Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rewarding Failure

I'm not going to start complaining about Extra Credits topic today. They opened it with a disclaimer that the games they were discussing were "interesting", not necessarily "good". And I can vouch for that, I've played some of those games and two of them (that I played) were utter crap. But they seem to have ignored one aspect of gaming journalism and fandom these days; "unique" is a code word for "excellent". The long and short of it is that an excellent game can be criticized for not being new and different enough, while an awful game can be lauded for doing something different irregardless of actual results. Let's say I did something different, like hunting tigers. That would be wildly different for me (and I'm pretty sure incredibly illegal). So I go on a tiger hunt, but instead of bagging a tiger I accidentally shoot and kill one of my porters. Well, props for trying something different I guess.

Frankly, I don't care how much effort and thought went into it, I'm not a fan of rewarding failure. Actually, if that much effort and thought went into a failure, that's even sadder. And if there wasn't much thought or effort put into it, then it's just a gimmick. And the gimmick failed. I don't want to reward that either. It may sound like this kind of thinking will stifle creativity, but think about it. You tried something new, you failed, try again and do better. As opposed to trying something new, you failed, but you tried something new. And that's just as complacent as Yet Another Call of Duty.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Bad Old Days

I've been watching a lot of Chrontendo lately. The big problem I have with the retro-gaming thing is that so much of it is built on nostalgia. Everything was better back then because we were too young and stupid to know any better. Chrontendo (as well as the side series by the same guy, Chronsega and Chronturbo) is an almost academic look at every video game to ever come out on the NES (or Famicom). It's a shockingly good reminder of just how much soulcrushingly awful crap came out on that system. And it's also a reminder of why the Super Mario Bros. games are considered classics. It's probably gaming blasphemy to say that Super Mario Bros. didn't exactly age well, but when it first came out that game was a goddamn masterpiece in every conceivable way. And that's made all the clearer when you see everything that came before it. So Chrontendo is a great, non-nostalgic look at the old days of gaming, warts and all.

And MovieBob made made me think I should watch "In the Name of the King" again. Not because it's good, but because it was so appallingly bad it's hard to imagine that kind of awfulness happening accidentally. It's a hilarious movie, even more so when you realize it was trying to be serious. And to be fair, Uwe Boll can be an okay director when you puts his nose to the grindstone and puts some honest-to-God effort into his movies. The problem is that he's so convinced of his own genius that he thinks he doesn't need to put any effort into directing. He clearly thinks he shits gold, so if he shits out a movie it must be gold. But it's just shit. Unintentionally hilarious shit, but still...