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On Running Feuds
A Puzzler of a Problem for EGM
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 08, 2005   |   Episode 53 (Show Archive)  

   

I haven't seen this much red surrounding Tetris since playing it on the Virtual Boy!
There are some games that you know you're going to love the first moment you lay eyes on them. You know it's love because you can't stop talking about it and can't let it go. Lately I have been sharing this affection for a game called Lumines, the one and only puzzle game to launch with Sony's PSP last March. It's been a month and I still play it on a near daily basis, always trying to better my score, always having a lot of fun.

Lumines is the type of game almost anybody can enjoy, it has great music, bright graphics, and a simple design that makes it accessible to everybody. It's the type of game that once you figure it out, you can't help but want to play ... it's simple, yet one of the most addictive games you could play. So you can imagine my surprise when I read Shane's negative review in the May 2005 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (#191).

Giving the game a 7.5 out of 10, Shane criticized the game's length, challenge, and balance; going as far as to make mention of its "weird design". One month later in issue #192 Shane continued his complaining by suggesting that he wants to know "who wants to play a puzzle game for an hour to unlock new stuff?" I just couldn't believe that somebody could dislike Lumines, and I had a few things to say to this misguided EGM editor.

But don't worry Shane, I'm not here to judge you; I think it's great that you have your own opinion. After all, let's face it, not everybody is going to like every game ... no matter how amazing it is. I'm not here to criticize you for giving Lumines the single lowest score of anybody, the same game most journalists seem to agree is a work of

In Issue 150, Electronic Gaming Monthly named Super Metroid the Best Game of All Time, bumping Tetris to second place!!
genius. Instead I am here to support you, to give you comfort by reminding you of your magazine's history with puzzle games.

Long before Tetris was considered the godfather of puzzle games, Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it a 7. That's right, EGM gave Tetris a 7. Of course, they also gave it three 8's, but if you ask me, that 7 sticks out like a Hawaiian T-shirt at a death metal concert. What could have been so bad about Tetris? Why did this game get a 7? Here is the full, unaltered review straight from issue #6:

"The perfect portable game. Believe it or not, the Game Boy version has the best play of all the versions. The two player Video Link is good, but the cooperative option (like in the Tengen version) would have been nice. Be warned, Tetris is VERY addicting!"

The Best playing version? Very addicting?? Certainly he meant to give this game a 9 or maybe even a 10, I mean, he did say it was the "perfect portable game" ... if it's perfect, then how the heck could it score a 7??


There have been a lot of horrible covers for Bust-A-Move, but this has to be the all time worst!
To make matters even more confusing, exactly 94 issues later the editors of Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded Tetris as their number one game of all time. Not bad for a game that scored three 8's and a 7 when it was first reviewed. What was called the perfect portable

game soon became just the perfect game, something that is imitated everyday by school kids and others looking to get into programming.

And Lumines and Tetris are not alone, throughout the last decade Electronic Gaming Monthly has given piss poor scores for some of the most popular (and influential) puzzlers. Everything from Bust-A-Move (aka Puzzle Bobble) to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo received low scores, all while less inspired titles (like Killer Instinct) stole the spotlight. But these puzzlers are all extremely popular, have spawned a number of sequels, and are still highly regarded ... no matter what EGM said about them then or what they say about them now.

So Lumines fans, don't fret, Electronic Gaming Monthly has a long history of undervaluing important puzzle games. And Shane, don't you worry about what fanatics of the game like me have to say, deep down we all know that you're just carrying on a decade old tradition of pissing on the games that are really important. We know that in the end Lumines will have the last laugh ... just like Tetris and so many other puzzle games.
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