The Richie Report: GAME Over And Different Strokes

It’s the most exciting time of gaming year! We have a new console out in the shops. The PSV Eindhoven was released since the last time we er… interacted and it’s basically some sort of futuristic James Bond type shit. Effectively a handheld PS3 (although how it doesn’t burn through your hands, lap, and eventually the crust of the Earth given that it has no fan, I just don’t know) but with about fifty different control methods, wi-fi or 3G internet browsing, and able to download full, console-quality games, which is especially handy if you’re in the UK (more on that later). If there is any justice, it’ll outsell the Nintendo 3DS by a factor of Donald Trump (although, depressingly, the exact opposite is happening in Japan right now but they’re all addled by earthquakes and radiation). I don’t like the 3DS. I played it once and my eyes literally melted, and I’m now having to get my guide dog to type this. The joke’s on the master though; he doesn’t know that next time he wants to go to the shops, I’ll take him into a Greggs bakery. He’s not had his shots. He’ll be fucked.

The only problem with the PlayStation Vita is that the game pricing is a little bit absolutelytheworstthingever and the SD card-sized proprietary memory cards (every time Sony, every fucking time) are about as good value as Michael Jackson tickets, and just as expensive. It does look lovely though, and after having a dabble at the Eurogamer Expo I can safely say that when the price drops to £120, I might pick one up to play Touch My Katamari. Until then, I’ll stick with the PSP as mine has been [enhanced] so that I can play SNES roms, which is clearly the best thing in the whole world, and with Apple finally unveiling the iPad 3, gadget fans may find the allure of a slightly better iPad all too tempting when it comes to parting with their green queens.

Getting hold of a Vita might get a tad trickier soon. Imagine this: you’re in a desert. Sand extends as far as the eye can see in all directions. You have no food, and the only thing to drink is a can of Diet Doctor Pepper, so basically you have nothing drinkable and you’ve already exhausted your own supply of wee. You are surrounded by cannibals who were raised on the N4G forums and are, as such, unable to communicate in any way apart from with violence. You look up and a kilometre-wide asteroid is heading directly for your location. As it hurtles towards you, the air underneath it is compressed, heating up to the surface temperature of the sun. As your skin frazzles like cellophane in an oven, one of the cannibals begins to sing a song by Adele.

1319 stores worldwide with 8750 employees. 5800 UK employees in 641 stores, and 87 bajillion pre-owned games.

Well that’s how fucked GAME and Gamestation are right now. SSX is apparently the last EA game they’ll be stocking for a while and other publishers, such as Capcom, are sticking the boot in by refusing to let them sell their games either. Sony are only allowing them to sell the Vita by insisting that they still own all the stock until the point of sale. All it’ll take is for Bobby Kotdeath to block sales of COD15 or whatever and GAME will be done (if they even last that long). They are currently having a fire sale of all their pre-owned trash, so you know it’s looking desperate. Of course, none of this comes as a surprise. I work five minutes from a GAME (you’re always only five minutes from one of their stores these days) and I’ve got a bit of disposable income, and yet I’ve not bought a game from there in ages. Mainly thanks to the fact that they appear to shit over all their games before they sell them, and then they put about fifteen different promotional stickers on everything before trying to sell you Mortal Kombat vs DC for like fifteen quid. Cause and effect, GAME.

If GAME were allowed to sell EA games, they’d be selling Mass Effect 3 right about now. Indeed, they are probably looking for the best supermarket deal so that they can go in, buy all the copies and then sell them for £38.99 as preowned. The end to the trilogy is garnering all sorts of lovely reviews including this one by our very own Stu. Probably a sure thing, although EA’s rolling snowball of evil has led to the day one ‘project ten dollar’ DLC only being available in Collector’s Edition copies of the game. You can buy it on Xbox Live, of course, but you don’t get it with the regular £40 version of the game. Because, you know, EA are fucking horrible. The DLC is also apparently very spoilerific too. Approach with caution.

Stu also reviewed Final Fantasy XIII-2. No, I’ve not had a stroke, they really did give it a name that stupid. Thanks to the stupid naming convention, I’m not sure how many of these games there are but this far in, you’re probably only going to buy it if you’re a fan of the series. I do know that a really annoying character constantly says ‘kupo’ in it, which is probably some sort of Japanese method for torturing gamers. I started – and stopped – playing the Final Fantasy games with FFVII so I won’t be dabbling, but it’s apparently good.

Not as good as Kingdoms of Amalur though. I mentioned it in the last report, hailing it as a delicious lemon of a demo. Well I’ve completed the game twice since then and it’s already a candidate for game of the year. Amalur combines all the RPG trappings of a Skyrim but with the fluid, arcade-style combat of a Conan or God of War. The mix of great action and hot looting RPG action makes the game as addictive as crack and twice as butterscotchy. Suffice to say, I loved it more than you love your mother.

The rest of March looks pretty healthy with such big-named rehashes and sequels as Street Fighter X Tekken (which looks lovely, but we’re all getting a bit bored of Capcom rehashing the Street Fighter IV engine now), the return of Twisted Metal (hasn’t been good since the second one, but if they get it right it could hasten my eventual PS Vita purchase), FIFA Street (why are they still making these? They’re blatantly shit!), Armored Core (whatever) and Ninja Gaiden 3 (which actually looked kind of decent from the preview build available at the Eurogamer Expo). Last up is Ridge Racer: Unbounded which gives a bit of Burnout style pizzazz to Namco’s long-running drift ‘em up. Shame it’ll probably be sullied with awful DLC.

Fable: The Journey is "not" going to be linear.

In industry-related news, legendary games producer and sinister vampire Peter Molyneux has sensationally left Microsoft and Lionhead and formed his new studio, 22 Cans. No details yet about what his next project might be but you can bet it’ll be a little too ambitious for him. Here’s hoping he’ll make a Syndicate-type game that doesn’t shit on the memory of the original. His last game for Lionhead will be Fable: The Journey but, of course, we all stopped caring when Fable III came out.

Still, we’d rather play that than Old Republic right? Well no, apparently, as 1.7 million paying subscribers are happily sticking lightsabers in each other’s faces even though MMOs are just glorified chat rooms. Blimey. My thumb really isn’t on the pulse of the modern gamer it seems. Still, stats can be misleading. After all, there are 90 million people on PSN and yet I’ve only ever met like one. Different strokes and all that.

Right, that’s enough. Find out next month if I’ve succumbed to the charms of the PS Vita. Here’s a preview: not yet!

Last five articles by Richie



  1. Edward Edward says:

    If I ever grow up to be a fraction as funny as Richie, I’ll say I’d led a good life.

  2. Richie Richie says:

    Mark, you’ve outdone yourself with that GAME store image!

  3. Chris Chris-Toffer says:

    The paragraph about how fucked GAME are is possibly one of the best I’ve ever read!

  4. Ian says:

    Loving the guide dog.

  5. Mark Mark_s says:

    I was loving it up until the MMO comment :P

    The game stuff was brilliant. Nice one mate.

  6. simonjk says:

    I’m a little miffed about the whole Game situation, but not cause I’m a Game fanboy but because it effects Gamestation and outside both them chain stores there is basically no where else ‘brick and mortar’ wise to buy games and get pre-order bonus’. Is there any other game retail chain stores in the UK other than Game or Gamestation left (not including Grangre Games due to a personal beef)? For Mass Effect 3 I resorted to purchasing from Asda (Walmart for the US people) due to them finally offering competative prices in the full price range but still not comparing to Gamestation’s pre-owned market:( and they get no preorder bonus’

    Even if some nice gullible company buys the Game francise, they will still mix the two stores and I will lose all the Gamestation lovelyness.

  7. Colin says:

    I don’t think Bajillion is a recognised SI unit prefix >_>

    Good work mang :)

  8. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    GAME. You know, I’m in two minds over the whole thing. I hate that so many people are going to lose their job, and it also symbolises yet another massive decline in the uk economy BUT I also hate that something like 70% or more of every GAME or Gamestation is fucking pre-owned titles. Games which got the developer a slice of the pie that first time they were sold but which, as soon as they crossed the threshold of the storefront in the opposite direction, did nothing but repeatedly line the pockets of the Game Group execs with no recompense ever hitting the developers’ bank accounts.

    They do say that payback is a bitch, and I think this is the gaming industries way of paying them back for not giving a shit about the people who kept them in business in the first place – the folk who create the IP in the first place. Their selling of pre-owned obviously has no reflection on what’s actually happening with them just now, but it’s still enough to make me think that Karma is playing a part somewhere.

    The Vita… damn I love that machine. I love the build quality, I love the resolution and vibrancy of the screen, I love the dual analogue sticks, and I even love the responsiveness of the touch screen even though I positively hate touch screens when it comes to gaming. I want one Vita for every room in the house, just so I can lift it up and heft it in my hand to remember what it’s like to have a handheld that doesn’t feel like a piece of shit prototype such as the DS.

    Molyneux… I used to respect this guy a lot, and still do to some extent because he’s still the guy behind Bullfrog. The guy that came up with Fable. You know, as much as I think that Fable 2 was perhaps the greatest let down of any game I’ve ever played, I do still love it. It’s a great game, so much fun, so enjoyable while you’re playing it, and the voice characterisation of JUST ABOUT EVERYONE IN THE FRIGGIN GAME is fantastic. But it was still oversold massively and I can’t get over that. Your dog was shit. It was just a sprite that was attached to your foot by invisible elastic and served no real purpose. Get over it.

    I love the Richie Reports.

  9. simonjk says:

    I have no sympathy for the Game management what so ever and only regret and pity if we loss the Gamestation shops. I actually love the fact they both have loads of pre-owned games, it gives a cheaper alternative in these cash strapped days and puts more omney into the retail shops and many a time I have play the cheaper alternative and enjoyed a game later due to money and missing a released date game. It still amazes me (compared to the two local examples) that Game and Gamestation has the same owner as they are so differant in price and attitude. As an example, a few days ago I heard of ‘the big spring cleaning sale’ so went into Game and saw all the new releases still at £44:99! so wnet into Gamestation and picked up a handfull of games a dammed site cheaper including, 2 old favourites – Sacred 2 and Two Human which I paid less than £5 for both. I hope someone will buy both and absorb Game into Gamestation and keep Gamestation alive.

    One way to describe them is Student Bar compared to trendy London Wine Bar, so pick your own favourite.

  10. Lorna Lorna says:

    ‘Sinister vampire’… yep! Great stuff :D I got bored of Fable III, so it is currently squatting on my gamercard, kicking my completion percentage in the face, and I couldn’t gove a damn about the ‘Journey’ game as it is all ‘Kinected’ up and I have better things to do with my hands than playing ‘invisble horsey’… seriously, I know the one perception of gamers is that we are all mentally challenged kids, but honestly, how old do the devs think we are? :/

    As far as GAME goes, they have pulled some pretty shitty tricks over the years that have gradually helped to erode any sympathy they may otherwise have gleaned from a large proportion of gamers. The whole ‘buying up cheap supermarket deal consoles’ thing, pushing pre-owned (even at the checkout when you are buying a new title) heavily, largely shunning the PC, and only having bundle deals available with new consoles. For me, the lack of a decent PC section was a bugbear and their arrogant refusal to even stock games from certain smaller publishers and genres, despite how gorgeous the retail packaging was, led to my general avoidance. Though it costs more, if I want to buy from a real store, I always go to the local indie shop.

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