Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.
The Theory Of Everything
Today, Nintendo launched Splatoon, its stylish spin on multipayer shooters. In his review, Derrick Sanskrit praised both its lively online battles and clever solo challenges. What he didn’t mention, though, is the surprisingly deep backstory tucked away in those singleplayer levels. Protowizard filled us in, and used a cheeky take on this mythology to launch a theory that merges several of Nintendo’s universes. (You should skip ahead if you’d rather discover Splatoon’s lore on your own.):
The collectible Sunken Scrolls reveal that Splatoon takes place on planet Earth some 12,000 years after global warming has caused the seas to rise and humans to become extinct. Squid and octopi have moved onto land to war over filling our evolutionary niche as the sapient apex predator. This is not the only Nintendo game to take place after the extinction of humankind. Pikmin does the same. Could it be that Pikmin and Splatoon takes place in the same universe (albeit, probably at different time frames)?
There’s more. It could be that some remnant of humanity escaped before the cataclysm, abandoning Earth and moving into space to form a Galactic Federation. They colonized planets and encountered alien life, eventually leading to the events of the Metroid series. One of the first planets was colonized by a variety of seed ships from four major powers (North America, Europe, Asia, and Russia) that experienced some decay and muddling in their culture and went to war over territory on this new world, causing the events of Advance Wars. Eventually peace returns, and the Mother series begins. More time passes and more colonization occurs, and on some planets, high speed anti-gravity races take place in the incredibly popular F-Zero tournaments. If that is the case, another known connection can be made to the Star Fox games through James McCloud, an F-Zero racer and missing father of Fox McCloud.
This is what I call Nintendo Universe B. In pre-cataclysm days, the events of Punch-Out!! and Wii Fit also occur here.
We’re through the looking glass here, people.
And now that everyone’s mind is blown, let’s go back to the game in question. Jakeoti offered some thoughtful praise:
I just can’t praise the game enough for how well its concept works visually. Watching the battlefield change color on the Gamepad’s screen tells you everything you need to know about how the fight is going in an instant. The visuals pop—not just when the ink is on the ground but also when it’s being fired. It’s pretty easy to tell when someone is firing at you and where from. There’s better conveyance here than in most other shooters. It doesn’t feel too chaotic, and it feels like you’re actually contributing. The hour I played during Saturday’s demo wasn’t enough. I must have more!
Better Off With Bond
This week, A.V. Club staff writer Alex McCown took a look at the notoriously awful Charlie’s Angels game from 2003. Had it made any effort to laugh at its own terribleness, he argued, the game might have come away with the same self-aware charm as the films that inspired it. Instead, it’s just another awful movie tie-in game. Down in the comments, readers started rattling off more tolerable adaptations. Goldeneye was a quick pick, but a couple of deeper James Bond cuts got mentions as well. BurgerOfTheDay noted one that, while not great, was too goofy to hate:
This article makes me think of Agent Under Fire, the first James Bond game in the PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube era. I played it years after it came out, and it was hilariously bad in a lot of ways. It indulged every cliche of the Bond movies from every era. Instead of having Bond be suave, he just kept walking in on women who were inexplicably showering or in other states of undress in villains’ lairs. He didn’t make any quips or one-liners; he just raised his eyebrows and smirked in the creepiest possible way. It seemed like a parody, but I think, like the Charlie’s Angels game, it just went through the motions with no self-awareness. I’d say it was the only so-bad-it’s-good game I’ve ever played, but the action was pretty good (dated, but still fun), and the story isn’t too far behind similar games of its era. Still, it’s a great indicator of how far even mediocre game stories have come in the last 15 years.
And LawrenceFrohley used another as a foil for this Charlie’s Angels disaster:
Compare this to 007: Everything Or Nothing, which was released less than a year later. It was pretty good. It was sort of an adaptation of the Pierce Brosnan era as a whole and a sequel to A View To A Kill that featured both Jaws and Mýa—as in, Mýa the singer playing a secret agent named Mýa. It had a good cold open, which is a must. The voice cast had Dench, Cleese, Kiel, Willem Dafoe as Christopher Walken’s old mentee, Shannon Elizabeth in the waning afterglow of American Pie, and Heidi Klum trying her best to be Russian. Everyone seemed into it, even Mýa, whose lines were mostly screams. That is, everyone except for Brosnan himself, who sounds apathetic and bemused at the idea of voicing a video game character. He never did so again, and I can’t say I blame him, even though this was a good game.
Elsewhere, Kawaii as Fuck held up the decline of crappy game adaptations as one positive outcome of ballooning game budgets:
The one upside to video games becoming more expensive and complicated to make is that it’s at least killed throwaway movie-based games like this, Enter The Matrix, or Bad Boys: Miami Takedown. I look back on the PS2/Xbox/GameCube era with fondness, but there was a ton of garbage that came out back then. There’s a higher basic standard of quality for games today. While many might be bland and uncreative, they’re rarely flat out broken. When a total piece of shit like Aliens: Colonial Marines does see release, it surprises people enough to grab headlines.
That brings another week to a close. As always, thank you for reading and commenting. We’ll see you all next week!