Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gaming's Guilty Pleasures

I had the idea for this story a month or so ago, and it's by no means an original idea at all. I remembered it when I saw a thread on NeoGAF regarding the same issue: Guilty pleasures in gaming. These can be games that aren't very polished or good for that matter that you just can't get enough of, a game with subject matter that's immature despite the Mature rating slapped on the box that you can't help but enjoy, or mini-games, events, parts of a game that you know you shouldn't love but do anyway. The following is a glimpse at some examples of games and portions in games that brought a devilish grin to my heavenly face.

God of War (PS2) - Making a Sacrifice

The first time I played through this part of the game, I was very surprised/disturbed to see that to proceed I would have to sacrifice a living human soldier, pushing his cell closer and closer to his death. It didn't help my conscience that the guy was screaming and begging for his life so sincerely either. God of War succeeded in getting an emotion out of me. After several playthroughs of this fantastic and grandiose adventure, sacrificing the guard was more fun than anything. By the third time, stupid here finally realized that the dude I was killing was Raphael from the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Take that for being rude but crude, you jerk!

Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC) - Destroying Enemy Limbs/Getting Torn Apart (GRAPHIC CONTENT)

Dead Space is one of my favorite games of 2008. Just a terrific, well-polished game. Something I really enjoyed was the visceral violence of the game. Shooting off limbs was the way to kill the majority of the macabre creatures. You could even stomp their limbs as their corpses lay on the ground, crushing them in a beautiful display of bloodshed. Additionally, having the main character himself get dismantled limb by limb by a terrifying monstrosity is also a joy to see pending you're expecting it. For anyone who's watched a compilation of Leon's deaths in Resident Evil 4 knows what I'm talking about.

Animal Crossing Series (Wii, DS, GCN) - Un-neighborly Behavior

I think most of us who have played a version of Animal Crossing has decided to intentionally attempt to anger one of our residents. Be it by hitting them repeatedly with a net, pushing them around the town until they burst with rage, and sending them hateful letters wishing them dead, hoping they become slowly tortured, and when they finally die they can see their own heart beating after it's been ripped out from their chest...


What? That CAN'T just be me.

She didn't even do anything wrong for Pete's sake!

The Sims (PC) - Simicide

While we're on the subject of being mean to AI people, let's go a step further-- death! You place a sim inside a room with no walls in total isolation. Want to eat? Tough. Want to use the toilet? Tough. Go in your pants. Slowly they become famished, but steadily it leads to their deaths. If you lack the patience for such a task, why not start a fire and give your sims no chance for escape? For instance, I'd love to send the happily married couple, Steven Spielberg and Shia Lebeouf (since Spielberg has a man crush obviously for him as he puts him in every freaking movie possible even though to me, he sucks as an actor completely), into a house and somehow destroy it. Hm... After giving this some thought, perhaps I have some psychological issues... Nah, I'm just kidding.

Sonic Heroes (PS2, GCN, XBOX, PC)

I just don't see the next two games in the same light as some people. Some think Sonic Heroes is just god-awful. I couldn't disagree more. No, it was until the 2006 abomination, Sonic the Hedgehog, that my interest in the series really waned. In Sonic Heroes I loved the upbeat music, the colorful levels, the traditional Act 1, Act 2, Boss formula, and I enjoyed the triple team mechanic. I played the game to 100% completion, but I would say that several glitches as well as playing the same levels over four times with small variants got a bit repetitive. Regardless, Sonic Heroes is a game I overall enjoyed.

Shadow the Hedgehog (PS2, GCN, XBOX)

I could definitely have done without the extremely corny "gritty" take on the hedgehog universe. The guns were okay actually because that meant I didn't have to deal directly with most enemies. In other Sonic games, sometimes a homing attack would be my own undoing. Again, I liked the soundtrack, and I loved the structure-- having multiple paths (you could beat a level the hero way or the dark way which would send you to different levels according to which side you chose) and multiple endings. Shadow the Hedgehog as a character though is somewhat unappealing to me and most fans. Regardless though, you can bet your life that Sonic Team will ignore the vocal hatred and pretend it doesn't exist, so no worries, gang!

Saints Row Series (PS3, 360, PC)

The Saints Row series isn't generally classified as a bad or mediocre franchise. The guilty pleasures come from the sheer juvenile story, writing, and activities. If there was ever a misnomer for the Mature ESRB rating, this series is it. What else can you say for an optional line of missions where the goal is to spray as much raw sewage and human waste on property and people as possible? That notwithstanding, it's still a blast to do. I know, I'm a hypocrite, but I don't pretend it's mature at least!

Wii Music (Wii)

Only in message board circles is this really a guilty pleasure. I have successfully helped to kill gaming as well as Richard Karn's career. In reality, it truly is not a horrible game at all. Chalk it up to poor presentation by Nintendo of America, who is quickly become more and more of an annoyance since the 2nd half of 2008, for ruining the image of this game. Wii Music is fantastic fun with friends, and also alone-- building unique interpretations of the game's songs. Check out the above video to see what I mean by the creativity.

Direct Link Here

No worries, SPC readers. I have plenty more guilty pleasures to share for another installment some time in the near future. Goodness, I'm going to have to go to a confessional, aren't I? Stay tuned for tomorrow night as I have something special planned. Have a great Thursday!

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