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G&P: The 2007 Booby Prizes on Game and Player

G&P: The 2007 Booby Prizes

The Editors  //  January 10, 2008

2007's object lessons on how not to do it.

t wouldn't be fair to recognize only the achievements from the last year in video gaming, nor would it be sound to assert that only the positive can uplift. In the persuasion of balance, then, Game and Player presents our first annual Booby Prizes to 2007's worst of the worst. Whether thoughtless, headstrong, naïve or just plain silly, each of these industry missteps serves as a valuable, object lesson on how not to do it.

Nicest Try Award: Two Worlds

As they say,
better in anticipation.
Polish developers taking on the transatlantic gaming world? Hello and welcome. Their particular debut promoted to be like Bethesda Softworks' Oblivion, but "on steroids," including partying online in octets? Nothing like ambition. Slated for both the PC and Xbox 360? Well, all right. Unfortunately, the postponed American release suffered from lag precluding multiplayer and a graphic interface that apparently predated World of Warcraft's. Post-disappointment, publisher Southpeak Games announced an expansion — thanks, but no thanks.

Worst Peripheral with the Best Freebie Award: Wii Zapper

Saved by Link. Should it
really have needed saving?
The Wii Zapper is probably the most unnecessary peripheral to ever be thought up by Nintendo (the Virtual Boy was a "standalone console," after all). Considering the Wiimote already fulfills the role of light gun so well, one may feel that the Zapper's $20 asking price would be better spent purchasing a horizontal stand for their original PS2. Still, make sure you empty out all the contents from the Zapper's box — you wouldn't want to miss Link's Crossbow Training, one of the best shooting galleries to be released in years.

Glass Jaw Award: Ubisoft Entertainment

Can you find the public figure
in this photograph?
Meet Jade Raymond. She's a capable, intelligent producer of video games. Jade is also the spitting image of everybody's amaranthine girl next door. Her employer, Ubisoft Entertainment, has some corporate experience with exalting women who cross verve with glamour — the Frag Dolls, the Frag Dolls and the Frag Dolls — so positioned Jade to promote Assassin's Creed, and to the skeptic's eye, vice-versa. Some online heckler didn't like this, and drew a filthy comic about Ms. Raymond. Ubisoft's response? A cease-and-desist letter in contravention of the Communications Decency Act, precedent for libel and defamation, and common sense. Nothing wrong with Ubisoft's strategies; apologia, though, could use a little polish.

Most Egregious Misuse of an Existing Property Award: Shadowrun

Canon, meet cannon.
When Microsoft first announced that FASA Games was working on Shadowrun, we cheered. When Microsoft later announced that the game was going to be a first-person shooter, we raised a collective eyebrow. There's nothing wrong with translating the world of Shadowrun into a fragfest. Plunking elves and trolls into a generic shooter and calling it Shadowrun, however, is a travesty.

My Hands Don't Move That Way Award: SSX Blur

Some people are double-jointed.
An example of motion control gone horribly wrong, SSX Blur for the Wii challenged players to contort their wrists in a variety of shapes in order to execute snowboarding tricks. Though a great idea in theory, often movements wouldn't register, and the resulting frustration left players wishing for a more traditional alternative.

Spray-Painted Turd Award: Lair

Look, ma — no fun!
No matter how pretty a game's graphics are, they won't adequately cover up a horrible control scheme. Lair is beautiful, but its SIXAXIS-centric controls are about as responsive as a pet rock. Take our word for it, Factor 5: we understand how to play your game, it's just that we don't want to.

Look at Me Award: Manhunt 2

Yes, there are many forms
of entertainment. We get it.
Congress shall pass no law proscribing creative works that have, according to the Burger court, "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Legislatures are generally reluctant to follow this ruling, so it can be said that a private entity such as the Entertainment Software Rating Board exists to remind public servants what isn't their business. Publisher Take-Two Interactive makes ESRB's workday difficult, and encourages the state to do what it shouldn't, by releasing games like Manhunt 2 — not only drenched with voyeuristic mayhem but so technically wanting that they come off as deliberately instigative. "We believe the process of rating video games is to help people make informed entertainment choices and not to limit them," said Take-Two when Manhunt 2 received an Adults Only rating the first time around. But then, what's a reasonable industry guideline when you're making art?

Wait Your Turn Award: Guitar Hero 3

Heroes need sidekicks.
Okay, remember how awesome Guitar Hero 2's "cooperative quickplay" mode was? Then why the heck did Activision remove it from Guitar Hero 3? One can argue that the "cooperative career" mode is basically the same thing, but unless both players are of similar skill levels, you won't be unlocking any new content. When Harmonix left the series, so too left any appreciation for the cooperative experience.

To the winners, from the bottoms of our molybdenum hearts: Congratulations. Excelsior!

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