Gamer Gifts from Hell
Worse than a dodgy Santa jumper, is the prospect of your mum getting adventurous in the local game shop.
Among the least enjoyable moments of Christmas is the ceremonial opening gifts from friends and relatives you probably don’t call, let alone see, very often. Many try to minimize embarrassment by gifting unimaginative presents; ones that don’t require much knowledge of the receivers personality or hobbies. These are the socks that line your drawers for the next 12 months, gift cards that disappear with the wrapping paper and the occasional sports autobiography.
On a cold Friday morning in the next few weeks most of you going to get some of these, but a small number will be unwrapping gifts far more terrifying. If you play games just enough that your loved ones notice, there’s a decent chance one of them will stumble into the local entertainment boutique and, armed with that tiny shred of information, leave with what they think is the perfect gift.
This time last year I was working behind the till of one such game shop. This year I’ve utilised my seemingly useless insider knowledge to review the in-store merchandising of several high-street game chains. This is a list of the worst games your unwitting relatives could be wrapping up for you this Christmas.
Sherlock Homes Vs Jack The Ripper (PC, 360)
It’s a funny coincidence that this game has been released in the weeks leading up to the Christmas Day opening of Sherlock Homes movie starring a certain Robert Downey Jr. Not so funny though, its the prospect of your non-gamer sibling picking this one up at its budget price on PC or Xbox 360. In spite of its ludicrous name the game has actually reviewed well. However as it’s an adventure game it will most likely bore the arse off of anybody uninterested in the genre. This one is especially troublesome is anyone in your family has spotted your copy of Mortal Kombat Vs DC.
We Sing (Wii)
If you ask a person off the street to name a game they’ve played recently, a fair ammount will mention WiiSports or some sort of Singstar / Guitar Hero party game. We Sing is a marketing executives wet-dream. Not only does it sell itself as a party rhythm game, but it has the word We in it. Though spelled differently to Nintendo’s console (some would say more correctly) We Sing is sure to remind your sister of that great night playing WiiTennis and WiiBowling on WiiSports. As for the songs, how does Barbie Girl by Aqua and Tom Jones’ Delilah sound.
Band Hero (Wii, 360, PS3)
“Band Hero” used to be our comical take on the dumb reality that is rhythm game names; something in the same vein as YouTwit or FaceTube. However some bright spark in Activision decided to throw a naming convention curve-ball, the result being a game that will sound familiar to non-gamers. Band Hero isn’t a terrible game per-se, but it does have a terrible set list for anybody old enough to have a credit card, or taste. Your Christmas soundtrack would consist of Maroon 5, Alphabeat, Village People and Taylor Swift – no word on Kanye West stage invasion minigame. The only hope is your mum asks the sales assistant for GuitarBand or RockHero by mistake instead. Though they’re probably in development already.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (360, PS3, Wii, DS, PC, PSP)
Much like the first Transformers movie game, Revenge of the Fallen was published en-mass and sold fuck-all. The DVD & BluRay have just been released ahead of Christmas, leading to more store front exposure of the franchise. Retailers will be all to keen to flog off their copies of this particular software abortion, most probably in bundles with other random leftover merchandise. If you unwrap it this December 25th alongside an official decepticon baseball cap and a “My other car is Bumblebee” bumper-sticker, you know I was right. It’s a shame they didnt just release a DVD of Megan Fox wardrobe malfunctions instead.