:53 p.m.

    lmao love the rock band video
  • superninja - March 25, 2009 11:01 p.m.

  • The_Zanger - March 25, 2009 11:28 p.m.

    My neighbor is so incredibly obsessed with World of Warcraft. he lives 20 steps away and considers me one of his best friends, yet he ant stop playing for five minutes to help me with Zelda or something. I kind of agree with Mario Kart Wii. Theres just something about it that didnt reel me in. But Mario Kart DS is the best, thats for sure.
  • GoldenMe - March 25, 2009 11:41 p.m.

    I only see one thing in this. All of the haters in the article are british........ Makes sense. Makes more sense if they were french. US all the way, bitches.
  • reyalejandro13 - March 26, 2009 12:25 a.m.

    I like most of these games, and see where most people are coming from when hating them I can honestly say that I am a gamer who can like just about any game for one reason or another. However, I must say to the person who hates Halo-I have been hearing the hate from all my PS2/3 loving friends, and i've staved them all off every time. this one proves a challenge. Well, for starters, let me say that i see where you're comig from, and some things do require fine tuning. let me also say that i prefer Halo 2 in some ways. But I believe that Halo 3 is one of the best shooters i've played. The story was a little lacking, true, but I still get a feeling of thrill when i take down the Scarab on legendary mode with my friends when we get bored. The multiplayer is so much more fun though. The range of weapons is a good deviation from games where it's just various types of machine guns, with rocket launcher, shotgun, and sniper variants thrown in. True, in some ways the same could be said about Halo, but The Brute Shot? the Spartan Laser? the Energy Sword? the amount of customization? very large when compared to other shooters. I mean, what other shooter lets you play around with the map? and when done right, it can be very fun. One of my favorites is called Godzilla, and it's a Standoff map with a bunch of scenery pieces put together to make a Giant Godzilla looking creature, that is flled to the brim with weapons. Also, racetrack maps are so much fun as well. game types are great in Halo 3. Most only have basic Deathmatch, CTF, and King-of-the-hill style games. But Halo, well, that has Oddball, Juggernaut, Infection, VIP, and more that just add to the fun. and when you can customize those as well? Even better! My favorite variant is Fat Kid, where one player is a Zombie, who has 4x overshield and is very slow and has high gravity, but is near invincible, and takes little to no damage from conventional weapons. his little minions have incredibly low healh, but are fast and have high gravity. when combined with a good fortress map, the game is very fun, and very intense. Vehicles are another thing I like. Sure, some games have them, but most FPS's don't. Cod 4 Doesn't. Cod 5's aren't as fun. The Ghost and Warthog are great vehicles, and the Banshee and Hornet are amazing, if a bit unbalanced. but a good missile pod should take those down, balancing it again. and last but not least, if you have a good connection, you can always find a game that's on or close to being full. There are always a lot of people on, and if you can't fill up, then you can get pretty close. anyway, that's my argument.
  • super-saint - March 26, 2009 12:33 a.m.

    Phh, everyone knows that every bad guy in CoD4 is infected with a mutigen that instantailosly dsinagrates their body so you cant prove how meany kills you actualy got, thereby nerfing your pay... ohh and chris they are makeing "the sims: veitnam" its roumored to have compleatly broken gameplay forceing you to go through deep menus to find the option to shoot people! it evan comes with cute camo fatuigs!!!

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