They're not the type of games that are gracing magazine covers and website home-pages. They probably have mild targets and low budgets. They're hardly blockbusters. But they've got me completely excited. It's made me realise that, sometimes, you don't always need a blockbuster. After all, video games are supposed to be fun, and their profiles are not necessarily connected to that.
Hands up if you've played Singularity yet? Two, three of you? Sounds about right. Blockbuster this ain't. Well actually, it has the potential to be. But the point is, it isn't. It's a middling, make-up the numbers affair. But it doesn't matter, because it's actually really good. It borrows a lot from other games, but it has enough of its own identity to warrant interest. Coming from Activision, it draws comparison to the Call Of Duty franchise. Singularity and Call Of Duty couldn't be further apart. One is a cultural phenomenon selling millions of copies around the world, the other was lucky to break into the UK's top 40. But there's not much between them. Don't get me wrong, despite their surface similarities they are different games — Singularity is all about adventure, Call Of Duty is about twitch — but when it comes to quality, what actually defines the blockbuster status of one above the other? Honestly, I think Singularity is a better game than, say, Modern Warfare 2 - so why is one selling gajillions more than the other?
It strikes me, some games just aren't about that. Some games can never be about that. Some games have to settle for low expectations by their very nature. But that doesn't lessen their value.
Take Everybody's/Hot Shots Tennis. It could be the best game ever built in the history of the industry. Would anyone beyond the franchise's fanbase care? A few thousand of you might be won over, but it's never going to blow the walls off is it? As it happens, Everybody's Tennis is not the best game ever created. Of course not. But it's a very, very good game all the same. In developing the PSP sequel to Everybody's Tennis, Clap Hanz must have been aware of the limited appeal of their game. Indeed, the PS3 version of Everybody's Golf: World Tour was a huge critical success — do you own it?
I find that, sometimes, these low expectation, small budget games outweigh my interest in others. There's something honest about them. They settle for simply being as fun as possible. I'm not saying the blockbusters don't want people to enjoy them either, but they often seem bogged down under the pressure of gigantic teams, million-dollar budgets, and huge features. Sometimes a game just needs a little bit of honesty.
Twiggy is an anonymous PushSquare columnist who has been spotted in three major cities across the globe. Its rumoured hes on the run from the British monarchy who accused him of treason.