Are you ready to close the book on 2017 once and for all? I certainly am, and with this last look back at the games I played for the first time that year, I can not only close that book but toss into a fire and then kick it a few times for good measure! But hey, I guess not EVERYTHING was bad that year; even if half the games I’m referencing in this list are from different years altogether! Heck, even the bad ones managed to distract me from the nonsense going on in the world every freaking agonizing day, so why not take one last look at them to see what we can learn from them? Let’s get started!!
Developed by Sonic Team
Here’s the thing about this game which I played for the very first time in 2017. As much as it has the reputation of being THE WORST GAME EVER, it honestly isn’t THAT bad of a time. It’s not GOOD by any stretch, but I never found it to be flawed enough to be more than just boring which is STILL better than offensive garbage like Hatred or Call of Juarez: The Cartel. Heck, on a fundamental functional level, I actually found it to be sounder than something like The Evil Within which ALWAYS felt extremely uncomfortable to play; like it was some sort of facsimile of a video game made by people who had only ever heard of such a thing. Sonic 06 is absolutely terrible, but in the pantheon of bad games I find it to be more amusing than painful which I GUESS is an achievement of sorts; just ask Tommy Wiseau! Sonic is always a fascinating character to think about as there’s something… engrossing about him and the myriad of stuff that has built up around him, and maybe it’s this weirdly unique identity that has allowed it to preserver despite numerous setbacks like this game, Sonic Boom, and even the rather poorly received Sonic Forces. The fact that ANY character survived the monstrosity that this game ended up being (even if I don’t think it’s THE WORST thing ever) is a testament to the longevity of Sonic’s success and the way he managed to connect with fans. It’d be impressive if it weren’t for the fact that it basically let Sega get away with releasing such terrible games with impunity.
I tend to play a lot of video games whenever I’m procrastinating on whatever movie review I desperately need to get finished, or whenever I need to settle the existential panic of the world collapsing around us in some horrifying slow motion train wreck that many of us have been cheering on for terrible reasons and everyone else is trying desperately to prevent. Needless to say that this was a VERY good year for constant escapism, but that’s not all that video games are good for considering how many great can be just as life changing and inspiring as any movie, television show, book, or other creative work! Some games I enjoyed this year, others I hated, and most of them didn’t actually come out in 2017, but I’m gonna talk about all of them anyway because it’s the start of a new year and we ALWAYS have to take just a few looks back before we can head into the future! Let’s get started!!
Developed by StudioMDHR Entertainment
I don’t get it. I don’t get how THIS game, which truthfully is pretty good, managed to be yet another hill for the ETHICS IN BULLSHIT crowd to rally around for whatever perceived grievances that supposed haters had with the game. I’ll tell you right now that, while I love the art direction and think the game play is solid (if not OVERLY inspired), the difficulty is a legitimate detriment to the game. Never in my life have I heard people defend so vociferously the idea that a game being overly frustrating isn’t an actual flaw in the experience; especially since that’s basically been the consensus for over a decade now when it comes to critiquing retro games. Just look at any given AVGN video and chances are you’ll find that one of the major breaking points for the guy is an unforgiving difficulty! Maybe this is a conversation that NEEDED to happen regarding accessibility (especially for those with disabilities) and how much a potential lack of inclusivity should impact how we evaluate and rate games which will hopefully be one positive outcome of this whole fiasco. To me, the problem could have been sidestepped entirely if they bothered to have an ACTUAL easy mode instead of the fake one in the game right now where you CANNOT PROGRESS IF YOU USE THAT MODE! I would have been annoyed if the game just had the one level of difficulty (which is extremely hard), but the fact that they put in a mode that the developers clearly have no respect for (why else would they gate keep progression?) is what got my blood to boil and made the whole experience that much more miserable. This is a really solid run and gun game with amazing bosses and a very cool art style (which in and of itself is a conversation worth having that the gamer babies were up in arms about), but I can say with absolute confidence and certainty that the game is worse for not having difficulty levels so that players of all skill can enjoy it.
Here we are with the second and final part of my look at games I played in 2016 (part 1 can be found here) that were interesting enough to talk about! Like before, any game that I didn’t play on PC will be note specifically which platform I did play them on because it was way easier for me this year to play on my computer than to do so from a console. I mean, I’m ALREADY sitting in from the damn thing most of the time! Anyway, let’s not waste any more time and just get started! This is gonna be fun, right?
Developed by Game Developer X
Sigh… You know, this game was a lot funnier when we weren’t months away from a tax payer funded Thunderdome or some asshole House Rep putting forth a Purge bill. Still, the fact that Bossa Studios hasn’t jumped on this is kind of surprising as I was reminded of games like Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread while playing it even though it’s clunky and as all hell and riddled with poor design decisions. The game’s primary purpose is political satire, so naturally the timing of the game’s release was just as important as making a good game, but behind all the frustrating elements and damn near impossible stages, there’s a brilliant physics based puzzle game to be made here. I don’t know who Game Developer X is or if they’re even interested in this concept outside of its use as a political lightening rod, but I do want to see what they end up making next; whether it’s a refinement of this formula or if they’ll continue to push buttons with even zanier games. If it’s the latter though, PLEASE let someone else make a sequel to this so we can see its full potential!
Pixels and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Chris Columbus
You know, it’s actually not that bad. No, I’m kidding. This movie is absolutely dreadful. I can’t imagine how you could have made this worse. It didn’t give me a terminal illness so at least there’s that much, but this low effort cash grab by Adam Sandler and Chris Columbus is probably the worst thing I’ll see all year. Yes, this is worse than Terminator Genisys. How bad is it? Well you probably already know if you’ve heard anything about this film, but let’s find out JUST how low Happy Madison can sink with this heinous train wreck of a movie!!
Pixels is about Sam Brenner (played by America’s favorite hack, Adam Sandler) who was a video game wiz during his childhood but never lived up to his potential as a… good video game player I guess, and is now a forty something loser who installs electronic equipment for rich people who can’t be bothered to plug in an HDMI cable. Not that his JOB makes him a loser; It’s his entire personality and outlook at life that makes him one of those. Sam is a smartass, doesn’t take responsibility for his own life choices, and blames everyone around him for his failures. His best friend is the god damn President of the United States (Kevin James) yet he still treats him like the fat kid he used to know when they were younger. Not in a “you’re still my best friend” sort of way, but in a “remember when I was cooler than you?” sort of way. Anyway, this pathetic loser is going through his sad life until one day aliens start to invade the Earth and for reasons too convoluted to even bother describing here, they’re doing so in the form of arcade games from 1982 and earlier. Because no one else in the world is as good as three guys who played games in the eighties (therefore conferring the idea that being a Gamer is an exclusive club of badasses who need a minimum level of skill and conformity before being granted the prestigious label), the President enlist Sam, another creepo friend of theirs called Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gadd) and eventually Sam’s rival from his childhood Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage) to fight the alien menace.
Can we get The Last Starfighter instead? Hell, the Wing Commanders would be preferable to this. The MOVIE version of Wing Commander.