Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 5 video game FAILS of 2011

Face palm, FTL

Despite how awesome this year was for gaming - Skyrim capturing Game of the Year honors, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 breaking all sorts of entertainment records - $400M on opening day - there were a few exceptions.

1. Duke Nukem Forever. The game was finally released after nearly 15 years of delays. When it was released, it met less than stellar reviews. Ok, it happens often in the world of video games. However, what really made this a dandy was how the PR firm handling 2K's PR for the game, The Redner Group, took the reviews to heart. Granted, a few of the reviews were downright cruel - Here's my review: - but the game was dated and customers were charged full price for it. That wasn't cool.
However, Jim Redner got heated, dropped some badly timed Tweets on Twitter, calling out sites and reviewers who were cruel and even threatened them by withholding review copies of upcoming games or not get games at all. Within an hour, 2K chunked deuces and canned Redner's group. DNF is currently sitting on a 51 Metacritic score.

2. Avenger controller PR fallout. Get this nugget and keep it. Say it with me - the customer is always right. Never argue with your customer. Call the owner or manager. Not so much for Paul Christoforo, who was working at Ocean Marketing, who got into a spat with a concerned customer. Instead of refunding the customer's money and apologizing, Paul went in the other direction, calling out the customer and putting him on blast while touting how connected he was. Not a very smart move in this day and age. You can expect to find a digital paper trail for everything you do online. And yes, the victim kept all of the e-mails from Paul to him. Needless to say, Paul was given his walking papers and the fabulous yet different controllers took a severe hit.

3. PSNgate. Do you feel secure? If you want to worry even more, imagine finding out your PSN account - and your credit card information - were both hacked. That happened to Sony's PlayStation network earlier this year. This group, called Anonymous, retaliated against a hacker Sony was suing into oblivion (not the distant land in Morrowind). The group brought PSN down to its knees like a schoolyard bully grabbing the smallest, weakest child in class. Though the attack happened quickly and credit card was compromised, Sony kept the service offline for over a month without word of when the mostly free online service would return. When they did restore service, Sony offered free games and a month of premium PlayStation Plus service as well as credit tracking. However, the damage was already done.

4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution. So, hip upstart OnLive, the cloud-based gaming service, needed a jolt. They needed to secure a video game that would be a huge release AND available the same day as retail release. The company decided to chat with Square Enix about an upcoming follow-up to the awesome Deus Ex RPG series. Sounds like a great idea so far, right? Square Enix opted to give PC gamers a valid reason to buy the newest offering, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. OnLive made a deal with Square to offer FREE - yes, you read it right - FREE copies of the game on OnLive to anyone who preordered the PC version of the game. Still sounds like a winning formula, right? Well, Gamestop found out about the free OnLive code to download the game on the OnLive Microconsole and had employees open ever copy of the PC game, remove the free code voucher and sell it as new. Talk about update! Square Enix issued an apology about the incident. Gamestop did apologize and offered store credit for the incident. However, the real loser - besides the customers - is OnLive. Gamestop still wins because the credit is only for use in their stories and on their Web site.

5. The $249 Nintendo 3DS. Anyone who has played a 3DS knows it rocks. It offers 3-D gaming, 3-D photos and now 3-D video as well. It also offers Netflix, this nifty Streetpass feature and all sorts of way-cool features that will leave you dizzy. What is didn't offer was a value that justified the $249 price tag. While sales were sluggish - and handily beating the living snot out of every other competitor, it wasn't selling nearly as fast as the DS. Instead of ride out the wave, Nintendo slashed prices by $75. Instead of joy, there was outrage from the folks who dropped $249 plus tax on the device. To quiet the audience, Nintendo offered several original Nintendo titles via the Nintendo eShop for original 3DS owners. While it was a cool gesture, it still wasn't worth $75 in most owners' eyes. As much as I love Zelda, I would rather have $75 to buy hot wings, fart around with or just bathe in.

However, the WORST part of 2011 related to video games was the Norway massacre in July. Anders Behring Breivik, accused of bombings and shooting in Norway that killed at least 76, had very kind words for Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
"I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game. It is probably the best military simulator out there and it's one of the hottest games this year. ... I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I've still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations."
Breivik wasn't clear what part of MW2 he was referring to, but one mission in the game stands out and closely resembles the carnage he's suspected of committing.
In the mission, "No Russian," gamers play as a CIA operative who infiltrates a terrorist cell. The mission takes place in a Moscow airport and shows the cell massacring several civilians. Activision allows for gamers to skip the level without penalty. However, without playing the level, you do miss a few plot twists in the game.

What are your top gaming FAILS of 2011? Sound off!

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