Honestly, I bought it saturday. Ill admit, im a sucker for a bargain game and scooped it after i saw that 20 dollar price drop in my email on friday. I don’t think its half bad. The animals are cute, and its fun in a sadistic kind of way to punish them with my shovel of doom for doing stupid stuff like attacking one another for no reason. Its a sandbox game thats peaceful, something i need after shooting for hours straight in the ever so brilliant Gears of War, or hacking zombies heads off left and right in Dead Rising(which was only amusing until the shock value wore off). And on tuesday, after im finished in my english course itll take the ultimate test presented by a college student. I will play this game absolutely stoned out of my hecking mind.
If one of the only fun options in the game is sadistic violence, and sadistic violence isn’t the main thrust of the game, that means it’s a bad game. It’s like defending the game because you can use the disc as a frisbee. Good on you for making the most of a boring situation, I guess, but a tall finger and a heck-boo for the game designers, yeah?
That these are the people who Microsoft chose to buy in order to add some variety to the XBox’s repetoire is… interesting. Can’t wait to see how BanjoFetchquest 360 turns out. Maybe they’ll interrupt the gameplay every time your character does something with a little text box to tell you your character’s just done something.
Actually, having thought about it, it’s -genius-. It’s existentialism in videogames. With all those popup messages the game is obviously reminding you that 1) It exists and 2) Reminding you that you’re playing it proves it exists.
I was curious in seeing what this site had to offer in terms of an independent reviews after reading the post on Kotaku. However, i’m finding that I am disappointed at the quality more than anything else. What is supposed to be the point of the message? More than half of the reviews is a long, angry, whining rant directed at Microsoft and Rare. Only at the beginning and end does it talk about the game and only at the end does it give any solid criticism towards the gameplay itself. So what if Microsoft is shelling out an extremely focused TV show towards kids based on this game? That has nothing to do with the game at all. Games, despite their possible cultural value, are ultimately products aimed at selling to make a company profit.
As a simulation game at heart, the focus is not ultimately not on the player as a character himself, but on the environment and the inhabitants that are present. The Sims is an incredible example of how that kind of external focus and control can attract a wide variety of age groups and demographics towards gaming. Viva Pinata exists very much within that genre and is a very polished title considering.
That being said, I don’t think that you are completely wrong. There is a very valid critcism in Rare’s choice to give the player an award for nearly every action that he takes. While it is an attractive idea to keep a player interested in the game, it also diminishes any sense of effort or skill when nearly every action results in some sort of positive reward.
My only criticism of you is that when giving a review of a game, stick to the game and ignore the connecting marketing ploys and products unless they have a relevant point to the gameplay or story in some way. Everythings else is just desending into some sort of fanboy slather that has little relevance and is pitiful to read.
I agree with MirraRaenn. This review is too much of an angry rant to really provide insight into the game. After reading reviews of Twilight Princess and God Of War, I was impressed with this website’s ability to analyze the core of a game and i was particularly impressed by the likening of GoWII to the “action button/roll” in Ocarina of Time. It strikes me as similar to channel surfing: not actually seeking something to watch but simply enjoying the visual and auditory response of pressing a button.
Many games, Viva Pinata included rely on the player simply to move the game along but not affect things in any other way. Sure, almost every garden created in VP will look the same as any other and there isn’t any “freedom” or “choice.” However, you are too quick to dismiss these kinds of games. You say you play games for fun and these simple, linear games can be “fun” even if they are not not a deep, rewarding experience. Viva Pinata for example, at least provides visual pleasure for completing certain actions. In the same way pressing the action button in OoT is fun, creating a garden and WATCHING it grow is fun. There can even be a sense of satisfaction from these almost mindless actions. It is satisfying to light a twig on fire and light another torch in Twilight Princess and in that way, it is a fun game, granted it is also techincally “busywork.”
My point is that certainly the most rewarding and fun games are challenging, skill-testing games that offer a sense of freedom, but simple, almost menial games can be enjoyable in a way too. I just hope that in the future you will acknowledge that games like this can be fun (although maybe not worth $60) at least in a certain sense because sometimes people are just looking for a chance to “numb the pleasure centers of their brain.” That being said, i still admire this site’s unique voice and insight into the heart of a game. Keep up the good work. Gaming really does need a pitchfork.
“Viva Pinata for example, at least provides visual pleasure for completing certain actions.”
You’ve noticed a Jamtelope! He’s come to have a gander at all of the Chuckleroot Bushes you’ve been planting! You get a GOLD STAR! Check your awards to see your GOLD STAR!!
congratulations, you made fun of my post. i figured someone would, but i was hoping i wouldnt have to elaborate on my point.
obviously i dont mean that its fun just to see a new “jamtelope” but it is satisfying to get a visual indication of the progress you’ve made in the game. It’s like trying to fill up the trophy room in NFL 2K5 (the best football game in recent times), sure all the trophies are meaningless and arent actually helping you, but you still try to get them just to see the room fill up.
Yeah, but those are just hecking gold stars. They’re a buck a pack at Office Max. It’s applause for doing nothing.
How about this: if Viva Pinata 2 gives you TWICE AS MANY rewards, will that game be TWICE AS GOOD for you?
Bret, if it makes you feel better, I worked on NFL 2K5. I’m in the credits, even.
I give the credits 1/2.
“It strikes me as similar to channel surfing: not actually seeking something to watch but simply enjoying the visual and auditory response of pressing a button.”
Hey this is pretty good!
You should submit a review!
I played Viva Pinata for the first time yesterday and must say as much as I enjoyed the visual and aural ambiance of the game, I got sick of being kept away from the gameplay by awards, messages, new gardening titles (I don’t even know what these were about), alerts, new helpers, new shops, fights, ‘romance quests’, new pinatas etc.
Over half of these were accompanied by unskippable videos, the worst part being that time did not stand still during them.
I needed to get back to kill the evil pinata, dammit!
Speaking of death, am I the only one who found it wrong to have cutesy characters that you can give nicknames to, only to have some other paper-mache parasite bust it’s head open and eat the sweet, sweet innards? I felt a bit ill watching my creatures explore each others’ insides whether Rare says they’ll ‘enjoy’ it or not.
And far far too many shovels are given. I don’t know what the difference is between any of them, and at one point I got 3 in a row without using any of them.
Rare needed to make the game experience sweeter and bury the saccharine sycophancy.
“Games, despite their possible cultural value, are ultimately products aimed at selling to make a company profit.”
I just read this review, probably about two years after it was posted and I’m kind of surprised that no one replied to this one.
What an apathetic view of things to take. I like Action Button because it is critical thinking in a medium that seems to exist in a vacuum — where no such discourse is otherwise taking place (at least on the internet).
If we want to boil everything down to the defense of sales efforts then we might as well give up on being a species that creates art. Sure, there will always be summer blockbuster movies, asinine pop songs and reality TV shows but does that mean we give up on advancing those art forms just because they have a longer, historical pedigree?
Games can contribute to a body of important culture if we don’t resign to a medium of pulp. Everything a people produces contributes to its cultural legacy whether they like it or not.
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