Friday, June 13, 2008

Gaming's biggest let-downs

Haven't used this image since September! Also, I thought this up way before MSNBC's similarly-titled "Top 5 biggest video-game letdowns" hit the 'net, although I admit it reminded me of this long-forgotten (And never fully-fleshed out until now) idea.

Games usually have some amazing goal completely separate from the main adventure. Some sort of holy grail that truly completes the game. But quite often, getting to this point in the game is all the fun there is. After that, rarely anything special happens. No awesome cinematics, no secret unlockables, nothing. Sure, you can say to people that you achieved an amazing feat, but there's rarely anywhere to go from there but hit reset. I've seen this sort of thing so many times, and it never becomes any less of a let-down. Here are four such occasions where a little more fanfare would have been very welcome.

Getting a Brain Age of 20

In both of the Brain Age games, a perfect score is a brain age of 20. It's an indicator of extremely quick thinking and problem solving. But what happens when you finally achieve this lofty goal? Dr. Kawashima congratulates you, and it's over. Nothing else. Nada. You don't get any sort of medal or anything. Sure, it's cool to be able to say that you managed a brain age of 20, but really, I was hoping for something a little more to commemorate my accomplishment.

Mirage Island

If you look to your left, you'll see Mirage Island. Not very interesting, is it? It would have been nice if I'd known that before driving myself nuts to get there.

To get to Mirage Island in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, the player has to present a Pokémon to a certain man in the town of Pacifidlog. If the Pokémon has the correct secret numerical value assigned to it, the man exclaims that he can see Mirage Island. So basically, just keep trying over and over and over until it happens. There's no way to know which Pokémon will do the trick. Now, after finally doing all this running around, you'd expect something amazing in return. Sadly, Game Freak had something else in mind...

On Mirage Island, there is but one patch of grass, in which but one Pokémon can be caught: Wynaut. Not only is Wynaut completely uninteresting on it's own, but players can easily obtain him through other means. The only other point of interest on Mirage Island is a lone berry tree bearing one Liechi Berry. Now, while this Berry can't be found anywhere else, and it makes a very good Pokéblock, it's still somewhat underwhelming. I was hoping for something amazing, like a legendary Pokémon or a secret dungeon. But no, it's nothing but a bunch of Wynaut and a berry. Yippee.

We Love Katamari's 1,000,000 roses

After finishing every other challenge in We Love Katamari, one final test is unlocked: The 1,000,000 rose collection level. As you'd assume, to finish this game, you need to roll up 1,000,000 roses. Doesn't sound too bad, except I can, at best, get about 2,000 in ten minutes. Oh boy, only 998,000 to go! Thankfully, you can do this level in stages. Do a few thousand here and there, save, and continue later on. If you ever manage to gather 1,000,000 roses, the King of All Cosmos says a few things, tosses the ball of roses into the sky, and that's about it. Don't believe me? Watch this:

See? All that work, and the King acts like nothing spectacular just occurred. And what do you unlock? A few new doodads and graphics for the level select screen. That's it. Because giving us a never-ending level in return for all our toil would be a crazy idea. It's not as if millions of Katamari fans have been waiting for it. Nope.

Finally catching 'em all

Ah, the Pokédex... It's been by every Pokémon trainer's side ever since 1995. And what was one of the first things Professor Oak told us to do with it all those many years ago? Fill it up with information on every Pokémon there is. We went out there, Pokéballs in hand, and did our darnedest to catch 'em all. Finally, after many, many hours of toiling in caves and tall grass, surfing on the high seas and trading with our buddies, it was complete. And what happens? Oak basically says "Congratulations, you did it!", and nothing else happens. Go talk to the game programmers in Celadon City, and they give you a diploma saying you caught 'em all. Does it do anything? Nope. Do you get any sort of special badge or anything? Nope. You get a "Good for you!", a digital scrap of paper, and that's it. Hooray, I feel so fulfilled.

Of course, there's far too many similar let-downs to cram into one single article. I'm sure there are many, many more in my game collection, let alone the entirety of gaming history. I may revisit this sometime down the line, but for now, I think I've vented enough disappointment.

And how about you guys? Have you ever been let-down by a game? Ever been severely underwhelmed by the celebrations after doing the near-impossible? Feel free to scream about it in the comment section, or in this article's thread on the forum.

The Duck Has Spoken.


Herbsewell said...

Let's see... I can't say I've even been disappointed by an achievement in a game.

Kyle said...

No, not really.