Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
22 December 2005
Gaming Gaffes of 2005
For the past two years I've written end-of-year summaries of what didn't go well in the gaming industry. This year, I've written another, but someone else is hosting it. You can read it here at Next Generation.

Previous years are here: 2003, 2004.

Thanks go out to Colin Campbell, Editor in Chief, for the opportunity to write for Next Generation. Also to my online friends for giving my writing a well-deserved open-handed slap across the mouth during that last minute rush.

The comments are open for your flames. Thanks.
--Matt Matthews at 14:23
Comment [ 4 ]

Comments on this post:

Agree with most of 'em (particularly the Hot Coffee bits), but I've gotta disagree with the Revolution controller unveiling and PSP launch. The Revo controller is hardly a gimmick, I think. Its coming from the same people that made smacking a bongo in your living room acceptable, remember.

And on the PSP issue, the launch wasn't so bad, but the lack of anything decent ater it was the problem, methinks.

By Anonymous Avaunt, at 22 December, 2005 15:12  

Flame on! Boy, what an awful article. I'm surprised you have the gall to pick on online 'journalists'. The picture looks like a real-life blow-up doll in that awful pose, and the html formatting is pretty poor. But let's take the flame back off, stop looking at what Next-Gen almost certainly did to the article, and concentrate on its subpar content.

We start with the Revolution. Fair enough. I'm scared for Nintendo too. Hope it pans out. I'd like to have seen a broader scope, though. What's the DS if not a GBA++? Or how about the GB Micro, which is a stripped down GBA? What *is* Nintendo thinking?

With respect to Madden, well, first year of Madden releases are almost always pretty buggy on a new system. NCAA's first year on PS2 was awful. Two problems off of the top of my head: The ball spiraled backwards for left-handed passers and penalties on punts occasionally gave the ball to the wrong team in great field position. Why not slam Perfect Dark? Why not lump this in with the Xbox launch? Or are we shooting for putting out enough "copy"?

The PSP launch "gaffe" seems to get awfully rosy-colored at the end once we hit GTA: Liberty City. Let's face it, most readers are going to like that game quite a bit more than Nintendogs.

Are we really surprised the PowerPC strikes again? Who buys chips from IBM or Freescale(cell?) these days, anyhow? Good call on the Xbox, but they're still first out the door, and the system apparently rocks.

In brief, Hot Coffee was no gaffe; it's probably the most nuanced approach to delivering content we've seen from designers to date. Rockstar knows gamers are going to "read" every bit, pun intended, of the games and start a-hackin'. This move caused a ton of free press for Take-Two, and I wonder if they haven't recovered from being thrown into that briar patch fairly well.

Seriously, though, these are pretty softball, unimaginative picks. Three launches, essentially, if you include the Revolution bit, beating up a buggy version 1.0 (who'd've thought that would happen?!!), which is also a launch issue, and a less than nuanced approach to Hot Coffee -- not exactly creative, thoughtful stuff. There's really no surprise that launches don't quite meet expectations, and the Hot Coffee portion was a completely dropped ball.

For me, I'll put the article up there as as much of a greatest gaffe as anything on the list. Heck, the previous article here on Curmudgeon is a much better example of an industry gaffe. What about Doom 3? The report of Civilization 3 on the Mac from scratch (okay, that's a personal bias)?

Perhaps there's something inherently dumbing about going mainstream. I'd better not try; I'm having a hard enough time as it is.

Other than that, good job!

Ruffin "Ombudsman Extraordinaire/ily Harsh" Bailey

By Blogger rufbo, at 22 December, 2005 15:18  

With respect to Madden, well, first year of Madden releases are almost always pretty buggy on a new system.

But, as the article pointed out, they actually showed footage of what the next-gen Madded would look like. That, and how the X-box 360 Madden's feature rollbacks cause it to compare unfavorably with current generation versions of the same game, is what is shameful about the situation.

The PSP launch "gaffe" seems to get awfully rosy-colored at the end once we hit GTA: Liberty City. Let's face it, most readers are going to like that game quite a bit more than Nintendogs.

That's a single game. For all of Mario 64's brilliance, after all, the Playstation beat it on sheer quantity of titles. And I outright dispute your statement on Nintendogs. Well you might be right when you say most readers of Next Gen might like GTA:LCS more, because how many casual gamers and kids are going to read the article?

Are we surprised by Microsoft's X-box 360 shorages? Maybe, maybe not. Is it shameful of them to release the system obviously early before their production facilities are up to speed simply in order to score the PR benefits of being first and to artifically engineer sellouts? Yes.

In brief, Hot Coffee was no gaffe; it's probably the most nuanced approach to delivering content we've seen from designers to date.

I guess I'm still fairly oldschool here in my approach to what game "content" was. I always assumed it was something you could actually encounter in the game without modifying the code or using a GameGenie/GameShark/ActionReplay/whatever the kids are calling it these days. I'm not disposed to giving them design points for putting something like that in, but they *do* look, literally, like a bunch of wankers for putting it in there, AND they gave that leech, that troglodyte, that corrosive vulture Jack Thompson that soft patch of flesh into which to sink his grimy talons.

By Blogger JohnH, at 22 December, 2005 20:18  

First off:

Then Microsoft had six months to hype the launch. So they spent their time talking up HDTV (which no one owns), letting retailers sell bundles with ridiculous names like Omega (which no one can afford), and publishing a backward compatibility list (full of games no one wants, save Halo 2).

Everyone wants MX World Tour!

Second the thing about Hot Coffee is that it was only really bad because the industry reacted incorrectly. No one really screwed up until after it was public... the ESRB screwed up by re-rating the game and Rockstar screwed up by lying about the origin of the scene.

Not taking the content of the disc isn't that bad... happens all the time. Call it a consequence of a deadline driven industry, possibly coupled with a miscommunication or two. This is the message that should have gone out when this happened.

Rockstar should have been forthcoming... it was a planned feature but removed at some point during development.

The ESRB shouldn't have been pansies and admitted that the M rating was still appropriate for the game even after the minigame was discovered.

I guess at some level the whole industry is afraid that the government is gonna shut them down. That sucks, and some poor decisions have been made as a result.

-- theoddone33

By Blogger Dan, at 23 December, 2005 03:36  

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