Back in the day, a phrase I don’t get to use that often, when all great games really needed, but none of them actually had, was playability, and it took 20 minutes to jam a cartridge the size of your house into what may as well have been a toaster, back then things were much easier for the fresh-faced, innovation-seeking developer. They had a clear playing field. A racing game was still considered an original concept, and you could still call your two-wheeled super-hit-in-the-making MOTORBIKEZ!!
As time has wound on though, and the games industry has made unquantifiable leaps and bounds, jumped across huge ravines of graphical accomplishment, linked arms with cinematics comparable to Hollywood, and received several bucketfuls of spit in the post, courtesy of the mainstream media, the entire idea of video games itself has completely evolved. Several times.
It seems though, that someone’s sort of forgotten to tell Nintendo. Those of you who thought that the launch titles of the DS were a sign of things to come were pretty much on the money. A handbag full of moderate-to-fair first party games, heavily featuring an overall-wearing moustachio man plumber, whose appeal is based in games from a thousand years ago. Other than Nintendo’s consistently limp efforts to purport anything more viable than the same character doing the same thing on the same background with slightly different colours, all other developers seem to slink back into some sort of acid-induced retro haze, wherein we haven’t actually moved on from SCORE THE GOAL!, and DRIVE!, and SHOOT THAT THING, GO ON, GET IT. The torrent of SHOVELWARE games on both Ninty’s DS and Wii consoles is unbelievable. You can kill several people by merely explaining the concepts of some of these games to a minorly attentive audience. Believe me. I’ve tried it. Six months I got. In a few years we’ll be building houses out of old copies of BIG BEACH SPORTS III, and My Baby Pet Dolphin Girlfriend. Ahem. The quantity is scary, and in their presence, I have an eerily constant fear of drowning.
What’s worse though, is when Nintendo themselves latch on to something similar. The sole wheelman of the Ninty consoles is the first party games. Without them, we’d be using Wii’s as fancily lit placemat holders, and DS’s as pocket mirrors. Probably. Because whilst Mario is as old as Jim Davidson’s long lost ability to be marginally entertaining, the Plummer’s managed to retain his charm, and that same old formula they keep thrusting him into does still feel FUN. When Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training reared its mind meltingly, inexplicably popular plastic casing in 2006, it kick started a flurry of bizarre follow-on games. Don’t get me wrong, the idea is great; I always regarded the Metal Gear Solid game to have lost a major amount of appeal due to its lack of ARITHMATIC MATHS. But for such a simplistic idea to be heralded as this giant market leader in the modern age of video games, something’s not all there.
The immersive, engaging, story-driven follow up, inventively titled MORE Brain Training did just about as well, although the third game in the series out-did them all in terms of sheer heart-in-your-mouth-action. Maths Training didn’t sell quite as well. Then of course, they hit the bottom of the bucket and released SIGHT TRAINING. So you can see better presumably. Cheaper than going to the opticians, but unfortunately, no help whatsoever.
And now boys and girls, I present to you the latest in the – Training series. I hope you’re ready for this.
Face. Training. I’m not even kidding. Look, here’s a picture.
I hope that alone made you laugh as much as it did me. So what is Face Training? Train your face? Yep, simple as that. The camera on the DSi is used as a mirror, whilst you make ridiculous facial shapes on command of a piece of software! The blurb on the back says ‘Facial Muscles Can Be Trained Too!’ and inside the cover, ‘Explore Your Expressions’. In fairness, I meet a lot of people seemingly incapable of expressing themselves. They missed a trick on the reverse though. They should have gone all out.
Ever wanted to BEAT SOMEONE UP WITH YOUR FACE?? Of course you haven’t! Well now you CAN! Face Training gets your face fighting fit in just ten easy steps! By the end of the game you’ll be lifting heavy boxes, welding and working on building sites with your FACE ALONE. Wink people to death, endanger the ceiling tiles by raising your eyebrows inquisitively, or wipe out a tall standing lamp with your cheek bones by merely smiling! You’ll have a face stronger than steel. And it may even develop similar rusting effects!!
God save us all when this comes out. It’s a Nintendo title, so no doubt it’ll be violently advertised into three weeks on Tuesday, and then they’ll only bother making about four copies nationwide. Lastly, it occurs to me I have not undertaken this glittering opportunity for puns. So here we go.
Better FACE the facts Ninty, this is going to fall flat on its FACE.
Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training slips in sales rapidly, new game attempts to save FACE.
It’s about-FACE for Nintendo, as they look straight down the Shovelware barrel once again.
Nintendo’s recent release is a real slap in the FACE.
It’s hard to keep a straight FACE whilst writing this report.
You’ll be laughing on the other side of your FACE when this fails, Doctor.
Face Training really flies in the FACE of Nintendo’s previous impeccable release schedule. Snigger.
Okay, I got carried away. I’ll stop. I guess it’s time to FACE the music, and post this…