No, not Second Life ... it's Real Life that keeps doing my work for me!
Do you know what I hate? Well, besides the letter "Y" and ketchup. I really hate it when other people do my job for me, especially when I've already put so much time into something. Imagine you were working a regular 9 to 5 job as a guest booker at The Jerry Springer Show. You just spent the better part of your day calling, interviewing and tracking down a family addicted to meth, two transvestite lovers fighting over the same midget and this guy who can't stop sleeping with all of his wife's friends. Yet after you've done all this exhaustive work (and managed to not feel too bad about yourself doing it) you discover that there was never any reason for you to book the guests, because somebody else had already done it. Well that's how I feel, only without the hookers, transvestites and meth addiction.
It all started a month ago when I was diligently working on my newest episode of The Freeze Frame, called BAJA 1000: The Edge of Originality. It was a humorous look at how similar the SCORE International Baja 1000 cover is to THQ's recently released Baja racing game, Baja: Edge of Control. Although the two racers take a different approach to the genre, it's impossible to ignore the fact that these two covers are almost identical. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself below.
While neither cover is especially original (if you ask me they both look like the Motor Storm box art), there certainly are some striking similarities between the two. For one thing, both covers have the same type of car right out front, even down to the rack of lights on the roof. And then there's the truck to the right that is stuck in a mid-air jump. And if we keep looking we'll see that both covers have another, smaller vehicle in the
I still say that it should be Sony that sues both Activision and THQ!
background just waiting to get ahead of the pack. Throw in the similar background colors and location, similar paintjobs, logos that are askew in the same direction and an emphasis on dirt and debris, and you have the makings of a great episode of The Freeze Frame.
But that's not what happened. Before I had a chance to post this wonderfully hilarious article about the Baja games news broke that THQ was suing Activison for "allegedly mimicking" the art in an attempt to confuse consumers. Considering the lackluster sales (and poor reviews) of THQ's Baja: Edge of Control, I don't know if the company has a leg to stand on, but I do feel they are guilty of ruining a perfectly good story I was planning on running.
How am I supposed to post daily articles on Defunct Games if the real world keeps beating me to the punch? It's not like my other episodes of The Freeze Frame have been nullified by lawsuits, generally the only competition I have is IGN or 1up stealing one of my ideas. Yet here we are, a week after I planned on posting the hilarious article and suggesting that maybe somebody should
If THQ can sue over something as silly as a cover, then Prestige should be able to sue Sony for stealing their idea and making Ape Escape!
do something about it. The truth is, I'm glad somebody else noticed it ... but couldn't they have done that after I had run my story? I don't care if it's only a week or two later, they should have at least given me enough time to take credit for seeing this connection in the first place. Way to go real life, thanks for doing my job for me.
Sadly I can't be too upset with THQ, I completely understand why they would want to go after the biggest video game company in the world after seeing that cover art. Heck, if I owned the rights to that artwork I probably would have sued, too. I can't blame them for taking legal action, but the timing is frustrating. The truth is, I'm not mad at them; I'm just sick and tired of all of these non-video game industry types trying to do my job for me. And it's not just THQ's lawyers; it's also the current crop of Top 40 rappers.
For close to a decade I have been writing video game reviews, it's something I've always enjoyed doing and look forward to each and every game I write about (no matter how bad they are). Yet lately I've noticed that there are some other people that think they can take my job away from me. I'm of course talking about people like Soulja Boy and Twista, a couple of rappers I have heard of, but never paid much attention to. Yet both of these musicians have decided that it's not good enough to let the professional critics explain what is good and bad about a game, they need to spread their thoughts via YouTube and other popular websites. Below is a clip of 18 year old Soulja Boy "reviewing" the best game of the year so far, Braid.
Wait ... Braid is for people that smoke weed and drink? I was under the impression that Braid was for people who enjoyed solving puzzles and waxing nostalgic about 2D platformers, but what do I know, I only review these games for a living. And what do you mean the game has no point? Judging from the fact that he's only showing us the first part of
Why should I listen to a guy review one of the most literate games of the year when he can't even spell is own name right?
the game, I'm going to assume that he didn't actually buy the game, but rather downloaded the demo. I suppose by his rationale The Dark Knight doesn't have much of a point ... if you only watch the first ten minutes of it.
Soulja Boy has taught me a serious lesson, though. See, all this time I was under the impression that using profanity and the "N" word in the review wasn't a good idea, it's not like you see Roger Ebert or Consumer Report drop the "N" word when describing Quantum of Solace or the new Ford SUV. But Soulja Boy disagrees; he's shown me the way. After all, his video on YouTube has been seen an impressive 200,000 times. I doubt that my Braid review will reach 200,000 people if I posted it on YouTube. So clearly what the game journalists should be doing to better their number is, A) not playing the game, B) not preparing their thoughts so to be coherent, and C) drop the "N" word as much as possible. Thanks Soulja Boy ... not stop doing my job!
I don't know what this guy is doing, but I'm sure it's going to make for a better review than anything Twista has done so far!
And that goes for Twista, too. At least Twista is capable of putting forth a coherent thought, even if it's often misinformed or just plain wrong. When he reviewed Dead Space he dropped this nugget of information: "The game is a little different from a lot of shooting games out there now, because you aren't looking through the eyes of your character. You're actually getting like a camera view where you can see your character entirely." The 3rd person perspective is new? I could have sworn we had seen in that in Resident Evil, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, Warhawk, Tomb Raider ...
Actually, you know what; I'm just going to stop there. I'm sick of everybody else doing my job for me. The reason that people come to sites like Defunct Games to read reviews is because they expect the people running the site to have a passing knowledge of video games. They expect us to know what a 3rd person shooter is and not spend an entire paragraph talking about it like it's some brand new invention. They expect us to get our facts straight and come up with a reasoned opinion. Think everybody who plays video games can write a compelling review? Go read the user reviews over at GameFAQs and come back to talk to me. So stop doing my job for me, Twista. Stop reviewing games, Soulja Boy. Stop taking my ideas, THQ's lawyers. STOP IT! If you don't stop it I'll be forced to release an album of nothing but Twista and Soulja Boy covers. And trust me, you don't want to hear that!