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GamesRadar's Anti-Awards 2008

The first time we saw a plastic steering wheel or gun that you could snap your Wii controller into, it was cute. “Okay,” we said, “we can see how that would be helpful.” But there are now more than 25 different forms of useless, random plastic crap littering store shelves. Just look at this non-comprehensive list of junky remote accessories that you can purchase to cling to your Wii remote like a dirty paper sack wrapped around a bottle of gin.

Tennis Rackets

Golf Clubs

Baseball Bats

Light sabers (sorry – glow sabers, light swords, bright sabers, and sometimes laser swords. They’re unlicensed, you see)

Fashion controller skins of every color, including every NFL, MLB, and NHL team

Above: Yes, Nintendo is number one again… but at what cost?

Fishing Poles with plastic fish

Cheerleader Pom-Poms

A Skillet, Spatula and Serving Fork

“Surgical Kit”, consisting of a fake magnifying glass and various cutouts of needles and blades.

Above: Handles. Just handles

Swords and Sabers, some with tiny shieldsSomething called a “Wonder Stick.”

Don’t buy any of this crap. Please.

This trend of releasing lame-o side games on Wii in place of genuine sequels has got to stop. We’ve loved the past three DS Castlevania games for their hard-ass 2D trappings and gorgeous animation, and eagerly await another 3D interpretation of the series even if Curse of Darkness failed to impress us. Imagine our collective disgust when the first 3D-ish Castlevania in three years is a hysterically bad fighting game that pays no mind to the revered status the series has earned… and it’s a Wii exclusive.

Above: Castlevania!

From over-gothing already gothed-out characters to building a shallow, button mashy, uninteresting fighter, Judgment is a perfect example of what not to do with a venerable franchise. Only fans will bother checking it out, and if reaction ‘round these parts is any indication, even they’re going to be sickened by the state of Simon, Trevor and the bafflingly boob-obsessed Maria.

If you’re not going to make a good game, or even a conceptually interesting one, don’t make it at all. This isn’t Halo, it’s not going to sell a million copies on the name alone, and games like this merely continue Wii’s penchant for unwanted sorta-sequels that diminish the core brand – see Soulcalibur Legends and Dragon Quest Swords for more.

Once again another platform got the real sequel (360’s excellent Tales of Vesperia) and Wii had to make do with a cheesy, Pokemon-infused side story. Wouldn’t have minded so much if it weren’t also a direct sequel to GameCube’s best RPG. Is it too much to ask to put your A team on Wii projects?

Devil May Cry 4 was awful damn pretty, yes, and its demon-juggling slashy-shooty action was a lot of fun. But halfway through its fast-paced, pleasantly stupid narrative, something strange happened: you were forced to play through all the stages you’d just trekked through again, but backwards and as a different character. It made sense in the context of the story, but come on – it’s hard to explain it away as anything other than a way to pad out the game’s run time without having to design more levels, and the fact that you had to fight the same three bosses on the way back certainly didn’t help.

Above: Are we supposed to be so glad to play as Dante that we forgive such lazy design?

Then there was that goddamn board game. Twice, protagonist Nero enters a room and is confronted with a vast game board, on which he’s forced to smack a gigantic die in order to move a little statue of himself a few spaces forward. Then, depending whether the space his avatar lands on triggers monsters, powerups or nothing, he has to deal with the results before moving again. And hey, guess what? The second time you “play” this deliberate time-sink, you need to fight all the same bosses a third time in order to move through it. We know making a current-gen game is expensive, but DMC fans deserved better than this bullshit.

For every four minutes of sumptuous speed, you’ve got to spend 45 minutes chatting in a useless overworld populated by people with nothing to say, or pushing blocks and pulling levers in a fashion we thought died with the Dreamcast.

Above: Not seen in the commercials: Chattin’ with the Elderly!

Want to start an internet riot? Try bundling “intrusive DRM” with your game. PC gamers don’t want online activations, limited installs, or hidden programs on their kernel (even if some have no idea what that means). But most importantly, they don’t want to feel like they’re being treated like a pirate for purchasing a legitimate copy of a game.

Like fire to Frankenstein, news about Spore’s restrictive DRM caused much pain and anguish for many fans. Thousands of gamers made their way to, flooding the site with scathing one-out-of-five star reviews. The message was clear, “DRM baaaad!” “SecuROM, baaAAaad!”

Above: Many gamers passed on the opportunity to create well endowed creatures because of Spore’s heavy handed DRM

Since then, EA has relaxed its policy on limited installations for Spore. You can now download a de-authorization tool to free up an installation slot instead of contacting EA’s customer service team by phone. A SecuROM-free version of the game is also available on Steam.

It looks like EA is listening to what their customers are saying. That’s why we’re giving this year’s ‘Angry Mob’ award to the irate gamers who voiced their criticisms on Plus, we like reading angry comments. Feel free to post yours here.

Blizzard Entertainment has the Midas touch. It seems like everything they create is destined for greatness. Fans don’t expect good games from Blizzard; they expect excellent ones and won’t settle for anything less. That’s why expectations for StarCraft II are so high - and that’s why many bitter Blizzard fans threw a fit when they found out that their long-awaited sequel would be split up and sold separately as a trilogy. The Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss will all be playable in multiplayer in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. But for the full singleplayer experience with the Zerg and Protoss campaigns, we’ll have to wait – and pay – for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which is why many are accusing Blizzard of milking their fans for all they’re worth.

This isn’t an Anti-Award as much as it is a notification to the industry: we’re on to you. A surprising number of major releases during the holiday season were direct sequels to games released precisely two years ago. We’re all familiar with EA and Activision’s annual release schedule, but could this mark the beginning of a wider bi-annual mindset?

Soak it in:

All those and we didn’t include the obvious, like Guitar Hero and the myriad sports titles that come out every single minute of every single day. The best part is Yakuza, which we received in 2006 when Yakuza 2 was hitting Japanese shelves. Guess we can look forward to Yakuza 3, Gears 3, Resistance 3 and another DS Castlevania in 2010, yes?

Don’t be surprised if our 2010 Platinum Chalice Awards mention quite a few of those games in great detail…