Dunkey’s Garbage: Part 3
Dunkey’s point about critics having power in “the consistency of their voice” is an incomplete one to me, failing to explain how someone like Roger Ebert can bring down verdicts on movie on criteria that is never properly defined; fifty reviews later, I still have no idea what he likes. He has a consistent way of writing, in that it’s consistently unremarkable (and the next person to say “he’s whispering in your ear” is getting a paddling), but without an overarching philosophy of what the critic enjoys, and a clear disclaimer of the sorts of biases you can expect, it’s like getting a recommendation from somebody you don’t know, and as such have no reason to trust.
I’ve developed the theory of the four types of critics: the pragmatist whose opinions are based on rules and precedent, the producer who wishes they could make great work, the hippie who bases their opinions on feelings, and the everyman who has no philosophy and so are a wash. To give arbitrary ratings, I might be a five – star pragmatist and a four – star producer, where Ebert might be a four – star hippie and a two – star producer. You will notice that pragmatists base their ideas on understandable systems and ideas that they develop, often coming up with “theories” and “laws” to justify their writings. It’s because of this that they tend to be more consistent, and more understandable, than the other types of critics.
A critic might be consistent in that they recommend works that are typically considered “good”, and disparage those typically considered “bad”, but without an understanding of the meaning of good and bad, and how they decide to define those terms, a critic becomes nothing more than a parrot for what the public has already considered to be the case. The greatest critics are those who develop insights into a work that their peers, and certainly the public, have never considered. To have insight requires something to frame that insight around… a more proper rephrasing is thus, “a critic’s power is in their philosophy”. If a critic has no philosophy, then what good is there calling him a critic?
Perhaps you will learn more about my own philosophy as I discuss this grab – bag of bad ideas and good intentions.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Everyone’s entitled to some stupid obscure game that nobody has ever heard of, especially if it avoids being pretentious as well. Gaming is so young that any gamer sufficiently in – the – know will understand at an instant the so – called “obscure” games in our medium, such as Ikaruga, Deadly Premonition, Shenmue, Okami, and Killer7. But it’s when you bring out the ones that nobody has heard of, such as Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, Little King’s Story, Infinite Space, Tales of Game’s Studios Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa, almost every game I’ve reviewed, and pretty much anything that comes in a Linux library, that you start to understand just how much there is to enjoy about gaming, and how most of us are continually focused on the cream – of – the – crop 10% of titles — ignoring the inordinate amount of time it takes to research and type up just two sentences, and also ignoring garbage that nobody cares about. I don’t believe Dunkey put this game on here to piss anybody off in a “oh, look at me, I know about games that nobody else knows!” type of way, as I would like to avoid. But question to the audience: have you ever heard of this one? Apparently it’s like Tetris. What the heck is Tetris?
Halo: Combat Evolved
More like Halo: Combat devolved (AHAHAHA). Apparently Dunkey really likes this game. Personally I don’t understand how somebody with such an intricate knowledge and experience with this medium can continue to appreciate such a pedestrian experience, but then maybe I’m giving a YouTuber far too much credit. Not to be the foaming – at – the – mouth PC gamer that the rats at Valve depend on to make their virtual casinos work, but there are hardly any “hardcore” or even unknown games on this list. To be fair, he probably didn’t put too much thought in this graphic beyond games he liked in order to fulfill what I’m told is now a three – second shot instead of a five – second shot, so I’m not basing his entire gaming experience based on it — only 90% of it. Not to say that Dunkey is bad at video games, as in my humble experience with the Mystery Games Tournament all my times would be average compared to those who somehow beat yours truly in a bunch of pissing contests, but I am saying that if one is going to see eye – to – eye, it helps to enjoy similar things. For instance, there being more than one PC exclusive, and that one being Warcraft III. Dunkey, pls.
Super Mario World
Okay, Nintendo fans, we get it: you really like Mario platformers. I did as well, when I was thirteen, though I have looked at them unfavourably as gaming has developed and I was exposed to new and complex genres. I might be alone in this opinion, but I find the older Mario platformers to have sloppy physics, where gravity is a suggestion for half a jump and then gets all up in your business for the second half. One of my biggest pet peeves is being unable to buffer a jump, being spoiled by Quake when I realised just how amazing the idea is, because then the game becomes less about proper positioning and momentum more than it does about being able to perform inputs with a few – frame window. If I’m trying to make pixel – perfect jumps, do they have to be frame perfect, as well? I enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy because of how forgiving it was on the twitch side of things: buffered jumps, a spin mechanic, and gravity that never felt imposing. But none of that took away from the core thrill of platforming: mastering your environment and breezing through harsh levels. I just don’t feel that way with the 2D Mario games. Perhaps it was necessary for Mario Maker to include more creative ideas, such as densely – packed escape – the – building levels. At least then you don’t run off a cliff because you had to audacity to hit the jump button before you were on the ground.
Boy, Yoshi run! He sure does it! Yoshi does the Jump! That’s pretty much it to this game: you run across the levels, throw the eggs in an example of Yoshi being one of the world’s best – breeding reptiles, and also collect 100% of the MacGuffins if you’re the type of guy to count the rings on your shower hose and compare it to your friends’. Any challenge is removed from you being able to run up to Mario and then yoink him back to you, and it would still be awful even if you couldn’t, seeing as how many times the little squart gets knocked off. I played the GBA version of this title, so if it turns out having more screen space than a credit card significantly improves the experience, I still wouldn’t play it, for I don’t find it brilliant in any sort of way. When Nintendo rolled out the ambassador program, they should have swapped this game out for WarioWare Twisted. Damn, that series needs more credit.
Look, I don’t hate art games. At their heart, they’re just interactive movies, and to insult them for saying they miss the point of gaming is to insult visual novels for missing the point of reading. When something like The Beginner’s Guide comes along and really makes you think, I like that. When something like Journey comes along, it’s just desperate. Most of these walking simulators are shouting from the rooftops trying to justify their purpose, yelling out: “FEEL! FEEL! GOD DAMN IT, YOU WORTHLESS SHEEP, FEEEEEEEEEEL!”, and it’s just so transparent they’re trying to make you cry or whatever. If an environmental sim wants to be emotional, wouldn’t it help to, I don’t know, tell a good story? Not insult the audience by having the protagonist be a lesbian at the last second? Write more interesting characters than a depressed fifteen – year – old who whines that she has superpowers? Actually be clever instead of smugly predicting everything that 99% of gamers would do? I’m looking at you, Stanley Parable Beginner’s Guide guy. Although I do have some faith in this genre, evidence has shown me the vast majority of such are either horribly written, or just plain boring. Will I play Inside? Will the United States treat my trans friends as human?
Super Smash Bro. Melee
Man, I have shit on this game. I have also shit on its fanbase, for being even more degenerate than speedrunners, somehow. If I wasn’t an indie game reviewer and instead decided to review corporate swill like every other hack out there, this would be one of my first. The biggest problem would be the reason it got big in the first place; the method by which wavedashing is activated is unnecessarily complicated and is part of the reason why Smash players have wrists as sturdy as a bike frame sitting out in the rain for three years. If a sequence is used during 90% of normal gameplay, and it’s complicated to activate each and every time, it must be streamlined into the game proper, or else it is a constant burden. Because of this accidental skill gate, the difference between somebody who wants to play Melee for fun, and those who delete their Twitter after being beaten by their younger brother, is like getting into a bare – knuckle fistfight with a wheelchair – bound toddler, and also you have a gun. Melee has been ruined in equal parts by its glitched design and its tryhard fans, and I hope everybody is proud of themselves.
Super Mario Sunshine
I booted up the game and was treated to a five – minute cutscene. I played for five minutes and went into another five – minute cutscene. I complete a level, and I have to wait ten seconds after each stage to keep playing, getting booted out of the level every time I pick up a star. Mother of Chaos, at least in Banjo – Kazooie you stayed in the level after picking up a MacGuffin. This is what I hate about Nintendo games: there is always too much downtime between gameplay, and not even in segregated chunks. In something like Kingdom Hearts or Metal Gear, you’d get some long cutscenes, but always after a big chunk of gameplay. In these games, every time you do something like pick up a Shine Sprite (and you tend to do that a lot), you have to go through the rigmarole of doing a little dance, going back to the hub world, and then popping back in like nothing ever happened. When you get knocked out, you have to watch Mario as he sits back down and has a little cry. You know what happens when you die in Quake, Doom, Deus Ex, or Super Meat Boy? You reload the level in half a second! The more arbitrary time – sinks that games put in, the less I respect the developers for putting them in. Games should be composed of interesting content, not the same content we see over and over again just because we chose to play the game. It is presumptuous to assume that anybody’s time is worth more than your own, and that’s what these games assume: just because you’re playing it, your time is free to be wasted. It’s probably a good warning sign, seeing as this game is kind of boring regardless.
Super Mario Bros 3
Being considered one of the best games ever made is no excuse not to criticise it like it was any old piece of trash. I watched a half – hour of The Godfather, didn’t understand what anybody was saying or why I should care about anyone in the film, saw that nothing important happened during the whole half – hour, and decided that it would be better if the movie went on its merry way without me. A work without alternate opinions is a work that cannot objectively be considered good… the same as it is impossible for something to be considered true unless it is falsifiable, it is impossible to consider a work farily judged unless it has been weighed, measured, and its wants have been found. But then, sometimes it is difficult to discuss older works, because technology and history had forced them into being the way they are. I can talk about how this game has levels too short for my tastes, its sprinting mechanics making it hard to get at a decent clip, the power – up storage making each level too easy, and of course the trademark Mario somewhat – wonky – collision – detection. Good, sure, for its time, and I can still see the enjoyment that I felt playing it back when I was thirteen. But then this does not change the practicalities of the issues still being there, and I’m proud our technology has evolved to remedy them in later games.
Dance Dance Revolution
One of those games everyone knows, the perfect instance to either embarrass yourself by being bad at it, or embarrass yourself by being abnormally good at the thing to the point where your friends ban you from playing it (barring trying to nae – nae on the kids at the arcade, of course). I remember being at the movie theater and seeing one of these games at the mini – arcade when I was thirteen, and I wanted my dad to play it with me, but he flat – out refused. Good parenting. I understand the appeal of the thing, but as it turns out I can’t even play OSU! (before I gave it up out of the well – justified proprietary spyware scare) without feeling like I belong in a zoo enclosure where people throw popcorn and babies at me before getting shot. I wonder if the time invested in getting good at this video game would be better invested in actual dance lessons. I wonder if DDR – Style is ever going to be considered its own art form. Where is the line between following the machine, and having the machine follow you? The Philosophy of DDR.
UH – OH, HERE COMES THE MONEEYYYYYYYYYYYY
I played Rock Band for 10 seconds at Chuck – E – Cheese when I was thirteen and I sucked. I have never gone back since.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy is one of Nintendo’s greatest games and is one of the few non – asinine reasons this lumbering pile of broken dreams and bad intentions still earns some degree of respect — at least outside of the sizable percentage of the human population who considers any combination of interactive lights and colours to be “entertainment”. Those of you who disagree that it had the best 3D platforming to ever grace a console whose name doesn’t rhyme with “Gay Nation” are more likely to be entertained by the sequel, whose pitch – perfect map design, challenges that are actually challenging, and movement mechanics that are more satisfying than a Counter – Strike surf map are all still intact, only now Nintendo thinks you’re an infant. Lives were always just a token mechanic kept out of tradition, because Nintendo is less progressive than the Islamic State, but now it’s even more ridiculous. You get lives from dice, lives from shops, lives respawning at every hub world visit, and lives given to you by the handful from Princess Peach’s banal letters. The game isn’t even that hard — the only major addition is Yoshi, and he shows up for like six levels! Anyway, if you want one of the best Wii games ever made but packaged in a way akin to a Scientologist trying to convince you to spend massive amounts of money on the story of Alien vs. Predator except Predator popped off for a smoke break, here you go.
I would like to dedicate more of this series to talking about indie games, though Dunkey is such a worthless, piece – of – shit, mouth – breathing casual gamer who doesn’t even know what button Flappy Bird uses to jump, that the only indie games I can talk about is Mass Effect 2, Super Smash Brothers Melee, and Halo 3. Unfortunately I am forced to discount these recommendations because the best indie game ever made, Undertale 2 for the Xbox 360, has already been made. It is a shame that nobody fully understood this stunning morality play about the necessity of war, the application of pragmatism in an idealistic society, the folly of utilitarianism in the face of genocide, and the universal social contract that binds all organisms, even in Darwinist politics. Of course, this was due to the presence of one flat – chested female character who had less than a paragraph of dialogue, and was immediately transformed into a huge – breasted quad – holed lactating incestuous thundercunt by the anonymous hand of the mainstream media, whose BAFTA recommendation for “Best Game of 2004” was unfortunately snubbed because it made England cry. It was to be expected, given that year saw the release of the second – best indie game of all time, being HERE COMES THE MONEY KNACK TWO ELECTRIC BOOGALOO KNACK IS BACK BABYYYYYYYYYYYYY