The Perfect Game is a biweekly column in which Gavin Bard tries to achieve gaming perfection, including everything from the perfect zombie game to this week’s goal of the perfect Christmas game.
The holiday season is upon us. To some, that statement is joyous and represents the love of their families and a cozy return home. To others, mostly those who work retail, it is an ominous phrase which causes flashbacks that would make Jacob Singer cringe. Whether you deck the halls with holly or bah humbug, you’re still probably going to run up a whole lot of credit debt over the next month. The world’s economy has put retailers in a hole, and this is the time of year for them to claw themselves out of it and make some sort of profit in the name of Yuletide joy. The likely largest bringers of joy are terrible novelty shirts purchased on Christmas Eve from relatives, the kind of relatives that don’t really know you but remember you wear shirts. A close second: video games.
Yes, the holiday season is upon us. Now cower in fear from Krampus as we create the perfect video game to take advantage of the season: the perfect Christmas Cash Grab.
Every holiday season there is a must have item. Hardware, software, anthropomorphic monstrosities; it could be anything. It all comes down to marketing to the largest possible group of people, and that usually means kids. This is why electronics and things with robot in their name are always so popular come the holidays. The real crossovers are the products that don’t just appeal to little kids but to the entire spectrum of shoppers. Find one of those and you just made your investors very happy.
With video games, the casual demographic is obviously the largest group, but it’s a group that’s difficult to nail down. Sometimes a simple game like Peggle or Plants vs. Zombies will take the world by storm, and other times something a bit more complicated like The Sims or Call of Duty will explode and hit the casual gamer jackpot. I don’t want to take any risks with this one though, so I’m going to go with a money-maker proven since monochrome days of the Game Boy: the mini game. A mini game-filled title in the Wario Ware vein or similar to the venerable, seemingly infinite Mario Party series would be a cert in the holiday season.
To make it appeal to all scopes, adding online multiplayer would be a must. Also important would be a good difficulty balance. The mini games would be simple at their core, but all have progressively rising difficulty. In fact, if you add enough mini games you could velvet rope off entire swatches of games for only players with hand-eye coordination gifted from the gods themselves.
A Wiimote into your TV
And they will certainly need hand-eye coordination since this game just screams for being on the Wii. Having a port to the other systems would be possible, but the Wii offers mana just waiting to get tapped. While the system may not be doing quite as well as it once was, it still remains the crowned prince of casual. When you had a SNES, you never saw your parents playing Lufia. When you had a PlayStation, your uncle wasn’t playing Xenogears to lose weight. They all probably have a good time at the office party with a Wii though (eyebrow raised – Ed), and that’s why it’s the system for this type of game.
What else does the Wii bring that hasn’t been seen since days of Genesis (the console)? Ridiculous peripherals! No matter how useless, how stupid or how cheap it is, slapping some colored buttons on some plastic and selling it for an extra $40 is the closest you can get to printing money without getting ink on your hands. But ours is a game made up of dozens of other games, so finding a peripheral that actually makes sense will not be easy.
The next Balance Board? Wait for it…
You could make a different one for every single type of mini-game, but I don’t have the guts to try that, even in the fantasy world. The only real option… is knee pads. Wait, hear me out.
With guitars, guns, and even fitness tools already a part of the system, where else is there to go? Into the realm of irony of course, and nothing is more ironic than a non sequitur game add-on.
Before you act puzzled, remember this is trying to capture every important demographic in existence, and there is a large one that has so far been ignored: the hipster. Luckily, I consider myself an expert on this social sector. I have lived among the hipster as if I were Jane Goodall. Well, if she only dated girls in keffiyehs and drank Pabst Blue Ribbon exclusively. If there is one thing my studies have taught me, it’s that hipsters love irony. To an outsider, it may be hard to believe that something as dumb and nonsensical as Wii knee pads, hereby referred to as ‘Wii-pads’, would sell to anybody just because they’re ironic. But I ask you, how many Three Wolf Moon shirts did you see outside of monster truck rallies and Wal-Mart parking lots before it became ironic? I rest my case.
Mega Ultimate Sparkle Edition
So we have the game fleshed out. It meets all the important prerequisites for making a whole ton of money off casual gamers and parents who don’t know better. It has easily accessible gameplay, a sliding scale of difficulty, a bizarre peripheral, and it comes out on the Wii. You might have noticed something missing up until this point: a plot.
Simply put, it’s unnecessary to develop an intelligent plot, interesting artistic direction, or deep and believable characters for a game that’s being built to be digestible by the largest possible amount of people. So, what screams shallow, idiotic, and hashed together for your shrieking demographic?
’Twilight the Video Game’ available on the Nintendo Wii. Just read it, think about it, and masticate it. I just made somebody a million dollars. Take it a step further and license the soundtrack to MTV. Just let them inject the game full of whatever interchangeable generic pop-rock act currently ungulates their way onto the CD players of those who’ve never experienced Jawbreaker or Saetia.
Bring some emo to your Wii… or not.
’MTV presents Twilight the Video Game’. Terrific, the CD can be sold separately, or available in any of the half dozen limited collector’s editions that will be available in stores everywhere. The Mega Ultimate Sparkle Edition will come with a free DLC code for one free downloadable mini-game that could have been included in the game if we weren’t money grabbing con artists in developer form.
Plus, if you use the last book in the series as a basis for a few of the mini games, you are suddenly walking into a Takeshi Miike-inspired world of blood and surrealism. How about a game where you have to mend all of Bella’s shattering bones as she gives birth? Or maybe one where you have to shake the remote vigorously to rip the baby out of her stomach with your bare teeth?
This game could even capture the hardcore gamer demographic wi-.. what? What do you mean “how do I know that stuff happens in the book?” I don’t see what that has to do with anyt-… so what if I read it! Their love is my love too! You just don’t understand the angst!