Wallet Abuse Weekly is Deeply Embarrassed for You

Our view of the ‘Game Boy experience’ is that it’s a great babysitting tool, something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting twenty-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those. He’s too old for that.-- Jack Tretton, by way of Wired Magazine, April 8, 2011

Now don’t get me wrong, in the great big list of people who are allowed to credibly defend Nintendo looks something like this:


  • 1,178,493: Jennifer Strange; died from water intoxication after trying to win a Wii for her family
  • 1,178,494: Trip Hawkins; somehow thought releasing a $700 game console was a good idea
  • 1,178,495: Kevin Mark Bradshaw; Nitrobeard contributor, hates Nintendo
  • 1,178,496: Gunpei Yokoi; Killed in retaliation for releasing the Virtual Boy

So I’m not here to defend Nintendo and the migraine-inducing portable vision into hell that is the 3DS as much as I am here to ruthlessly mock the Playstation brand. It’s one thing to call the 3DS too embarrassing to be caught with in public, but it’s another thing entirely to say that being the guy who keeps Nippon Ichi in business.

I mean, c’mon.

Look, it’s 2011, gaming has been around thirty years, the only people embarrassed to be caught gaming are the same sort of people who are too embarrassed to admit they enjoy watching sports, or comic books, or watching trashy television or reading the Dragonlance novels. You know. Douchebags. The moment it became socially acceptable for office types to have a Gameboy SP laying in their cubicle then the whole “gaming is embarrassing” meme became irrelevant.

Now that’s not to say a person shouldn’t be judged for playing games in public. Okay sure, it’s one thing to whip out a PSP on the N Train into Manhattan, it’s quite another thing to whip out your PSP and reveal to the world you’re playing Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood.

See, in a more perfect world we’d all be judged on the important things in life. Your political affiliation, your stance on UNC Chapel Hill vs Duke University, your preferences on spicy brown mustard vs yellow mustard and the videogames you choose to play, not the systems you play them on. With that in mind I will judge this week’s slate of releases vs the most embarrassing games possible-- the NIS America PlayStation catalog.

Let us begin!


Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Atlus (no, really)
Platforms: Xbox 360

Seeing Divinity II pop up this week confused me as I was positive that I talked about Divinity II this time last year and it sure as heck wasn’t published by Atlus.

Turns out that while Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga is still as Belgian as Waffles and African colonialism, this package is actually a bit of devious double-dipping, as it is last year’s Divinity II: Ego Dragonis, along with the expansion pack Flames of Vengeance, all one disc for forty bucks. Which sorta sucks if you bought Divinity II last year for full MSRP, but if you bought Divinity II for the 360 you’re probably already into self-flagellation and don’t really mind:

The Atlus logo is still inexplicable and I can only assume Larian studios somehow managed to trick Atlus into thinking they had somehow acquired the rights to Dragon Age II.



Divinity II is that strangest of console perversions, the grognard CRPG played exclusively with a gamepad. GrimGrimoire is something like a Japanese equivalent of this, being a console sidescrolling RTS set inside a version of Hogwart's filled with Goth Lolis.

Which, much like Dragon Knight Saga, would be a great idea if the execution wasn't so awful.

Fantastic Pets
Developer: Blitz Games
Publisher: Toy HeadQuarters
Platforms: Kinect

The premise for Fantastic Pets is that you start off with a normal waggle-infused pet sim like any other of the ten thousand ***** Petz games in existence, but as you progress your pet takes on magical, fantastic properties such as pegasus wings or unicorn horns or the Paul Ryan US budget proposal. Which means two things:

1: an entire generation of children is going to grow up with entirely the wrong idea about how to raise their pets, resulting in a wave of abandoned Labrador Retrievers that never evolved into rideable flying mounts and

2: I know way too fucking much about Fantastic Pets.



Even more embarrassing than having a budget-title waggle-based Nintendogs ripoff on your shelf is having someone walk in on you while this happens:

Also someone explain to me how you can have a game title with seven words, with only one of those words be non-imaginary and that word being “of”.


MotorStorm: Apocalypse
Developer: Evolution Studios
Publisher: SCEA
Platforms: PlayStation 3

Or maybe not. The entire premise for Motorstorm: Apocalypse can be easily surmised by anyone familiar with both the words “Motorstorm” (arcade-heavy rally racing through desert and/or frozen wastelands) and “Apocalypse” (end of the world, four pale riders come to exact destruction upon mankind, HBO miniseries A Game of Thrones indefinitely delayed) and until a couple weeks ago this game was scheduled for release. Indeed, there is every indication that Motorstorm: Apocalypse is finished and ready to ship.


Turns out the Apocalypse really did happen, or at least on one much-beloved mountainous island nation. Owing to the global nature of the gaming industry, Sony decided that releasing a game based upon the premise of a rally raid through a recently disaster-struck California urban wasteland would be in poor taste, and has delayed Motorstorm: Apocalypse until some unspecified time next month; when presumably we’ll know whether or not the entirety of Japan will stand as an irradiated string of barely-submerged rocks.

Now, by rights, I should just leave Motorstorm: Apocalypse alone until next month but I’m already three paragraphs in, so here’s some ideas for re-branding M:A in the event that the entire population of Japan need to be relocated.

Motorstorm: A Mild Disruption of Services. With the police distracted in the aftermath of a nasty thunderstorm that has left the city without cable service, your ragtag team of motorstorm rebels have free reign of the streets!

Motorstorm: Are You Sure You Woudn’t Rather Play Sega Rally 2 Instead: It’s just like the current M:A, but the discs would be replaced with surplus copies of Sega Rally 2 for the and instructions on how to acquire Dreamcast from Ebay. All proceeds would go toward porting Sega Rally 2 on XBLA and PSN and toward lawsuits stemming from selling a Dreamcast game to PS3 owners.

Motorstorm: Mars be Crazy, Bitches: Take the existing M:A code, but change the skybox color value to red and remove all the trees. Since Sony owns Tristar Pictures, they can add in dialog from Total Recall and declare it part of a shared continuity.

Motorstorm: Look We Love Japan As Much As The Next Guy But Seriously This Thing Was Expensive And We Need To Make Some Money Back: Basically the same game as it exists now, but with a pamphlet form Jack Tretton re-stating the game’s new title and a pledge to donate ten bucks for every game sold to Japan relief efforts. And also the game is now seventy bucks.



The only reason to play Motorstorm: Apocalypse in it’s current state is if you vehemently hate Japan. As there is nothing more Japanese than a good Nippon Ichi PlayStation JRPG there exists no good NIS catalog equivalent.


Patapon 3
Developer: Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Platforms: PlayStation Portable

Admit it, you were just as freaked out as I was to find out Sony still made Patapon games. In fact, I dare anyone reading this to prove that Patapon 2 exists outside of an unworkable theoretical construct, much like String Theory or the Libertarian Party.

Patapon 3, though? Okay, let’s assume Patapon 3 is a real thing and not part of some collective gaming community fever dream. You remember how the first (two) Patapon game(s) was this weird but amazing conflux of god games and rhythm action and was immediately accessible because all you were really doing was mashing face buttons in time to music? Well all that’s gone now, you only have four dudes, each with a set skill and the game is now bastard hard.

On the other hand, it’s super cheap (only twenty bucks!) and is available for purchase over PSN as well as on disc, bringing the number of games PSP Go owners can purchase up to 8 this year. While the rest of you recover from the convergence of “PSP Go” “owners” “games” and “purchase” in the same sentence, I’m going to look at sweet El Shaddai art

This is pretty much going to be the best thing ever.




Most complaints regarding Patapon 3 is that it’s become too difficult to really enjoy, meaning that it has a lot in common to Prinny, the likeable-but-bastard-hard Contra shmup for the PlayStation Portable. Also it’s hard to imagine that either game actually represents a series.


Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: 3DS

While you’re coming to grips with the horrible implication that western developers see the 3DS as a way to resell Wii games, try to figure out how in the world Ubisoft managed to release a 2d platformer on a Nintendo system before Nintendo.



The Rabbids franchise represents the crushed, frustrated hopes of a creative Frenchman. Aetlier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland sounds French. SHUT UP THEY FIT




Developer: Blue Sky
Publisher: Toy HeadQuarters
Platform: Everything

I’ll be honest with you, I was excited to learn Rio was coming out this week as it gives me the excuse to GIS for the word “Rio”. For instance, the city of Rio:


Alberto Del Rio:

And the Kia Rio

Are all things I personally enjoy. The videogame Rio though, is the very worst combination of all possible videogame atrocities-- it is a childrens’ movie tie-in that is also a minigame collection, and for that it gets the Blingee of the Week award.




Developer: Activison
Publisher: Activision
Platform: Nintendo DS

After 30 seconds of diligent Googling I’m still no closer to figuring out what Squinkies are than I was at 11:05 PM EST. Near as I can tell someone managed to find a way to sell plastic charm bracelet toys that used to go for a dime each in capsule dispensers for a dollar a pop and made an industry out of doing so.

I can’t be too mad at these kids though; I squandered a great deal of my childhood wealth on hundreds of rubber M.U.S.C.L.E. wrestlers instead of buying a NES. No really. I thought this:

Was far more important than Legend of Zelda. What can I say, I was a dumb kid.


Actually that’s a really good pack, you get a block dude and someone who looks like they worked out so much and became so strong that his skin subducted beneath is own muscles. I would have totally bugged the hell of of my mom until she bought me that pack.

Anyway, if Tag Team Match M.U.S.C.L.E. for the NES is any indication then I’d have a hard time imagining a kid would be happier with Squnkies the video game than with the same amount of Squinkies the same money could buy instead.



Much like I must admit owning an unreasonable amount of MUSCLE figures, I must admit that I will at some point own this goddamned game. I’m rendered powerless, it’s the nearest thing to a SEGAGAGA followup we’re ever going to see.




Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars
Developer: Ubisoft Sofia
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Nintendo 3DS

I’m going to give you two reasons why Ghost Recon Shadow Wars may well be the best game currently available for the 3DS:

  • 1: It’s X-Com
  • 2: Fuck you buy this game

For those keeping track, Ubisoft has now laid claim to the only Mario 64 game on the 3DS (Rayman 3DS), the only 2d Mario on the 3DS (Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time) and the only Advance Wars game on the 3DS (Ghost Recon Shadow Wars). Can Ubisoft pull off a stealth release of HAWX for the 3DS and lay claim to the only Star Fox game before the actual Star Fox 3DS game is released? Also is there any way we can replace all the cars in Driver: Renegade before Ocarina of Time 3D comes out?



Much like there is no need to be embarrassed at owning the classic SRPG Disgaea, there is no reason to feel shame at playing this inexplicably decent 3DS strategy game.