Why Bad Games Can Be So Good
My fiancé and I recently started playing 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, a fact which many of my XBox Live Friends have picked up on, and have wasted no time commenting on, mostly negatively.
50 Cent:BotS, despite getting average to good reviews is a title that most serious gamers, or for that matter, serious people, look at with equal parts amusement and disgust. The tone of the game is completely over the top, the game engine isn`t as polished as it could be, despite being fairly solid, and more than anything else, it features a rapper who lost most, if not all ``street cred`` long ago.
Knowing all this in advance, why were my fiancé and I so eager to pick it up? Because of the online co-op. Co-op in even what some may consider a below average game, can increase the playability and fun factor almost every time. For us, playing 50 Cent:BotS together is akin to Mystery Science Theater 3000. We go in expecting the dialogue, content matter, story, and almost everything about the game to be terrible, and knowing that, we make fun of it, and ourselves for playing.
Bad games, or rather, games that get a bad rap based on their content, are nothing new to me. In fact, my gaming collection is filled with them, and some of my fondest memories are of bad games made good.
At least there is plenty of action to be found in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
Earth Defense Force 2017, or EDF as it is fondly referred to in my house, is perhaps the shining example of a bad game made good. When one first loads up EDF, you are greeted by a splash screen that seems lifted right out of a low budget SNES screen. The chime that accompanies you selecting to start the game is the same. There are about 9 enemy types within the game, including giant ants and spiders. The "powerups" are 2d sprites that would look bad even in the original Doom, and the dialogue is worse than a poorly translated Japanese port. So why does my gaming partner Joey come over any time our schedules permit? Because it's over the top, cheesy fun. The game provides a playable mechanic, and outside of that, we're left to our own devices to find fun within the game, and we seldom have to look far.
Army of Two is another title that was met with middling reviews. The game introduced some interesting mechanics, including an aggro/stealth co-op function, as well as co-op sniping and some fun back to back slow-mo shooting. Unfortunately, the game also introduced Salem and Rio, two of the most beer chugging, football loving, frat boy mass murderers ever to leave the employ of the military. People found the overall tone of the characters to be a bit much, and even went so far as to criticize the fist bump option when playing, but to my fiancé and me, it was a perfect opportunity to enjoy some over the top first person action. Yes, the characters were obnoxious, and fist bumping to celebrate a near genocide is unbelievably tacky, but what's not to love about a game that lets you gold plate your guns and go on a mask shopping spree that would make Jason Voorhees jealous?
Shooters aren't the only games that can be made into a lot of fun for a low budget, case in point NFL Tour. I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm not a sports fan by any stretch, and the complex plays of American football are often more than my brain can handle, but NFL tour strikes that perfect balance between real American football, and the video game friendly arcade style that appeals to non-jocks like myself. Nothing quite beats the feeling of taking the ball, running 80 yards, and shaking off four attempted tackles while laughing at the real sports fan next to you who is fuming about how unrealistic the whole situation is.
Last, and perhaps most controversial, I'd like to mention the Lego games. I know many of you are gasping in horror that I would dare smear the good name of Lego versions of Indy, Batman, Luke and David Bowie, but as a self-respecting gamer, I can honestly say that the Lego games are, in most instances, a bit beneath me. That being said, when played the way I imagine they were originally intended, with a spouse who is new to gaming, or a child that isn't quite ready for a Halo blood fest, they can be copious amount of fun, and seeing Lego faces try to show range of emotions almost never gets old.
So what do you think? Do you have a list of "bad" games made good? Comment below with your thoughts!
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