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Wow, videogames and the things they spawn! The industry produces everything from comics to vibrating mushrooms. You could listen to advertising, fanboys and Big Videogame’s secret infrared mind-control to find out what’s worth your money, but you’d end up buying two of everything carried by your local Gamestop and half of Amazon.com. So how much of it is really worth paying attention to?
Above: Obviously, some ads are more helpful than others
If your pockets aren’t three feet deep and full of gold coins, you have to be discerning about how you spend your time and money. And with clever ads, like the ones above, it can be hard to tell what’s worth caring about. We’re constantly told in subtle, unsubtle, and hammer-on-head ways what we’re supposed to think is really great. Sometimes, it’s right on ( have you clicked on our ads yet? All those products are amazing).
Most of the time, though, the latest advertisement and cool-looking package is not even close to what’s actually good. These are a few of the worst offenders - the games, accessories and debates that merit no attention at all, and yet they never leave us alone.
What they are: New maps, levels, guns, fix-its, expansion packs and anything else you can click a button to get from the internet.
Why you care: Playing new maps is fun. Quality content at a reasonable price can give a great game some extra life on our consoles.
Why we don’t: Buying new maps is not fun.
We know Fallout 3 is going to raise the level cap, Left 4 Dead will add more maps and Tomb Raider will get an ending; we’re just going to have to download them. If we know what the DLC is going to be after playing the game for 10 minutes, then it’s really just part of the game that was left out. Of course, we’re going to buy the extra maps anyway, but we’re not too hot about paying extra.
Above: Many ranked gametypes are can no longer be played without downloading additional maps
What they are: Classic arcade games being re-released for you home console.
Why you care: Through the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, the arcade titans of winter breaks past practically define an awesome era of gaming. So why not spend a few dollars to see if, like classic literature and film, great games can stand the test of time?
Why we don’t: They can’t stand the test of time. With advances in technology, games have improved more than just their graphics over the years, and polishing up an arcade classic is usually not enough to make the gameplay shine – though, ironically, the graphics do actually shine most of the time.
Above: Old is the new new
We’d list all the old games you can get from Xbox Live, PSN, Virtual Console and Steam, but it’s boring. If you want to be bored, you can find them on the (boring) Xbox Marketplace, (even more boring) PlayStation Store and so on. Suffice it to say, the number of old arcade games making a dramatic reappearance as downloadable content is staggering.
There are exceptions to the rule: Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, Mega Man 9, Bionic Commando and, umm… that other one. Those are all awesomeness wrapped in sliced bread. But, again, they’re the exception. Most of the time, retro games were only considered good because people hadn’t figured out how to make a better game yet.