Game Maker: Stopping the Evil at the Source
Any longtime reader of Something Awful will realize that the video game industry is clogged with the choking stench of failure and soaked with the tears of every kid whose parents have ever bought them a budget game. My goal as a game reviewer, a goal even more noble than pissing off Derek Smart, is to gather information about which games should never be played under any circumstances and relate that vital information to ordinary people, assuming any of them read SA. You see, the abundance of terrible games isn’t really a problem for you and me, because we both read this site and we know how to pick through the mess of Valu-Soft titles to find good games. The true victims of these nefarious developers are the kids, mainly the ones whose uninformed parents stumble into Gamestop and buy him Unreal 2 for his birthday because they aren’t smart enough to read this site and learn which games they should avoid unless they want him angrily breaking the disc and feeding it to his little brother. So the next time your boss bitches at you for reading SA at work, ignore him. You’re doing it for the children.
Game developer of the future!
After a year and a half of talking about bad games, I’ve realized that far too often I’ve let the developers of these games off the hook. You see, I always thought budget game developers were just like regular people except that their mothers drank and got punched in the stomach a lot during pregnancy. But lately I have come to realize something startling – as we speak, children are slowly turning into the budget game developers of the future! Any normal kid thinks making video games would be an awesome job, so naturally this kid would grow up looking to become a game developer. But the odds are against the average kid being any good at making games, so this kid would end up being hired by budget game companies, since most of them don’t have strict requirements like talent or the ability to spell words correctly. Next thing you know, he’s slaving away in Valu-Soft’s torture factory cranking out the latest expansion pack for Deer Hunter 12: Extreme Cabella Turbo Champion Edition. It’s like a kid I knew in elementary school who wanted more than anything to be an astronaut when he grew up. He talked nonstop every day about becoming an astronaut, and bam, ten years later the space shuttle blew up. You can’t tell me that’s a coincidence. The untalented teenage gamers of yesterday are the reason similar catastrophes occur in the video game industry on a daily basis.
This became clear to me when I stumbled upon a page of games created with “Game Maker”, which is one of those game creation programs that appeal to people who think making a game sounds cool but don’t know how to program or turn on the computer in less than three tries. It isn’t even close to the same thing as programming a game from scratch, but anybody who doesn’t think the ability to steal someone else’s game engine and slap in your own graphics would translate to an actual game company has clearly never played a bargain bin game. People who know how to program and create original ideas get hired at good game companies; the ones who are using Game Maker today are the ones who will be slapping together the latest Extreme Paintbrawl sequel tomorrow.
With this bitter truth now fully apparent, I decided to sample a few of these games to give you all a preview of the fine software you’ll be able to purchase in 5 years from the dusty $9.99-and-under shelf at your local Fred Meyer. I also enlisted the help of a friend of mine who goes by “Dr. Jerkboat”, but he really wasn’t very helpful at all.
Super Mario: Kamek’s Revenge
This was the first game on the site I tried, and it starts the pattern of Game Maker users making games based on classic characters from old console games, and slapping my childhood in the face in the process. It’s the video game equivalent of one of the many websites devoted to pictures of Disney characters being raped by a hippopotamus. Mario spends all of his time in this game stumbling around and flailing his arms, trying desperately to escape from an ugly, pixellated world where the background scrolls slower than the foreground and he randomly gets embedded into walls and floors. At least it’s easy to beat, since the creator couldn’t figure out how to make Mario die from a single hit, so instead you have a health bar. Yes, the idea of a side-scrolling Mario game with a health bar is exactly as awkward as it sounds. It also doesn’t help that most of the music tracks are shitty remixes of songs from Mario 64, one of my favorite games of all time.
I can't stress enough how dumb it is to give Mario a health bar.
I encourage everybody to give Kamek’s Revenge a try, as there’s nothing quite like bouncing off a goomba that pauses in place and turns into an explosion sprite before reappearing in midair, floating across two screens past rows of pixellated coins that float up and down through blocks, and getting stuck in the side of a wall while Mario repeatedly screams “OOH!” at the top of his lungs. I tried to provide some fair and balanced coverage by politely asking Dr. Jerkboat to play it and give me his opinion, but he refused to give me a straight answer. This may or may not be because I didn’t tell him what I was doing and tricked him into playing it by telling him it was really good, and when he tried to run the game it killed his computer. I guess he was working on something important because after I told him what I was doing, he responded “well make sure to mention this game is a piece of shit and you suck”, so I would like to take this opportunity to mention that this game is a piece of shit and I suck.
The weather sprites make it look like Sonic challenged God to a snowball fight. And when I went to grab a screenshot, the ground disappeared out of sheer embarrassment.
Desecrating Mario just wasn’t enough, so a Game Maker user decided he needed to defile another classic game series. The worst part is that, as bad as this game is, it really didn’t seem all that bad after playing Super Mario: Kamek’s Revenge. But at least the Mario creator, unlike the guy who made this game, knows how to spell the word “lives.” And I’m not sure why the maker of Sonic Zone bothered to put rings in the game at all, since touching an enemy kills you instantly no matter how many rings you have. Even though the real Sonic games were about speed, the Sonic in this game moves like he has the entire Japanese national sumo wrestling team sitting on his head. I asked Dr. Jerkboat to give his opinion on this tribute/ripoff, but he was still bitter about the Mario thing, so he responded to my request with a long session of name-calling, most of which was only partly true.
The FPS genre just doesn't have enough exploding barrels.
Making shitty imitations of classic games is definitely a recurring theme in the land of Game Maker. Doomed is, as you might have guessed, a clone of Doom, only it was created by a group of angry Columbine survivors who hate Doom because it killed their friends. In Doomed you get to walk around a big field littered with two million stick things that I think are supposed to be trees. While you do this you get to shoot at all the enemies from Doom, since the makers of Doomed just stole all of Doom’s enemy sprites and stuck them in. There’s a UFO flying around shooting blue beach balls at you, but for some reason if you stand directly below it, you get beamed up into a large black room filled with twinkling green lights. This takes you to the next level, a long series of linked hallways with an untextured green floor and a million explosive barrels scattered all over the place for no reason. The 3D engine is awkward and ugly, but hey, at least the enemy designs are really cool! I asked Dr. Jerkboat for his opinion and gave him a chance to put the past behind us, a chance to put aside our old differences and band together for the good of mankind, but he decided to call me a faggot instead.
As much as I like The Matrix, I’m angry at it for inspiring weak ripoffs like The One and The Matrix Reloaded. The same goes for its irreversible effect on pop culture, and its responsibility for the belief that anything involving dark sunglasses and lots of green is automatically cool. Hell, when I saw Matrix Revolutions there was a guy and his girlfriend dressed up like Neo and Trinity, apparently unaware that wearing sunglasses inside a dark movie theater makes you look like an idiot.
Now imagine all those black circles flying around in every direction while a six-second music loop repeats endlessly.
Speaking of things that make you look like an idiot, some guy used Game Maker to make a really ugly recreation of the lobby gunfight scene. At least I guess that’s what it’s supposed to be. I’m not really sure, since the whole game consists of running around and jumping over rows of identical blocks while black circles fly in all directions and shitty techno thumps at you. But don’t worry, you shouldn’t have much trouble jumping over things in this game, since the slightest tap of the up arrow launches your trenchcoat-wearing retard a good 200 feet in the air. Once again I told Dr. Jerkboat to play the game and tell me what he thought of it, and once again he got angry and refused. Actually I think he’s just bitter because the Something Awful Forums, which have a rule against racism, wouldn’t let him change his username to Niggy Niggerson.
Plasma Twins Strike Again
He looks upset.
Plasma Twins Strike Again, the fifth and final stop on my unguided tour through hell, is a platformer that tells the touching story of two obnoxious Japanese anime-style characters who were lovingly crafted in MS Paint. But the included manual sheds plenty of light on these fascinating blobs of lines and shapes, like this description of the hero, Shingo.
He's the male hero in Plasma Twins strike again. Despite his size and age Shingo is very brave .There are hardly any days where his isn't outdoors or with Natsumi. He tends to loose his temper when something doesn't goes as he planed but calms down fast. Unfortunately his school grades aren't the best ones (except PE) He usually whears dungarees and goes barefoot.
How interesting! Plasma Twins is a very exciting platformer where you slowly hop from ledge to ledge trying to collect “shards.” I don’t know what the creator meant by shards, but I’m guessing they’re the shards of his broken English. I originally decided this platformer wasn’t as bad as the others, because it doesn’t violate any popular video game characters, but the repeated crashes and the game’s tendency to spaz out and start flashing whenever you try to exit made me decide to hate it about as much as Sonic Zone, which is a little less than Kamek’s Revenge. Sadly, I can't bring you Dr. Jerkboat’s reaction to the game because he stopped responding to my messages.
UPDATE: Dr. Jerkboat went to bed.
Well, wasn’t that fun? We took a depressing look at the abilities of the video game developers of the future, we saw what a wide variety of shit the Game Maker engine is capable of churning out, and most of all, I learned a valuable lesson about the video game industry. If I ever remember what it was, I’ll be sure to let you know.
The Fruits of Salvation Hit Me In the Face
Hey gang, Livestock here. In one of those hilarious and eye-opening trading spaces moments, Psychosis and I have agreed to switch places for a week. He wrote a shitty Frontpage update, and I wrote a shitty ROM Pit Review! Imagine that! Although I don't know how to play video games I recently sat down and challenged Wisdom Tree's hit NES games "Spiritual Warfare," which puts you in the role of a fruit-wielding hero on a mission from God. In my review I attempt to not only comment on the game, but also discover the meanings behind the retardedness.
Spiritual Warfare attempts to tackle the difficult topic of religion in a medium not known for its intelligence or ability to deliver messages of a profound nature. Religion is not an easy subject to approach, especially in an environment known for its simplicity. That's why Spiritual Warfare is not just a landmark title in the annals of video game history, but it also an important addendum to no less than the Bible itself. While many theologians of the era were confining themselves to the realm of books, debates, and sermons, the bold people at Wisdom Tree were part of an elite few who observed that the NES gaming platform was where the real spiritual growth and development was taking place. While the churches were static in their willingness to change, an undercurrent of radical religious thought and expression was being nurtured in the 8-bit world thanks in part to revolutionary and thought-provoking titles like Noah's Ark and King of Kings (the inspiration behind Metal Slug and similar titles). Spiritual Warfare is perhaps leader of the pack, boasting non-linear exploration, in-depth quests, Bible trivia, fruit-based low intensity conflict, and the fight to save souls. This game attempts to cut through the thick layers of doubt and hopelessness we often shield ourselves in, leaving us exposed to the greater glory of God. In charging the player with no less than carrying out the Lord's Will, we become more than just players, but soldiers in the most awesome war of all! Sadly, though, even with its strengths, the game is not without fault. Its message often suffers from a lack of clarity.
Please read my review because I took the time to play this horrible game and I want to die very much.