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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lost in the Shuffle

By RAWKHAWK2010 - And my feathers are ruffled.

Following the passionate and suspense-driven drama that was the Zimmerman Trial, I decided I'd finally give the Ace Attorney series a try. Because how could I not? As I watched the case unfold with my fellow (and ex-fellow) KoopaTV staff members, Ace Attorney music was blared, Ace Attorney quotes were hollered, and the application of Ace Attorney to real-life political hijinx was entertaining enough to finally make me take the plunge. Before then, my contempt for everything else Capcom naturally meant that I didn't give a Mouser's ass about Ace Attorney either (nor Ludwig's shilling of it), but that...that was the difference I needed. 

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Kira Hillary Rodham Clinton what difference does it make tesimony
"What difference, at this point, does it make?" - Hillary Rodham Clinton

So I started with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, and aside from a not-so-good second chapter, overall I thought it was great. It was also significant, since many parallels were made between Dual Destinies and ensuing real-life events. Like when Apollo and I both had existential crises and permanently™ left our respective agencies. Anyway, I had a good enough time with Dual Destinies that I then made it my goal to play through the rest of the series, starting a year later with Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. ...Which so far I admittedly enjoy less than Dual Destinies since all the magic mumbo-jumbo means I can't as efficiently employ my deduction and reasoning abilities I learned from watching Mark O'Mara, P.A., but it's still compelling. Compelling enough that I used a screenshot from it as the first picture of the article, and compelling enough that I was making ~3% of progress each month which I don't think was half bad.

And then it happened. Pokémon Shuffle.

Pokémon Shuffle No Cost Free to Play F2P

For those not "in the know", Shuffle is a match-rows-of-dudes digital download from your friends at Genius Sonority (who to this day I still picture as an employer filled exclusively with Japanese sonority girls donning kawaii desu ne sonority buns), and it's Pokémon's first mainstream attempt at testing the free-to-play waters. So regardless of whether Shuffle is great or terrible, there's no reason not to try out a free game, ja?

Well, if only it were that easy.

Vivian James #GamerGate Amelia Pokémon Shuffle journalist
"For ethics!"

At this moment I knew Vivian James Amelia had the wrong guy, because the only thing exploitative here is what the game is doing to me. Because by virtue of being Pokémon's first foray into the free-to-play market, Shuffle is also Pokémon's first foray into the world of Candy Crush Saga-esque give-me-all-your-money-when-it-finally-gets-hard-enough swindleship. And while you don't have to pay for any of it, the evil genius here is that it puts a set monetary worth on seemingly-worthless things, making you value them 100x more than you would otherwise. So while it sounds completely stupid to pay real-life money for hearts (aka your "play tokens") since they regenerate on their own accord after enough time has passed, the fact they have a price associated with them means that you feel like you're wasting 99 cents worth of time whenever you go two and a half hours without playing. Because if you had played, you would have gone through a complete heart cycle, something someone somewhere has actually paid real-life money for! And those two-and-a-half hours could have gotten your Gulpin in good enough shape to take down the limited-edition dude that pops up a week later!

The game isn't even actually well-designed from a gameplay standpoint, but all the conniving mind tricks have led to me Shuffling whenever I get the chance. Shuffling on the road, Shuffling on the commode, even Shuffling while typing this very article. And in the grand scheme of things, that's not good. Because it means whenever I actually pick up my 3DS to play something besides Shuffle, I have to get in five rounds of Shuffle (not to mention Rumble) before I can even move to the main course (which means I never actually get to the main course, which means potential brain-enrichment from an Ace Attorney is sacrificed for the sake of mindless connect-the-dots fruitloopery). Just like a Muslim offers tribute to its god five times a day, you'll be doing that for Shuffle once every two and a half hours. And just like a Muslim gets beheaded when it leaves the faith, so will your 60 hours of Pokémon Shuffle data when you decide to delete the game from your 3DS in order to remove the distraction. This of course means you'll never do that, because then Shuffle won't be available during an actual crisis such as a legitimate video game drought. (Or a legitimate drought-drought since you won't be able to go outside.)

And that, my friends, is how The Pokémon Company, however unethically, took over the world. ...More than they already had before, as documented at the Silbern Museum:

Sounds like "Shuffled and Ruffled" is the new "Sicker and Scarred." Follow @RawkHawk2010 on Miiverse and Twitter to tell him about all the games that ruin YOUR life!

Rawk permanently left again, thanks to real-life issues involving ethnic minority dance troupes.
You'll be shuffling even more in more places with Pokémon Shuffle Mobile!

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