Think of the Children for April 1

Think of the Children for April 1

Written by Randy Kalista on 4/1/2009 for DS   PC   PS3   PSP   Wii   360  

I feel sorry for Wii owners. But I’m not saying that to be coy: They’ve truly earned a heartfelt batch of empathy from me. All this talk about the platform being a joke and yet, fairly consistently, week after week, the Wii pushes more games through the grinder than the 360 and PS3 combined. Don’t worry, such a paradox isn’t lost on me and the arguments are obvious. Despite being a sweet, little baby Jesus of entertainment for the masses, the Wii all too rarely pulls off any miracles, promised or implied.

Perhaps Sega’s Let’s Catch for the Wii certainly is your first must-have of the year. The characters go outside and toss a ball around to each other. Oddly enough, grunts and hollers aren’t the topical conversation being passed around. Discussions about piano lessons, astrology (to include UFOs), hectic schedules, and even the topic of dating and romance get tossed around along with the ball. “I know that he and I could never really be together,” one character describes. “I’ve decided to never think about chasing a married man again.” And there you have it! It’s an E for Everyone-rated game of hot potato, played with your cleaned-up hosts, Dr. Drew and Adam Corolla.

The 360 and PS3 aren’t playing keep-away with any titles this week. For one, they’re both sharing the clean-lined animation of Mini Ninjas. The Everyone 10+ rating may fool you, but these diminutive saboteurs hail from Eidos, the house that built the filthy-mouthed and over-the-hill Kane & Lynch. But Mini Ninjas indeed has the Tabi boot on the other foot, even as Eidos bows to their new “Square Enix overlords,” as Chuck put it last week.

Wolfenstein 3D also earns a Mature rating for its upcoming resurrection (of sorts) on the 360 and PS3. Who knew that a game that’d launched two years before the ESRB was even formed would one day earn the Rating Board’s highest honor? (I say “highest honor” for an M rating since an Adults Only rating would relegate your game to the shady corners of the interweb, huddling with the tied-off tubes and used crack needles of collapsed-vein faire like RapeLay and Custer’s Revenge. And I’m pretty sure I just now threw up in my shoes.)

No word from the Mac this week. They made a good run of it there last week with the ratings for Red Alert 3: Uprising, Civilization IV, and Guitar Hero World Tour; but it’s all crickets and tumbleweeds for the moment. Perhaps Mac developers are waiting with bated breath to see if this whole OnLive, server-side, cloud-based gaming platform is really, really, really, we mean it this time, going to be the console/PC-hardware killer it looks to be on paper.

Also, don’t miss Nintendo’s next handheld iteration, the DSi, making its debut this week. Two Everyone-rated titles, both from Gameloft, are the first through the ESRB gate with Real Soccer 2009 and American Popstar Road to Celebrity. But don’t you fret, I rest assured knowing that three-and-a-half million baby simulators and dollhouse dress-up games are on their way. And even though several articles are popping up that denounce any real benefit from playing Brain Age and its like-minded kin, how could anyone pass on an opportunity to make lightning strike twice? And where’s the next Sudoku, for heaven’s sake? Because Uno Rush on XBLA may be a cute diversion and all, but it’s no substitute for a completely useless numbers exercise.

The Intriguing Title of the Week is going to LEGO Battles (E for Everyone on the DS). Who knew that finally dislodging itself from overused cultural icons--Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones--is all it would take to make the LEGO thing feel fresh again. This one’s going to be an RTS that pits classic LEGO setups against one another, this time without all those pesky, overly-familiar faces. There’s pirates vs. privateers, knights vs. dragons, and spacemen vs. aliens. All of it looks to be done without a single knowing wink to any already-existing movie or comic book property, so imagination is once again reintroduced into the LEGO franchise--a franchise that was built, brick by brick, on imagination, not licenses.

Title   Publisher   Rating   Platforms
Let's Catch  Sega Everyone Wii
Clueless Legacy Everyone 10+ PC
Ghostbusters: The Videogame Atari  Everyone 10+ PS2, PSP, Wii
Lottso! Express EA Everyone Web
Mini Ninjas Eidos Everyone 10+ Wii
Imagine Boutique Owner Ubisoft  Everyone DS
Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey ValuSoft Teen PC
MySims Racing EA Everyone DS
National Geographic: Herod's Lost Tomb ValuSoft Everyone PC
Real Soccer 2009 Gameloft  Everyone  DSi
Vertigo Playlogic Everyone  Wii
American Popstar Road To Celebrity Gameloft  Everyone  DSi
Party Pigs: Farmyard Games Destineer  Everyone  Wii
Roogoo Twisted Towers Southpeak Everyone  Wii
Demigod Stardock Teen  PC
Mini Ninjas Eidos Everyone 10+  PC, 360, PS3
Divas On Ice 505 Everyone  Wii
RETRO Arcade Featuring Pac-Man - TV Game Jakks Pacific Everyone  Plug-and-Play
Space Camp Activision-Blizzard  Everyone  DS
Wolfenstein 3D Activision-Blizzard  Mature  360, PS3
Turismo Carretera: Stock Cars Argentina 777 Studios  Everyone  PC
Drill Sergeant Mindstrong Xseed Everyone 10+  Wii
FUEL Codemasters  Everyone  PC, 360, PS3
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Codemasters   Mature   PC, 360, PS3
Penguins & Friends Gammick Everyone  Wii
Divas On Ice 505 Everyone  DS
LEGO Battles Warner Bros.  Everyone  DS
Bomberman '94 Hudson Everyone  Wii

Here’s the final tally on who, what and where everything was rated for last week. There were only 29 rated titles on 10 platforms (plug-and-play got in there again this week, along with a solo web browser title): 360 (4), DS (9), DSi (2), PC (8), Plug-and-Play (1), PS2 (1), PS3 (4), PSP (1), Web (1), and Wii (10). There were 24 of the 29 titles rated Everyone 10+ or lower, 2 rated Teen, and 2 titles (the aforementioned Wolfenstein 3D, and Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust) with Mature ratings. “Mature” is, of course, a relative term, regarding that latter title.

The running tally of game ratings in 2009 is as follows:

Rating   Count
Early Childhood 1
Everyone  256
Everyone 10+  61
Teen  89
Mature  24
Adults Only  0

Got a comment on the article or a rated game? Put it in the comments section or send me an e-mail. Until next week, make sure you know what your kids are playing…

*The weekly Intriguing Title of the Week (and any game that is tossed in that paragraph) is identified based on a game on the list that catches the eye of the author for any number of reasons. Good, bad or otherwise, feel free to agree, disagree or add some constructive input to the discussion.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Randy bought his way onto an underground rap compilation in jr. high, lettered in marching band, dropped out of business school, got a sharpshooter ribbon in the U.S. Navy, nabbed a B.A. in English & Writing, then entered the workforce as a corporate buyer. He's played video games the whole time. He lives with his wife and daughter in Oregon. View Profile

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