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4. EA Playground (DS, Wii)
You know what Wii needs? More minigames. In fact, it needs more minigames aimed at kids, and it definitely needs them splattered around a goofy playground world so you have to walk from bite-sized tetherball to tiny dodgeball.
And look at the character designs. No, we don't want to pretend we're a 10-year-old kid wearing a backwards hat, headphones and loose jeans. Sorry.
The minigames might be fine. How screwed up could they be? But can you imagine a room full of (mostly) men in their late 20s trying to stay awake while a bored developer spouts memorized marketing-speak of the joys of this kiddy wonderland? It'll make the plodding escapades of Uzumaki Chronicles seem interesting by comparison.
3. Free Realms (PC, PS3)
A fanciful fantasy wrapper works for World of Warcraft. But do you need to dress up like an elf to play checkers? How about chess? The open-ended world of Free Realms tries to combine the fun and excitement of boring-ass cell phone games with childlike fantasy landscapes. Look, just because two ideas haven't been slapped together before doesn't mean you have to try it. No one's debating the chess abilities of a paladin against a druid.
But let's consider Puzzle Quest for DS and PSP - it mixes Bejeweled with goblins and archers, so why can't Free Realms muster up some enthusiasm? Because Bejeweled is actually fun, the RPG elements add something. Free Realms is an MMO with no classes, no real story and possibly no combat. Instead, your tasks are made up as you wander around, playing pick-up games of Minesweeper or whatever, as you slowly microtransaction yourself to death.
Points for trying to get people to interact with each other, but why not just open the damn door and go play checkers on the sidewalk for free? You can even wear your ren faire garb if you want.
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