A Very Special Playing the Lame

Before we begin, I’d like to announce the addition of two new rules to the Playing the Lame selection criteria. Folks who’ve been checking in fairly regularly will recall that there are, at present, eight rules that determine how the column operates and which games will and will not be covered under this column:

1.) This gets done when it gets done.
2.) No hard to find or overly expensive games.
3.) Probably no sports games.
4.) No Japanese adventure games or RPG’s.
5.) No low-budget indy games unless they had a major retail release.
6.) Nothing from before the NES era, no exceptions.
7.) No PC games that won’t run on Windows XP or DOSbox.
8.) My word is final.

Well, after two separate and independent nominations by J. Rose and Aileen Coe of the 3DO game Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, I’ve decided to add the following rules to the list:

9.) No interactive movies.
10.) No porn or softporn games unless the game isn’t intentionally porn or softporn.

Before anyone accuses me of actively trying to duck Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, let it be known that I have no issue with playing the game, nor am I specifically trying to avoid it. Oddly, Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties isn’t even eligible for Playing the Lame at this point, as the game goes for around seventy bucks or more on Ebay for reasons I will NEVER be able to understand, so it’s in violation of Rule Two. Rather, I added the above rules because, frankly, “games” of this sort should have been part of the list in the first place. Interactive movies, such as Dragon’s Lair, Braindead 13 and so on, are generally not mechanically complex, and while they are called “games”, they are games in the same sense that skipping chapters while watching Shoot ’em Up is a game. Some of these sorts of FMV games have enough mechanics added to them that they DO qualify as actual games, such as Sewer Shark and Night Trap, and THOSE games would be eligible for nomination, but anything that is essentially a two hour long active time event can get right the fuck out of here. As far as pornographic games go, well, most porn games are going to be terrible because they’re about showing nudity and sex beyond anything else. As such, what gameplay there is will more than likely be atrocious, assuming there’s any gameplay at all. Now, this isn’t the same thing as a game with pornographic elements, so don’t misunderstand my intention here. I’m not saying that something Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude or BMX XXX is ineligible for nomination because there are naked boobies in those games, I’m saying that I’m not going to slog through a hentai game for the column because it’s meant for fapping, not playing.

Besides, any game that I can play on Youtube is pretty much a game I think I can avoid. Unless I somehow manage to acquire a copy for dirt cheap, in which case, you bet your sweet asses I’m telling you ALL ABOUT IT.

Also, because I’ve seen the quote a few places, I want to address the whole “Final Fantasy XIII has no towns because they’re too much work in HD” thing real quick, if I may.

I have more or less hated the Final Fantasy franchise since, oh, Final Fantasy VII. Tetsuya Nomura is the Rob Liefield of the videogame industry, except that instead of adding a million pouches to characters, Nomura adds fucking zippers and belts. Final Fantasy VII featured a story that anyone who reads something other than Dragonlance or Star Wars novels could tell you was retarded. Final Fantasy VIII featured one of the worst magic systems ever made. Final Fantasy IX straight-up ripped off Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z for several of its plot points. Final Fantasy X is one of the worst THINGS ever for more reasons than I can even BEGIN to explain here, and it is one of the very few games EVER where my, “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” policy goes out the window, because anyone who tells you this is a good game is WRONG. Final Fantasy XI is one of the most openly spiteful MMORPG’s I’ve ever played, and Final Fantasy XIV looks to be a carbon copy of the game. I had so little faith in Final Fantasy XII that I refused to play it, and to this day I have yet to do so.

But I am spitefully looking forward to Final Fantasy XIII.

I’m certain I’m going to hate the game. I’m certain it’s going to be awful. I’m not even going to pretend I’m approaching the game with an open mind, because how can I at this point? One of the main characters has a goddamn Chocobo living in his hair and the zipper and belt count, while nowhere near as offensive as that of Final Fantasy X (due entirely to Lulu), is still annoying as shit. Now, after the revelation that Square Enix is incapable of making a HD RPG with towns in it because it was too much work when I’ve played like TEN FUCKING RPG’s with towns in them on my 360? That shit is glorious. That shit COMPLETELY justifies my piss-poor opinion of the game from the start. I mean, I played Dragon Age: Origins, guys. It’s a real HD game and everything. There are towns in that. Honest. How is it that Bioware figured out how to incorporate towns into THREE of their next-gen games but you couldn’t do it with your flagship title? Hell, you couldn’t have just lied to us? You couldn’t have just come up with some sort of game-specific reason for this? Because Final Fantasy XIV, the game you’re releasing AFTER this one? It’s going to have towns, AND it’s going to be in HD.

I’m truly hoping this is some kind of bullshit joke, but fearing that it is, in fact, deadly serious. But, hey, IT’S PRETTY. That’s nice too, right?

Now with that done, it’s time for…

A VERY SPECIAL PLAYING THE LAME.

So, we’re, what, twenty-two columns into this little experiment, give or take? I hope it’s been as fun for you as it has for me (not very). It occurs to me, though, that after all of the time we’ve spent together, I haven’t actually given you a very crucial piece of information that you all probably would find useful.

That is to say, I haven’t told you all what consoles I actually OWN.

Let’s rectify that right now, shall we? At present, I have available to me the following consoles:

Sega Master System
Sega Genesis
Sega Saturn
Sega Dreamcast
Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo 64
Nintendo Gamecube
Nintendo Wii
Nintendo Gameboy Color
Nintendo Gameboy Advance
Nintendo DSi
Sony Playstation
Sony Playstation 2
Sony Playstation 3
Sony Playstation Portable
NEC Turbografx 16
Microsoft Xbox
Microsoft Xbox 360
Panasonic 3DO

I had a Neo-Geo CD and a Wonderswan available to me at one point, but due to financial reasons, they had to be sold. It was very tragic.

Now, every once in a while, I’ll look over this list and feel a twinge of regret, not because I really want some old, high-quality console like a Neo-Geo AES or a (working) Sega CD to compliment my list, but rather because I wish I could dig up a Phillips CD-I for my collection. The fact is that most of the GOOD games that came out years ago are usually available in compilation packages of some sort or another, but BAD games are almost impossible to find outside of their initial release (with the exception of Flicky for some bizarre reason). I’m the sort of person who loves to wallow in the failures of the gaming industry, so for me, owning a Lynx would be more exciting than owning a Neo-Geo Pocket Color.

I’m sick. I realize this.

Well, today, I have a very special announcement to make, as we welcome a new console to the halls of shame. Not just any console, however, oh no. This console, my friends, is the penultimate console of failure. Its name is synonymous with failure. Its existence is a shameful pockmark on the history of gaming. It represents everything that is bad about video gaming, and what few truly good games exist for the system are so vastly overshadowed by the crap that they may as well not even exist.

Let’s unbox it together, shall we?

Yes, my digital camera sucks. I am aware of this. I didn’t pay money for it, so you’ll just have to deal with it. Anyway, these parcels may not look like it, but they contain something I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to lay hands on until this very day. It’s all I can do to take this picture instead of ripping open the packages to bask in the glory of my acquisition, but I steel myself in hopes of raising the anticipation of you, the reader. It is my hope that by the end of this photographic journey you will ALSO feel the pure bliss and anticipation I feel at this acquisition, or, failing that, that you’ll understand why I feel this way and not think I’m a nerdy manchild making a big deal out of finding a shitty game console on the internet.

Let’s press on.

The largest box, I have correctly surmised, contains the actual console itself, so I’ve opted to open it first. Cutting open the box is a colossal pain, as there’s enough tape on it to wrap up someone’s kid brother. After opening the box, finally, FINALLY, we’re ready to bask in the glory of my acquisition…

…fuck.

I’m guessing the components were individually wrapped to prevent packing peanuts from making their way into the innards of the console, which makes sense, so I can’t be too bent about the fact that I have to open even more packaging to get to the system. If I paid money for a console, no matter how crappy, I expect it to work, so if this keeps the console working, so be it. Let’s tear into the packaging and see what we come up with, yes?

Ooh, look, a controller! Do YOU know what it is yet? No? Here, let me help you.

Anyone who’s seen that controller knows what I’ve received in the mail. The number-pad dead in the center of the controller is a dead giveaway. We won’t spoil the surprise for those who know of the console by reputation only, though, so for those of you who DON’T know what’s coming, you will soon. Anyway, the controllers feel like Happy Meal toys, for those who’ve not held one before. They’re made of cheap, hollow-feeling plastic that almost feels fragile, and pretty much every game console you’ve ever played had a better controller than this. The D-pad feels wonky and the buttons give no significant feedback, which are also bad signs. Also, if there are more than five games on the console that use the number pad for something, I’d be surprised.

So let’s see what’s in the big bag…

Ooh, this is it!

Are you ready?

Are you SURE?

Okay, here goes…

This is one of the happiest moments of my life.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, after years of searching for this abomination at a price that wouldn’t make my bank account weep, I have finally acquired an Atari Jaguar. For the few of you who have somehow managed to miss the console, it is quite possibly the worst video game console ever made. It’s mechanically unsound, the controllers are awful, the games are either weak ports or horrible exclusives and everything about the system is a massive joke, with Atari’s plummeting stock prices as the punchline. The release list for the console is entirely ports, shitty exclusives and Aliens versus Predator, and at this point I bet that game isn’t very good anymore. There is not a single good thing to be said about the console. Not one positive descriptor one can apply to the system that would not be a bold-faced lie.

It is, in other words, my Holy Grail.

The five games in the shot are four of the worst games for the console and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, is a terrible port of a game that sucked on every console it was released for. The bottom left game is Club Drive, one of the worst racing games ever, without question. The bottom right game is White Men Can’t Jump, a terrible two-on-two basketball game that makes you ask the question, “HOLY SHIT, WHO THE FUCK MADE A WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP VIDEO GAME?!?” before breaking down into a fit of laughter. The game just above those is Fight For Life a fighting game that looks worse than the Genesis release of Virtua Fighter 2 and is less responsive than playing Primal Rage with a kayak. Not a kayak paddle, AN ACTUAL KAYAK. The top game is Kasumi Ninja, one of several motion-captured fighting games from the 90’s. You know what I mean. Ripping off Mortal Kombat, featuring stupid-looking people badly mimicking martial arts poorly, full of lots of blood, that whole song and dance. Kasumi Ninja is arguably the worst of the lot, though whether it’s because the game is nearly impossible to play or if it’s because of Angus, the Scotsman with the flaming penis, is really a matter of personal opinion.

And now, the test.

And we have liftoff! The fact that this puppy powers up is, honestly, astonishing, as is the fact that it didn’t blow up my TV in the process. If you imagine Lemmy shouting “TIME TO PLAY THE LAME!” in your head as you look at this, it’s about a thousand times cooler.

CLOSING COMMENTS:

Well, I hope this was as exciting for you as it was for me. I’m trying to acquire a few more terrible games for the system, most notably Ultra Vortek, ANOTHER horrid motion-captured fighting game, and will hopefully have it by the next time we get together to make fun of bad games. Our next game on the list, don’t forget, is Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions, which we should be making fun of in about two weeks or so. I’ve been putting in a little time with the game here and there, so I’m confident I can have something ready for you soon.

But first…

It’s time to Play the Lame.

Hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur.

Mark B. is the Senior Editor at Diehard GameFAN, mostly because he’s been on staff for five years. He has previously written for 411Games, InsidePulse Games, Not a True Ending, Retrograding and Beyond the Threshold, as well as his own personal opinion blog, Your Hot Cup of Rant, which he will update one of these days, he swears. His column, Playing the Lame, is meant as a reminder that developers produce a whole lot of awful games, and he swears it was a really novel idea five or six years ago, before everyone on Earth started doing it. Feel free to recommend any terrible games below or through the E-mail link at the top of the page.

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