Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Absurd video games

I got turned on to a truly absurd video game. It's a version of "Waiting for Godot" done in Atari 8-bit game format. Here's the one player version of the game:

There's a two-player version, too. Oy veh!!

It captures the absurdity of the play beautifully.

Okay, I thought that this was really cool and I laughed watching the two-player version. And then I thought that this was it.

Au contraire!

New friends Gavin & Sophia told me about a video game version of "The Great Gatsby." NO! I said. Yes, really; it's from Nintendo and can be found here. This is ostensibly the whole game and looks like all classic early Nintendo games. (How they handle Gatsby getting shot, I don't know.)

While I was talking to them, I started thinking evil literary thoughts, and evil thoughts invariably involve doing horrible things with Jane Austen, so I googled, and lo! I found this lovely nugget from last April about a company that thought that Jane Austen was a great idea for a game series. Note how many games they sold and also the punchline at the very end of the article. :) (BTW, the link to the original article is in the title so you can see the original if you wish.)
Jane Austen Inspired Video Game Company Declares Bankruptcy

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Jane Austen inspired company that devoted itself to developing, “World class” video games based around the novels of Jane Austen declared bankruptcy after three years of business and having sold less than fourteen copies of their games.

“We simply overestimated the interest for Jane Austen video game porting,” said Cal Witherington, the CEO of the now bankrupt corporation.

The company released three video game titles, “Sense and Sensibilities", “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma". Despite, an aggressive ad campaign, the games hardly sold at all. Developed for the PS3, Wii and XBox 360, the games were given high scores for video and look, but dismal scores for actual game play.

“It looks wonderful! The animation is down right perfect,” noted Adam Jones of IGN. “The problem was, there was no action in the games at all. One goal was to just walk around slowly, while talking. One mission included going on a long walk in the rain. That mission took two hours to finish!”

Some implementation of the game didn’t work too well either. In order to playing on the PS3 or Xbox 360, the player needed to press one button to act nice, another button to act proper. “In the end, the game became more of a button smasher,” according the IGN review. Players playing on the Wii really just needed to jerk the nunchuck and waggle to Wii Remote to get the same affect. The faster they shook, the better the score.

IGN went on to note, “One potential benefit of the game for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was that you could play as many of the characters, including Mr. Darcy, though you needed to unlock that by scoring over 200 points in the dancing portion of the game, a hard feat. But in the end, it became nothing more than a waggle fest to brood.”

The company lost more than $20 million since they started three years ago and were forced to shut their doors. It remains unknown whether anyone will pick up their latest project, and first to move off from Jane Austen, “Little Women".

Yes, they did one of "Little Women," too. What are they going to do when Beth dies? Or can you possibly save her? I don't know....

Apparently, though, not to be deterred by the potential lack of action suitable to video games in Jane Austen novels, or the almost total non-intersection on the Venn diagram of the two sets: "Jane Austen" and "video gamers," a company has developed a composite of several Jane Austen novels to create (drum roll) Matches and Matrimony. You can romp around the website and see screen shots and get an idea of the game.

Oy veh....

Addendum, March 24, 2011: It's been pointed out to me by Daniel Reitman that there's also a RPG for The Drones Club.


Using Rosemarie Parse's Theory of Nursing said...

I am waiting for a Faust game.

John Hedtke said...

Already here:

Here's a video clip of episode 1: