The grandma who plays GTA, and other mysteries of the universe
Even from the earliest conceptions of a game, developers pretty much know who theyre shooting for. In fact it would be pretty hard to get a project greenlit unless the developers say that THESE people will love THIS specific thing in the game. And while there are the few RTS purists who will surprisingly pick up the new Kirby game, aside from those anomalies the core demographics usually will win out.
Except for in these cases. Whether it be by a freak accident or divine intervention, somehow certain games just strike a groups fancy. Maybe the mechanics matched perfectly with a real world skill that needed honing, maybe the game served as a cheap simulation tool, or maybe even the sheer fact that it was a terrible game inspired a sympathy fandom. Regardless of the reason, here are a few games that have strange and surprising followings.
Catherine... Is being played by fighting game fans
Yeah, that Catherine; you know, the one where you climb up blocks to escape harping ladies? Things are pink and there are eight different endings because its an Atlus? Yeah, that one. Besides the ridiculous storyline, theres an incredibly fast paced multiplayer mode using the same block-climbing puzzle mechanics.
And it turned out to be perfect for competitive play. Instead of players mastering different characters, instead the difference comes in the levels that you play on. There are skills and counters and knock-out and traps and everything youd need to have a great rock-paper-scissors experience like in a good fighting game. Here is a video of the Norcal Catherine matches. Its crazy but it seems to work!
Minecraft 101... Provides an introduction to urban planning
We get it, weve seen Battlestar Galactica recreated in Minecraft. We understand its power. But what to use this power for?! Well, many ways. Some people use it for teaching students about teamwork and delegation . Some people use it for as a tool to combat depression. And still others, like the United Nations, use Minecraft for urban planning.
And not just a cute simulation, but legitimate, useful urban planning effort called Block by Block. How it works is they completely model an area, say a playground in Uganda, as a Minecraft environment. They then invite people who live in the area to play the game and walk around, all while allowing the to physically reshape the space to how theyd like to see it change. Let's just hope they remember to turn off the zombies and Creepers before night...
Sports games Found a home with the swords and sorcery crowd
Fantasy Football, Franchise Mode, Team Management mode...when it comes down to it sports games seem to be just as intricate as the best RPGs out there. Its no surprise then that gamers who label themselves as RPG players are getting into the universe. Theres stat building, party member recruitment, leveling up, probability of outcomes, and storylines of each player. For the RPG gamer, that all sounds very familiar.
And theres honestly a broad range of different stories you can weave. Want to grow close and train a single character to greatness? Pick up Fight Night. Want to form a cohesive unit, where each person only exists as a cog in the machine of something youve built to be great? Pick up the new Madden. Want something in between, where you support individual party members to become more than the sum of their parts? NBA Live is the game for you. Maybe this will be the first step in bridging that gap between the jock and the nerd...
Wii Sports Finds itself as a useful tool for rehab
In one of the more touching finds for this article, there seems to be a great alternative use for the Wiimote and Wii Sports: rehabilitation. More specifically, rehab for people suffering from Cerebral Palsy. A disease that restricts physical ability, researchers have been continually trying to find a way to include regular physical activity into patients routines. The challenge is this activity had to be exciting and fun enough that the person would want to continue the routine.
Enter Wii Sports! In the studies we read, researchers used tennis, boxing, and baseball to measure activity levels and overall participation of participants. The results were great, one study even noted in their conclusion section that these games may be useful as treatment to promote more active and healthful lifestyles in these patients.
Farming Simulator... Is unsettlingly popular in the Lets Play community
1,599,479 views. That is the view count of one of the popular Lets Play YouTube videos of Farming Simulator. There are Lets Plays of this game that have episodes, that are split into parts, that are trailers for items from the game, there are even satires of other Lets Plays of Farming Simulator. These games have always found popularity through ironic enjoyment, but what is so damn special about this specific simulation?
Its kind of likedo you remember the movie Kung Pow? We feel its like that. Objectively just a terrible and torturous thing to sit through, but you love it because the only thing you can do to keep the experience positive is to laugh at the absurdity of what youre witnessing. Do these simulator games even have people playing them for use? Are farmers planning crop rotations using Farming Simulator? Are conductors...doing conductor things using Train Simulator. Well be wondering that until the cows come home.
Super Monkey Ball improves surgical precision
We already know that video games in general promote neural motor processes (are good for da brain!), but a certain hospital in Florida is taking that one step further. Dr. James Rosser noticed that the hand movements for controlling the Monkey Ball in Super Monkey Ball were the same hand movements he used... during surgery.
He then conducted an informal study and found that playing at least six minutes of Super Monkey Ball before surgery both increased precision and decreased mistakes made. Surgeons at his hospital now all play as a warm-up before they go into surgery. Thats bananas!
Desert Bus for Hope Is so painful people will pay to watch you play it
At first this is the most confusing of the bunch, as it doesnt even have the small and painful amounts of ironic enjoyment that Farming Simulator 2013 can give us. In fact thats the point of the game. Made by Penn & Teller for their unreleased Sega game Smoke and Mirrors, the game was designed to be more of a commentary on the idea that all video games cause violent behavior rather than a video game itself. At its core its designed to be a dull experience.
So then it kind of makes sense that this would be a great idea for a charity campaign. Sort of a if I can sit through this game, please God just donate a little to my cause. And thats exactly what its become; theres yearly charity, Desert Bus for Hope, where people play for hours on end. They even have celebrities playing and both live and silent auctions peppered throughout the event.
Is the LGBT community claiming Bayonetta as their own?
Perhaps, because lets be honest her levels of womanhood crush anything straight men can throw at her. Shes like Oprah...except the opposite. Wait, wait, stop. Could you imagine if Oprah voice acted Bayonetta in the Wii U game!?! Perfection. Earth shattering. Encore.
But we digress, because there are many more accurate and supported examples of games transcending their target audiences. Anything you feel we missed? Any stories you have of shamefully completing your siblings copy of Barbie: Jet, Set, and Style? Let us know in the comments below!