Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Best Video Game of 2009

By Josh Cain * Other Josh Cain Posts

              Before I submit to you my selection for the best video game of 2009, I want to clarify that I am not judging by the normal video game standards such as graphics, game play, story, or even multiplayer.  As a hardcore gamer, I recognize that Assassin’s Creed 2 is far more beautiful, Batman: Arkham Asylum more innovative, Uncharted 2 more engaging, and Modern Warfare 2 more addictive than my favorite game of last year. All that being said, New Super Mario Bros. Wii defeats the competition in what is perhaps the most critical category of all: You can play it with girls. 

              To say that girls suck at video games is a gross generalization. I myself have had the pleasure of playing Halo against the Frag Dolls, a team of legitimately attractive professional female gamers, and while for the most part I slaughtered them like a wolf among lambs, some actually gave me a run for my money. Also, the number of female gamers has dramatically increased in recent years as Nintendo has released a steady supply of quality titles encouraging players to play with puppies and not get fat. Therefore, I am in no way trying to be misogynistic when I say that most girls, when handed a controller, are incapable of fragging noobs or landing sick 15-hit combos. In truth, “girl” could just as easily be “old man” (over the age of 35) or any other person who didn’t grow up with a controller in their hand and who, unlike me, is more comfortable moving and looking around using their body rather than two joysticks.

              When I tell girls that I’m super into video games, they usually stop talking to me. Those who are too drunk or desperate to leave invariably try to engage me by telling me that they haven’t played a game since Mario Brothers, but they really liked that. mildly abrupt transition.  Josh’s Law: every girl on Earth has, at some point, played Mario Brothers. This simple fact makes New Super Mario Brothers Wii instantly accessible to the Non-gamer sex. Even if there is some crazy circumstance in which she has never played Mario, the inherent simplicity of being able to say, “Here are two buttons. Move to the right, jump, and try not to die” means that anyone can pick it up and play

                Rock Band is the only other game that comes close to being as female friendly, but I don’t really count it as a “video game” in the traditional sense of the word. Mario has levels, power-ups, bosses – in short, it’s an honest to God video game…and GIRLS will play it with you! It used to be that if I invited a girl back to my place to “play video games” it was equivalent to crudely propositioning her for sex as we would both find the idea of actually PLAYING games upon reaching my room laughable. One time in college I brought a girl home under these pretenses not realizing the guy I shared my room with was working on a paper and I had to suffer through actually playing a game with the girl. Suffice it to say I never saw her again. 

              The joy of the new Mario is that it has something for everybody. To the hardcore gamers reading this, realize that while the lady friend that you somehow managed to lure into your home is enjoying the cute characters, accessible gameplay and nostalgia of the game, you can be appreciating the legitimately challenging levels, hidden items, and upgraded gameplay features. You’ll also both get a kick out of the penguin suit, but for entirely different reasons. The key element that differentiates Mario from the competition, however, is the key word that I keep using - “with.” Mario Wii is the first in the series to be truly multi-player, and it is an amazing experience. To imagine it, think of Mario 3, then think of Mario 3 with two people playing at the SAME TIME. If you’re reading this sentence you didn’t do it right, because if you did YOUR HEAD WOULD EXPLODE. The fact that you can have four people going at once makes it all the more phenomenal. Depending on your skill level, you can either be relying on your teammates to save you when you’re about to die or revel in the added challenge of having people jump on your head and throw shells at you when you’re trying to time a critical jump. 

            Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was have people over for an afternoon to play games, hang out, and eat pizza. I still enjoy doing this, but as I’ve matured I’ve begun actually talking to women and, as such, have developed female friends. Until Mario Wii came along, I was not able to share this most essential of bonding experiences, the play date, with 50% of my friends. Now, thanks to Mario, I can feel comfortable inviting girls over to play a game without them thinking I’m trying to seduce them. For this reason alone, I award Mario the top prize of 2009. Also it’s ridiculously fun.

1 comment:

  1. Wait, you're implying that 50% of your friends are females???