Wow. My brother's presents finally got here - international shipping can take its time - and my presents were three Gameboy Advance games. Now, you have to understand how my brother's mind works. He likes to give and receive LOTS of presents for Christmas. They don't have be big or expensive presents, just lots. I remember as a kid my Mom would split games and other presents and wrap pieces individually just to make sure there were lots of games and my brother still thinks like that.
I'm explaining this because Dave wasn't being cheap when he bought me three games from the bargain bin at Toys R Us: All three together probably cost little more than one top notch game, but in Dave's mind, three presents are better than one, so I got: Spy Hunter, Men In Black (The Animated Series) and Dungeons & Dragons Eye of the Beholder. Just in case Dave is reading this, I just wanted to give him my sincere thanks. It's so fun to try new games.
Okay, that said, these are the WORST games I've ever seen. They're like three examples of how NOT to create an interesting game. Maybe I've spoiled myself because I've only spent money on the "top" games that I've read about online. At $55 a pop here in Spain - even for the bad titles - I've wanted to make sure I spent my money wisely. But these games are reeeeelly bad, and in interesting and varied ways.
First, Eye of the Beholder. It's a straight-port of the Circa 1990 PC game and it's reeeally bad. I have a 2 meg pirated ROM that I found a while ago. You can try it out if you want, just email me. I don't care if it's illegal to share it because it's THAT BAD. I mean, maybe in 1990 when CGA was all the rage, but now it's just insulting...
Second is Men in Black. It's a side-scroller. But after you've played something as fluid and creative as Yoshi's Island, this is like going back in time. It's just the same levels over and over again and your guy moves slow as death and doesn't jump unless he's "running".
Third is Spy Hunter. Again, this is horrible. They've tried to do some sort of 3D thing, but ended up with horrible blocky, barely-perceivable graphics and horrible controls. There's even this REALLY WEIRD "special agent" option where instead of killing the bad guys in the road, you kill chickens. The squawk and everything, I kid you not.
So this was a learning experience for me: Not every commercial game is a decent game. There are companies out there that are pushing licensed shit on unexpecting consumers all the time. Now here's the thing, I think if I saw MIB or Spy Hunter on my telephone, I'd be ecstatic, because I don't think that there's anything like these games out there just yet. But I don't know. Once I get my phone I'll be able to check out the latest from Handango and see what the state of the art is for Symbian games.
It'll be interesting, however, to see what happens when there IS quality games produced with the addition of interconnectivity with Bluetooth or internet...