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    Top 10 - Games to keep you sane...
    Wednesday, 20 August 2008
    I've taken the liberty of kicking off the 'Top 10' feature with games to take your frustration out on, and generally keep you sane after being stamped on by the boot of life every day. Please feel free to add in the comments any game think deserves to be added to the list.

    1. Crackdown

    We've all got to the point where we just want to go all Incredible Hulk after being pushed a bit too far. You just want to pick up the desk you're at, hurl it through the wall. Let rip an epic roar, dousing the offending antagonist with saliva, and jump through the ceiling landing a mile or so away on an unsuspecting car with the intention of throwing the closest pedestrian into the rapidly approaching police vehicles.

    Okay, that might just be me but Crackdown allows you to do things to this effect – while, I might add, allowing the player to keep the moral high ground. Crackdown is the ultimate in stress relief. None of this 'story' rubbish, no invisible walls or need to reserve ammo.You do what you want and your reward is that you get better at... whatever it is you were doing. If along the way you want to takeout a few mobsters, that's your choice. As long as things are burning, or are about to burn, you're playing the game right. It's more fun than working in a trampoline factory, getting paid by the bounce.

    2. Project Gotham Racing

    I've been with the PGR series ever since Metropolis Street Racer. "It's not how fast you drive, it's how you drive fast." That's one of the joys of the game; the controls are tight letting you swing your fantastically expensive cars round the narrowest bends with the perfect balance of ease and necessary technique. Also, in the same way X-Box 360 gamers have a Pavlovian response to the sound of an achievement popping up, the sound of 'Kudos' racking up is a heavenly sound, especially when accompanied by tire squealing. If you're lucky enough, or unlucky depending on whether you like these places, to live in one of the in-game cities you'll appreciate the deserted roads...something you'll never see in London. For the ultimate in stress relief, I recommend playing Cat'n'Mouse online. As a racing game, you're meant to race, not collide or put you opponent off in any way. Cat'n'Mouse, however, is about crashing into the other team, and not just that, you are actually meant to bully their weakest car. It sounds brutal... and it is.

    3. Burnout: Paradise

    You've had a long day at work, you're stuck in traffic on the bus or in your car, you're probably going to get angry, rattled, frustrated - not too unlike a caged animal. It isn't how anyone should end his or her day really, step forward Burnout: Paradise. If PGR was about how you drive fast Burnout:Paradise is basically about how much rampant destruction you can cause while driving fast.

    Opponent getting on your nerves? Introduce them to a wall. It's the kind of instantly satisfying justice that you wish you could deal out in real life when say, babies are crying on public transport, or when someone sends you grammatically incorrect texts to save time. Burning rubber, high speeds, twisted metal, solid walls; it's the ingredients for one hell of a time. Remember kids, speed doesn't kill you, it's the sudden lack of it, that's the real killer.

    4. Eledees

    No one likes living in a messy house but it is undeniably fun making a mess. Eledees gives you a gravity gun and doesn't care much for the whole cleaning up thing. With the use of the WiiMote your job is to smash things around the place looking for little critters to trap and enslave, giving you more power to throw around bigger things. It's a wonderful cycle of destruction and mayhem. Combine that with the little screams of fear that the Eledees emit while you hunt them down, and you can be your own little family friendly dictator.

    5. SingStar

    Not much to point out here. Scream as loud as you can and pretend you can actually sing, don't worry, you can't. Then get rated on how you did by the most generous and easy to trick scoring ever conceived. Might not sound like much fun but it is. If that still doesn't sound appealing, something you can apply to life as a whole to vastly improve it, just as alcohol.

    6. Earth Defence Force 2017

    "EDF!! EDF!!", music to my ears. Earth Defence Force is a thing of beauty. It knows it is rubbish, you know it is rubbish - I know it is absolute rubbish. However unlike most games, that is half of the fun. In the same kind of way as Crackdown, mass killing equals bigger mass killing. The more you play, the more health you get, the bigger weapons you are rewarded with. You'll be pretty pleased when you get the Tortoise, a slow moving, homing tactical nuke. You'll be even more pleased when you find out that later on you'll get weapons that make the Tortoise look like a pea-shooter.

    There really is nothing like seeing the horizon of a ruined Tokyo city at sun down fill up with giant ants as you fire off your Prominence MA. As you turn to face the next wave, and your missile crashes into the alien hordes, you won't fail to smile at the ants' death screams and their lifeless corpses as they blot out the sun. Play this in co-op and prepare to lose hours to it. I dare you not to smile.

    7. Tori-Emaki

    Okay, so a theme that might be emerging here is that violence means stress relief (Yes, I'm including the abuse of music in SingStar) so I thought I would have a bit of variation and that comes in the form of Tori-Emaki. Tori-Emaki isn't really a game though. It's more of a Playstation Eye based flash game. By imitating a Thunderbird puppet on an LSD induced trip you can manoeuvre a flock of crows around a traditional Japanese wood block print style landscape, accompanied with suitably breezy and relaxing music. It sounds stupid but don't underestimate the power of acting like at total inbred moron.

    8. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition

    A game where you can suplex a zombie, making it's head explode. Where you can cap someone in the knees and then round-house kick them in the face. A game where one of the bad guys is an evil midget. It has everything.

    9. Assassin's Creed

    Love it or hate it - I don't care. There's no better way to utilise your pent up frustration than becoming a 12th century parkour enabled assassin stalking the holy land. One of the key reasons there is so much enjoyment to get out of the game is because Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, or Altaïr for short, has a real physical presence within the game world. If a beggar woman is annoying you, "Please sir, can I have some money?", don't settle for what you'd do in most other games and just kill her, do the humane thing, chuck her down some stairs and watch her roll. If that sound bite, "No you don't understand, I have nothing!", is really getting on your nerves and you have a brick wall at hand, smack her into it before she can shriek her last syllable. Just before people get up in arms about me being sexist, you can apply exactly the same method to the lepers - it's just they don't annoy me as much by repeating the same ear shattering sound bite at me for the nth time.

    Swords and hordes are also on the menu as the enemy guards will actively stand by as you slaughter them one by one. It's a pretty rhythmic fighting system which I think suits the game. You can't beat the feeling when your sword connects perfectly and are rewarded with a bloody neck exploding execution.

    Now picking the final game has caused me a few problems. Do I go with Portal and the energy contained within its gameplay, Mario Galaxy where I can bound planets or a thousand other different games that should really get a mention? Like I said earlier, feel free to tell me in the comments of games you would add to the list.

    Finally, my number 10 goes to...

    10. Super Stardust HD

    I love this game. I loved it when it first came up and I loved it even more when trophy support was added. A game that fits in that wonderful bracket of easy to learn, difficult to master. I'll try and get my lyrical waxing out of the way quickly. The game looks phenomenal in all its 1080p glory. There is so much going on that certain tasks, like surviving for 7 minutes without dying in Endless Mode, are incredibly daunting but the game is so easy to get into, and so inviting to learn, that most will find it a joy to attempt such challenges.

    There were two things that convinced me to put SSHD in my list. First, setting off nukes, sending a shock wave around the planet ripping to pieces anything in it comes into contact with, is awesome. Second, my experience of trying to get the 'Late Boomer' trophy. For this trophy you try and recoup 15 bombs on a rapidly busier planet where your only form of defense is swift dodging and bombs, the latter of which you really need to hold onto if you want the trophy. I managed to get 14 bombs and then those masochistic red triangles of death started to land and I though I was about to be annihilated again. I manage to swerve out the way for about 10 seconds missing rocks by only a pixel's width. Desperation sets in, my heart is pumping. Suddenly I see the supply ship carrying two bombs halfway across the planet. I boost. I detonate. As two magic bomb tokens hover in infinity, so close yet so far, the universe is coming for me. The massive gold asteroids want me, the myriad of rocky debris want me and the red triangles of death are coming for me, building in number. In blind hope I swoop. 13. 14. 15.

    I've done it.

    Shock, joy, relief. I've f*cking done it.

    As the Trophy message acknowledges my achievement, I am blinked out of existence by the force of the universe.
    And that, dear readers, is the last time I will ever play the 'Bomber' mode on SSHD.

    There we have it, 10 games to keep you sane.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    posted by Daft @ 09:30  
    • At 23 August 2008 at 00:09, Blogger zsdfgazdfzd said…

      Not really a vent-your-frustration game, but since you've included a fecking screensaver (for feck's sake), I nominate Rez. Which is an actual game. With a weapon and everything. It's superb chillout fun, something like the videogame equivalent of getting pleasantly stoned, instead of violently drunk. You lose yourself in it. Completely. And when you finally regain consciousness a few hours or - if you're channelling Hunter S. Thompson - weeks later, you can't remember for the life of you what had been making you wanna go HULKSMASH! all day.

      Moreover, no bile-spewing, spleen-venting, dog-punching top ten could go without an honourable mention of... wait for it...

      Lego Indiana Jones. No, don't spit your tea. Just go and smack Short Round into the lava. Go on. Do it. Then do it again. And again.

      See what I mean?


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