9 best-selling video games that aren’t all that good
According to Roger Ebert, video games can never be art. Although that’s clearly a crock of shit, it’s hard to blame him for a belief like that when some of the best-selling video games also happen to be some of the least interesting ones. When developers are churning out unnecessary sequels and crappy movie games because they sell millions, the industry suffers. But maybe it’s our fault for buying them — here are nine best-selling video games that shouldn’t have sold nearly as well as they did.
Photo credit: striatic, Flickr
9 Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2) (3.1 million)
The first direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game, FFX-2 is actually kind of fun. Problem is, nobody’s going to admit that—in fact, you’d have a hard time finding anybody who will confess to actually playing the game, let alone enjoying it. This J-pop-themed romp places you in the high-heeled shoes of three singing, dancing, Charlies Angel-esque girls who whirl their way through adventure, changing costumes and putting on concerts to save the world. It’s almost emasculating to play through, to the point where you’ll want to quickly change channels if someone comes into the room. There’s no reason it should have sold so well, but it did. I keep my copy under the bed.
8 Uno (Xbox360 Live) (1 million)
It baffles me how a shovelware game like Uno can sell a million copies while fantastic gems like Suikoden and Zack & Wiki barely crack a dent in the market. If you bought this game, here’s a quick set of directions that might blow your mind. Go to www.google.com. Type in “free uno online.” Enjoy.
7 Scribblenauts (DS) (1 million)
I was so looking forward to this game. Hyped up as potentially the best game of its generation, Scribblenauts had a revolutionary concept: you could type any noun into the DS, and that word would instantly be recognized and created on your screen. Unfortunately, shoddy controls and boring goals led to an underwhelming release, and Scribblenauts never lived up to the expectations. Even the randomness wasn’t very interesting: creating zombies who ride unicorns might be funny for like a second, but then you’re just left thinking “what’s next?”
6 Monopoly (PS1) (1.03 million in US)
There was once a day when board games remained board games, but that day is long gone. Battleship is becoming a movie, Scrabble is all over Facebook, and Monopoly is a video game on just about every platform in existence—the game sold over a million copies on PlayStation alone. Too bad this version was plagued with AI ineptitude, inflexible rules, and silly graphics. Besides, half of Monopoly’s fun is getting to feel your thimble as you move it around the board, or secretly stealing from the bank.
5 Hannah Montana (DS) (1.3 million in US)
No comment necessary.
4 Black & White (PC) (2 million)
Here’s another victim of hype: Black & White was touted as a revolutionary game back in 2001, allowing an unprecedented level of character individualization. Like a pet, your creature would learn from how you treated it — stroke the beast after it destroys that village and you’ll have a rampaging monster on your hands, or just slap it and the creature won’t misbehave again. Sadly, the game fell short of its own lofty ambitions, and the gameplay itself wasn’t much fun outside of the complex creature simulation. If I wanted to play around with an oversized Tamagotchi, I’d have a kid.
3 Wii Fit (Wii) (22.61 million)
Let’s not even get started on the Wii and how it’s flooded the gaming market with an explosion of casual bullshit — it’s too depressing. But Wii Fit has astoundingly shipped more than twenty-two million copies. 22,000,000. That’s twenty-two times the number of copies your average best-selling game delivers, all for a novelty gimmick that most people will use once a week for a few months while promising to get into shape, then throw in the garage when they realize they’re not making any progress. Want to lose weight? Eat less and go to the gym; don’t buy more video games.
2 Nintendogs (DS) (23.26 million)
What’s frightening about Nintendogs isn’t the way it makes fake digital dogs so adorable that you’d probably do whatever they asked, nor is it the way that it forces you to constantly check your DS to check if your cyber-pet needs feeding or petting. No, what’s truly terrifying is that one day, you’ll be walking by the park, and instead of seeing happy owners chatting while their dogs jump and play, you’ll see a group of people all playing Nintendogs on their DS’s, occasionally looking up to scowl at one another. Please, don’t buy this game. Think of the puppies.
1 The Sims (PC) (16 million shipped)
The Sims is one of the most boring games on this planet.
Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe there’s something consistently appealing about a game with no objectives, no purpose, no real goal other than to watch little people eat and bathe and go to the bathroom. Maybe I’m too simple to understand why The Sims is the best-selling PC game of all time, spawning countless expansion packs and sequels. But I just can’t comprehend how this simulation sold sixteen million copies — there’s no enjoyment in playing with fake people who act like real people without personalities. Even if you do get to electrocute them in the shower.