Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

The Warp Whistle: August

Once a month Ben blows on his magic warp whistle to take a look at the (immediate) future of video games. These were his findings.

I'm sorry, that's awful

With Comic-Con and E3 barely in our rear view mirror, most of the focus on video games is in the distant future. There were teaser trailers, hype, and boners all around. Well this column is here to put things back in perspective. There are still several quality games coming out in August. And, as expected, Nintendo is putting out its usual array of mundane crap. Wii dog walking has to be around the corner soon. Let’s take a look!

Disney Sing it – Family Hits, August 3rd (Nintendo Wii): So this is a karaoke game where you sing classic songs from Disney soundtracks. IGN listed some info about the game features, but to me it all looked like “get drunk and make the intern sing the crab song from Little Mermaid.”

You sure you don't believe in the Madden curse?

Madden NFL ’11, August 10th (Playstation 3, Playstation 2, Xbox 360, Sony PSP, Nintendo Wii):  You know those unbearable nerds that whine about something unmercifully and yet are inevitably going to sink a bunch of time and energy into it? Well that’s how I am about the Madden franchise. Bonus Ben fact - I competed in the Madden challenge twice, once in Green Bay and once in St. Louis. I used to be pretty hardcore, but I wasn't nearly as hardcore as some of the people there. Seriously, they had audibles written on wrist bands. I shit you not. Getting back on track, ever since the franchise made its premiere on the next generation consoles there has just been something…missing. A large part of the problem seems to be that the franchise mode has been gutted in order to give the NFL Head Coach game more of the unique simulation features. This seems like a huge mistake as, to be frank, no one plays that fucking game. Like every year, there are new features for the ’11 version, but nothing too drastic. This time around you can take up to six players on one team against the CPU, and I really couldn’t care less. All I want is a deep franchise mode, and if this game can deliver that I will be happy. I'm not all that optimistic, but I will buy it regardless. Check back in the comments section in the weeks to come for more of my intolerable bitching!

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, August 10th (Playstation Network, Xbox Live): This is a downloadable side-scroller button mashing beat-em-up that ties in with the graphic novels and upcoming feature film by the same name. Basically you have to defeat this girl’s seven exes in order to date her. It looks hectic, fun, and campy.  Probably worth a download if you liked the old school Streets of Rage fighting games and have your console hooked up to the internet.

Wii Adjustable Weight Dumbbell, August 10th (Nintendo Wii accessory): I don’t even want to know.

Plants vs. Zombies: Game of the Year Edition, August 10th (Windows Vista, 2000, and XP): How’s this for a premise? A mob of fun loving zombies is about to invade your home and your only defense is zombie zapping plants. This is a tower strategy game, and it is addictive as hell. What I find fascinating is how different the treatment of the undead is in this game (they are referred to as the “fun-dead” several times). It makes me wonder why they didn’t just pick a different enemy. Regardless, your plants have a variety of attributes and skills to stop these adorable flesh eaters. The game manages to be simple and deep at the same time, it’s like Lemmings with zombies. If you have a computer and some time to waste, I’d recommend picking this up. Eventually this will be coming to Xbox and PS3, so console owners shouldn’t fret.

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, August 17th (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Windows Vista, XP): The original Kane and Lynch was widely embraced as ambitious, but only slightly above average. An early look from some of the more trusted gaming sites on the net reveals some good news. The game is supposedly grittier than before, with some comparisons even saying that it makes Grand Theft Auto’s dialogue look like kiddy stuff. The cut scenes are said to really make it seem like a true cinematic experience. Throw in some improved and aggressive AI that the developers have promised, and we might end up with a more complete game this time around. If you like robbing banks and abusing the C word, I’d recommend giving this one a rental.

Back when gangsters really took the time to look spiffy

Mafia II, August 24th (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Windows Vista, XP): Early hands on previews of this game are mixed, but overall positive. Mafia II puts you in the shoes of an up and coming mobster in the 40’s and 50’s. The gameplay should come as no surprise to those familiar with this genre. You take missions, shoot people, and eventually move up in the world. Fans of Red Dead Redemption will be happy to know that the game uses a very similar cover system, to help make the gun battles a bit more exciting than its predecessor.

Riding Academy II, and Crazy Pig, both released August 24th (Nintendo DS): NO ONE IS GOING TO PLAY THESE GAMES NINTENDO FUCK OFF.

Gummy Bears Mini-Golf, August 31st (Nintendo DS): …

This month I didn’t have any particular inspiration for the part of the article I typically dub “blast from the past” where I take a look at a game from my childhood, so I took the question to the masses. And by the masses, I mean the fifty people that follow me on twitter. There were some good answers, but in the end the suggestion I liked best came from Culture Blues own Jason “Fast Life” Arican.

They look about as high as the people who made it

Bubble Bobble, 1986: This was originally an arcade game and was ported to systems I didn’t know even existed (what is the Sinclair XZ Spectrum?). But at the end of the day, I will always think of it as a Nintendo game. My younger sister and I spent a great deal of time on this one. We never got along better than we did working together to beat this game. If you never played it, here’s a quick summary. You are Bub and Bob, a couple of dinosaur looking dudes who blow bubbles to capture their enemies. Once you do that, there is a certain window of time you have to pop the bubble (like every other Nintendo game ever, jumping on someone is a quick and painless death) and eradicate your foes. If you miss the time window they come out of the bubble even angrier and faster than before. The farther you advance, the trickier this game becomes of course as the maps get more challenging and the enemies more innovative. It's way more fun than I could ever make it sound. I have taken a break from writing this column two different times to play it.

Have any Bubble Bobble experiences to share?  Do you agree that every exclusive Nintendo game is catered to people that have no desire to play video games?  Let me know in the comments section.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , ,

1 Responses »

  1. Everything I've heard about Kane & Lynch sounds pretty awesome. I'm very interested to see what the actual reviews are like when it comes out.

    Scott Pilgrim looks awesome. I'm always up for more side scrolling beat-em-ups. But you missed August's most anticipated release (forget about the leftist Madden). Shank comes to XBox Live Arcade on the 25th and it is looking tremendous.