Bad Games Played Badly (partial) Report – 24: The Game

I didn’t think I was going to quit on any of these games. I fully intended to slog through every one, all the way to the end, no matter how terrible or boring they might be. If needed, I would use cheat codes or change the difficulty setting (like I did for X-Files: Resist or Serve) but I was going to experience all the awfulness these games had to offer. There was just one thing I didn’t account for: motion sickness

There was no way to see this coming. I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember and this has literally never happened before. There have been a few times–when I was already sick or hungover–that I consciously avoided 3d games because I knew they would only make me feel worse. But this is the first time a game, by itself, made me feel like I needed to throw up.

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Bad Games Played Badly Report: Reservoir Dogs

Licensed games rarely take risks. Just look at all the titles I’ve played so far. X-Files: Resist or Serve was a PS1/Code Veronica era Resident Evil game re-skinned with Mulder and Scully, arranged around a few plot points lifted straight from the X-Files movie. Star Trek was a co-op third-person shooter that was somewhere on the spectrum between Gears of War and, hell, Resident Evil 5. Both were such unabashed ripoffs that they prominently featured zombies instead of anything resembling the usual villains of either series. And Sopranos: Road to Respect? While it (oddly) had a few loose elements that could be seen as precursors to systems in Sleeping Dogs and Alpha Protocol, there was nothing meaningful to the game other than a rote brawler. The environmental attacks and dialog system were thin veneers that ultimately amounted to nothing.

Reservoir Dogs is a different story.

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Bad Games Played Badly Report – The Sopranos: Road to Respect

One hour into The Sopranos: Road to Respect and I was already pining for the relatively fun days of The X-Files: Resist or Serve. I had a lot of negative things to say about the adventures of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully in low-poly land and the game was fundamentally broken, but I was never bored and the game never made me feel bad. That’s more than I can say for Road to Respect.

To start, a caveat: unlike The X-Files, I don’t have a ton of familiarity with The Sopranos. I’ve seen a few episodes, I know the basic themes and several of the characters, but I’m hardly invested in the show or the universe. I didn’t have HBO during the first couple of seasons, and by the time I had access to The Sopranos I was already too jaded about the series to really adopt it. I can be destructively contrarian about shows, movies, and games that win universal appeal. Once I’ve heard enough praise about something, I start to lose interest in it. I’m usually far more intrigued by something that everyone says is terrible… Which may explain this current project of playing bad games. My opinion of The Sopranos as a television show, however, has little bearing on my opinion of the game because if I was a fan I’d probably only hate it more.

This is gonna go well

This is gonna go well

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Bad Games Played Badly Report – The X-Files: Resist or Serve

First up on my tour of bad licensed games, I turned to a license that was dear to my heart: The X-Files. When I was a kid, X-Files was my favorite show on TV. I never missed an episode. Having been too young to appreciate Twin Peaks when it was first on the air, X-Files was my first exposure to a series with a continuing, long-running mystery with plots that (sometimes) carried over between episodes. For a sci-fi/horror show it had remarkable production value, two incredibly likable leads, and great (if a little schizophrenic towards the end) writing.

Going back to watch the early episodes of the X-Files reveals that they’re a little dated by today’s standards, but that’s hardly a significant knock against the show. The core mystery still holds up, and it’s one of the few shows of its type ever to hit more than miss with its monster-of-the-week episodes.

The X-Files: Resist or Serve for the Playstation 2 released in 2004, two years after the end of the show. That probably explains why I never played it, because the last couple seasons soured me enough that I wasn’t in a huge hurry to revisit the series. But for the start of my series, I thought I should take up a licensed game that I could really meet on its own terms. As a fan of the TV show, I’m presumptively the audience for Resist or Serve, which means I might enjoy it more, but also could be more critical of its missteps.


Those things didn’t matter, because The X-Files: Resist or Serve is not a good game.

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Explaining My New Venture, BAD GAMES PLAYED BADLY

Everyone knows the tale of E.T. for the Atari 2600. The film took the world by storm and Atari rushed to develop a licensed game to ride the coattails of its success. Atari spent millions acquiring the rights, churning out a game in under six months, and printing out as many copies as possible. It was supposed to be a smash hit but the game was bad and poorly tested, so instead it was an expensive failure that became the figurehead of an industry-wide crash.

Mulder, it's a bomb!

Mulder, it’s a bomb!

While E.T. was a disaster, video game companies kept coming back to the same idea: strap a successful license onto a bad game and the bad game will sell tons. They were probably right, at least up to a point, because the history of video games is littered with mediocre-to-awful licensed brawlers, shooters, adventure games, and action/platformers. There are games based on The Sopranos, CSI, Prison Break, Rocky, Jaws, The Godfather, Deadliest Catch, The History Channel, and Reservoir Fucking Dogs. Among others.

And X-Files.

And X-Files.

So I’m going to be streaming them. And writing about them.

I’m doing this for a lot of reasons: to promote my own upcoming game, to learn from the mistakes made by sloppy or bad games, to make gifs to post to twitter, to indulge in masochism, and because a lot of these games are dirt cheap these days. After all, like E.T. they were probably produced well in excess of demand.

I’ve already started up with X-Files: Resist or Serve as you might guess from the gifs I’ve interspersed throughout. And I already have a few more games lined up after that. It will be mostly a mixture of PS2/PS3 titles, but I have all sorts of systems available if I stumble upon the right game. If you’re interested in following me live, my efforts can be found at but there will be gifs posted on twitter after each session, and write-ups here (probably with video) as I go along.

I do not remember this episode

I do not remember this episode

I don’t have a microphone yet, so for the moment the streams won’t have commentary. But I’m looking to maybe expand into doing commentary as well, and for now it’s all the easier to hear the bad voice acting. Generally, I will be playing blind but, in full disclosure, I will not stop myself from using in-game cheats to complete games with restrictive save points if they’re available. No one wants to watch me beat my head against a wall forever, and I’m more interested in seeing all the terrible content rather than the challenge. I’ll

Games up ahead will (probably) include The Sopranos: Road to Respect, Star Trek (starring Zachary Quinto), 24, and others! If you have any requests, feel free to let me know.

And God help me.