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Give These Ignored Games a Hand
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on January 02, 2009   |   Episode 78 (Show Archive)  

   

I'm sure Fable II is fantastic, I just haven't gotten to it yet!
Just because we're finally out of 2008, that doesn't mean we're going to stop talking about the games of that year. In truth, there's not much else to talk about until some company decides to shock the industry with some huge announcement (or blunder). So here we are, still talking about the games of 2008. But maybe that's not such a bad thing, especially when we can talk about games that have been virtually ignored on the pages of Defunct Games.

Sure we covered a lot of big and small games, but no website can cover every game. For whatever reason (time, lack of review copies, interest, etc.), Defunct Games managed to completely ignore two of the biggest games of 2008. No I'm not talking about Gears of War 2 and Little Big Planet (though, we totally ignored those games, too), instead I'm talking about the brand new Prince of

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I'll get to it!
Persia and Left 4 Dead. These two disparate games are getting high marks from the critics and are flying off of store shelves. However, I haven't found anything interesting to say about these two action games. That is, until now.

For the longest time I couldn't figure out why I didn't have these games in my collection. I mean, I loved the recent Prince of Persia trilogy and Valve is known for making phenomenal games. But there was something keeping me from spending the money to pick up these two top-rated games. And then it hit me. I was standing in my local game store trying to find some cheap gifts and I realized that the Left 4 Dead cover and the packaging of the Prince of Persia collector's edition were virtually the same. And not just that, but both of these boxes looked suspiciously like the cover art for Dead Space. Seriously, check it out for yourself ...


All three of these boxes feature detached hands and nothing else. And it's not just that hands are prominent in the cover, it's also the fact that the three pictures have the hands in practically the same position. All three hands are held up in the middle of the box, each with their fingers spread in a similar fashion. What's more, this is the focal point in every single

Speaking of games I haven't gotten to yet, even though I covered them I have yet to play either of the two competing Baja racers!
cover. That is, none of the games have noteworthy backgrounds. About the closest you can get is Dead Space's space background, but even that is pretty nondescript. The other two covers might as well not have backgrounds at all, because it's clear that the hand is the only thing you're supposed to be looking at (besides the name, of course).

Now I'll confess, there are a few differences. As mentioned, Dead Space has a space background, plus the arm is fully severed (adding a strange "ick" factor). It's not clear whether Prince of Persia's hand is actually a hand, or a glove. Also, the Left 4 Dead cover has one of the digits blown clean off (because it's called Left "4" Dead, get it?). So the box art isn't to the Baja racing lawsuit point yet.

But regardless of whether or not you could fight this in court, doesn't it seem mighty odd that three games would come out with virtually the same cover? And it's not like one of these games came out well before the others, all three were released within six weeks or so of each other. Dead Space launched on October 13th, while Left 4 Dead and Prince of Persia hit store shelves on November 17th and Decenber 2nd, respectively. To make things even

The good news is that the regular version of Prince of Persia looks nothing like Dead Space and Left 4 Dead!
more complicated, all three of the games had their box art designed and displayed well before they hit the consumer level. It's as if all three of these games had the same idea at the exact same time.

How often do you see three companies come up with exactly the same idea at exactly the same time? Well, it's rarer than you might thing. You see, when it comes right down to it there are only two companies involved in this story. Obviously Prince of Persia was published by UbiSoft, but what's curious is that both Dead Space and Left 4 Dead were published by Electronic Arts. Now granted, EA may not have had the final decision on the Left 4 Dead box art, Valve may have been the ones guiding that ship. But still, doesn't it seem risky to have two of your big holiday games using virtually the same box art?

While at the local game store I stood there amazed that all three of those games were right next to each

How is it possible that I could spend so much time with Homie Rollerz and not eventually get to Prince of Persia?
other. What is a parent to do? Little Timmy shows you a picture of the game he wants and all of a sudden you're inundated with two other games that look exactly the same. Imagine how disappointed he's going to be when he was expected Left 4 Dead but actually got Prince of Persia instead? Or maybe he wanted Prince of Persia, but because his mom couldn't tell the difference he gets Dead Space instead. Talk about having a bad Christmas.

As I drove home I wondered if my problem is as simple as me avoiding similar covers. I really do want to go through Prince of Persia and Left 4 Dead, but at the same time I'm disgusted by the too similar covers. Could that be my problem? No, I suspect my problem is that I went through close to 200 games this year and have no time left over for Prince of Persia and Left 4 Dead. Maybe 2009 will be the year when I'm able to finally catch up.
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