Games Inbox: Do video games need to be funnier?

The morning Inbox imagines what it would take for a Microsoft and Nintendo team-up, as one reader learns about Japan’s favourite game.

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No laughing

I recently finished Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and would say that I very much enjoyed it. I’d have to really given how long it is and the fact I played through to the end. But thinking back on it I realised what one of the things that were bugging me about it was: it has no sense of humour. I don’t mean it’s grimdark serious or anything but at no point did I laugh at anything that happened.

There are things in it that are clearly meant to be jokes but nothing that would ever make you laugh out loud or even chuckle really. A lot of the time I have to admit the dialogue just seemed like background noise and while I did like the character (I played as a woman) it just seemed like it should be funnier than it actually was.

Then I began to realise that this was true of most games. There are a few that actively try to be funny but I can’t think of any game that has made me laugh because of a joke since forever. Portal 2, maybe? Obviously that’s not one of the primary things you expect for games but thinking about it I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often. You could hide a lot of gameplay problems with a good joke, but instead we get things like Duke Nukem Forever…


Strange bedfellows

I appreciated the reader’s enthusiasm for some sort of Microsoft/Nintendo crossover but they clearly know it’s not going to happen as much as anyone else. I would be very surprised if anything appeared on Switch other than the indie games and maybe some representation in Smash Bros. I’m even doubtful that they’ll ever properly allow Game Pass, let alone someone else.

The only thing that could possible push them together I think is if Google and others are unexpectedly successful and they start to push out the traditional console manufacturers. I think at that point it becomes a case of the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and you might get a team-up. Although I suspect Nintendo are stubborn enough that they’d still rather take death over dishonour, as it were.

I can totally understand wanting to see Microsoft tech with Nintendo software but I just don’t think it’s reasonable to hope for. Apart from anything I think Microsoft has a stifling effect on smaller companies, even when they don’t mean to, and only an independent Nintendo would be the company we know today.


Fallen empire

Just been reading another report that says that interest in Apex Legends is already in a sharp decline, just as another reader predicted not long ago. EA seem to be just lurching from one disaster to another at the moment and I wonder what this is going to mean for them. If things get really bad it could mean some kind of investor revolt, as they’re becoming a one trick pony.

On the other hand, what happens if Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is their biggest new hit this Christmas? If it’s good, and with the hype of a new Star Wars movie, it could easily be. So does that mean we’ll see a bunch of new single-player only games from EA? And then other companies copying them? Seems like a pipe dream, but considering some of the weird things that have happened lately I wouldn’t say it was impossible.

And then we can move on to the ultimate dream: Dead Space 4! Seriously, if the last few years of nonsense all wind back to EA trying to curry favour with a new Dead Space it will have all been worth it.


E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


Perfect length

So, I finished Ghost Giant and well, what a wonderful experience it was. Slightly flawed PS Move controls (not the developer’s fault) but the whole thing was such a pleasure to play through. As you implied, it seemed on the short side but in retrospect that it was the perfect length for the story being told, which I entirely agree with.

The last few scenes really did attempt to squeeze the tear ducts and Louis most certainly deserves video game personality of the year. Not sure if GC watched the free animated movie Alumette on PlayStation VR but it felt a bit like Ghost Giant from an artistical viewpoint. They both share a simple affecting story, expertly told; packed with charm and not easy to forget.

Thanks again for the review.
Lord Monty Don Mont du Baton


Emperor of games

Some readers may find this interesting but the readers of Famitsu were recently asked to vote for the best games of the Heisei era, i.e the reign of the current emperor. So that’s January 1989 – April 2019, a prime period for video games!

From what I can understand there’s going to be a full list later but the number one game is Chrono Trigger, with Zelda: Breath Of The Wild in number two, and NieR:Automata number third. I’ve got to say… I’m completely okay with that.

Accepting that they were never going to vote for a Western-made game I’ve got to admit that those are certainly three of my favourite games of all-time. A lot of people talk about how Japanese gamers don’t usually have any better taste than Westerns, despite Japan’s unique position in the games industry, but I’ve got to say that this time they got it dead right!


Regional differences

The other games that I would like to see come to the Mega Drive Mini are as follows. Home Alone, which is arguably one of its best shoot ‘em-up platformers mini-open world exploration games. The next games are most certainly Golden Axe II and Desert Strike, as well as Street Fighter II: The World Warriors. Dynamite Heady, Fantastic Dizzy, and Rystar are three others that I would love to see make the list in future versions of the Mega Drive Mini, if ever created. General Chaos is another, along with Street Racer, Gain Ground, and perhaps Mortal Kombat 3.

There are also a lot more games I’d like to see make it to a future Mega Drive Mini list but these are my choices and I am sure others will have their preferred choices as well. Although I will admit, if Sega do release another Mega Drive Mini model and include an added wireless adapter and built-in storage, so people can download Mega Drive classics of their own it will ensure that a wide choice of games can be given and that Sega could make some more money out of this.

Here’s the Japanese trailer, for the Mega Drive Mini not sure if they get different games to us though.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

GC: They do, you can see the differences here.


Tower assault

I’d love to see The Raid as a video game, it seems perfect battling up the tower block with boss fights at the end.

The hand-to-hand combat would be awesome. I imagine a mixture of Sleeping Dogs and Batman: Arkham for the combat. Anything that makes you feel a bit vulnerable but also like a total badass when you get everything right.

It may get repetitive, but it could be a modern day Streets Of Rage.
Will N


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Getting in the mood

I just randomly blocked someone on Facebook to get in the perfect mood: Tetris 99 is outrageously addictive and fun to play. What an inspired idea to turn the game into a battle royale affair. Nintendo really struck creative gold with this gem; which to echo a lot of sentiments out there, has almost single-handedly made the payed online subscription viable to me.

However, one would’ve preferred it if the game’s deeper nuances would’ve been more lucid. On the intricacies of defending yourself from attackers by being on the offensive, more efficiently knocking out opponents, and especially how to optimise gaining badges to secure real longevity in the increasingly tense and precarious bouts. Some of the systems underpinning the game can be unnecessarily recondite to begin with, in my opinion.

But once it all clicks and you’re expeditiously clearing blocks and shifting the crushing pressure to foes left, right and centre the experience is a tremendous cathartic release; particularly after a stressful day at work. I actually experienced the Tetris Effect phenomena too, systemising the geometrical shapes in my head before going to sleep.

Additionally, as an admirer of video game soundtracks it would be remiss of me not to mention just how splendid that menu screen music is. The part where the beat drops at 0: 57 was euphoric when I first heard it and I’d verily, unabashedly dance the night away to its musical splendour at a rave. I’d also pay a pound or two to hear the track cross over to Tetris Effect to see how it translates it that instant classic’s psychedelic soundscape. Inbox magic do my bidding!
Galvanized Gamer


Inbox also-rans

RE: The PlayStation 5 and 8K. Screen resolution is becoming like mouse DPI. Yeah, my mouse has a DPI of 18,000 but how many people will ever actually need that?

Is there any chance of a review of World War Z?
captainbloodsnot (PSN ID)

GC: Yes, but they only sent us a copy at the last minute and you know what that usually means…


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks what old game has aged the worst?

Going back to a much-loved video game can often be a traumatising experience, as something you remember as being amazing is revealed to have aged less than gracefully, but what’s your worst experience with an old title?

Was the problem the old-fashioned graphics, the controls, or gameplay that seems too simplistic or unfair nowadays? What still works about the game and is there a modern equivalent that does the same sort of things but better?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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