Top 13 Failures of this Generation

10. Wii Online Play

A host of ridiculously overprotective features intended to prevent child predators still couldn't keep Nintendo out of the headlines It still showed up in the news relatively frequently as its web browser function was portrayed by mindless talking heads in the sensationalist mainstream media as an inevitable black hole that would suck your children into a life spent primarily looking at donkey porn. The Wii’s ridiculously over the top safety features (friend codes, etc) may have prevented a few kids from being verbally fondled over the internet, but it has prevented millions of gamers from getting any enjoyment whatsoever out of the anemic online options available.

It could have been better if: We could go back in time and kidnap the person who invented friend codes and have them invent something less annoying instead… like Ke$ha.

11. Too Human

In the two years leading up to the release of Too Human, developer Silicon Knights’ Dennis Dyack (formerly known as a very nice guy) went off on a couple of high profile rants targeting journalists who called out Too Human. He swore it would be a great game. He argued that people who didn’t like it “didn’t get it” – because apparently none of us have played an action RPG before. He basically went ballistic, like an overprotective parent off his meds, and nobody could figure out why. Then Too Human released and it was all too clear. The game he'd been working on for nearly ten years was wretched. That's enough to put anybody in a foul mood. The gameplay was completely meh, and the story was not quite as clever and creative as it was clumsy and overwrought. Vikings battle robots in a bleak technofuture? Who honestly believed that was going to work? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles make more sense than this garbage. And they’re teenage, mutant, ninja turtles.

It could have been better if: It was aborted 6 years before release.

12. Faceplates

Years from now, if Microsoft is remembered for only one achievement in the gaming business we hope people remember them as the only company in history that failed to sell cheap plastic crap to gamers. Stick a Zelda, God of War, or Halo logo on just about anything and gamers will flock to lay down their paychecks for it. And yet somehow, even a decent idea like the interchangeable Xbox 360 faceplate still managed to fail.

Maybe it was the insanely greedy $20 (for most) asking price. But faceplates more likely failed because you had to stab your console 50 times with a screwdriver to get the damned things off, and every time you did, you ran the risk of destroying the faceplate itself – particularly important things like the power and reset buttons. Gamers would have been more than happy to accessorize and snazz up their gaming gear, but they don't take kindly to mistreatment of their hardware.

It could have been better if: You didn't need a jackhammer, crowbar and degree in mechanical engineering to safely swap one garishly painted slab of plastic sheeting for another.

13. Shadowrun

Let’s see: You’ve got the license to a sorta beloved, sorta unknown but definitely geek-rich cyberpunk tabletop RPG that hasn’t been the subject of a videogame for nearly 15 years. What’s the best thing to do? Make a super-hardcore role-playing game that pays tribute to the original source material? No. Make an action RPG, like the SNES and Genesis games were? Forget it. Oh, how about a masterful update of the original RPG concept, with the deep world and awesome imagery wrapped into a modified shooter body, the way Fallout 3 would soon do? Not even close.

No, the clear solution is to make a squad-based shooter that’s multiplayer only and ships way late with only six maps and three match types. Oh, and then be sure to go online and whine that review scores are low because reviewers were unfairly comparing your game to other games in the market, not because you suck at making games. Then pre-teen girls will think you’re tragically misunderstood and emo and draw your name on their notebooks.

It could have been better if: The developer and publisher hadn’t been scared to death of making anything other than a shooter, there had been any single-player mode at all, graphics hadn’t sucked and there had actually been a whole game’s worth of content. Or if they’d just hired Valve to do it.

Nov 23, 2010

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  • larkan - October 21, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    I enjoyed Too Human. There, I said it. The PS3 updates are nothing compared to PSN itself. After it's UI update, it's unbelievably slow and choppy. Who would've thought that a 35mb update could completely ruin something that worked fine in the first place?
  • 911donkey - November 26, 2010 6:12 a.m.

    "Or if they’d just hired Valve to do it" made me laugh my ass off.
  • colbythomas - November 25, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    SHUT UP too human is a epic game i love it SO LEAVE TOO HUMAN ALONE!!!!!
  • NightCrawler_358 - November 25, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    HA friend codes. This is a cool list, but why was PS Home not in this? I'd replace that with the PS3 updates entry.
  • elpurplemonkey - November 25, 2010 8:21 a.m.

    I actually greatly enjoyed the Shadowrun demo. The mechanics were inventive and worked very well. But the game would have been much better off not using the Shadowrun name, and releasing on XBLA and PSN for half the price.
  • Nodoudt - November 25, 2010 7:45 a.m.

    Can "Chinese Knock-Off Spammers On Your Game Sites" count as fails? PLEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE??? Although, that can easily be switched out with gold farmers. .__.
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  • secretsearcher - November 25, 2010 3:46 a.m.

    lol at the teenage mutant ninja turtles reference and the red ring of death is the reason why I got a PS3 instead of a XBOX 360
  • Fuzunga - November 25, 2010 2:34 a.m.

    I change my faceplate every so often and I've never had a problem. They're easy enough to get off and on.
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  • ryno - November 24, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    i usually ignore game updates. but i still find them annoying. PSN should stop the updates 4evr
  • shinyscizor93 - November 24, 2010 10:38 p.m.

    I found what you said about removing 360 face plates strange since mine falls off almost every time I touch the darn thing.
  • Clovin64 - November 24, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    I hate those bloody Red Rings of Death. My 360 died just a week before Assassins Creed II came out.
  • quicksilver_502 - November 24, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    alpha protocol is interesting. it obviously failed comercially and critically but i really like it. 3 and a half playthroughs worth of like. on the ohter hand, i wouldn't actually recommend a firedn buy it for anything over a fiver. borrow it or renrt, sure. but while i can look past the many error and frustrations, many couldn't, quite reasonably. a shame though. i so want a sequel.
  • EdDeRs1 - November 24, 2010 5:40 p.m.

    my xbox survived the red rings twice :)
  • OrangeJews - November 24, 2010 3:14 p.m.

    Maybe the author's hands are gorwing out of his ass if he cannot remove the godddamn 360 faceplate.
  • Aletheon - November 24, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    #5 is not a big deal. Only an xbot would complain about it. Faceplates are easy to change. Not sure why it's so difficult for you....
  • Pruman - November 24, 2010 3 p.m.

    Some things you missed: 1) Wii Music. For some Nintendo fans, it was the final nail in the company's casual coffin, and it only sold 2.5 million copies worldwide. That's good enough for most games, but compared to 37.83 million for Wii Fit and WF Plus combined, 24.01 million for Mario Kart Wii, and 26.71 million for Wii Play, Wii Music is an abject failure. (source for numbers: 2) I realize it's not a console game, but Command and Conquer 4. I can't find figures, but a Google search estimates it sold less than 200k copies, which makes sense since it basically abandoned what made C&C great in favor of ripping off every element from every RTS to come out in the past 5 years and combining it with crippling DRM. 3) On that note, why not include crippling DRM in general for PC games? SecuROM, requiring a constant Internet connection, rootkits...none of these things do anything to deter piracy, and only punish paying customers. I understand why companies use it, but the way to add value to PC gaming is by using Steam. 4) Franchise burnout. 10 Guitar Hero games in 3 years. A new Call of Duty every year. Multiple annual sports releases. Kotick said right after Activision Blizzard formed that he was going to exploit franchises, and oh boy has he, to the point where entire genres like music games have risen and fallen in this generation. Activision is the most prominent offender, but you could also go with Koei and Dynasty Warriors, or Nintendo and it's "Wii" series (I hear Wii Party isn't doing so well.) 4) This is the worst one to me, but the consolization of PC games. Modern Warfare 2 was the most prominent example, removing dedicated servers and not providing any modding tools so ActiBlizzard could sell us $15 map packs. It was clear that IW designed it for the 360 first and merely ported it to the PC. Borderlands was another egregious example: the only way to edit certain settings was to hack a TXT file. If the game wasn't so damn fun and addictive I would be more angry. 5) On the flip side, two of the worst aspects of PC gaming, drawn-out game installs and rushing a game out before it's done and then patching it later, turning early adopters into unpaid beta testers, have come to the consoles now that they're on the Internet. I bet next generation we'll have to configure video drivers and resolve device conflicts on our XBOX 720s and PS4s.
  • SonyBacker - November 24, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    I think the question is when will DC Universe Online be released, I preordered this came countless times', then when I heard that it was to be released a couple of weeks ago, I preordered it again only to find it was pushed back again, it doesn't matter how many screenshots are released it is nothing but a stalling ploy, all i can do is to keep having faith that this game will be worth the wait. worse case scenario the game is scrapped altogether due to budget constraints or the dev company going into admin. even if it is released and the game is a waste of time and money i will be on the front line taking it back and kick up a storm.
  • philipshaw - November 24, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    Great article but how can something as minimal as firmware updates be higher on the list than the RROD which still is a massive hardware problem

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