Your Gaming Guilty Pleasures
Come on. Fess up. You love to kick back and play a few games that didn't exactly pull down elite scores from the critics. If your friends saw you playing them, you'd probably try to hide behind some lame excuse like, "oh, I just wanted to see how bad this really is."
If you've been playing video games long enough, you have a few such titles tucked away. They will always have a place in your collection but when you go to list that collection on forums or whatever, you purposely omit the titles in question. You just can't let people know. But now's the time to lay all our chips on the table; tell the PSXE community what silly, not-so-great games you love to play. I'll start.
Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball
I remember honestly and truly wanting a really cool beach volleyball game (the last time we had one was Super Spike Volleyball on the NES, I think), and initially, I was a little disappointed with the gameplay. But then I heard the game's "official" description: it was supposed to be the world's first "leisure game," in that it was more about the relaxing experience than anything else. You know, going to the beach and lying in the sun, lounging by the pool, hitting the casino at night, and yeah, playing some volleyball during the day. Oh, and the inclusion of impossibly proportioned females helped. I had fun. So sue me. I had fun with the second one, too, although it sort of wore thin faster.
While everyone was looking forward to more simulated sports experiences on the fancy new PlayStation, I somehow got hooked on the game where you could maneuver the ball around after pitching it. The game didn't really look that great, but I went and played a full 162-game season after creating a kick-ass team. It wasn't great but it wasn't terrible, either, and I can't tell you how much fun I had knocking 500-foot home runs with my big guys (Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Mark McGwire). Most people see it amidst the rest of my RPG-heavy and classic-heavy PlayStation collection and go, "so...was this your little brother's, or something?" No, it was mine. And it rules. So leeme alone.
It came under fire from just about everyone, and one of the main complaints centered on the length. It could be finished in under 3 hours (actually closer to 2, if you were fast) but my defense was always the same: "the back of the box says, 'Play the Action Movie!' and that's exactly what you do." I thought the story was fantastic, the graphics were awesome, and the gameplay - despite a few flaws and the inability to use anything environmental-related - was great fun. Plus, Dauragon C. Mikado remains one of the coolest characters in history; in fact, that's my eBay name. I went through this game a half-dozen times and loved every second; step away from me if you're going to make a disparaging comment.
Any Hot Shots Golf game
These titles have received more critical acclaim than the other games on my list, but most just look at them and assume they're kiddie versions of real golf games. But I will forever maintain that several of the most recent installments were just as realistic as any Tiger Woods game. Well, pretty close, at any rate. You had to take every possible element into account, and although that stupid Advanced mechanic in the last HSG brought the game down in my opinion, the 3-tap system is still the best ever. If they take it out in the next one, I'm not buying it. If they keep it in, it's mine on day one. That's just the way I roll, damnit.
Mickey Mouse: Land of Illusion
I've actually been considering buying a Genesis just so I can play this game again. Well, this and Mutant League Football. Land of Illusion was one of those games you could finish without getting hit once (and I did that multiple times, with both Mickey and Donald), and it was a constant joy to play. It was difficult for me to explain why, exactly, even at the time... But I do remember being crazy impressed with the gorgeous visuals; weren't they amazing for the time, or am I remembering this wrong? All I know is that I beat this game countless times; it often acted like a great stress reliever after a tough school day.
Okay, your turn.
2/4/2011 Ben Dutka