Crispy Gamer

The Fryer, Vol. 20


Warner Bros. Interactive announces Citizen Kane: The Video Game

Following the example of recent games based on older movies like "The Godfather" and "The Wizard of Oz," Warner Bros. Interactive today announced that another cinematic classic would be coming to consoles soon.

"For years, gamers, pundits and analysts have been wondering when videogaming would have its 'Citizen Kane' moment," Warner Bros. spokesman Saul Abromowitz told a packed press conference today. "Well, we finally have an answer to that question: Summer 2010, when Citizen Kane: The Video Game hits store shelves!" Abromowitz yelled, prompting a round of thunderous applause from the assembled press.

Rather than just retelling the timeless story of publishing magnate Charles Foster Kane, Abromowitz explained that Kane: The Game will fill in the gaps between scenes in Kane's life with newly written narrative sections. He then introduced developer David Ryerson, who showed that very concept in action.

"So this section starts with a familiar scene of Kane pushing his paper's reporters to write pieces in favor of a war against Spain," Ryerson explained. "This is straight from the movie. But then, in the game, all of a sudden a bunch of isolationist Spaniards burst through the doors and windows, trying to 'stop the presses.' What's a newspaper publisher to do?"

With that, the black-and-white, nearly photorealistic on-screen model of Kane responded with perfect timing. "Looks like I'm gonna have to KICK SOME SPANISH ASS!" Kane screamed, drawing hoots and hollers from the crowd of journalists.

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An early build of Citizen Kane: The Video Game shows off a rhythm-based mini-game.

Ryerson then went on to show a few of the "10 exciting mini-games" that will break up the action in the game, including a stealth section targeted at hiding a politically damaging affair and the obligatory sled race on the infamous "Rosebud." "We'll probably throw a rhythm mini-game in there, in the second half," Ryerson said. "Kids seem to like those these days."

Critics are already breathless with anticipation for the game. In a preview, IGN's James Anderson said the title could finally "prove to the world that gaming is a legitimate art form, and prove to my mom that I haven't been wasting my life for the past 35 years."

Alongside the announcement, Orson Welles' estate issued a statement supporting the game, saying that it hoped the game would "help bring the joy, artistry and immense profit-generating opportunities of this classic film to a new generation."

I'm sorry, but these reviewer freebies just don't merit a perfect score
By Morton Smith, Editor-in-Chief,

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is being universally hailed as one of the best games of the year. Its mix of tight, action-packed gameplay; a witty, well-presented story and solid, balanced multiplayer action truly make it an instant classic. But while the developers and Naughty Dog and the publishers at Sony haven't skimped on the game's quality, they've certainly skimped in another important area. I'm sorry, but these reviewer freebies just doesn't merit a perfect score.

Let's start with the packaging itself -- just a large brown box with UPS "2nd day air" stickers all over it. Would it have killed them to create some sort of glossy branded box just for us reviewers, so that everyone in my apartment complex could know how special I am? Apparently not.

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The Uncharted 2 packaging received a low rating from Morton Smith of the GameReviews4every1 blog.

But it gets worse when you see what's inside that box. Besides the game, all that's included is a replica knife and an art book. Sure, these extras are well made and nice enough, but they're the same ones that are included in the special "Hunter's Edition" that's gone out to literally dozens of lucky contest winners. Would it have killed them to make some truly exclusive extras, to be included only with press copies of the game? I guess it would have, because that's the only explanation I can think of for not doing it.

And there's so much more the PR people could have done to promote this game before its release. They could have flown me to Tibet to sneak around a realistic recreation of the game's setting. They could have flown me out to a palatial Hollywood suite for an exclusive interview with the star-studded voice talent in the game. They could have rented out a Hawaiian resort for a weeklong demo event so I could check out the game before it came out. But no -- despite multiple requests from me, the publishers apparently didn't think any of these were good ideas. It's like they don't want this game to get a good score.

And it's not just limited to Uncharted 2. More and more often these days I'll receiving review copies of games in plain manila bubble mailers, with nothing more than a barebones press release packed in. Have we really reached the point in videogame promotion where the game itself is supposed to stand on its own, without any sort of swag to influence the reviewer? I used to have so many free videogame T-shirts that I wouldn't have to do the laundry for a month. Now some of those shirts are starting to wear away to tatters. What do these people expect me to wear, huh?

When I was a young boy, I read countless tales of game journalists getting showered with lavish gifts, extravagant trips and even giant hats made out of money, all in exchange for just a few kind words and that elusive perfect score. These were the kinds of stories that made me want to be a game journalist in the first place! Now that I actually am a game journalist, of course, with a blog that attracts literally hundreds of visitors a month, I realize that the reality could never live up to the dream. Maybe that's part of growing up.

That said, Sony, I'm sorry, but Uncharted 2 only gets a 9.5/10.

Money-saving tips for gamers

With the global recession still going strong, many gamers today find they have less disposable income than ever to spend on their favorite hobby. The Fryer has put together this list of simple tips to stretch those gaming dollars even further during these troubled economic times.

  • Why spend $50 on a new copy of Mario Kart Wii when you could get a used copy of Action Girlz Racing at GameStop for $10 or less? I mean, they're both racing games ... how different can they be?
  • There are lots of free games available on the Internet. Try doing a Google search for "free games," then clicking randomly through the 224 million results until you find a good one.
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    There are many cost-effective alternatives for gamers in these tough times.
  • Tired of staring at that old copy of Madden NFL 08 on your shelf? GameStop will give you a crisp $1 in store credit for it. That might not sound like much, but it's enough to buy a used copy of Madden NFL 07, which is an entirely new experience if you happened to skip buying the game that year.
  • Don't want to sell your game for store credit? Many Web sites now let you trade games directly with other people. For instance, if you have an old copy of Pitfall for the Atari 2600 lying around, you can offer to trade it for someone else's brand-new copy of Uncharted 2, straight across. And they have to accept the offer! Yup, I'm pretty sure that's how it works.
  • Renting games can be much more economical than buying them new, especially since most Blockbuster locations let you keep the games as long as you want if you use a fake ID and stolen credit card information when you sign up for your membership. No late fees!
  • While upgrading to the PSP Go might seem expensive, the storage space you were using on those clunky UMDs can now be rented out to boarders, more than making up for the initial outlay.
  • You know, back in my day we didn't even have videogames. And if we did, we sure as hell wouldn't have wasted what little money we had on them. You know what we played for fun. Kick the Can! Now there was a game. Go play that, ya little ingrate.

    Editor's note: These stories are 100-percent satire. Yes, Kyle Orland made it all up.

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