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Top Ten Signs You're Having a Bad Christmas (Broken)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 23, 2005   |   Episode 65 (Show Archive)  

   
WALL OF TEXT EXPLAINED: What you're looking at is an episode of Countdown w/ Defunct Games published before 2006. As you can tell, something has gone horribly awry. I won't bore you with the technical details, but it has to do with the old layout being incompatible with the new. Eventually, we would like to retrofit these old episodes of Countdown, but that will require a significant amount of time. As Defunct Games has only a limited staff, we aren't sure when we'll have the chance to fix this article. If you absolutely need to know what this article said, get a hold of us on Twitter or leave a message in the comment section below. Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you will enjoy the episodes created post-2006.

Everybody loves Christmas. Well, the Jewish faith isn't real fond of it, but most everybody else loves it. It's a time when you get together with family, a time to single stupid songs you learned as a child, and a time to open gifts. It's also the time when a lot of great video games are released, so what could possibly go wrong?? Defunct Games realizes that this has been a trying year, one that has asked us to make a lot of sacrifices. We had to get to know new characters, we were forced to weather several system launches, and made to believe that beautiful CGI videos were actual in-game footage. But this article isn't about what happened over the last twelve months, this is a story about why Christmas is going to suck for you. Why you're going to need to overdose on some Prozac when you get home. This is a list of the Top Ten Signs You're Having a Bad Christmas! -Cyril Lachel Top Ten Signs You're Having a Bad Christmas Archive: Top Ten Lists #10 Your Parents Find the Xbox 360, but It's Only the Core Bundle! With all these worries about system shortages you should be happy just to get an Xbox 360, right? After all, it's going to play the games you want regardless of what version you end up getting. So what if it comes with a wired control and nothing else, isn't the point just to have the system? Sadly the answer is no. When it comes to getting the most out of Microsoft's next generation system you're going to need some of the accessories that are left out of the Core bundle. Basic items like the hard drive are missing, which means you're going to spend $100 just in order to download new content, sample the demos (and trailers), and play all of the Xbox Live Arcade titles currently available. And to make matters worse, some upcoming RPGs won't run without the hard drive, effectively making you upgrade to the system you should have got in the first place. There's more to it than just the $100 hard drive, there's also the fact that you don't get a headset ($30), you don't get a wireless control ($50), and you can forget about the cabling that hook up to your HDTV. Oh, and did I mention you won't be getting a media remote control? Don't worry, since you can't put music on that hard drive you the remote control seems a bit pointless. All this money is coming out of your pocket, it's the type of thing your parents could have paid for ... but they went with the Core bundle! Cheapskates! #9 You Are Given Activision's Holiday Line Up It wouldn't be so bad to get Microsoft's holiday line up, or Sony's, or even Electronic Arts ... but it's been a tough couple months for our friends over at Activision. You've just now opened your package of games and what do you get? It looks like it's Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, a game that has more than a few flaws and happens to be WAY too easy. And then there's Gun, another game that is entirely too easy (and extremely short). Or you could sink your teeth into Quake IV on the Xbox 360, a game full of rough edges (and tons of frame rate issues). After all of this you'll be happy to see that Call of Duty 2 is in your future, it seems like everything is good in the world. Unfortunately, no matter how much fun you have with Call of Duty 2 it doesn't make up for the fact that Gun is 4 hours long and they are asking $60 for it! Perhaps you should see how many times you can beat Gun before New Years. On second thought, maybe you shouldn't do that. #8 Your Dad is Jack Thompson A lot of parents would rather you go outside than play video games, but Jack Thompson takes it to a whole new level. This Florida lawyer has the entire game industry angry at him, all because he wants to make games safe for everybody, no matter their age, maturity, or IQ. Remember, this is the guy who got rappers Two Live Crew arrested, the same guy blames Doom for everything, and the same guy who thinks that there's hardcore pornography in the Sims. But while you'd love to hate him for what he's doing to the industry, you can't because he's your poppa. You want an Xbox 360 but all you get is a DVD full of your dad on Anderson Cooper 360. You want God of War but poppa Jack just wants to teach you about God. If there is a God then this must be Hell, and you know it. Jack Jr., it's time to pray for a better day! #7 You're Getting a GameCube There once was a time when getting a GameCube would be a good thing, something you would brag about to all of your friends. That time was 2003, when the GameCube had a lot of amazing first-party support, a few quirky third-party titles you couldn't get anywhere else, and a whole lot of promise. If you got a GameCube in 2003 you would have a Zelda to go through, a year-old Mario, and Metroid to contend with. And that's not including all of the brilliant titles that found their way to the system in 2004. But 2005 is another story. Outside of Resident Evil 4 there just hasn't been anything spectacular on the system this year. Oh sure, some may argue that Fire Emblem was worth playing on the system, and they would be right. But outside of the pretty graphics not a lot has changed from the Game Boy Advance version. The rest of the line up consisted of games that should have been released long ago (Geist), bad sequels (Star Fox Assault, Donkey Konga 2), and games with Mario in them (DDR Mario Mix, Mario Strikers, Mario Baseball, Mario Party 7, etc.). And while you can look forward to Zelda sometime next year, you'll be forced to watch your friends enjoy their new Xbox 360's while you wait. #6 We Love Katamari, But Apparently Your Folks Love Big Game Hunting This year your parents wanted to get you something everybody would like, and instead of getting a fun little puzzle game (like Lumines) or a quirky title with great music (like We Love Katamari) they decided to get a collection of big game hunting simulators. Now you and your parents can all enjoy the great outdoors through your computer, patiently waiting in one spot for something to shoot at. Your dad loves the slow and deliberate pacing of this video game, your mom loves the peaceful environments, and you, well, you hate everything about this experience. You hate that they are using your game system to play a terrible game when you could be working your way through Shadow of the Colossus. You hate that you could be playing Halo 2 or Far Cry but instead you're forced to play the slowest first-person shooter of all time. And you hate that nothing happens ... for hours at a time. You know you're in for trouble with the most fun you have with a game is taking the shrink wrap off. #5 Grandma and Grandpa Help You Out with a Subscription to GamePro Grandparents are great. At this point in their life their entire existence is about making you happy and delivering you their love. But that doesn't mean they always know what to get you. This year they tried their best, they asked your mom what you were into and she said video games. So they looked around, they asked a few people, and found something that they thought would be perfect. Unfortunately that "perfect" gift was a subscription to GamePro. It's one thing for them to get you a crappy game, but you know you're having a bad Christmas if you're forced to read GamePro. It's not just that their reviews are questionable, that they are constantly giving out wrong information, and that their editorial content seems to be written for younger children ... actually, it IS because of all of those reasons why GamePro sucks. Just be glad they didn't get your Sony owning ass a subscription to Nintendo Power. #4 The Games Under the Tree Come Highly Recommended ... By the National Institute on Media and Family! There have been games you have wanted to play all year, but thanks to your lack of job you're forced to ask for them as gifts. Games like God of War, Resident Evil 4, the Warriors, and Far Cry have haunted your dreams and now they must be yours. Unfortunately, instead of listening to you (or even normal game critics) your parents have decided to go with some games that come highly recommended ... from a group that apparently hates video games. You might have been hoping for Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories but you'll have to do with the Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You hoped for Conker's Bad Fur Day but all you got was more exercise thanks to Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX3. Life sucks. Of course, the National Institute on Media and Family didn't get it all wrong, Sid Meier's Pirates! is on the list, as is We Love Katamari, but what is Backyard Baseball 2005 doing there? Did they even play that game or just look at the sugar-sweet cover art? And they're recommending King Kong over the Legend of Zelda? The truth is, it's hard to be happy with any list that has the newest Harry Potter game at the top of the list, followed by the wholly uninspired game for the Incredibles. Sounds like the day after Christmas is going to be spend trading your games in for something better. #3 You Ask For a New Portable, They Give You the Gizmondo! When it comes to great portables this Christmas you have a couple to choose from. There's always Sony's entry, the PSP with it's collection of popular franchises and near-console quality graphics. Or perhaps you're interested in picking up the Nintendo DS, Big N's amazing little two-screened portable that features a bunch of quality titles and a silly little touch screen display. At this point it doesn't matter which one they pick, you're going to have high quality games for whatever system they get you. But all that changes when you unwrap your gift and find out it's ... THE GIZMONDO!! Run in fear when you find out that it doesn't have any of the games you want. Cower as you remember that there's an improved model only months away. Yawn uncontrollably through the TV commercials you are forced to watch. It's the Gizmondo, the portable game system dozens of people might want, if they already owned the DS and the PSP. #2 You Get NARC And not just NARC, I'm talking about True Crime: New York City, 187 Ride or Die, 50 Cent: Bulletproof and the rest of the urban-themed games that make you want to jump into a wood chipper. NARC may not be the worst game of the year, but it's certainly on the short list. Instead of a funny romp through the urban jungle killing drug dealers (like the original), this new NARC is a gritty crime story that has you taking drugs just to stay awake. And I'm not just talking about in the game, either. True Crime: NYC is no better, it features terrible game play, horrible voice acting, and bugs that make the game stop cold. And don't even get me started about 50 Cent's game. Here's a guy who boasted about how it would change the industry, that it would be the game all future games wanted to be like. But it turns out to be about as good as 187 Ride or Die, an urban-themed game developed by the French. THE FRENCH!! What do the French know about the hood? Apparently nothing. Merry Christmas, loser. #1 That Xbox 360 Box You're Holding Weighs Less than a Pound! That Xbox 360-shaped box sitting under your tree has been there for days. You've invited all of your friends over to play it. And everybody on the forum knows you're getting it. The only problem is, when you rip open the wrapping paper you realize that there's a terrible secret about your brand new game system ... you're holding nothing more than the box! Unfortunately your dad just wasn't willing to sit outside a store for hours on end to get you Microsoft's next generation game system. Instead he went to Ebay where he spent $600 on nothing more than a box. Should have read the fine print, old man! Now you're upset, he's upset, and you're mom still can't figure out why you wanted it in the first place. How will your friends react when they realized that you have nothing more than a box and a couple of games you can't use? How will you ever get over the shame? Why am I still asking questions, you get why this is the number one way of knowing you're having a bad Christmas? Hopefully your friends had better luck! Recently Gaming Nexus asked me to contribute a list of things I would want for Christmas. I figured that everybody was doing a "normal" list, one that listed off a bunch of new systems and games. I decided to buck the trend and offer up a few things I really would want, things I figured nobody else would say. Here is an abridged version of that list, but I recommend you scurry on over to Gaming Nexus to read the full article. Here are a few of my favorite things. Cyril Lachel's 2005 Holiday Buyer's Guide (Abridged) Japanese Portable Games It's been a great year for portable gaming, what with both the PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS finding themselves overloaded with amazing games. Who can forget going through Advance Wars: Dual Strike, causing havoc in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, or racing through Burnout Legends and Mario Kart DS? But as amazing as the portable line up was this year there's still room for quite a bit of improvement, especially when you look at the games the Japanese have been playing for months. Take Daigasso! Band Brothers for example, now here's a game that has been promised for the U.S. DS unit, but why wait when you can ask for it now as a holiday gift? The PSP has a few notable Japanese games worth importing as well, including Guilty Gear XX #Reload, a port of the super-cool Xbox fighter. If you're looking for a portable game you know the person doesn't own, then mining other countries for games is a brilliant idea! Nintendo World Championship NES Cartridge There are a lot of rare games in the world, a few that you might already own. But chances are you don't currently have the Nintendo World Championship NES Cartridge, perhaps the rarest of all the NES titles. This cart contains no more than three games (Tetris, Rad Racer, and the original Super Mario Bros.), and to make things even more pointless, none of these three games is the full version. So what makes this thing so rare? There just aren't that many copies of this "game" lying around. You see, this thing was only given out to finalists at Big N's one and only Nintendo World Championship, a traveling event that featured dozens of game demos and a full-fledged game tournament. Nintendo also managed to give a couple of these game carts out as prizes in their issues of Nintendo Power, but beyond that nobody else could buy them. But these days you can buy anything ... just as long as you have enough money. On Ebay this Nintendo World Championship NES Cartridge is going for thousands of dollars, and you have to be lucky just to find somebody willing to sell this collectors item. But if you have thousands of dollars you want to spend on something this valuable then what's going to stop you? This would be one gift that any gamer over the age of 25 will cherish for the rest of their life, the rarest of gaming gems. If you want to give the one gift that nobody else would think of, then this one NES cartridge is the gift of choice as far as I'm concerned. A Break from Annual Sequels Granted this is not something you can wrap up and give to somebody during the holidays, but if any of those guilty companies out there want to give me the ultimate holiday gift then a moratorium on annual sequels is a great place to start. It's not that I don't enjoy a good sequel now and then, but it's when you have less than twelve months to come up with something bigger and better that you ultimately run into problems. This is not a race, all we ask for is some time and effort to be put into these games so we aren't forced to upgrade around the same time every year. I'm not talking about Madden and other sports games (those would be the obvious choices), but rather the Ratchet & Clank series, those good (but too frequent) Jak & Daxter games, Prince of Persia, and of course Tony Hawk's endless extreme sports titles. It's not that I dislike these games; it's more of the fact that I don't feel the need to spend $50 on their games each and every year. Enough is enough, it's time to give some of these franchises a year off. Super Grafx Super Grafx If this list is about games, accessories, and the consoles, then it's about time you ask Santa for an NEC Super Grafx unit. Don't get this thing confused with the Turbo Grafx, the long-dead NEC system that made its way to the U.S. in the late 1980s. The Super Grafx is a whole different beast, even though it will play the Turbo Grafx games (well, it'll play the P.C. Engine games, the Japanese version of the Turbo). With only a half dozen games it's easy to collect each and every one of them ... easy if you have enough money to pay the high prices you see on Ebay.
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