25 Things I Learned From Videogames This Year
During my short-pants years, there was a word that struck fear into the hearts of gamers everywhere; a word so terrible, so awful, that the mere utterance of it caused us to fall to the ground and rend our garments.
That word was: edutainment.
Thankfully, in the year 2009, aside from that pesky Brain Age series, games no longer have didactic aspirations. But games actually do teach us things. Example: The Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2009 (EA) taught me that a bad golf shot is not necessarily always my fault. (It's perfectly OK to blame the touchy IR interface.) Another example: Real Heroes: Firefighter (Conspiracy Entertainment) taught me to never keep gasoline in the house. That's one of the many "useful" tips the game displays during load screens. Finally, I learned from Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Atari) that everything Bill Murray says is not always funny. Thanks for teaching me that, Atari.
Here are 25 more things that videogames taught me in 2009.
25. That the old women of Ferelden can still have very large, very supple-looking bosoms, and still insist on dressing in a way that accentuates said bosoms, despite the fact that they are old women. (See: Dragon Age: Origins)
I don't know why this is funny. But it is.
24. That denizens of Florence circa the 15th century talked in two ways. Way 1: Like they were auditioning for the part of Chachi in "Happy Days"; Way 2: Like they were auditioning for the role of "my nephew, Little Ezio from Passaic" on "The Sopranos." (See: Assassin's Creed II)
23. That all this time Batman has had a second, secret Batcave underneath Arkham Asylum JUST IN CASE. (See: Batman: Arkham Asylum)
21. That, yes, a person can eventually grow weary of hearing the word "arse." (See: The Saboteur)
This is what Japanese developers think Americans look like. And they are not wrong. That is what many of us look like.
19. That, even if you despise the music, there are some tracks in Rock Band that can still be fun to play. (See: Grateful Dead DLC)
18. That removing the blood from a game and replacing it with spooky blue gas is never a good idea. (See: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2)
15. That a guilty pleasure is not a guilty pleasure if the developers forget to include the "pleasure" part. (See: The Wheelman; 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
This is the year LEGO and I broke up.
14. That a storybook aesthetic and dreamy New Age music aren't enough to make me tolerate broken gameplay. (See: Lucidity)
13. That I will happily play an iPhone game during the entirety of a 10-plus-hour flight from Tokyo to Vancouver and not once feel the desire to reach for my PSP or Nintendo DS (or to reach my destination; yes, in dreams, I'm still on that plane). (See: GeoDefense Swarm)
12. That a perfectly awesome game can still wind up at the bottom of the bargain bin. (See: The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena)
10. That I am willing to look ridiculous, as long as there is fun on the far side of looking ridiculous. (See: DJ Hero)
This is me playing DJ Hero and thoroughly enjoying myself.
9. That soldiers in wartime situations frequently tell one another to "stay frosty." (See: Modern Warfare 2)
8. That Activision's czar Bobby Kotick is not a vampire or a shape-shifter; he is, in fact, quite human after all. (See: Tony Hawk: Ride)
7. That sometimes DS games really should stay on the DS. (See: the PSP version of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars)
6. That the Beatles were perfect human beings who got along perfectly, and who only made perfect music. (See: The Beatles: Rock Band)
This looks scary, but in Afrika, it is boring.
4. That bug-shaped robots, when left to their own devices, will race. (See: ExciteBots: Trick Racing)
3. That taking a picture of a charging rhino is boring. (See: Afrika)
2. That a female character who originally did not seem the least bit hot or sexy can eventually become hot/sexy in the subsequent sequel. (See: Elena in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)
1. That the Master Chief and I most definitely needed some time apart, but that Kratos has been gone from my life for far too long. (See: Halo 3: ODST; God of War Collection; Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny)
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