Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

The Warp Whistle: June

Each month Ben Van Iten blows on his magic warp whistle and takes a look at the (immediate) future of video games.  These were his findings.

May came and went: just another month gone by with no word of a new Battletoads game.  Kind of makes you stop and think, what’s the point anyway?  Regardless, I bravely pressed on.  Here’s some of what you can buy in June!

He went with the running in and shooting option

Alpha Protocol, June 1st, aka yesterday (Xbox 360, PS3, Windows): This isn’t the future at all.  But before we give the inherent flaws of this column too much thought, allow me to distract you with some exciting news.  Combining shooting and roleplaying elements is pretty common place in today’s video game market, but Alpha Protocol is in some ways the first of its kind.  It is a modern day spy RPG, full of character customization.  You can run in shooting, sneak around, or a combination of the two.  Some of the choices you are forced to make (killing a terrorist or giving him amnesty in exchange for secrets) seem compelling.  Like so many games nowadays, Alpha promises that your decisions will affect a living and breathing world around you - a promise that is often broken.  Some of the early hands on previews have been mixed, but the developers had a lot of time to fix the bugs.  Considering the talent that worked on the project (Obsidian has turned out several quality RPG’s in the past including the original Fallout and Knights of the Old Republic II) and the ambition behind it, I plan on at least renting this.

Syphon Filter, Logan’s Shadow.  June 1st (PS2): The good news for PS2 owners is that they have re-mastered this popular PSP game with high resolution models and environments.  The bad news for PS2 owners is…they are PS2 owners.

If Good Charlotte gets their own Rock Band game, I might harm myself

Green Day Rock Band, June 8th (PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii): Are you a main stream non conformist?  Do you enjoying rebelling against a cause while simultaneously offending no one?  Well then this latest installment of the Rock Band series might be just the thing for you!  Wait till “the man” hears you and your friends lay down a sweet version of “Wake Me Up When September Ends”.  Punk rock!

The Bachelor, June 8th (Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS): If you haven’t had your fill of soulless hookers competing for the love of an uninteresting square jawed beefcake on television, check this out!  The single player mode takes you through a season of the reality show, and you can even sabotage your virtual opponent’s dates.  Or go online and compete with “frenemies” all across the world!  If you’re looking for a way to make me hate you, buying this game is a solid start.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011, June 8th (PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii): If you were to ask the average video game enthusiast what the best sports franchise around is, they’d probably reply Madden.  With all the hype and coverage (there was a reality show about Madden gamers on ESPN2 for instance) the game receives, this is not all that suprising.  My irrational and sometimes frightening  love of football aside, I’d argue that at this point the best long running franchise is actually the Tiger Woods series.  EA Sports consistently improves the game without going too far away from the winning formula.  The  news that Tiger fucks girls from Denny’s did little to dampen my enthusiasm for this game.  With graphic enhancements and even more game modes (like the Ryder Cup!) this is a must buy if you have enjoyed the series in the past, especially if you are new to the next generation consoles.

The intern told me this didn't look awesome. We're going to need a new intern.

Transformers – War for Cyberton, June 22nd (Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii): I briefly referenced this game last month, and I gotta say…pretty stoked.  Instead of using material from the atrocious movies as a backdrop, developers had a different idea.  The story revolves around the Transformers home world, before they made the trip to earth.  The civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons takes center stage in this third person action shooter.  You can play the single player campaign as either faction.  And there’s more!  You can change back and forth from robot to vehicle at any time!  ANY…FUCKING…TIME!  Yeah!  There are also several online multi-player modes, both co-operative and competitive.  But best of all, the preliminary reviews look promising.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to smoke a cigarette.

Chuck E Cheese’s Party Games, June 22nd (Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS):  They better have the whack-a-mole game or I swear to god...

Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4, June 29th (Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, Windows, PSP): Lego Star Wars was a charming concept.  Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman were alright, but at this point I’m just over it.  Yeah I know it’s cute, whatever.  The sad thing is this will probably be the best Harry Potter video game to date.  If you haven’t experienced the Lego phenomenon before, and you dig Harry Potter I’d recommend picking this one up.  Otherwise…bleh, skip it.

Florist Shop, June 29th (Nintendo DS): This game is rated M for mature.  Burn down rival flower shops to trim the competition!  Some jerk requests something you don’t have in stock?  That’s easy.  Cut out one of their eyes and feed it to them!  They should have gone over to that other fancy shop.  Oh wait a minute, you burned it down!  Or you can play the role of Rose, a sweet girl who quit her office job to pursue her dream of running a successful flower shop.  It’s one of these two concepts.  I get confused.

Sold.

Naughty Bear, June 29th (Xbox 360 and PS3): The protagonist in this game is a psycho teddy bear who stabs other cartoon characters to death with a machete. Well, alright.  The developers are claiming a unique AI system that makes the game different every time you play through it.  I doubt that will matter much, as this seems like the kind of game you only want to play through once.  But just the same, that one time will probably be pretty entertaining.  I’d recommend renting it if you have a dark sense of humor and a bit of free time.

Well, there are some of the games that are coming out in June.  But this month’s blast from the past is the 1992 Sega CD game Sewer Shark.

This was originally slated to be one of the first games put out for Hasbro’s NEMO video game system.  And how awesome was the NEMO set to be?  It was going to use VHS tapes as a medium!  Sewer Shark relies on full motion video for most of the gameplay, a bizarre concept to say the least.  Depending on who you ask this game was an embarrassing failure, or surprisingly enjoyable.  Basically humanity has been forced under ground, and you get to shoot a bunch of mutants while aboard a futuristic ship.  One of the things I enjoyed about this game was that most of the time you don’t have to steer shit, and can just shoot away.

If you are at all curious as to how this looked, check out a bit of the game here.  I just watched about three minutes of that clip and…yeah, I actually played that game.  Wow.

What is at the top of your must buy list?  What movie franchise should be the next to get the Lego treatment?  Let me know in the comments section.

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6 Responses »

  1. Wow, way to take the high road on the Tiger Woods preview...

    I'm proud to say that I made it all the way to Solar City in Sewer Shark, I loved that game. Trying to remember the order of those flashing triangles while blasting sewer rats was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was like playing a game of memory in the middle of a battlefield. Also Ghost was one of the greatest video game characters ever "Welcome to the sewers punk!"

  2. Sewer Shark looks like an advanced version of the Captain Power VHS game (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM28AgYoUAE).

    POWER ON!

  3. I used to wear out that Captain Power game.

  4. Couple things that my nerdy brain says were overlooked...

    1.) Alpha Protocol is buggy as hell. There are issues with targeting, and the enemy AI is borderline retarded. I think it's the Gamespot review video that shows a bad guy trying to escape a close-quarters gunfight by climbing a ladder that's just a few feet from the player. Hilariously bad. There are also issues with the graphics engine, including textures being incorrectly rendered and polygon clipping in some spots. Both pretty inexcusable for a modern engine.

    2.) Tiger Woods 2011 is one of the first titles under the EA banner in what they're referring to as "Project Ten Dollar". Basically, games bought new will ship with a code that allows the player access to online content. Any game bought used will also require the purchaser to get a code (for $10) that will grant them access to online content. This includes basic multiplayer capabilities, from my understanding. It's a giant "F you" to the secondary market.

    3.) Alan Wake was noticably left out of the May edition of The Warp Whistle, and this makes me sad. The writer omits the game about a writer? For shame, Mr. Van Iten. For shame.

    I still love you though.

  5. The distinction between "Tiger" and "Sunday Tiger" is one of the more subtle, baller things you will ever see in a video game.

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