NAG Online > Opinions > Wall of Shame: The Games I’ve Played

Wall of Shame: The Games I’ve Played

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So Mr Kemp put up a – and I’d like you to picture me air-quoting here – “game shame list”, in which he laments about all the games he never got for free (I kid, I kid).

But let’s be frank, dear reader: it can hardly be called shameful. After all, we all have games we never got around to playing. I think it’s far more interesting (and manly, I’d like to stress right now. And gutsy. And ultra-cool.) to delve into the shameful games you DID play. Don’t look so bemused. You know the ones I’m talking about; lurking in bargain bins at your local Pick ‘n Pay and within obscure Flash game portals. Bundle bait.

They don’t get major coverage and you wouldn’t be caught bringing them home; you’d stick them deep into a brown paper bag and tell any acquaintances you encounter that it’s just hardcore pornography, really. You set your Steam friends list status to offline to play them and… well, you get the drift.

I’d ask what your games are, but I’m not expecting any responses. So I’ll go first, shall I? Committing social suicide in three, two, one…

 

We Cheer

_-We-Cheer-Wii-_

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Ever wanted a game in which you play a spunky teenage girl advancing through the cheerleading ranks, waving your pom-poms to pumping remixes of Eye of the Tiger? Totes, me neither! [Did he really just write out the pseudo-word "totes"? Wow. – Ed.] Seriously, it’s a bit of a mystery how I came to think this might be good idea. But I bought it and I love it. It’s also a Wii title, which obviously makes the confession equally scandalous.

We Cheer has you waggling dual Wii remotes around, matching the choreographic gesticulations of your super deformed character and your pro cheerleading team to hardcore hits like Calabria 2008 and Footloose. Its sucrose presentation is a warning label for diabetics, but its also unforgiving in its scoring expectations. It’s not a game for little girls, but men. Rugged men. Frontier men exploring the fringes of video game taste. Men like myself, and this guy:

Defend yourself:

I regret nothing. It’s fun, and I’ll be damned if I hear anything else. It’s certainly better than Just Dance. It joins my other favourite music rhythm series, Project Diva, in which I mash buttons to the caterwauling of a virtual green-haired idol with a penchant for leeks. My only disappointment is that We Cheer 2 never made it to Europe.

I regret everything.

Shame level: Track 7 – C’mon N’ Ride It/10

 

Princess Maker 2

I’m ridiculous when it comes to the virtual wellbeing of my video game characters. For example, whenever I get one of those RTS missions where I need to use a small, limited regiment of units to complete it, I start feeling anxious and genuinely bad for the ones that don’t make it.

I suspect this is due to the lingering guilt  from my younger years when I murdered my sister’s Tamagotchi by overfeeding it (remember Tamagotchis? They’re like Pokémon, except when you throw down the ball within which they reside, they die for reals) when she explicitly asked me to care for it while she was away on some camp or whatever who cares it’s just a stupid toy please don’t cry I’m really sorry.

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Anyway, foreshadowing adequately covered, I stumbled across life simulator Princess Maker 2, in which you – a wandering swordsman who defeated the demon hordes threatening the kingdomzzzzzzzz – are either a) visited by a divine goddess who delivers unto you a young girl from the heavens to raise in her stead or b) suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from your supposed encounters with hell’s legions and abduct a street urchin while hallucinating.

Given the above you may be feeling some trepidation. Surprisingly, however, the gameplay works perfectly to support the game’s titular activity, and I became quite enamoured with it: Princess Maker 2 had a gameplay loop which was immensely satisfying, in that there was a limited time to raise your daughter combined with immediate feedback on every single decision you made, which lends weight to the whole affair.

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She ended up a farmer, by the way. Most Princess Makers’ (as we refer to ourselves in the Inner Circle) daughters ended up as farmers; turns out one of the easiest ways to make money was to pull them out of school and have them work the fields. Prospective fathers, take note.

I’ve since continued to purchase other games in its ilk, like Magical Diary and Long Live the Queen, which are both excellent if you like this sort of thing. Which of course, you don’t.

Defend yourself:

I’ve got nothing; my Defense stat is still pretty low. I’ll add it to my training schedule…

Shame: 99 / Happiness: 60 / Guilt: 79 / Agriculture: 9,000

 

PangYa

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While others are content to immerse themselves in fantastical and grand online RPGs, shaping the very destiny of Oddly Apostrophised Multisyllable World, you’ll instead find me wielding my 1-wood… driving golf balls onto flying battleships and attempting to cheer up complete strangers with gentle encouragement when they fail to do the same.

I’m talking, of course, about the free-to-play fantasy golf game, PangYa. PangYa is the opposite of hardcore – dress up your golfer, employ cute mascot caddies, play against other players in a non-confrontational turn-by-turn mode or solo via tournaments, and be genuinely perturbed when you miss a putt and no one makes aspersions regarding your sexual preferences or threatens to rape your face.

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Excitement intensifying.

It was pleasantly dull in 2006 when I started playing it and it remains pleasantly dull now. Like a fungus, though, it spreads insidiously: in spite of it being free to play on PC, I somehow have versions of it on two other platforms.

Defend yourself:

Come now, chaps. Let’s not argue over this one. Maybe after the 18th hole, what?

Shame handicap: -10. To life.

 

Non-free mobile games

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Take Neon Shadow. Just look at it. Great UI, slick controls, and not a single ad or microtransaction in sight. I mean, how the hell am I supposed to play it?

Yes, I’ve bought mobile games. With actual money. Like, not in-game purchases within free games or whatnot. Honest-to-goodness mobile games that had a price tag attached.

No, really.

I know, right?

Defend yourself:

I am financially irresponsible and a dirty casual.

Shame: Infinite + 1. Tired of waiting for your Shame to dwindle? Buy Validation now to reduce your Shame for just $0.99, or click on this ad.

 

Katawa Shoujo

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Oh gods no no NO DELETE DELETE DELE-

So look, I think we can all agree that many Japanese visual novels can be pretty shameless, with devious sexual content and creepy undertones. Even worse, they’re Japanese, and as Phil “Fez” Fish (rest in peace his tortured, artistic soul) indicated once upon a time, all Japanese games suck.

So of course it would take a Western developer to improve upon the formula. Give it a leg up, so to speak.

Enter Katawa Shoujo by Four Leaf Studios, a visual novel in which you attempt to date and woo disabled girls who are quite expressly OVER 18 IT SAYS SO RIGHT IN THE GAME DISCLAIMER SO IT MUST BE TRUE. I’m not one to disparage players of dating games – I’m a fan myself, and different strokes for different folks, really. I’m also no prude when it comes to sexual content in games, having played enough JRPGS, Leisure Suit Larrys and deviant Flash titles in my day. But even I felt a little uncomfortable booting up Katawa Shoujo.

As it turns out, it’s a prosaic, down-to-earth portrayal of a guy with a heart condition and girls with disabilities who aren’t defined by them. It’s treated with a subtleness that may surprise you – it certainly surprised a number of game journalists who were willing to give it a go.

See? Subtle.

See? Subtle.

While there are some sexual scenes (so the game is 18+, kids. You know, like GTA V.), they’re awkward and completely disposable – players have the option of skipping them entirely when they start the game.

Defend yourself:

That a game like this could exist at all, given its subject matter, is amazing to me. That it deals with said premise in a completely mature way is laudable. It’s not exactly the best game in the world, but I’m okay with it existing.

Shame level:

shamegames_03

Come at me, bro.

What’s your real game shame? Casual block-matching games? Find the hidden object adventures? Facebook titles? BioShock Infinite? Let me know, or just pass judgement in the comments below.

PS. Don’t share this on any social media sites, kthx.

PPS. Seriously, don’t do it.

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  • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

    Wow. I was dubious about how shameful this could be but… Wow.

    • http://www.mygaming.co.za Chris Kemp

      Princess Maker? Really?

      • Squirly

        Yeah, that’s where I lost it. I could imagine some of these satisfying some kind of perverse curiosity, or maybe providing that ‘popping bubble-wrap’ satisfaction, but that? THAT?

        Holy shit.

        • Rick de Klerk

          It’s not something I’ve played in a long, long time – perhaps I’m misremembering, but it honestly didn’t seem that bad to me at the time.

          • Squirly

            That’s just the Stockholm Syndrome talking.

          • Rick de Klerk

            Heh. Have you actually played it, Squirly? What’s your secret game shame?

          • Squirly

            That’s a question that’s been bugging me since I started reading this article. I honestly can’t recall anything I’m ashamed of playing, but I hesitate to say that it’s because I HAVEN’T played anything like that.

            I think my memory is just failing me. I’m sure there’s something godawful that’s been buried somewhere in my subconscious.

          • Rick de Klerk

            Fair enough. I mean, it’s probably more accurate to say ashamed to admit you played them and/or liked them… all of these games have provided me hours of enjoyment, but you don’t normally see people going around admitting to playing dating sims, as an example.

      • Rick de Klerk

        Never overestimate me again.

        But seriously, really. I don’t play it anymore – like I said, I moved on to other games – but it’s something I played a lot when I was younger. It definitely had some dodgy bits, but it’s also not nearly as bad as people make out.

      • http://dinosaur-signal.tumblr.com/ Miktar Dracon

        Only those who’ve never played it, won’t understand what a great game it actually is.

  • Ben Myres

    This is quite wonderful :’).

    • Rick de Klerk

      What’s your shame, Mr. Myres? <_<

      • Delano

        Yes, Mr. Myres. Divulge your shame or we will hang you by your toes.

        • Ben Myres

          My list of shame is 80% Cookie Clicker, 5% sports games (every single one you can imagine); 3% free to play mobile games and 12% princess makeup games.

          My list of shame is endless and evolving :/. I’ve played some erotica interactive fiction too :/.

          • Delano

            Any recommendations? :P

          • Ben Myres

            I tried to forget the names of most of them -_-. It’s quite a growing sub-genre apparently :/.

          • Delano

            Come come, my son. Feel no shame. We won’t judge you too harshly ;)

          • Ben Myres

            I can’t actually find the one I was thinking of -_-. Then I typed in ‘Adult Interactive Fiction’ into Google and my brain nearly exploded.

            It makes me wonder what dark downward spiral into the deep web I was in when I found that game -_-.

          • Rick de Klerk

            They’ve been around for a while – since about the early 90’s, really. I think it’s getting a little bit more attention in the West, though, especially with systems like Ren’Py

          • Ben Myres

            Oh that’s interesting – are you talking the more visual Japense stuff? The growth I’m seeing is in hypertext fiction with tools like Twine coming from minority groups.

            Trust me – playing a trans erotic interaction fiction is quite an experience :O.

          • Rick de Klerk

            Both, really, although I was referring more to Japanese visual novels. I think Twine draws heavily from the spirit of interactive fiction – especially old gamebooks like Lone Wolf and efforts like Policenauts.

          • Alex Rowley

            Oh man I totally forgot about cookie clicker! I spent an obscene amount of time on that. And it was indeed shameful when I tried to explain to my friends and family why I played it because I have absolutely no clue why I did.

  • Delano

    Heh, I love you, Rick.

    My wall of shame includes Bejeweled (yeah, I love 3-in-a-row swappers), Dreamkiller (stupidest, most mindless FPS ever), Supertux (pretty weak Mario clone starring the Linux penguin), Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness (lame N64 Pac-Man revival attempt) and Left Behind: Eternal Forces (really dumb RTS based on the Christian novels).

    They’re all pretty bad, but what makes them even worse is that I got entirely too much fun out of them. Yes, I feel dirty to this day.

    • Rick de Klerk

      That’s the important thing. I like a bit of Puzzle Quest myself, but I always make sure to wash my hands afterwards.

  • FanieNel

    Long Live The Queen, a good and funny game.
    I am a huge fan of the last pick. I have it on my pc, and the non-legal versions of it on my phone and on my tablet, such a good game. (Made me cry at times.)

    • Rick de Klerk

      Long Live the Queen is really good. The min-maxing of stats really appeals to me – it’s why I enjoyed the whole Disgaea/Phantom Brave/La Pucelle lineage.

      • FanieNel

        Yeah, and also because of that it has a lot of different “story arcs” depending on the skills you learn. My princess has died in a whole lot of evil ways.

  • Alex Rowley

    I’m pretty sure I have played the Sims 3 for longer than I have played Skyrim and it’s not like I didn’t play Skyrim that much considering I’m head of all the guilds and have finished a lot of the side quests as well as the main one.

    That’s counts as a shame right?

    • Rick de Klerk

      It depends. How many of the expansions do you own?

      • Alex Rowley

        Pretty much all of them up to the one where there are werewolves and Vampires. It’s a strange addiction I have lol

  • ToshZA

    I actually enjoyed Katawa Shouju a lot. It’s quite the emotional journey, and I’ve “played” through 2 or 3 storylines. It’s a very mature story, and not in the nudity sense (even though as you mentioned, there are a few scenes of said nudity). Worth every second I spent on it. No guilt, no shame.

    • Tank Muller

      I’ve played/read through all of the routes, and I’m planning on doing it again. Katawa Shoujo was the first game that got me into visual novels, and is still one of my fovourites. The only issue I had with it, was (surprisingly) the sex scenes… they add nothing to the already unforgettable story, and kind of cheapen the experience. Shame level = absolutely zero.

      • ToshZA

        **SPOILERS AHEAD**

        Well, the one where you cheat on your deaf gf with her best friend was a very relevant scene. It sets that tone for the remainder of the storyline. While the explicitness isn’t required, the scene definitely is.

        • Tank Muller

          Hmm, I forgot about that one (perhaps intentionally). I agree that the scene was relevant, but as you said “the explicitness isn’t required”. Also, someone should really let the protagonist know that “comforting” someone does not necessarily mean “bang them half to death”…

          • ToshZA

            Well, he’s a teenage guy, so really “comforting” a hot girl does kind of mean “bang her half to death”. But you do have a choice, you can just leave her be and not comfort her. I didn’t take that route, I don’t know how it progresses.

          • Tank Muller

            I took the “comforting” route as well, but I honestly didn’t think it would play out the way it did… Oh, and the other route isn’t nearly as interesting, you chose well, my good man.

    • Rick de Klerk

      I love all of these games. But they’re generally not something most gamers would give a fair shake, and admitting you like a game which essentially translates to “Cripple Girls” isn’t going to make things easy when discussing them.

      • ToshZA

        I suppose people would misconstrue this genre as “hentai” or something. They’re the ones missing out, so I’ll say it proudly. Let them judge a visual novel by its apparent subject matter, we get to enjoy the depth and memorable experiences they offer.

        That sounded a little too much like a rallying call. Its not. Don’t make banners.

        • Tank Muller

          I made banners years ago and have been waiting ever since to break them out… now seems like the perfect time!

      • Tank Muller

        Man, the conversations I’ve had trying to explain to someone why they should play the game have very rarely not been hilariously awkward.

  • ThiaGo R

    Well on my wall of shame i have Buffy the vampire Slayer for the N64. ( Stupidest game ever played and a waste of 50 bucks) and princess maker ( I think mine became a warrior ),

    • Rick de Klerk

      Haha! Indeed. I remember your Buffy game :D. Good times.

  • Leonardo

    Warning, weirdness follows. So you get mobile games with the same concept as this Katawa Shoujo (well it looks like it’s the same sort of idea) in which your goal would be to ‘score’ as much as possible. In one I think I ended up on a park bench being bent by a lady boy… Who knew that could happen? I swear I deleted them! Even got a new phone. Luckily I cannot remember their names anymore either. I was a teenager, it was dark, I couldn’t see what I was playing, the moon was in my eyes…
    I am embarrassed to admit that, being the manly man guy dude I am, I enjoyed and nearly finished the last two just dance games on Xbox with the kinect as well as Dance Central 3 (Just dance is better). I would borrow my buddy’s xbox and play till the early hours of the morning, until my feet are sore, my sweat has formed a swimming pool on the floor and I have lost everything except my boxers. Nothing like shaking that flabby boep to Maneater – Nelly Furtado.

    • Rick de Klerk

      Sir, thank you for replying in the spirit of the article.

      Also, the vivid imagery you conjured regarding sweating saltating boeps has caused me to go blind, so thanks for that, I guess.

  • Umar Hyakutaro [S]

    Uhmm…Pangya is an EFFING awesome game. so many hours on my psp. No shame in playing that game or Princess Maker

    • Rick de Klerk

      Indeed. It’s fabulous.

  • RazoRbacK

    My confession of Sims3 doesn’t seem as bad now … Princess Maker? Seriously dude … 8-P

  • PSyCHoHaMSTeRza

    BoneCraft…

    • Rick de Klerk

      For some reason, I was under the impression it would be some sort of Minecraft knockoff. I’m vaguely disappointed.

      Did you actually finish it? It sounds like there’s a game there, albeit a shitty one.

      • PSyCHoHaMSTeRza

        I played about three missions, then I had to sit back and reevaluate my life.

        It can actually be a pretty nice game if you’re one of those people who sleep with full sized anime-girl pillows.

  • BLADE RSA

    Sims and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pales in comparison to the above…
    Kung-Fu Panda on Xbox is about the closest I can get but then again, that is kind of in it’s own category of supreme awesomeness.

    Great Read Rick, that “Come at me bro” in the end had me ROFL’ing – and now I feel ashamed somehow :P

  • XCal1bur

    Man, you made my day with this article! Loved it.
    I have to admit that your list could have been a hell of a lot more shameful. There is games here that had some charm to them, even though they are weird. ^^
    (I just want to say I broke myself at your Tamagochi remark…ROFL Infinite, thank you very much good sir.)

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