In an early episode of South Park, fat-boy Eric Cartman talks about how independent movies are â€śalways about gay cowboys eating pudding.â€ť The same can (almost) be said for Xbox Liveâ€™s Independent Games serviceâ€”a service that allows anyone, anyone at all, to develop and publish their own Xbox 360 game.Â In â€śMinus the Pudding,â€ť I plan to highlight the very best of what Xbox Live Indie Games has to offer, though, by â€śvery best,â€ť I actually just mean â€śthe games that arenâ€™t soduku, fireplace simulators, or massagers for your private parts.â€ť Those are the pudding games of Indie Games, and I want to talk about the ones that arenâ€™t.
Hello, and welcome to GameCola.net: the number one website on the entire Interâ€“HEY, wait a second.
Iâ€™m sorry about that. Old habits die hard, as they say. â€śDear Readersâ€ť was the column I wrote as a sort of introduction to every issue of GameCola back when we published in a monthly newsletter format. I guess itâ€™s been so long since Iâ€™ve written anything else thatÂ I’veÂ apparently forgotten how to do it. (Actually, that makes some sense, and it would explain why a recent personnel report I wrote for work talked about how a job candidate had â€śterrible replay value.â€ť)
Letâ€™s try this again.
Hello, and welcome to â€śMinus the Puddingâ€ť: the column about how we have a great issue lined up for you this month, folks! Zach Rich wrote a review for an N64 Rareware game, Meteo Xavier wrote about a fantasy version of himself, and Michael Gray wrote everything else. Itâ€™s easily one of the bestâ€“dammit! Iâ€™m really sorry about this. I swear, this has never happened to me before. Give me one more chance, OK?
Dear Reaâ€“OK, you know what? This is just a bad idea. Letâ€™s just forget this whole â€śintroductionâ€ť thing, and move on to the part where I tell you about the four Xbox Live Indie Games that were released last month that are actually worth the dollar that they cost.
Maybe this was a bad game to start with.
For all you boys out there who want the girl of your dreams to think youâ€™re an asshole, thereâ€™s Donâ€™t Be Nervous Talking to Girlsâ€”the latest game by the developers of Donâ€™t Be Rude Talking to Cops and Donâ€™t Be Sexy Talking to Pedophiles. This is a game where you advance byâ€”and this is taken directly from Donâ€™t Beâ€™s main menuâ€”telling a girl what she wants to hear. The game makes anachronistic use of FMV; a real-life hottie hot hot girl says something to you, and you have to select, from two options, what you want to say back. Sometimes sheâ€™ll ask you a random trivia question, such as â€śHow many beats does a human heart beat in one day?â€ť and if you donâ€™t answer correctly, then she donâ€™t wanna be your lover. Whatever happened to â€śyou gotta get with my friendsâ€ť as the basis for a relationship?
My favorite part of the game was when she told me she was having trouble with a math problem. I offered to help, and she pushed me away like she was Quest 64, and I was good gameplay. So, instead, I went back and bragged to her about how godly I am at math; then she got slightly aroused and asked for my help.
Nice guysâ€”or, I should say, guys without datesâ€”always talk about how girls only really ever go for jerks. IsÂ Donâ€™t Be Nervous Talking to Girls conclusive evidence that this is true?
Alsoâ€”and forgive me for not finding a more natural way to work this inâ€”but since this is kind of an edutainment title, and since itâ€™s clearly meant for high schoolersâ€¦does that make it eduteenment? Thank you.
This is a Choose Your Own Adventure book in cheaply-made videogame form. Itâ€™s entirely text-based, and after every few screens of text, youâ€™re given a chance to choose which way you want the story to go. The plot is a jokey science-fiction story about a kid whoâ€™s just about to graduate space school andÂ captainÂ his own starship. If sci-fiâ€™s not your thing, the guy who made this game also made one about a young girl and the way she deals with death. It’s calledÂ Â Molly the Were-Zompire.
Now, this is the part of my column where I should say something like â€śthereâ€™s no reason to get this game when you can just get the same thing in a book, for much cheaper.” Thatâ€™s usually what reviewers say when theyâ€™re reviewing things like Whereâ€™s Waldo? videogames, or those â€śhidden objectâ€ť games that are exactly the same thing as an I-Spy book. Iâ€™m not going to say that, though, for two reasons:
1) Itâ€™s easier to just buy this game over Xbox Live than it is to find and purchase a Choose Your Own Adventure book, and
2) At a total cost of $1, this videogame is actually cheaper than almost every book ever made. Even Everyone Poops.
So, hey! If you like Choose Your Own Adventure books, check this game out. Videogames: Whatâ€™s the Point of Books Anymore?
In this game that I think was made for children, you have to blow up buildings that are made out of gerbils. Youâ€™re given a set number of bombs (and, later, ropes), and you have to knock all the gerbils over using only these objects and your wits. If youâ€™re unsuccessful, the words â€śabject failure” crash down onto the screen, representative of the self-esteem you can feel crashing down in your own head when you realize that this is how youâ€™re spending your Friday night.
I particularly liked the looks of fear on the gerbilsâ€™ faces, and the scared little noises they made, as I placed bombsÂ right next to their heads.
In this game, you have toâ€”again, this is a direct quote from the gameâ€™s main menuâ€”â€śhelp Kissy Poo fill the rainbow and enjoy a fun, dancy time with all the animal friends.â€ť It may just be the greatest game I have ever played in my entire life. Take a look:
Do a little dance. Because itâ€™s dancinâ€™ time. Do a little dance. Because itâ€™s dancinâ€™ time. I know youâ€™ve already started, but donâ€™t bother looking for an mp3 of this, the finest song ever written. Iâ€™ve already searched the entire Internet, and it doesnâ€™t exist.
If you donâ€™t give this man a dollar in exchange for this game, you are doing a disservice to videogames.
OK, thatâ€™s about all I have for you now. I also recently played an Indie Game called Johnny Platform Saves Christmas!, but since the extent of the holiday joy in this game was a little snow and a Santa hat on the main character, I am now fighting with this game, and donâ€™t really want to talk about it.
Ah well. Enjoy the newest issue of GameCola, everyone!