Beloved games we hate

Though we’re a minority, I’m sure there are other sane gamers who don’t like Grand Theft Auto IV (PhD candidates, scientists, immigrants, democrats, people like you and me, etc.). However, while many people find fault with the racial stereotypes, indolently violent solutions to everything, the way moving cars appear to Nico’s right every time you look left and how the game makes you commit real-life crimes, I think those are hilarious. Plus, those problems are hardly unique to GTA.

The deeper flaw in the design of Grand Theft Auto IV is how the game emphasizes realism over fun. There are realistic doors that you can’t open and realistic buildings that you can’t enter. It has realistic ways to use the E-break in your ordinary cars, as well as unremarkable guns, a modest wardrobe and down-to-earth stereotypical enemies. Would it have killed them to put in a minigun, banana hat and Godzilla attack cheat?

Above: Why don't you get to hang from the bottom of a helicopter?

Some would argue that the realism adds to the fun, but after the new-game shine on the first few heists wore off, GTA felt like a car-stealing/driving simulator with nice scenery. This is supposed to be a game, which means I’d like a bit of creativity instead of a racetrack in disguise. Yes, the city looks beautiful, but the buildings are just eye candy. There’s nothing to find by diligently searching every alley that can’t be bought from any of the cookie-cutter stores. What we’ve got with GTA IV is a very professionally polished game set in an austere city that didn’t bother with the sloppy fun stuff.

What do you get when you cross on-rails shooting with repetitive techno beats and wireframe graphics from 1982? You get spank material for hordes of pseudointellectual game journalists eager to mistake novelty for art, and art for fun.

Rez isn't a bad game, necessarily. In fact, if you like your games short, easy and pretentious, it’s friggin' awesome. An on-rails shooter about an evolving stick-man, Rez casts players as a hacker flying through a computer network, which is really just a thinly veiled excuse to substitute wire models, bright colors and cool effects for actual graphics.

It does have a unique hook, though; as players shoot stuff (done by painting multiple targets with a cursor and letting fly with a few heat-seeking missiles, or whatever their virtual equivalent is), each sound effect makes up a beat or note in the level's throbbing music, which grows increasingly more complex the further you get into the game. But "complex" doesn't automatically equal "good." The trippy techno tracks are all pretty unmemorable regardless of your input, and usually sound off-rhythm because of it. And no, the Japan-only “Trance Vibrator” (or the 360 controllers that replace it in RezHD) doesn’t make them any cooler.

Yes, yes, I know – I’m missing the point. To focus on Rez’s pedestrian gameplay is a mistake; it’s about the experience as a whole. And to be fair, Rez’s visuals are a fun experiment, and I’ll even admit they can be hypnotic in spite of their minimalism. But they don’t make Rez an enjoyable game.

Above: HD or no, it’s all the same

Original presentation aside, Rez is still an on-rails shooter about painting targets with a cursor and shooting missiles at them. That’s inescapable, and so is the fact that there’s no real story or variation to keep me invested in the action. Rez is all flash and no bang, a game that’s mildly entertaining while it lasts, and that isn't long.

To hear seemingly every other reviewer on the planet gush about its “brilliance” and “synaesthesia,” though, you'd think Rez was an unparalleled masterpiece. Instead of, you know, a music-driven version of a game we’ve already played a thousand times before.

Mario Kart rubs me the wrong way. I hated the way the SNES version controlled. I hated the way the N64 version looked like garbage with the worst draw distance I’ve ever seen in a multiplayer game. I hated the GameCube’s “switch-up” reliance on having two drivers throwing asinine weapons like last minute blue shells that disrupt the entire race.

Above: The stupidest thing I’ve ever seen

And I hate hate hate the Wii version. I hate how Nintendo stripped features to make the game more appealing to more people. That’s a clever way of saying, “dumbing down for the idiot masses.” They decreased the amount of drivers, they included terrible rubber-banding AI that makes you wonder why you’ve even started a race if skill was never involved, they packaged it with a dumb looking Fisher-Price plastic wheel and they put Mario on a goddamn, super-detailed motocross bike.

Above: Have fun looking at your quarter of a television screen

Plus, I don’t have any fun with it. I race and hear the same canned wallowing whenever someone is rammed off the track. I collect the same mushrooms and the same lightning bolt power-ups. And after five minutes, I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.

But the DS version… I like that one.

The Sims wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t, literally, the best selling game of all time. Not only is its popularity the likely inspiration for the plague of casual crap on white background boxes currently polluting retailers everywhere, it’s the complete antithesis of what games are about for me.

ABOVE: The Sims - your gateway to sad

I suppose it boils down to a simple question: “Why do you play games?” Personally, I like traveling to untold worlds, filling the shoes of a powerful hero and achieving the otherwise unattainable while completing a consistent series of goals. Escapism, if you prefer. Quite simply, I want to ignore all the rules and routine of civilized existence, and momentarily leave behind the ceaseless mundanity of everyday life… and that just so happens to be the core aspect of The Sims’ gameplay.

It’s baffling that there are so many people willing to play games, yet are so boring and unimaginative that their version of “role-playing” is washing polygonal dishes with shorter hair. I’m sure plenty of you have some way of justifying the purchase of each and every new expansion just to train a terrier and/or find that perfect hat. But how can you possibly reconcile any amount of money spent on a gaming rig, if you’re only going to use it to perform monotonous chores you’d probably pay someone else to do, if only you could afford it? 

Above: Now that’s more like it!


  • 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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