Gamification – The Madden Curse

In a more bizarre example of Gamification ESPN did a quick look at the madden curse, a phenomenon that effects football players who grace the cover of that year’s Madden title – usually negatively. This year for the game’s 25th edition there was vote for a football legend to get on the cover and Barry Sanders was chosen. How will this affect the curse?  Will it whammy Sanders even though he’s been in retirement for years? Who knows? All I know is the Madden Curse never fails to be unexpecting – watch the skies people.

Friday the 13th & The six most cursed games of all time

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Friday the 13th , a lot rational people will just wave this day away as another typical day  but others see it as the single worst day of the year (of course if Wikipedia is to be believed the 13th can have multiple Fridays depend on the year). Me? I got to admit I’m starting to see the menace of the day: I wake up & I feel like I got run over, no milk for my cereal so I use half & half and water, and of course I start my computer machine to start writing this article only to find out it was right in the middle ‘catastrophic system crash’ – you know that ol’ chestnut. Fortunately it got better, but I still updated my important back-ups just in case. All these bad luck events only steel my resolve for writing this article, and with that here’s the six most cursed games of all time. Laugh if you must, but these games are either cursed or were cured upon for being utterly lame. Let us begin:

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6. E.T. (Atari version)

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Ok, so this one I’ve never played myself, but plenty of people have told me the old horror stories on how miserably bad this particular game is. It had it all in fail – bad story, bad graphics, pseudo time limit, ear drum busting sound FXs, and far too many pits for a game not called Pitfall. This game was supposed to be the next big game franchise but ended up the be the biggest game failure of all time – and a cautionary tale to tell other game developers what will happen to them if they don’t do the work. Which brings me to the whole ‘buried millions of “E.T.” cartridges in a New Mexico desert’ rumor. If it turns out to be true (snopes.com confirms it) then that proves this game’s cursed because the only two things you burry in a desert (location may vary) is poop and cursed items. Atari’s  E.T. maybe a combo of the two, moving on.

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5. Team Fortress 2 (console version)

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Now don’t get me wrong, by all normal definition of awesome games Team Fortress 2 is indeed an awesome game. However it only continues to be awesome if you have the PC version. If you’re like me and purchased ‘The Orange Box’ or its counterpart ‘The Black Box’ for your favorite non-Wii consoles then Team Fortress 2 is nothing more than a torrent of woe and misery with a slight hint of what it could be. For whatever reason Valve decided to stop supporting the console version game outside of keeping the servers running. Because of that, mal-factor players from time to time will screw with the matches; such as attacking enemy players above and below stage maps, turning off critical attacks, keeping critical attacks on all the time, making themselves invincible, problem after problem… Combine that with the fact that the PC version get news maps, weapons, items, character skins, the whole nine, and that only adds insult to injury! I can hear some of your bleating people:

“If you don’t like the game anymore why do you keep playing?”

Or

“Why don’t you such play the PC verison?”

Why should I? – This is me now – After all, it’s all the same game, all they need to do is crank out DLCs like every other console developer/publisher. But no, the console versions are cursed to be in the shadow of  the PC game – and so too the players of their respective systems.

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4. Aerobiz Supersonic

 

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Imagine you’re 12, an avid video gamer but not refine enough to research games before you buy or rent them. You go to your local tape rental store and peruse the gaming options for your Super Famicom. Then something catches your eye, a hyper cool box with a year 3000 style super jet on it. The tile ‘Aerobiz Supersonic’ was on it and you knew then what to rent that day (even if you didn’t know what those words meant at the time). Well when you got that rental home, you put it in the system and was expecting to have an wicked adventure with hi tech jets – what you got was an game about the airline industry (graphs, charts and all). That, my friends, is an experience that will forever curse my memory. The killing part is that now that I’m old enough to understand the meaning of this game it’s not so bad; but when your 12 and you buy a comic book based on the cover and turns out to be consumer reports in the pages that feeling of resentment still sticks with you over the years.

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3. Halo Reach

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Now I know I ranted about this into the ground at the time so I won’t pick over a scab, but from what I hear the multiplayer has improved slightly and can now get free online players to help others in co-op mode. Quite frankly the majority of people still liked this game even before the improvements and that mystifies me. I stand by my assessment of this accursed game and my only real regret is that an excellent series had to end in this wet fish title.

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2. Games based on Movies

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It never fails, an awesome action packed / cartoon / superhero / movie comes out, does well (or not), churns out products – and a video game. No matter the movie, how it was directed, who was in it, production cost, the studio, its freshness score on rotten tomatoes, any planed sequels, DVD extras, and all that; the one thing they all have in common is that their video game tie ins suck – so – hard… There is no way any developer/publisher would deliberately make crappy games based on  films for a simple cash grab, no, so the only thing it could be is a curse. A curse cast by a witch (or warlock) who played the Atari E.T. and never got over it.

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1. Madden Series

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Finally this last one is a doozie, so famous that it is called the ‘Madden Curse’ and is known by many even outside the gaming world. Basically since 2000 any professional football player that has headline the cover has met with season ending circumstances (here’s an overview). Ten years of this had generated quite of bit of discussions, but usually end in a dismissal of the infamous curse. However when the latest cover boy drops out of the season or is under-performing expectations that’s when everyone starts breaking out the plastic four leaf covers and rabbit’s feet to protect their team from the curse. Me, I would err on the side of caution. If I was Peyton Hillis and the Madden people called me up to put my butt on the box, I would say “I’m Bob, Peyton not here, can I take a message.” *Click*

I’m being funny of course, but still… The game not only takes out players but most times predicts the winner of the Superbowl. Curse or consequences – you be the judge.