This week, gaming site Polygon caused a mild furore by ranking their top 500 games of all time.
Indeed, there hasn’t been a fuss this middling since Eurogamer’s entire site was accidentally left on the back seat of the Swansea to London Eurobus. Our weekly Totally True Gaming News feature is nothing if not unoriginal and so have decided to follow suit, to a lesser degree. We are therefore proud-ish to present our top five games that, in a break from our usual policy of 100% accuracy, we made up by changing one letter in the title of existing games.
What’s worse than being drafted in at the last minute to help your boss present a conference speech? Noticing he’s had a trouser malfunction and is utterly unaware of it. Ballout confronted you with just such a scenario, tasking you with both protecting your boss’s dignity and alerting him to the issue.
And if this wasn’t enough, you also have to ensure none of the other attendees noticed the problem before your boss did, armed only with a broom handle and a set of presentation notes. Individual games rarely last longer than a few minutes, often ending in jeers from the assembled conference goers, but Ballout‘s “just one more go” quality always has us leaping back into the fray. Though steer clear of Ballout VR; we played it once and we’re still having nightmares.
4. Deal Rising
There are few things more horrifying than zombies, one of those being TV presenter Noel Edmonds. Deal Rising takes place in a horrific, alternative world where a viral outbreak had transformed 87% of the world’s populace into the bearded ex-Multi-Coloured Swap Shop host. Those who survive have to remain constantly on the move for fear of being captured and forced to appear in a particularly bloody version of Deal or No Deal.
This Mad Max-style survival game is notable for its massive, procedurally generated world as well as the beard physics used on each of the horrific, grinning Edmondses. Deal Rising‘s finest moment by far, though, is the climatic boss battle which sees multiple Noels coalescece into one horrifying gestalt, a fleshy Mr Blobby. Annihilating it, one Noel Edmonds at a time, is an experience so memorable that it will stay with us for years to come.
3. Womb Raider
Womb Raider’s premise is that, following a near death experience, Tomb Raider Lara Croft decides to do something less altruistic than stealing treasure and shooting animals in the face. Thus begins her career as a globe-trotting midwife, using her mountaineering and trekking skills to bring assisted childbirth to places other medical professionals couldn’t reach.
It’s a real change of tack for Tomb Raider but it’s paid off, giving the series a much needed shot in the arm. We’ve ploughed hours into Womb Raider, losing sleep in an effort to take Roach27’s spot on the “Most Babies Birthed” leaderboard. And who can forget the game’s cliff-hanging (literally) climax which saw Lara swinging across a chasm, using a rope crafted from day-old umbilical cords.
It could have done with fewer quick-time events, though.
2. Assassin’s Creep
The most recent entry in our top five, Assassin’s Creep casts you as a Ubisoft executive, tasked with sucking all the joy out of the Assassin’s Creed series. You’re given five in-game years to reach your ultimate goal, an Assassin’s Creed game where every single in-game mechanic was 100% chargeable.
The game’s most memorable feature is the Frog-o-meter which depicts an amphibian seated in a pan of slowly heating water. The more visibly perturbed he becomes, the more likely it is that the gaming public is going to rail against your money-grubbing, fun-quenching tactics. And while the strategies you employ in-game are questionable at best, we gained a real sense of achievement from (virtually) turning gaming into a joyless, microtransaction laden grind.
1. Pocket League
But while the above titles have all earned their place in our top five, our number one has to be the insanely addictive Pocket League, a game we still play to this day. A follow-up to 2005’s Pocket Billiards, Pocket League has you managing and controlling a team of tiny, tiny footballers. Can you guide your team to victory, or will your quest come to a sticky end when they fall off the table that serves as the game’s primary pitch?
Developer Psychoxenoxx’s refusal to rest on their laurels has ensured that Pocket League is in no danger of becoming stale, having added a number of additional elements to the game. The latest free update, the “Hair of the Mog” pack, further changes things up by adding a cat to the game. While the feline doesn’t directly attack players, each match there’s a 1 in 6 chance that it will cough up a hairball onto the table, giving you an additional obstacle to negotiate.
The game’s robust online and offline play modes ensures that we’ll be playing Pocket League for many years to come. Or at least until it gets bought up by EA who will cram Pocket League so full of microtransactions and loot boxes that we start to hate the very sight of the game.
And that’s week’s Totally True Gaming News Special. Join us next week when we realise that nothing we could make-up even comes close to the sheer insanity the Triple A industry is capable of.