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Let’s face it! When a video game series sells enough copies of a game, the developer realizes that they might have a real success story on their collective hands. Sometimes a few gems come out with one great main character, stars in a few games, rounds out his or her epic tale and then he or she is put to bed and only lives on in our hearts and dreams as a memorable time that we will treasure forever. Sometimes though, a game company will realize that as long as they keep kicking out games, raving children of the world will whine and complain until their parents cave and spend their hard-earned money to quiet the shrill cry of their little ones. Then (and no one is more guilty of this video game sin than Nintendo) these beloved characters of our past are re-released about four hundred times to squeeze every last cent out of them. So, for the uninitiated, I have compiled a list of five of the characters that need to retire and play Canasta until they die.
Let’s kick off this list of ancients with a character that, while not exactly playble, is still one of the biggest offenders of the money squeeze.
Umbrella has been around since the first Resident Evil game back in 1996 and has gone through fifteen games (released) and two games (unreleased), and has to be the one company with the WORST track record in history. I honestly cannot imagine how this company keeps its funding when it seems as though every other day they have some kind of chemical or biological weapon spill that causes zombification. Seriously. They describe their research as pharmaceuticals, medical hardware, defense, and computers along with more “clandestine” (aka bad idea) operations, such as genetic engineering and viral weaponry. But after seventeen zombie outbreaks, I think that their real goal is just to create zombie situations and tell the world to deal with it for their own entertainment. After 17 games and 16 years of horrid zombie attacks, not to mention an ungodly amount of books and 4 movies with another one on the way, I think it’s time to close shop.
Game Appearances: 18
In 1986, the first Metroid game blasted onto the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game had a great storyline about a female bounty hunter who is on a mission to the planet Zebes as she tries to rescue Metroid creatures from evil space pirates, who in turn want to harvest and breed them for (nefarious?) purposes. The game, while great, refuses to reveal that Samus is female until the end of the game. Why? Possibly because if they revealed the she was lacking man parts at the beginning, gamers all over the world would have had a sudden case of head implosion while demanding a sandwich. Through the 25 years and eleven games that Samus has been in, you would think that the constant fighting would begin to take its toll on her, yet she continues to remain strong in her ass kickery. While the Metroid series has been beaten to death, most of the games were outstanding. However, when you look at every Metroid game that has been released over the years, the timeline has been so screwed that not even Stephen Hawking could untangle that mess. Just as an example, the first Metroid game that came out in 1986 was followed storywise by Metroid: Zero Mission, which came out in 2004. This is five games later, mind you.
Games Appearances: 11
Lara Croft first hit the scene back in 1996 with Tomb Raider: a series featuring a woman with way too much time on her hands, a few billion in the bank, a serious gun fetish, and extremely top heavy…erm…feminine assets. She spends her time exploring areas that I am positive some ancient civilizations would object to. She has fired off more combined rounds than the US military, and has captivated more small children than fuzzy adult films that barely come in through the cable. For precisely those reasons though, she has been the star of 11 (ten and one upcoming) games — okay, 10 games and one remake of the first and two movies — and will continue to sell copy after copy until Tomb Raider Senior Citizen: The Quest for the Golden Adult Diaper.
Games Appearances: 11
The Legend of Zelda series first appeared back in 1986, and featured Link, who was on a quest to save his beloved Zelda from Gannon who kidnapped her. Great idea for a game. Unfortunately, Nintendo has re-released the first Zelda game for the last 26 years with the exception of a few games. Now, it is one thing to take the “if it’s not broke” approach, and it is quite another thing to copy and paste the game ad nauseum. This is one of Nintendo’s largest sins. If you take bits and pieces of a great game and improve upon it and add a new story then that’s continuing a great series. If you see a new game system come out and immediately think NEW GRAPHICS QUICK START THE MONEY MACHINE, it’s time to shoot one of Link’s famous arrows into your own chest.
Games Appearances: 18
We all knew that this was coming. If you’re sitting and staring at your screen with a shocked look on your face, you need to go play “let’s drink the chemicals under the sink” right now. Mario has had his grubby little Italian fingers in our lives since 1981, when his name was Jump Man and Donkey Kong chucked barrels at him. Since then, he has appeared in just about every genre of video game including sports and racing. I’m not saying that Mario games are horrible and need to be buried in the desert (a la E.T.), but what I am saying is that after Mario Golf, Mario Kart, appearances in various basketball games, Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers and roughly fourteen million other Mario games, it’s time to send a letter to Nintendo that begs them to let the 31-year old plumber fade away. Mario has always been trying to save Princess Peach from Bowser (who has some serious rejection issues) and along the way he goes into pipes, rides a green dinosaur, collects feathers that let him fly, collects flowers that let him shoot fire, has his little mushroom buddies help him and collects millions of coins. No, I am not doing any drugs. That’s really what he does. Mario, we love you. We always have and we always will, but after more than 200 appearances it’s time to find a nice little villa in Miami and retire with your massive amounts of coins.
Game Appearances: Over 200
The thing that game companies need to realize is that while we love and adore these characters, sometimes it’s best to simply sit back and let them fade. Go back to the drawing board and come up with some new characters. Here’s an idea. How about a hero made of toilet paper who must traverse a giant bathroom and land on the toilet paper roll in time for the family that lives in that levels house to use him. Okay, so it’s not great but at least it’s something new.
Let the hate comments commence!