Diehard GameFAN Hall of Shame Nomination: BMX XXX

Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.

Game: BMX XXX
Developer: Z-Axis Ltd.
Publisher: Acclaim
Release Date: 12/06/02
System Released On: Xbox, Playstation 2, Gamecube
Genre: Extreme Sports

Who Nominated The Game: I did, mostly because I was on a deadline and it was the first thing that popped into my head. Sort of like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, only I think he did less damage than this game. Just saying.

Why Was It Nominated: So, BMX XXX is an interesting product for all the wrong reasons. Acclaim was doing moderately okay with the Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX franchise, but the games weren’t selling nearly as well as they would have hoped. Extreme sports games were all the rage at this point, as the Tony Hawk series was flying off of store shelves, and Acclaim was hoping to cash in on some of that market, which they were only marginally successful in doing. Knowing that they were incapable of making a GOOD game that might attract fans with its quality, they instead decided to make a CONTROVERSIAL game that might attract fans by being edgy. The same thing had helped Mortal Kombat out years prior, after all, and since Acclaim had published the console versions of that game, they knew how a little controversy could help out the sales of an otherwise unexciting game immensely.

Unfortunately, Acclaim had absolutely no idea how to properly stir up controversy, and they decided that the best way of making the game a hit was to cram nudity in it. Yup.

Originally titled Dave Mirra BMX XXX, the title was shortened to BMX XXX when Mirra basically threatened to sue the shit out of Acclaim for attaching his name to a game with nekkid chicks in it, which just starts the comedy of errors that this game became. The game is visually unappealing for a game of its console generation, and in a game where topless riders were supposed to be a selling point, this is a BAD THING. The plot is atrocious, featuring profane hobos and firemen with limp hoses, and the dialogue seems like it was written by the most juvenile middle school class in existence. The game features topless bike riders for absolutely no reason and unlockable videos of strippers for even less of a reason than that, and the bike mechanics are sloppy and annoying at the best of times.

Now, here’s the thing: nudity in a game isn’t guaranteed to tank a game’s quality level. Back when nekkid chicks in a game was some sort of a thing stupid companies were trying to attach themselves to on a daily basis, games like Singles 2 and Playboy: The Mansion came out, touting their topless women for all the world to see as their primary selling point, as BMX XXX also does. The difference is that, as derivative as these games are (they’re both basically The Sims), they were good enough that, as a player, you could enjoy them with little effort. BMX XXX, on the other hand, is the sort of game that is virtually unenjoyable as a product unless you really, REALLY, REALLY like extreme sports games, juvenile humor AND badly rendered nudity… or, like me, you enjoy punishing yourself for something you don’t remember doing.

The game is a mess, is the point here.

Let’s see how everyone else feels.

All in Favor:

Alex Lucard – Look, there are times I miss Acclaim. WWF War Zone was pretty good. I loved NBA JAM. D is one of my favorite adventure games of all time. The Turok games were okay, as was Maximum Carnage. But BMX XXX? Let’s just say I’m shocked at how high the scores for this game are over at Gamerankings.

There’s nothing really positive about this game. It plays horribly, looks horrible, had an awful soundtrack and the “key” feature was being able to unlock FMV of strippers or make topless characters. Okay. I have no problem with nudity or sex in my games. I admitted to being a fan of the Al Lowe LSL games and those are all about sex. Top Secret on the NES had sex as a power up for ol’ Golgo 13. Sex and nudity is not a big deal. But this was done so poorly and was hyped just to get controversy in hopes of selling an otherwise lackluster game.

Acclaim really should have made another Wizards and Warriors, NARC or Qwirk game instead of this. You just have to wonder who thought this was a good idea.

Chris Bowen – Ever try to talk about video games with someone who hates them? Especially when you don’t just play them for your off-hours time, but write about them professionally? Oh, those conversations are FUCKING JOYOUS, let me tell you. It’s especially so if it’s someone you knew from your youth, because then, they get that added layer of condescension on you. “Oh? You write about video games? Wow, I thought you’d have *cough* grown out of those by now…”. This is when I usually try to explain that it’s beyond just base shooters, and that the medium is becoming truly artistic, and the wonderful games that anyone can play, from Wii Sports to Shadow of the Colossus and everything in between. This is when they feel they have to mention “that game they heard about”, usually in the local paper or something in an article penned by a failed TV weatherman, that had too much violence, or sex, or violent sex, or sexy violence or what have you. The point to everyone involved is, to this person, it’s usually about one-upping you, the loser who plays video games instead of buying bigger riding lawnmowers, and his hammer is usually one or two games he heard about fifth-hand.

BMX XXX is one of those hammers that make people that truly care about the industry hold their heads in their hands while being lectured by clueless simpletons. I mean, it’s not like we had a comeback.

It’s not just a bad game. It’s true that the game sucked – all of Acclaim’s BMX games were just shoddy homages to the Tony Hawk games, with bikes instead of skateboards – but not only was BMX XXX a shitty game, but it was decided that they would hide the poor quality of the game behind nudity, abiding by the old adage “no publicity is bad publicity”.

Just like the vast majority of their decisions throughout their time as a company – in fact, with any game not named Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam or Othello (shut up, I love Othello) – this strategy failed, miserably so.

First, the company’s own spokesman – Dave Mirra – had to literally sue the company, who was using his name to peddle the game, to get his name away from the adult theme. Second, major retailers like Walmart refused to sell the game. Then, Sony – who ironically would develop God of War – refused to sell the game without censorship of the nudity. Already, that was three major publicity strikes, and at that point, what’s the point of having a controversial game if no one will sell it?

Then the game hit, and it sucked. It was hard to control, tricks were a bitch to pull off, and the much-vaunted nudity that they talked about was virtually impossible to unlock. Even if the game was good, it would have been a massive chore to get to the point where you could see nipples or video; in a game like this, it’s much quicker to just hit the internet if you’re that desperate for tits.

In the end, BMX XXX was a colossal failure that sold poorly, got killed in reviews, and ultimately was one of the major reasons Acclaim died out in 2004. The company’s IP’s were bought out, with the most notable survivors being Turok (the latest of which could potentially be a HOS contender in its own right) and NBA Jam (which, thank God, landed with Electronic Arts). Acclaim Games was started from the ashes, but without any of the names that made the former company a big name, but in late August, after ownership of the company bounced from News Corporation (MySpace) to Disney via Playdom, the company was shuttered, and all of its projects were canceled.

Like driving a stake through the heart of a vampire, maybe this is the blow that will kill the name once and for all, taking with it the memories of this terrible, shameful game that set our entire industry back a decade.

AJ Hess – Every once in a while, videogames try to break the label of juvenile entertainment and deal with adult issues like love, loss, and responsibility. In the case of the Mass Effect series, you end up with mature games that present the issues in a serious manner. When you just try to push the envelope and see what happens, you get BMX: XXX. Originally this was intended to be a Dave Mirra extreme biking game, but developer Z-Axis tried to support the sagging gameplay with nudity. Mirra himself actually had to go to court to get his name removed from the product. If this title had any decent gameplay, it could have been another solid entry in the then-fledgling Extreme Sports sub-genre. Instead, the horrible gameplay and ridiculous angle of seeing half-naked women doomed the game, and helped lead to the demise of Acclaim.

J. Rose – Let’s take a broken and lazy build of the Dave Mirra games, which are essentially a build of the Tony Hawk games, but with a bicycle, and make the selling point the addition of blocky, square breasted female characters… and you guys wanted to induct Shaq Fu





All Opposed:

I got nothin’.

Result: 5 In Favor, 0 Opposed, 100% Approval = SHAMED

Conclusion: Well, I have NO IDEA how a game about topless women riding bicycles and attempting to do tricks by way of a control scheme that feels like it’s taking your movements as vague suggestions could POSSIBLY be a failure, but Acclaim managed to fail so hard that we got another unanimous vote out of it. Considering the fact that I basically suggested the game because I had nothing else I could think of at the moment, that’s… really kind of apropos, I think.

Next Week: Continuing on the theme of cartoon nudity, next week we’ll be discussing a game about sex! No, it’s not Japanese. See you in a week.

Tags: ,

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *