Tim’s Top Twosday: Biggest Gaming Letdowns

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another edition of Tim’s Top Twosday!

Last week, I discussed two of the most powerful scenes I’ve encountered in a video game. This week, I’m taking things in a different direction and counting down my top two biggest letdowns in gaming.

When I think of video games (which, let’s face it, is more often than is healthy), I typically ruminate on the good times; the halcyon days of Mario, Sonic, and Final Fantasy. I don’t like to think about the times when my favorite hobby let me down, but today, that’s exactly what I aim to do. Here are two instances that really strained my relationship with games (one of which I mentioned on the latest episode of The Tim And Andy Show):

#2 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

top_two_0Before I go on, I have to get one thing out of the way: There’s nothing wrong with Modern Warfare 2. It’s a perfectly good game; it just wasn’t the game I wanted it to be.

I had a great time experiencing the story of the first Modern Warfare, and my anticipation for the inevitable sequel was palpable. I was expecting bigger and better set pieces, more engaging dilemmas, and a generally kickass time.

Three hours into the game, I wanted my money back. I don’t play shooters for the multiplayer, and it was obvious that Activision was focusing on the multiplayer above all else.

The story was dynamic and intriguing, and the game did deliver the cool set pieces I was looking forward to. In the end, though, it was just too short. Even though it was a well-made game, I felt criminally let down when the credits rolled.

#1 Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron

top_two_1As a kid, there was almost nothing I enjoyed more than cracking open a Coca-Cola with some friends and popping in Toejam & Earl, one of the most entertaining two-player romps ever to grace a TV. I probably put 500 hours into that cartridge as I collected presents, avoided hula girls, and answered map-revealing telephones.

One day, a buddy of mine called me up and told me he’d received the sequel for his birthday. Naturally, I rushed over to play it. I was expecting more funkadelic random dungeon goodness, more varied levels, new goofy player ranks, and more insane presents. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This was a case of “It’s not broke? Well then let’s break it.” The developers drastically changed the gameplay, delivering a mediocre side-scrolling platformer in which you capture humans to get them off your planet.

Looking back, it’s an okay game. It’s still funky fresh, and the premise is actually pretty clever. It even has some cool minigames thrown in for good measure. But at the time, I wanted to scream in betrayal.

I’ve been let down before, but those are my top two biggest letdowns in gaming. Be sure to stop by next Tuesday, when I’ll be highlighting two of the greatest arcade conversions.

  • Greg Johnson

    Hi there. I’m the designer of all of the Toejam and Earl games. You might be interested to know that we started to make a sequel that was just like game one and we got about 3 months into development when Sega asked us to change direction and make a side-scrolling platformer instead. So we did. It’s almost always the people paying for development that call the shots. In any event I am now setting about making (at long last) a true sequel to game one, as an indie title. If you have a chance, check out my Facebook Page called Toejam and Earl.

    • Tim Evans

      That’s fantastic! Thanks for your reply and letting us all know about this project.
      I will say again that after my initial letdown as a kid, as a young adult I enjoyed Funkotron just not as much as the original for its multiplayer. The personality was certainly there though, and the music. Love that early 90’s style.

      • Greg Johnson

        Hi Tim. Thanks for the note. I’m glad you eventually enjoyed the second game. It gave us a chance to show their home planet which was actually a lot of fun.

        • Tim Evans

          It was fun to see where they came from and other characters in their home world. I think as a kid I wasn’t able to appreciate this look into the duo, but I went back (playing in lil’ Kid Mode because I’m hardcore like that) to explore the world and try to find all the presents and get good at the minigames, especially the simon-says style dancing one. Boom shAka Clap!

          • Greg Johnson

            HaHa! People often remember the Boom and the Clap but forget what the one for the “A” button was. Nicely done! Yeah it makes for good memories. I’m going to try and capture that spirit again in the new game.