Because I'm given to strong opinions, I have a reputation as something of a curmudgeon. I've been described, in the same sentence, as both a "hater" and as someone who drinks "hatorade." After making a snide comment about reality show contestants with mohawks on twitter the esteemed "Chef DJ" (he's a chef who jockeys discs as well) called me a hater.
I've always thought the insult "hater" is sort of a weak one because it doesn't say much other than that the hater in question doesn't like a thing that you like and you should ignore them. That seems evident to me! I never want my dislike of something to interfere with another's appreciation of it. I don't think of our podcasting as a Consumer Reports style service. We're idiots, we make dumb jokes about Staind and Senpais and we both have highly subjective, very challengable assertions on games. They're considered, we don't say things willy-nilly, but it's more than fine to disagree with us.
People take an ownership over the things they like. They start to identify with them. This has always seemed like a bit of a bummer to me. I think it's important to think about why you like something but it doesn't mean that, if your reasons come up wanting, you can't like the thing in question. So even if it's something questionable (see above for my appreciation of cooking reality shows), it doesn't mean that if someone lays out a well reasoned argument as to why it's questionable, it doesn't impact my appreciation.
As you can imagine, this makes me a real hit at parties. You know that game you love to play? Cards Against Humanity? I haaaaate that game. I think it's really poorly designed, I think it's not fun or funny, I think there's a good chance the guy who made it has some real bad attitudes about sexual consent. But if you like it, I don't want to take that away from you. And if you don't let me, I can't.
This comes up on the show a lot when we pan a game that people love. I think part of this is natural but some of the reactions are a little more vitriolic than is justified. We're not in the business of dismissing something simply for comedy or without giving it a fair shot. I play 95% of the games we do for the show to completion. Please, disagree with me, but know that my opinions are not tossed off.
With that said, to continue the holiday listicle season, here are some controversial games we've done for the show and why I ultimately didn't care for them.
Super Mario RPG It's difficult to separate my distaste for this game from general being an adult and having a hard time with JRPGs and I'm not sure how much my irritation came across in the episode but I do not think this is a very good game. I think this was early enough in WOFF history where I didn't want to step on anyone's toes but honestly, I think this game misses both what makes Mario great and what makes 16bit Square JRPGs great and that it's made entirely superfluous with Paper Mario, a much more charming, aesthetically pleasing game.
Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime Honestly, I don't hate these games, I'm just disappointed in them. It's one of those things were, on the balance, it's hard to say I'm a Metroid fan when I like less than half the games in the series. The half I like (the first half) I REALLY like, however, and I think by examining why I love those games, I can underline why these fell flat. Fusion and Prime fly so hard in the face of the sense of mystery, loneliness and economy I associate with the series that it becomes unforgivable to me. By stuffing Fusion with dialogue and stuffing Prime with absolutely horseshit lore, I felt like it was negatively adding to the cannon and interfered with my enjoyment of the actual play of these games.
Abe's Oddysee This is a game I really enjoyed as a kid so disliking it as an adult was a little rougher. I don't think this is a bad game by any means, I think it's just more difficult than I have the patience for. It's one of those perfectly realized aesthetics that just felt bad in my hands and the core mechanic of collecting Modokons just wasn't very interesting to me. Contrast this with Out of this World, a game I love dearly, and you see the differences. OotW is about escaping only, the verbset is simple, the puzzles are all environmental. Abe's Oddysee tasks you with figuring out the order to chime bells and this collection task that just lost me.
Sacrifice Another rare type of disappointment. This is a game that showed up on all of the GOG.com lists as a top tier title and I was crazy excited to play it. Ultimately, I think this is an interesting implementation of a type of game that fundamentally doesn't work. I don't think the RTS you control from the ground is very sound from a gameplay perspective. Part of an RTS is that sense of having a big picture perspective which this game eschews. They tried it years later with Brutal Legend, another game I loved the trappings of that didn't play very well.
Tomba! What happened here? This is a game almost no one agrees with us about but I honestly can't see where the love comes from. I find this game hard to control, frustrating to navigate and somewhat annoying to traverse. It's possible that if I had come to it at a younger age or not on a deadline I might have had a better experience but I still don't see what the appeal is other than the goofball aesthetics.
Sword of Mana This one isn't quite a beloved classic and no one takes us to task for disliking it but I think this is probably one of the worst games we've done for the show. Very rote and uninspired action RPG with almost nothing to reccomend it. I'm looking forward to someday redeeming the series with Secret of Mana.
So, that's it for this week. I can't promise I won't do more listicles in the future. They make me feel a lil dirty but that's par for the course for #messyboyz.
Sacrifice Tomba! Sword of Mana