Cartoon Platformers, it’s like giving LSD to your fingers…

July 16, 2008 § 6 Comments

I was going to do something on Call of Duty 4 because well.. Call of Duty 4 might just be the best online experience ever, (here’s hoping for MAG though!). But alas! I’m writing this post to make myself feel a bit better. You see life threw a big fuck off lesson at me yesterday in the form of spending two hours asleep in a cell at 3a.m. in Paddington, so onto a cheerier note.My favourite franchise of all time without shame is Ratchet and Clank, a third person platformer about a cross breed between a fox and a midget that’s apparently called a “Lombax” and his robot friend, Clank. There is a reason for this being my favourite franchise and I couldn’t explain it in a simpler way. Right go onto google and search “define:fun”. The first result that comes up is a list of four possible definitions:

– activities that are enjoyable or amusing; “I do it for the fun of it”; “he is fun to have around”
– verbal wit or mockery (often at another’s expense but not to be taken seriously); “he became a figure of fun”; “he said it in sport”
– violent and excited activity; “she asked for money and then the fun began”; “they began to fight like fun”
– playfulness: a disposition to find (or make) causes for amusement; “her playfulness surprised me”; “he was fun to be with”

from the site: wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

I can say without a doubt, Ratchet and Clank meet all the criteria above. I wont just write on Ratchet and Clank no but I’ll use it as an example and take out the best points in hope Nintendo are listening in… Ratchet and Clank have had 4 console releases, (ignoring Ratchet: Deadlocked which is non-existent in my eyes because of the high points it scored on the “shitness” scale), and each individual game you can pick up and play without having to know about the storyline behind it. The writers and the voice actors really bring about the light-heartedness of a platformer and if any thing make the cutscenes and the story interesting and engaging. Couple this with the fact that each level design, weapon design, enemy appearances are original to a tee just like the storyline. Let me give you an example with the variety it has. In the latest Ratchet and Clank, you can throw a disco ball up into the air and every enemy on screen instantly become incapicitated due to dance. In the first Ratchet and Clank, the storyline is about some nutter who wants a planet so much, he’s stealing bits of other ones and putting it all together. The second Ratchet and Clank is about an evil furbie, and the third is the really kick ass one with the really evil kick ass boss and everything about Ratchet is kick ass. The best thing about it, is that Insomniac made this game without taking it seriously. The cheesy “save the universe” fights are there to be fun and basically quite funny. Never does it try and send out a moral message or something weird about love to gamers who just want to blow things up in Looney Tunes world. With this said, I don’t like the new turn it has in Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction and also what seems will happen again in Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty. Any cartoon platformer that takes itself seriously will make anyone cringe and it’s because it defies the whole point of it.

The Jak and Daxter series I think is also amazing. It’s different though, much harder and it is recommended you start with the first one to fully understand the storyline in the later ones. With that said the end of Jak III epitamises everything that is good about platformer storylines because the ending to the series is fantastic and very cleverly done. Here’s something for Trolleydude! I remember when microsoft first released Xbox, I’d plead for my parents to take me window shopping at Toys ‘R Us so I could play this game. Blinx: The Time Sweeper. The first thing I’ll say about it is going to be that the storyline was weak… I felt there could be potential for something amazing here which could be resulting in us seeing something like “Blinx: The Intergalactic Space Time Continuum Transmorpher.” Let’s face it, a game based on working around time shouldn’t have enemies called, “Time Monsters.” Call them the “pedos” or something for dramatic effect but originality points are pissed away here. The gameplay however is rather… orgasmic. There are items that aid you with your time attacks and the time controls are very similar to that of a VCR, with Rec, Fw, Rewind etc. You actually have to use techniques cleverly and the graphics for such effects not only look amazing but are almost realistic in the context, which is strange for a cartoon platformer.

What do the games mentioned have in common? They’re actually fun to play. Remember a time when gaming was more gameplay than who had better graphics or who has superior online multiplayer capabilities. I’m not being a hypocrite, although I love such things developers had that originality about them before which they could bring out in cartoon platformers rather than focus majority of their energy on how to make the water look realistic. Take out realism and physics and accurate graphics for a protagonist, you get a cartoon platformer. Spend the time developers are using now on the mentioned things on gameplay and hiring more original people for ideas and storyline elements and the 7th generation of gaming is really in for a treat in terms of platformers. They will blow that realism shit out your ass.

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§ 6 Responses to Cartoon Platformers, it’s like giving LSD to your fingers…

  • Jon Porter says:

    You seem to be insinuating that a game such as Call of Duty 4 isn’t fun to play due to it’s seriousness plot and lack of cartoon graphics. But as well all know Call of Duty 4 most certainly was fun.I think whilst the overall tone of a game can have an impact on your enjoyment of it, at its heart the gameplay is what really pushed it into either “good game” or “bad game” territory, it’s only in cases where a game is sitting on the fence between the two that a funny plot can have an effect.

  • Trolleydude says:

    Then again, you could argue that ‘fun’ and ‘enjoyable’ are two different concepts.

  • Jon Porter says:

    I’d argue they are. Are you perhaps talking about games which aren’t necesserily “fun” but the overall experience is “enjoyable”?

  • Trolleydude says:

    Maybe. I wouldn’t call reading books fun, but you can enjoy it.

  • SparkiJ says:

    I’m not saying that at all…!!Aim it at something where you can clearly see the overhyped use of technology and AI brings the overall game down because theres a smacked on release date. For the playstation two and Xbox there was a lot more freedom because the consoles were around for a while, okay perhaps not for Blinx but I maintain that was a little rushed in some areas.Games like call of duty 4 and grand theft auto 4 in my opinion have done really well because graphically it’s beautiful and both have excellent storylines although you can’t exactly say the call of duty campaign was long can you?I’m not 6 yrs old, or gay for cartoon graphics. It seems when developers spend less time on making their game into a cgi movie they spend more on what games are actually meant to do for us.And for fun/enjoyable it varies. Ratchet and Clank is definitely an enjoyable experience and so is Jak III, (im using these examples because Jon’s played them both). There are still parts of it where you’re like “wow that was cool” and some parts where it seems tedious. For the first 3 Ratchet and Clanks, I never found myself pushing myself to play it to get trhough the story I did find every bit of it fun and great to watch.

  • Jon Porter says:

    “Aim it at something where you can clearly see the overhyped use of technology and AI brings the overall game down because theres a smacked on release date.”I’m not quite sure where this comes in? Both are valid points but I don’t think you’ll ever get one as a result of the other.It might come down to a fundimental point with any medium of entertainment, in that often what you’ll experience at the time isn’t as fun as when you finish and can look back on it. A case in point: when i read “A Farewell to Arms” actually reading the book wasn’t that fun, it had a very slow pacing and some epic sentences but looking back on it, I’m glad I read it, because it really is a greta book.I agree, developers should spend less time making a game look pretty and making it better to play, but then most internet fanboy’s are judging games on their graphics before even any gameplay’s been released so….it’s a lose lose situation.

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