Wallet Abuse Workers of the World: Unite! (Against Atari)

Test Drive Unlimited 2 developer Eden Games is initiating a "symbolic day strike" in response to layoffs and alleged "mismanagement" by parent Atari, according to a statement sent to Gamasutra.

The statement said that the studio is in the middle of a redundancy plan that targets 51 out of the total 80 employees at the Lyon, France-based developer. The strike is taking place today.

The cuts are significant, and occur as Atari continues to focus more on MMOs and games that implement online business models, rather than the packaged games that Eden specializes in such asAlone in the Dark and the Test Drive Unlimited series.

"Eden Games pays now for Atari mismanagement," according to a statement from Eden Games employee representatives, forwarded by a software engineer at the studio.

Lost amid the continuing tragedy that is Sony’s inability to understand network protocol and news that Squeenix’s NIKKEI stock price will soon hover somewhere between Koei Tecmo’s stock price and the price for a ton of radioactive dirt, it turns out Atari’s developers-- well one of them, anyway-- is engaging in open revolt against their corporate masters.

And you know what? Good for Eden Studios. Maybe if people within Atari went on strike earlier we’d have not been subjected to the indignity of Primal Rage or the first generation Atari Lynx.

(Of course, you’d have to be careful as to which Atari era you’d lead your worker’s revolt, as Jack Tramiel had a history of quietly burying company assets in unmarked holes in the desert.)

Although Eden Games is either reluctant or legally impaired from explaining exactly why they’re going on strike (Atari’s traditionally hilarious mismanagement aside) if you read between the lines the disagreement seems to stem from an unnamed project Atari has demanded Eden undertake. in other words, Atari wants Eden Studios, The sole developer Atari has on hand capable of producing saleable console videogames, to produce shovelware.

Maybe if more developers were to lead worker’s revolts against their corporate masters we’d be spared abominations such as Kinectimals or Final Fantasy 14 or the entirety of the current 3DS library. In this week’s Wallet Abuse I will utilize the freely-available and totally un-lawsuit-able image of America’s most successful worker’s rights politician, the beloved Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as he judges if the developer would be within their rights to burn down the studios instead of developing the game. Let us begin!



Developer: Splash Damage
Publisher: Bethesda
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

There is a duality to Brink that’s fascinating to watch from afar without running the risk of actually playing Brink.

Brink is a game we should want to succeed. It carries with it a bright, vibrant design aesthetic that’s not just unique in it’s class, but rarely seen in this age of overwrought plastic-realistic Unreal Engine 3 shooters. The free running concept while perhaps underutilized, is something we’ve wanted games to take another crack at ever since the heroic failure that was Mirror’s Edge.

At the same time, it represents many loathsome aspects of gaming in the post Call of Duty-era. It’s a co-op based shooter with experience points and levels and perks and classes. It’s multiplayer to the point that the game is sort of useless without an online connection. It feels fundamentally lazy, as if the entire retail release were nothing more than the bare scaffold for DLC to fill.

Meanwhile despite tepid reviews Brink has a core of absolutely loyal followers. I cannot fairly judge these people, I base my enjoyment of games on how many beheadings and/or Ferraris the game has to offer, and that’s why Carmageddon is the greatest videogame ever made. If people want to love Brink, that’s fine, but I do have to wonder if these people have talked themselves into loving Brink well before it’s release.

While I badly want Brink to succeed on a design and aesthetic standpoint, I cannot bring myself to feel enthusiasm for Yet Another Damned Co-Op Shooter, and if the blowback from Brink harms Splash Damage as a whole then I can’t really bring myself to feel bad about that.



On one hand, Brink promotes violent armed aggression against the “Security Forces” (read: Capitalist Oppresors) the game represents.

For half the game.

The other half of the game features the game playing as the Security Forces as they violently oppress a ragtag group of radically homicidal European (possibly French) freedom fighters. Splash Damage can call this “play balancing” all they like, we call it “ingratiating future generations to distrust violent European revolutionaries”. Clearly Splash Damage is in league with corporate oppressors and should be shunned accordingly.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean

Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Platforms: Every Fucking Thing

While I’ve only ever played the very first Star Wars Lego game (and that entirely because my good friend Russ Brendle forced me to take part to keep his son occupied or else I would not receive lasagna from his wife that night), I’m always happy to see new Lego properties released as it means Traveller’s Tale is steadily shedding itself of child-friendly IP and must one day embrace the inevitable--

Lego Mortal Kombat.

You’re picturing it right? Chibi/Blocky versions of Kung Lao, Raiden, Sonya Blade, Jax and Liu Kang fighting their way through Shao Khan’s hordes, fountains of gore dismembered Lego limbs in their wake, all of which depicted instead as E-For-Everyone friendly crimson Lego bricks. Rip Baraka’s plastic arms out of their adorable little sockets and beat him to death until he blinks out of existence in a spasm of blocks and Kombat Koins.

(Note: In researching Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean for artistic purposes which shall be illustrated below, I learned that the Giant Bomb crew already made the Lego MK joke in their Quicklook for this game. For the sake of avoiding any future lawsuits please replace the term “Mortal Kombat” with “Time Killers”.)

As far as this game goes, L:PotC is probably the absolute best Lego game ever made, which is not that surprising when you consider Traveller’s Tales has spent the past fourteen years doing little else than producing Lego games.* If you have a child who’s into either pirates, PotC or Lego-- and there’s a 99.9% chance your child fits these descriptions regardless of gender or possible sexual orientation-- you’ve already been forced into owning this game and this entire section has been an enormous waste of time. For the rest of you, I provide the following compelling argument for Lego: PotC ownership:

Chubby Kiera Knightley. Rowr.

*note: This also means that there exists an entire generation of gamers who’ve grown up expecting games without any real consequence of failure and no real reward mechanic beyond “walk up to background object and hit it”. In short order these children will be producing videogames of their own. It is quite possible that the unprecedented success of Traveller’s Tales singular useful idea has doomed our industry forever and it’s time for people such as myself to look into Tamiya RC cars and/or marriage.



Lego Pirates of the Caribbean represents a great many of the things my fellow leftists enjoy-- piracy, Kiera Knightley, the constant struggle against undead sailors, throwing off the shackles of the East India Tea Company, flintlock revolvers-- And it’s no mistake that the Lego franchise itself is built upon the metaphorical bricks of Danish socialism.


MX vs ATV Alive 

Developer: Rainbow Studios
Publisher: Toy Head Quarters
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

The title of this game confuses and angers me, as I’m still not sure why MX bikes and ATVs are locked in constant struggle, and the term “Alive” would hint at a far more interesting “MX vs ATV: Undead”, where the player must escape from the shambling horde aboard a dirtbike. As I cannot bring myself to maintain interest in motorcycle-based games not name “Road Rash” I’m going to write off the rest of this summary by saying that you should really save your forty bucks toward DiRT 3. Instead, I’ll bring up the following questions:

*Late 90’s DMX music videos aside, what would drive someone to willingly choose to ride an All Terrain Vehicle when dirtbikes are readily accessible? Not that ATVs don’t have their uses, but I’m pretty sure the MX vs ATV series does not include sections where you must pull stumps from the ground or away haul deer carcasses. Although this raises the larger question of why Cabella’s games don’t include extensive ATV sections.

*Look, I understand Nintendo’s software division wants nothing to do with anything that’s not Mario or Pokemon-related, but how on earth is the Exitebike series not making like a billion dollars a year for these guys?

*are we absolutely sure that THQ hasn’t been re-using assets from ATV: Offroad Fury and Rainbow Studios isn’t some sort of money laundering scheme?



While it’s entirely possible that the MX vs ATV series represents little more than a method to launder THQ’s corporate billions, dirtbikes are a favored form of transportation of communist rebels the world over and familiarization with sick jumps will do well to prepare future generations for dramatic motorcycle escapes vs armed opposition.


Virtua Tennis 4

Developer: Sega AM3
PUblisher: Sega
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

Do we really need two tennis games per year? Do we even need more than one tennis game per console generation? Can we just admit that Pong has been perfected and move on with our lives? If you’d have told me in 1999 that Hitmaker’s one lasting legacy was going to be this... thing instead of Virtual On, I would have went back to college.

Wii aficionados will be amused to learn that Kinect/Move support is as tacked on and chintzy as their SD-only counterpart-- Motion controls in all three versions is not present in the main mode for whatever insane reason, and present only in a special first-person mode where you lose control over your character and flail about at the screen in hopes of making contact with the ball. Good work, Sega.



Tennis is clearly the favored sport of the landed gentry; it is no mistake that the sport’s biggest event every year takes place before the very eyes of English Royalty. Bernie Sanders would much rather AM3 focus it’s considerable talents toward producing more worker-friendly titles such as Sega Rally 3.


Because it has Rally in the name.


Look shut up I just want Sega Rally 3, okay?



We’re still not exactly sure what LA NOIRE is supposed to be but you should probably buy it anyway

DEEP BLACK may or may not exist regardless of what VGReleases.com would have us believe. Behold the perils of Russian software development!

THE WITCHER 2 causes great lament; anger at my lousy pc!