Indigo Prophecy 451°

Tell Me, What Is Your Cage Like?

You were simply at the wrong place, at the wrong time…
Prophetic art by @ehetja.

Things are never quite what they seem. We think we understand the games industry around us, but we really only see the outside. What it seems to be. I used to be just like you: I believed in developers, games magazines, television commercials, rumor mills and strategy guides. One day, a game kicks you in the teeth and you don’t have any choice but to see things the way they really are.

My name is Cassidy. My story is the one where an ordinary gamer has something extraordinary happen to them. Maybe it was supposed to happen. Maybe it was my destiny or my karma or whatever. I know one thing for sure: Nothing’s ever going to be the same again.

It all started right here. Where else could it happen? Quantic Dream; capital of the interactive movie genre, the developer destiny chose for the umpteenth big game. I was just another pawn living my pawn’s life. Until that night when my life descended into chaos. And the man responsible for my torment? None other than David Cage.

Fahrenheit — or, as some parts of the world know it, Indigo Prophecy. A potentially promising noir tale that many say takes a turn for the worse. Loved by some, loathed by others, but leaving most falling somewhere in the middle. Today, I make my personal determination: Does Quantic Dream’s vision of a snowy apocalypse stand the test of time, or did it never really pass the quiz to begin with? To fully understand the events which transpired on the 16th of September, 2005, we must turn the clock back to an earlier time — to a time before things were forever changed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains embedded links to content that is Not Safe for Work, including animated GIFs depicting computer-generated graphic nudity. The original European release of the game was given a PEGI 18 rating, with some of the more sexually explicit content being cut in order to avoid an Adults Only rating in North America (bringing the game down to a Mature / 17+). As such, I’d ask that you do try to avoid clicking on any links with a “(NSFW)” label if you are not of legal age to view such content.

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Sonic, Your Child Is Falling and the Labyrinth Is Calling

Sonic Slows Down!

Blue streak, strolls by.
Bombin’ art by @thisintermezzo.

It was only a matter of time until Sonic the Hedgehog made his debut on the Bad Game Hall of Fame. But before we get into the whole “this game is terrible” discussion, lemme say a few words about my history with the Sonic franchise.

Now, like many folk out there, I have fond memories of playing the original Genesis trilogy, and even went out of my way to buy a Sega Saturn originally just to get my hands on the “definitive version” of Sonic 3D Blast. It was… underwhelming, to say the least. I will admit to having spent an absurd amount of time in the Sonic Adventure 2 Chao Garden, but outside of that, I was mostly content to let each new entry to the Sonic series post-fifth-gen zoom right on past me. And so, I would say my interest in the property had already begun to dissipate long before Sonic the Hedgehog ‘06 — the point where most folk first seemed to turn on the Blue Blur in a big way.

At the same time though, I wouldn’t say I’m a Sonic the Hedgehog “hater.” Honestly, even if each successive entry in the franchise had continued to be marked improvements over the prior, I probably would’ve eventually stopped following them as my interest in platformer games in general began to wane. But as I continue to observe Sonic from afar, there are certain elements of it that continue to appeal to me: I still think all the character designs are pretty cute, noodle limbs and all. I’m a sucker for the soundtracks, and will continue to tune into those even as I’m not playing the associated games. Tails is a very good boy. No matter what direction the franchise might head or spin off in, these are key things you cannot take away from Sonic.

But what about “going fast?” Is running really an essential ingredient in the Sonic formula? Some would argue that you spend more time standing around, waiting for / on platforms in the original Sonic the Hedgehog than you do speeding through hills and highways. So, what if a Sonic game decided to do away almost completely with Sonic’s ability to run? Sonic Labyrinth is one answer to that question. Let us never ask that question ever again.

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Hooters and the Road Trip

How You Doin’, Sugah?

The one and only time I visited a Hooters, I ordered a burger well-done, and it came to the table red and raw. The waitress apologized and got me a replacement burger, which she accidentally charged me a second time for on the bill despite my not even biting into the original burger. While I was there, I bore witness to a dude hitting on a different waitress so aggressively, a manager had to come by the table and tell him to slow his roll. I still ended up leaving a 25% tip because despite my order and my experience being a total debacle, I felt bad for everyone working there. Also, my waitress was admittedly very pretty and called me “cutie” and I am a complete and total sucker.

In case you are unaware, Hooters is a chain of restaurants wherein the primary novelty is that the waitresses are all conventionally attractive and made to wear semi-revealing uniforms. It is a company in which the employee handbook demands that female staff “acknowledge and affirm […] the Hooters concept is based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and entertaining conversations are commonplace.”[1] In other words, employees are basically made to consent to being objectified and hit on by customers if they want to keep their job. Granted, there are hundreds of thousands of other waitress gigs out there where the environment isn’t inherently skeevy by design, and a woman who knows what they’re signing up for should be free to pursue their “Hooters Girl” career as they please. But also, they should totally be allowed to kick shithead customers in the groin if they happen to get handsy.

In 2002, someone decided that what the Hooters brand needed was a tie-in video game for the Sony PlayStation. Not the two-years-young PlayStation 2, mind you, but the original PS1. And what genre did they assume most players would want to see the Hooters brand associate with? No, not a dating sim or food service simulator.** It’s a danged racing game. Because truly, the strength of the Hooters brand doesn’t lie in pretty women or passable food: It’s all about their on-and-off involvement in sponsoring NASCAR racers. And who better to helm development than Hoplite Research — the developers of 1999’s Extreme Paintbrawl 2?***

Gas your cars and get your grub on, folks: It’s time to go on a Hooters Road Trip.

** If you absolutely, positively need to live out your food service fantasies, get your hands on Cook, Serve, Delicious. If you prefer your games on the rare side (pun intended), you can always go ahead and import the Japan-exclusive Yoshinoya for the PS2.
*** Yes, the original Extreme Paintbrawl is on the shortlist of “games to review” for this website, and is one of the most truly terrible first-person shooters of all time. How it has managed the staggering number of sequels it has is beyond me, but at least Hoplite’s take on the franchise is a marked improvement over the first.

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We Got the Bad Game Music Hall of Fame, Oh So Fine

In this month’s batch of entries to the Bad Game Hall of Fame YouTube channel, I accidentally went and included a recurring theme across our three uploads: All of these songs feature some use of vocal sampling in them! In fact, I was so pleasantly surprised by the consistency of this batch, I may actually try to intentionally group uploads together like this together again in the future. Until next month, please to enjoy the sampled sounds of Violent StormBuck Bumble, and Global Gladiators.

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The Top Five Worst Games Print Ads

Back in the day, before we had your new-fangled “World Wide Web,” most of us had to get our news from games magazines. And we liked it, dagnabbit! Of course, these supposed tomes of gaming knowledge were basically little more than advertising fed directly into our eyeballs, often absent of genuine criticism or any other concerns other than letting consumers know what new games were coming out and when. At some point, any and every asset of these magazines might have only existed as thinly-veiled promotional material — from the developer-supplied cheat code sections all the way down to bought-and-paid-for reviews.

In a shocking turn, the actual as-advertised print ads themselves might have been the most genuine parts of some of these magazines: At least when you were staring at a full-page promotional panel, you were aware you were looking at marketing material. Of course, sometimes even these adverts might be misleading, as advertising is wont to be. In some scenarios, they seemed to care less about selling you on the games themselves and more about simply grabbing your attention. I mean, you don’t actually need me to explain any of this to you, do you? Kind of the nature of the beast here, innit?

Anyway, this list is dedicated to some of the worst print ads ever run to promote individual game releases. To be clear, I’m intentionally eschewing print ads to promote consoles / hardware accessories / companies in general, as that’s a list for another day.

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