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Defunct Games RECAPPED!! July 2007 Edition
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 01, 2007   |   Episode 24 (Show Archive)  

You just spent all week running from one hotel to another in order to make your E3 appointments, you came face to face with your arch nemesis in the Big Brother house, and Wii Fit informed you that you are obese. It sounds like you just barely survived July 2007! It's a month that brought us a brand new PSP redesign, a Transformers movie, and Chocolate Rain. But just because you had the world's most boring press conference, Nintendo, that doesn't mean that you have to miss out on all of the fun. This is Defunct Games RECAPPED!!, your monthly guide to the best and worst of the last 31 days. This is all the stuff you missed, all the stuff you forgot about and all the stuff you can't wait to see again! So even if you were too busy trying to run over your assistant's mom in a drunken rage, Lindsay Lohan, we have you covered. Prepare to be dazzled by the articles and reviews of July 2007!
Why This Article? Every year hundreds of games are unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Some of these games are must-own titles that, while others are so painfully bad that you wonder how anybody could release such garbage. But every so often a game comes along that is neither bad nor good, it's just plain unnecessary! These could be perfectly good games that are released on the wrong system or at the wrong time. Or, in contrast, they could be terrible games that nobody cares about that should never have ever seen the light of day. Defunct Games has decided that what the world really needs is a list of these unnecessary games. So what we did was put our heads together to compile one of the most important lists of all time ... The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time!

Everybody can bring you a list of the best fighting games or the worst 3D platformers of all time, but who else would even attempt to spend time thinking about 25 unnecessary games. This is a list that combines the very best of games with the very worst. Where else would you find Tetris and Resident Evil 4 put up against Shaq Fu and Big Rigs? But that's what we've decided to do; we have 25 different games that we feel are unnecessary for completely different reasons. Beyond just being a fun list, the 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time is the longest article of July and easily our most controversial. But that's what we love about it, we feel that this is the kind of list that will ruffle some feathers and get people thinking about what they view as an unnecessary game. Are you ready to dive in and see what games we think are the most unnecessary? Prepare to be outraged! And that is why we've decided to feature The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time as our top story of July 2007!

Post-Article Thoughts: "Every year we spend a lot of time and effort making sure that the best articles of the year go up the week of E3. That's not a coincidence, we schedule these articles weeks in advance hoping to offer new readers a great sample of what sets Defunct Games apart from all those other sites on the internet. Not only do we do this for the average reader who stumbles onto the site looking for E3 news, but we want the articles to be the best they can be so that the other E3 goers will be impressed when they visit the site. We give out hundreds (perhaps thousands) of cards at E3 and convince even more people to just check out the site, so it makes a lot of sense for us to put our best foot forward when new viewers come to the site that week. Our plan is to get them hooked with these amazing articles (like The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time) so that they'll keep coming back for the crap (like Haven't We 'Scene It' All Before?). It's a real rollercoaster ride here at Defunct Games, but we're okay with that because we know that when it's good it's great. And as far as I'm concerned The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time is one of those articles that is both good AND great." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? If this was your normal E3 most of our post-event coverage would be about the schwag, booth babes, big announcements and craziness of the Los Angeles Convention Center. But this is not your normal E3. This year's E3 was stripped down, spread out, downsized and completely unpredictable. In other words, this year's E3 was just plain weird. The good news is that the event went off without too many problems; it was a successful business event where the press got to play games without standing in huge lines and conduct interviews without having to yell at the top of their lungs. But not everything about this year's E3 was good. As we spent the three days cycling through different hotels and airplane hangars we started to get the feeling that a few things definitely needed to change. When we got back to the office the Defunct Games
team put our heads together to come up with a list of the most disturbing trends of E3, including complaints about how spread out everything is, how we couldn't play all of the games, how there were no big surprises, and how lame the various press conferences were. Hopefully E3 will fix these problems for next year's event (assuming there is an event next year), but somebody has to be the one to put all of the complaints into one easy to read article that sums up everything back from E3 2007! Hopefully the E3 organizers are reading this, because we feel this article is an important reminder that everything (no matter how good it is) can be improved. And that's the reason we feel this article is worth its spot as the second best show of July!

Post-Article Thoughts: "All things considered, this year's E3 was a success. While it was a bit spread out and there were no real big surprises at the show, E3 was a more pleasant experience all around. I didn't have to wait in long lines, I wasn't forced to shout when doing interviews, and everybody treated me like I belonged at the show. But as much fun as it was, I can't write an article talking about the twelve things I loved about the show ... you and I both know nobody would read that! So instead I decided to focus on some of the negatives about this new E3, hoping that these twelve problems will be resolved before next year's show. But don't take my words as negative, the show was still a lot of fun and I can't wait to go back next year. But E3, if you're listening, you really need to get that convention in one location, running around the city is absolutely horrendous ... especially with Los Angeles traffic." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? True story: This year at E3 we actually met a man who recognized my voice. It was right before the Sony press conference, I started talking to Microsoft employee Larry Hyrb about his podcast and the whole Shadowrun debacle and some guy next to him says, "hey, I know you ... you do that Somebody Else's Podcast podcast." I was mortified and honored at the exact same time, which isn't something that normally happens at E3. Ever since then we've been itching to do a new episode of Radio Free Gaming just for this guy (who works over at Stage Select, for what it's worth). Earlier this
week we finally had the chance to give our new friend another podcast to listen to, thanks to Somebody Else's Podcast! Vol. 8. In this episode we yell at Major Nelson (who, I hear, hates to be called that in person), hear what everybody thought of Microsoft's press conference, correct the Achievement Junkies (again), and get thoroughly disgusted by the things that GFW Radio talks about. It's not the longest podcast we've done, but I dare say it's one of my favorite episodes of Somebody Else's Podcast. If we didn't love it we wouldn't have put it so high up on the list. And that's the triple truth, Ruth!

Post-Article Thoughts: "It's not every day we get to yell at Larry Hyrb (aka Major Nelson), but when you do get that opportunity you know it's going to be a great day. This is the first episode of Radio Free Gaming we've had since flying down to California for E3, and while it's not as long or detailed as some of our other episodes, it does feel good to get back on that horse and ride it again ... so to speak. Some have commented that this episode seems angrier than past episodes, but that certainly wasn't the point of my rage. I have nothing against Major Nelson or Achievement Junkies, I just felt that sometimes these podcasts need a little dose of truth in order get them back on track. Hopefully most of the listeners took it as comedy rather than anger, but if not at least they got the absolute truth about retro games and the E3 press conferences ... and as far as I'm concerned that's more than you'll get from Major Nelson and the Achievement Junkies!" -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? Every year it's our job to resurrect some long-outdated show and breathe new life into it. This year's example is Fight the Future, the show where we ask three experts questions about the future. Believe it or not it has been two full years since Defunct Games checked in with our Fight the Future experts to predict the future, so digging up this ancient series was a blast for everybody involved. This year we decided to assemble a panel and ask them all sorts of questions about E3, the major video game convention happening mere days after the article went live. We knew we couldn't just give you three nobody panelists, so we went all out and got the opinions of three trusted sources. I'm of course talking about the ghost of John Lennon, the Magic 8 Ball, and the Attorney General himself, Alberto Gonzales! And
we didn't skimp on the questions, either. This time around we asked about a PSP redesign, price drops, new Nintendo IPs, Smash Brothers, Duke Nukem, Rockband and so much more. And would you believe that these three characters were actually accurate? More times than not the ghost of John Lennon and the Magic 8 Ball actually got the predictions right, proving that you don't even need to be alive to predict the big surprises at E3. E3 may be over, but this fourth episode of Fight the Future is still fun to read, which is why we feel it's the fourth best show of July.

Post-Article Thoughts: "Who knew how popular a simple episode of Fight the Future could be? All week at E3 I found myself selling people (other journalists, game presenters, PR people, etc.) on Defunct Games by explaining this article. We took a fairly standard idea (a pre-E3 prediction article) and turned it on its side the way only Defunct Games is able to do it. And better yet, we actually went back and retrofitted all of the old episodes of Fight the Future. Even though it only has four episodes total, Fight the Future now how its own archive and show. From what I can tell this was one of our most successful articles, even if it's not the "best" article of the month. We already have ideas for Fight the Future episode 5, but you shouldn't expect to see that any time soon." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? It wouldn't be a monthly recap without an episode of Commercial Break. This is the show where we take the worst video game commercials of all time and do our part by making fun of them. This month we have four advertisements that are so bad that it's hard to believe that somebody actually came up with the idea. Actually, I can believe somebody came up with the idea ... what's difficult to understand is how anybody could get paid for these one-page commercials. In the 38th episode of Commercial Break we look at a fishing game that is a little more realistic than it should be, the dangers of lighting
your own farts in front of a TV, the 1-900 number you definitely should not call, and the inter-vegetable battle for supremacy. These are four advertisements you won't want to miss, and as far as we're concerned this is a return to form for the Commercial Break. If you've missed out on the last 37 episodes of Commercial Break then now is your chance to see why this is everybody's favorite show. It may not be the best article of July, but Aliens in Bad Advertising is definitely a solid choice at number five.

Post-Article Thoughts: "I'm not going to beat around the bush on this show; I personally feel that this episode of Commercial Break is one of the best shows in recent memory. That's not to say that last month's episode was bad, but as far as I'm concerned they haven't been up to the standard I like to maintain. But nobody had anything to say about the four advertisements I made fun of this month, instead everybody questioned me about the name. Aliens In Bad Advertising? "Where are the aliens?" people asked. If you've been paying attention to the last 38 episodes of Commercial Break you already know that the titles are all parodies of TV shows (and the occasional episode title). Aliens in Bad Advertising is a play on the upcoming show Aliens in America, a sitcom coming to the CW. Perhaps I should have used that name around the time of the show's launch to avoid confusion, but I assure you that in a month or so you'll completely understand what the heck I was going for when I named this episode of the Commercial Break." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? July was a big month for Wes Grogan, the one man force behind A Brief History of Gaming. In four weeks Wes managed to post three different episodes of his history lesson, including this one about famed designer, Gunpei Yokoi. You may not know his name, but there's no doubt that you know Gunpei's work. He's the man that created the Game Boy, D-Pad, Virtual Boy and, most importantly, Ultra Hand. That's right; he's responsible for Ultra Hand! Unfortunately his life was cut short due to a tragic auto accident. But without dwelling too much on the sadness, Gunpei's life is an interesting one that is full of extremes. At one point he's at the
top of his game, and then only a few years later he's being pushed out of the company that he's worked at for more than two decades. No matter what you think of his work, Gunpei Yokoi is an important character in the video game world ... and this is his story.

Post-Article Thoughts: "I struggled over this article. Cyril and I have been planning to do this article for a long time, but when the Manhunt 2 controversy, and E3, both came up we felt that they needed to be covered. This is the article that I really wanted to do, however. It was my desire to write it that made it so hard to write. I quickly realized that I cannot possibly give proper impact to the respect I had for Mr. Yokoi. Indeed, being thirty, he defined my game playing experiences for my entire life. I remember using the D-Pad for the first time and refusing to use the Atari joystick any longer. I remember my first Game Boy that I worked so hard to save up for, and how I dragged it (and a collection of batteries) everywhere I went, despite the fact that it didn't fit in any of my pockets. I remember the release of the Virtual Boy and the debacle that followed. On that note, a reader took the time to write me and point out that the Virtual Boy was by no means Yokoi's fault entirely, and I do agree with him. As the article focused on the man rather than the company of Nintendo, I suspect that in some ways it appeared to be far harsher on Yokoi than I intended. Nintendo, with the release of the N64 delayed and needing new hardware on the market, certainly rushed the Virtual Boy through design and production, hyping it in ways that it was never meant to be hyped. Could Yokoi have stopped this? I don't honestly know, and I suspect there are few people who really do. The ultimate point that I wanted to make, however, was that Nintendo drummed him out of his honored place in the company even while they still sold thousands of Game Boys each week. Maybe it's the tradition of Japanese companies, but I can't help but be slightly egocentric and protective of the man that gave me Kid Icarus and Metroid. (You just knew Kid Icarus would come up again, didn't you?) In the end, it's my respect and admiration for Yokoi that I hope comes through the loudest in my article, and I'm grateful to Cyril for allowing me a place to post it." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? We love the idea of the Virtual Console. Being able to download classic console games from the 80s and 90s is a dream come true, especially when you throw in games you missed on the Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. But even though we love the idea of the Virtual Console, we still feel like the download service just isn't living up to its full potential. There are three major problems with this service that keeps it from being the must-use service in gaming today. The good news is that these three problems shouldn't be too hard to fix. The bad news is that the chances of Nintendo actually doing anything about these problems
is pretty much non-existent. But we don't care if Nintendo doesn't listen to their Virtual Console users, we're going to bitch and complain anyway. The Great Virtual Console Crash of 07 is a sobering look at the state of Nintendo's service; it labels the biggest problems and gives easy solutions that Nintendo could implement ... if they actually wanted to improve their service. We've already complained, now the ball is in Nintendo's court.

Post-Article Thoughts: "Oh people, you can stop your angry emails now. I'm certainly not suggesting that the Virtual Console will crash and burn in 2007. Chances are Nintendo's download service will remain relevant for at least the next year or two. But something has to change, I think just about everybody can agree with that sentiment. As much as we all love playing TurboGrafx-16 games on the Wii, there are just some problems with the service that absolutely must be ironed out before Nintendo even starts to think about the future of consoles. For the most part we received a lot of great comments about this article; most people seem to agree that something needs to change at Nintendo. But for every good comment there was at least one person who only read the title and concluded that I was hoping the Virtual Console would die ... or worse yet, suggesting that the service would crash and burn in 2007. Nothing could be further from the truth; sometimes you just need a flashy title to get your point across." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? Posted the week of E3, this is Wes Grogan's look at the beginning, middle and end of E3 as we know it. With all the changes that came to E3 this year it was important to look back and see where the event came from, starting with its meager beginning at the Consumer Electronic Show and going all the way to the circus-like atmosphere that plagued its later years. This is a sad and tragic tale of a convention that lost its focus and was just too difficult to maintain, a show
that went from being all about the industry to being all about the noise and schwag. Thankfully the E3 of today is still a phenomenal event, the type of convention that is actually worth going to. But what a long and strange journey it's been, and we feel that it's important to not only know what's going on now, but also understand where this event came from. This is the history of E3, the rise and abrupt fall of one of the noisiest conventions you'll ever attend.

Post-Article Thoughts: " I never got to make it to an E3, and I'm not sure how I really feel about it. Knowing that E3, as it was, will never again exist feels like I missed out on a chance to share in an industry experience. I've been to GDC and other conferences, but everything never quite fell into place for me to make it to an E3. The crowds of people, blaring music, sweating bodies, booth babes, and crappy schwag are all gone, replaced by something nebulous and changing. That said, E3 did a lot for the industry, including giving it confidence in itself. The industry went from doubting whether or not they could support their own convention to struggling every year to deal with the massive surge of people. Technology may have caused the old way to be obsolete, but there will always be a reason for the luminaries (and trench diggers) to come together and show off. That's why I think that I may have missed what was, but no one has seen what will be. This year was just a test run, and next year will be truly fascinating." -Wes Grogan
Why This Article? At this year's E3 Microsoft had one big announcement that was going to set the industry on fire. Would it be a Grand Theft Auto IV exclusive? Or what about Metal Gear Solid coming to the Xbox 360? Perhaps an Xbox handheld? Nope ... Microsoft's big E3 announcement was Scene It?, a port of the popular DVD board game. Scene It? promised all of the fun of the original board game, only now it would be available on the Xbox 360 with four brand new controls. But don't get too excited about these "innovative" controls, because it's painfully
clear that Microsoft decided to play the popular Sony quiz game Buzz! before designing these new controls. How else can you explain that both of these controls look exactly the same? In this episode of The Freeze Frame we take a look at this debacle and see if there's any good that can come from it. Scene It? May be a fun game, but at the end of the day haven't we Scene It all already?

Post-Article Thoughts: "Oh come on, don't groan. That's a funny title, even if it's nothing more than a bad pun. I'll confess, when I first played Scene It? at E3 this year I was won over. The game was a lot of fun with three other people; I'm a huge film buff so answering questions about movies was right up my alley. Then again, I can see how this $60 game could get old after only a few short plays. That's the problem I have with this type of game, you can only play it so many times before the questions start repeating and giving one person an unfair advantage. You don't have that problem with games like Catan, Monopoly or Uno ... yet Microsoft seems content charging $60 for this short-lived board game. Oh, and the control looks exactly like the Buzz! control for the PlayStation 2. I guess since that's what this article is about I should just throw that in there too." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? This is Wes' third history lesson of the month, a look at the past, present and future of video game violence. Wes comes at this topic from an interesting point of view, he feels that violence in games is a good thing. That's not to say that he condones real world violence, but when it comes to killing digital characters on a video game screen he's all for it. But not everybody agrees, and over the last twenty years anti-game activists, politicians, and media figures have used their sway to demonize our favorite titles. This is about more than Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto, this is about a whole industry focused on action, blood
and gore. This is about a generation that doesn't mind going to see Saw III at the theater, watching 24 on TV, or hearing their favorite rappers talk about wanton violence. It's a different culture, and games just reflect what people want. But even if you don't subscribe to that theory, video game violence is here to stay and it's important you know where it came from. This is the history of violence in video games, one of the most important ingredients in modern gaming.

Post-Article Thoughts: "To be honest, I really thought this topic would be considered ancient history by 2007. To see the likes of Jack Thompson or the Church of England continues to fight this topic absolutely amazes me. The plus side for SOME companies (who shall remain nameless) is that those controversial games continue to be topical and sell really, really well. Nothing sells anything faster than having it banned, whether it's a book, movie, or a video game. If there were to be a leaked copy of the original Manhunt 2 code released on the internet, I guarantee you that it would break all download records in a hurry. Personally, I think there is a certain argument to be made for violence in video games. Whether it is to add realism or simply to give the game a reason for existing, it's always been a part of the industry and always will be. It's the same dilemma that the comic book industry faced decades ago: how do you make a good comic book about super heroes without violence? You can make a character be as kick-ass as you want them to be, but if the audience never sees it, does it really matter?" -Wes Grogan
Why This Article? This is less of an article and more of an archive about, you guessed it, E3 2007. Over the next few weeks we intend to fill up this archive with new articles, thoughts, previews, and photos of our time at this brand new E3. But just because we haven't filled in all of the details yet doesn't mean you shouldn't check out the E3 page and see what's already there. As of right now you will find a number of interesting articles, including our very opinionated take on the three major E3 press conferences. Defunct Games isn't just here to tell you what Sony, Nintendo
and Microsoft announced, we're here to tell you exactly what happened before and after the events and really give you the sense that you were there. What was it like to sit there and listen to the companies spin the NPD numbers, announce non-exclusive exclusives, and show us endless YouTube montages? What was the food like? Did any of the companies get us drunk? These are the things you won't get anywhere else, and that's why we feel it's important to promote our very special E3 2007 coverage on this monthly recap!

Post-Article Thoughts: "Let the naysayers say what they want, E3 was a whole lot of fun this year. Forget the loud booths, the surgically enhanced women and the lines of GameStop employees; this year's E3 was the way it should have been. Unfortunately this new E3 isn't perfect (see: The 12 Disturbing Trends of E3 2007), but it was a lot easier to cover. So far we haven't filled in all of the information we want to about E3, so you'll want to go ahead and keep checking the E3 section every day. Eventually we're going to offer exclusive previews and interviews, as well as reviews of the booths and company showings. We know that Defunct Games is not the only site you can get E3 coverage from, but we pride ourselves on delivering opinions you won't see anywhere else." -Cyril Lachel
Why This Article? We're not going to say that This Week In Defunct Games is the worst article (articles, plural) of May, but none of us feel like it should be counted with shows like Commercial Break, On Running Feud and Radio Free Gaming. This Week In Defunct Games is just a recap show, a page that tells you about all of the best (and worst) classic games that came out on the Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3. Off topic, do you think all of the companies intended for their systems to rhyme? Anyway, this month we actually had a diverse collection
of games, including Devil's Crush, Air Zonk, Mach Rider, Shining Force, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Sonic the Hedgehog, Paper Mario and so much more. It was a rock solid month for downloadable retro games, and This Week In Defunct Games is the best way to figure out what is good and bad in the world of classic gaming.

Post-Article Thoughts: "With all the time and effort being placed on pre- and post-E3 coverage, the four This Week In Defunct Games episodes kind of took a backseat. I personally didn't have as much time to work on these episodes or record the accompanying podcast. As a result we have a few episodes where it's just about the bare essentials and nothing more. Unfortunately things got complicated even further when all of the services started to pile up the games. It went from four games one week, to six games, and then back down to five. All told This Week In Defunct Games discussed a total of eighteen games, which ended up sitting at around 10,000 words. The good news is that I was able to take one of those weeks off, the week of E3 we brought Wes Grogan on to write his thoughts about Mach Rider, Air Zonk and Yoshi. Thanks Wes, you were a real life saver!" -Cyril Lachel


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