Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Conversation Fodder: Best Video Game of 2008?

I have no doubt that, had I world enough and time, 20 straight hours ensconced in the family Sumo before our gargantuan flat-screen Hi-Def Behemoth playing Fallout 3 (h) -- Paste magazine's video game of the year -- would be just the thing. My daughters could take turns refreshing my mug of rooibos tea, while my wife would happily serve up ramen noodles every four hours. I suppose some sort of industrial absorbency diaper would be in order, as well as an occupational therapist for massage purposes: don't want to lose circulation to any extremities that aren't enlisted for button-mashing.

Unfortunately my trust in Paste's video game judges was irreparably damaged when they piled on the fudge and gave The Simpsons game a positive review. Some people might say I'm being too hard on a game that was merely mediocre, but I'd argue otherwise. The Lego games are mediocre; they're also pleasant diversions. The Simpsons is bafflingly unimaginative and no fun whatsoever -- pretty much in line with 95% of the games out there.

It sounds like the engineers of Fallout 3 worked hard to weave in as many textured surprises as possible. I'm sure if I gave it a chance I'd enjoy it. But (and I'm willing to receive correction on this) it also sounds like it's a run-n-shoot game. Thirty years of run-n-shoot, and we're willing to call this "a towering achievement"?

Please: a little less hyperbole and a little more critical sand. The industry might not comp you with as many $80 games, but I'd be tempted to resubscribe. And who would dare put a dollar value on that?


Joel said...

I never played the Simpsons game. (I don't have a video game system). I did however watch some of the clips on youtube, and thought it looked pretty funny. Particularly the part where they met their 8-bit selves.

...But I guess all of this doesn't count for a lot if the game play sucks.

Whisky Prajer said...

The play is the thing, to coin a phrase. Most of the YouTube clips are the filler bits -- or "story" if you will -- between play segments. Again, I can only contrast the story and gameplay with Simpsons Hit & Run, which is a much better example of what a franchise satire can achieve in this medium.