Just For Fun, Folks!

I wrote this as a social media post long ago, but it deserves a place here! Enjoy!

Inspired by the Portal board game, I have devised a list of potential board game ideas to pitch to Hasbro:
Mighty No. 9: Just copy the Mega Man board game, but do a half-assed job at it.

Konami: The Board Game: You are one of the top executives at Konami, and you’ve been looking to restructure the company by laying waste to your intellectual property. Players work together to sabotage valuable IPs through neglect, outsourcing to no-name developers for Silent Hill, and making completely inappropriate pachinko slot machines out of Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, and Castlevania. The game ends when players land on the “Fire Hideo Kojima and Burn the Evidence of P.T’s existence” space. The player that cares the least wins.

Shenmue: Explore an incredibly detailed board while reading the cards as monotone as possible. While there is combat, the real fun is getting to collect capsule toys and drinking soda. When you get to the third section of the game, wait for at least fifteen years to resume play. But you can always go back and ask around for sailors.

Fanboys: Are you too emotionally attached to a consumer product as a way to compensate for the lack of meaning in your life? Fantastic, you can meet up online with and argue over which gaming platform is the best! Earn points by successfully annoying your target into stepping away from the computer in rage, and don’t be afraid to play the “death threat” card. Points don’t matter because no one you’re defending actually cares about you, but watch out! If the moderators find your rambling, you could be banned. The expansion includes “PC master race” pawn, updated spec wanking, and a shaker full of salt.

Videogame Movie Adaptations: You’re a plucky Hollywood executive trying to reach the coveted 18-35 year old crowd, but there just aren’t enough superheroes to go around these days. You can always try to be the one executive who manages to make that first great videogame movie adaptation! Buy the rights to a popular franchise without doing any prior research into whether or not it has any cinematic value.  Bank on its marketability, but come to the cold realization that you’ve joined literally every other one of these in existence. The game ends when one the players reveal themselves to be Uwe Boll.

Disproportionate Outrage: Did a publisher move a character just a few pixels to the left? Were they caught in the egregious act of removing a gratuitous panty shot? Well, you’re all about that artistic expression, right? Send hate mail, useless petitions, death threats, rape threats, and whatever means are at your disposal to get what you want. Remember, your devotion to a piece of media takes precedence over a real person’s life! Comes with double standard rules that ignore when Square-Enix has to clothe a male character more modestly. For some reason, that’s not such a big deal…

Half-Life 3: Just an empty box.

Where Do They All Belong?

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Photo by Routine @ Morguefile.com

Many days ago, I remember praising SunkenThought’s article in which she described the relationship she had with her husband. That was for a very specific reason, because I was at the end of a long string of lousy dates that never seemed to go anywhere. I was consumed by the cynicism that modern dating, online dating especially, engendered.

My peers have become worn out, and many of them remain single. But not just single, they’re lonely too. Many of them yearn for affection and love, but things just don’t seem to be working out for them. It is not just my male friends who feel this way, as my female friends also feel this crushing sense of loneliness. If there was a theme to the 21st century millennial dating experience, it would be the Beatles’ classic “Eleanor Rigby”.

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Rayman 2 and Nostalgia

 

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Screenshot of Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Taken by Dylan Greene

 

I don’t usually listen to nostalgia. My childhood was pretty awful all around, and I have little desire to return to it. However, I must confess every once in a while I manage to get my hands on games that I enjoyed long ago and get little jolts of nostalgimine (totally legit, I swear) from playing.

The retro game du jour is Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Released originally for the Nintendo 64 and ported to just about every console on the market at that time and beyond.

I have found that my reaction to old games has been split into two broad reactions. One is “Cool, I forgot about this!” and the other is “Ugh, I forgot about this!” Either way, memories give way to the reality of the game.

In the case of a game like Sonic Adventure, I got to rediscover fighting with the camera, playing as Big the Cat in fishing levels that make no sense in a Sonic game, and the cold realization that this and Sonic Adventure 2 was used as a blueprint for the ill-fated Sonic ’06. Not that there weren’t good moments, but it certainly lacked the sense of wonder I had conferred upon the game in my childhood.

Fortunately, Rayman 2 has not succumbed to that effect. All of the elements that I enjoyed are present and while I have gripes about small things the game is solidly built.

My main criticism, at least when it comes to the PC version, is that it suffers from “consoleitis”. This is when a console game is taken and ported to PC without much care. You can see this in the way that the controls are bound. Instead of the typical WASD for movement and building around that, the movement is bound to the arrow keys. The “A” key jumps, and the space bar attacks.

This goes against almost every PC gaming convention since the space bar is usually reserved for jumping. Short from diving into the game’s .ini files, there is no way to rebind these keys to my knowledge.

Still, once you get used to these controls, Rayman 2 is still Rayman 2. There are the Robo-Pirates, the cartoon fantasy world, and of course a limbless hero with a lot of pluck. Since it’s only $5.99 on Good Old Games, I’d definitely give it a shot!