The Top 7... Hideous gaming disasters of 2010 we desperately want to forget

4. The way Rare dissolved before our very eyes

The eternal and ironic dilemma faced by any much-loved vendor of entertainment media is how to tackle longevity. If you’re good enough to have stuck around for a long time,  the percentage likelihood of you still deserving your prominent position drops further with every passing day.

Sometimes, greed kicks in, and you start banging out increasingly stale material year after year, long after your creative prime has passed. Sometimes you make a flailing attempt to spice things up with a direction change, and find yourself flying high through the sky, as the just-jumped shark becomes a mere dot below you. And sometimes, sometimes you get bought by Microsoft, have all your games turn out crap or misunderstoood, then get saddled with a load of casual old crap for a high-tech motion controller that your hardcore fanbase doesn't want anything to do with.

Hey Rare, how are you doing?

It’s no secret that Rare’s output since joining the world of HD hasn’t matched that of its Nintendo days. It’s not that the house of Banjo has strictly been putting out bad games, in fact between the under-rated Kameo and the more-hardcore-than-most-would-believe Viva Pinata, there have been a few absolute gems. But the constant stream of magic we became accustomed to during the 64-bit days has certainly been lacking.

But now, after a few years of arguably troubled attempts to fit into Xbox culture, Rare as we knew and loved it seems to have completely ceased to exist. With the company-founding Stamper brothers now departed, it seems Rare’s future is in avatar accessories and Kinect games, and neither so far has produced a jot of the humour, wit and personality we loved it for. We are ensadnessed. And so is everyone else. The most damning indictment of Rare's soulless change of direction came earlier this year, when longtime hardcore fansite Mundo Rare chose to close down rather than support the company any further in its current direction. Utterly depressing, but utterly understandable.

3. APB and the death of Realtime Worlds

An online cops and robbers game? From the original creator of Grand Theft Auto? Amazing? No. Rarely has something so full of promise turned out to be such a disaster. Not since the Star Wars prequels. Not since Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Following the lengthy hype period, the excitable talk of hitherto unimagined character customisation, and the promise to overhaul the MMO formula, removing grind-advantage in favour of real skills, what we actually got was something exactly as crap as it should have been good.

The concept was great, but the execution? The crap shooting mechanics and crap driving mechanics were bad enough, but the crap lack of a cover system turned the already crap combat into a crappily blunt affair. The mission structure also frustrated, frequently having such a lack of respect for the player's location within the geography of its city as to make turning up to a skirmish and finding anyone left to kill a depressing rarity. So while the social play structure built into APB was an absolute gem, the game itself just never let it fly.

Above: Okay, APB, you pretty much deserved death, but did you have to take RTW with you?

Worse than the disappointing game though, was what it led to. After 22 years of knocking out innovative, stellar games such as Lemmings, GTA and Crackdown, Realtime Worlds boss David Jones had finally produced an astronomical clunker, and alas,  its five-year development cycle and who-knows-how-high budget sank his company

Following a mass keelhauling in the press, APB bombed, and Realtime Worlds rapidly went into administration. The game has since been picked up for relaunch by Californian online games company K2 Network, and will reappear in 2011 as a free-to-play title. But as for Realtime’s many employees, we can only hope they’re finding employment elsewhere in the industry. If only RTW had instead made Crackdown 2 for Microsoft, as everyone expected them too, then things could have been completely different. Crackdown 2 maybe wouldn't have been a simple uninspired remake, and Realtime Worlds would probably still exist. All in all, worst decision ever.

2. Microsoft at E3

Was it as bad as Sony in 2006? Probably not, but only in the same way that being punched in the balls isn’t as bad as being shivved in the eye.

It started well, almost like an apology for the night before. Microsoft had, in case you’ve blocked it out of your memory the way a 'Nam-vet suppresses the hallucinogenic existential horror and regular risk of stabbing, initially greeted E3 with a dayglow Lynchian nightmare, a glorified photo opportunity masquerading as a press conference, which hurled the world’s unsuspecting journos into a Cirque du Soleil-sponsored maelstrom of nonsensical imagery, pompous performance-art metaphor, and ponchos.

Above: With an opening line-up like those three, it couldn't go wrong, right?

Right from the start of the press conference proper, we got Gears 3, Halo: Reach and Fable III. No surprises, but it was a decent start. Then we got Black Ops and Metal Gear Rising. Hmmm, good, but not exclusive. MS couldn’t have been padding things out already, could it? But we rapidly stopped worrying, because then we got the announcement of Codename: Kingdoms, a platform exclusive from motherhuggin’ Crytek! Yeah, the most unapologetically hardware-spec-pimpin’ bastards in the industry were doing a 360 game! Good times! But then we got a tiny trailer with no details, and the game was hurriedly shuffled off stage like a senile gran who’d absent-mindedly invaded a pantomime looking for the toilet and pissed herself.

Then we realised that all the hardcore stuff had been rattled through a little bit too quickly for comfort, and the returns, boy they were beginning to diminish. Hmmm, MS couldn’t have been hammering all the good stuff out as quickly as possible to make way for a show full of Kinect, could it?

Could it?


Above: Oh right

It hit us, and it hit us hard. The reason Peter Molyneux had only been given 14.37 nanoseconds to talk about one of the 360’s richest and most innovative exclusives of the year had been to make way for the shallowest and most derivative shit we could possibly imagine. Lots of it.

Tigers were tickled. Men danced awkwardly. Women and men kept fit for what seemed like longer than the reign of the Roman Empire lasted. Idiots cackled over well-rehearsed ‘live’ video chat conversations, accurately evoking the way no real people speak in the real world whatsoever.

Imagine the most trite thing you can. Now wrap it in cheese. Now grill it so that the cheese melts right into it. Then sprinkle it with parmesan, , dip it in fondue, smother it in Tabasco and rub it in your eyes. That is how cheesy and irritating Microsoft’s E3 2010 press conference was.


  • ArbokDaKobra - May 28, 2011 6:52 a.m.

    Damn, i should have read the comments newest first, i feel like a douche.
  • ArbokDaKobra - May 28, 2011 6:51 a.m.

    OMG did anyone else notice in the second nintendo commercial, that the guy playing is a really young Paul Rudd? Just a few years later we would all be answering whether or not we have a name for our balls (Anchorman, just in case you didnt get it).
  • GillaMobstaYBD - February 20, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    OH SHIT thats's Paul Rudd in Super Nintendo ad. lol
  • RideZeLitenin - January 16, 2011 5:27 p.m.

    That gamecube promo was kickass. We need us more commercials like that.
  • Lycanthrokeith - January 15, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    Another Activision atrocity: The single-use online codes in new games, basically punishing the gamers who choose to buy used. If I played online, I'd be angrier (with the exception of Transformers: War For Cybertron, and it's custom character mode that only works online). They fail to realize that in order for them to be used, they had to have been bought and played. They have their money. Things are only ever sold once by the principal entrepreneur. I hate the fact that EA and THQ are following this example, as well. It really says something when Microsoft, a company that has often been accused of shady and gouging business practices, isn't doing this, but these three are. (Price raising of Live notwithstanding...) I wish Activision would remember where they came from, when they were the upstart company breaking away from Atari for the recognition and reward they richly deserved. Of course, as long as the mindless sheep of mainstream gaming continue to line up for overpriced, overhyped, repetitive swill like COD year after year, then nothing will change.
  • desudesu893 - January 8, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    u mad, activision?
  • Shuuvuia - January 6, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    As a PS3 owner, the ApocalyPS3 was BOTH tense and hilarious.
  • soren7550 - January 6, 2011 2:35 a.m.

    I could not agree more with your #1. Go to hell Kotick.
  • MetalReborn - January 5, 2011 6:01 a.m.

    LOL, its Paul Rudd in the SNES commercial!
  • kachigop - January 5, 2011 4:23 a.m.

    This is honestly the first time I've ever heard about this "Apocalyps3" and I've owned a PS3 for a three years. Zero problems.
  • thiswassparta - January 4, 2011 11:41 p.m.

    I'm glad my friend didn't get kinectimals. very glad, oh yes
  • thefreakysurgeon - January 4, 2011 10:41 p.m.

    man i got that "An error has occured. You've been signed out of Playstation Network" error message a lot. then i found out that my PS3 had a signal strength of 45% to my router. it's all good now, though.
  • Yeager1122 - January 4, 2011 10:02 p.m.

    Wow i knew some of those things that activision had done but i never knew they had been trying to ruin gaming entireley.
  • bobbybroccoli - January 4, 2011 9:46 p.m.

    I thought goldeneye did pretty well. Was that one of activisions "killed" games? I'm pretty sure a lot of people bought it.
  • KaiokenKid - January 4, 2011 9:27 p.m.

    I was lucky enough to not be playing my Ps3 the day that Error thing happened. Also, lol, video was funny.
  • Foodperson - January 4, 2011 6:31 p.m.

    I used to have a teacher who worked at Robomodo (the one that was forced to work on Tony Hawk: Shred), and I feel a little sorry for him. Activision is the devil!
  • Deutero - January 4, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    is that freaking Paul Rudd in the second Nintendo commercial? awesome
  • FunkSoulBrother - January 4, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    My eyes!!!!!!! MY EYES!!!!!!!!!! Great article though
  • barrage7667 - January 4, 2011 6:19 a.m.

    any1 else notice a younf paul rudd in the SNES commercial? WOO!! YEA PAUL RUDD!!!
  • Steakslave - January 4, 2011 6:15 a.m.

    The fact that someone married Kotick and then carried his offspring has made me completely lose hope...

Showing 1-20 of 72 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000