Guilty Gaming Pleasures
Not all games can be world beaters, in fact, not all games can be great. I know this, you know this. But there is still a place for these games in our libraries. The games that you know aren’t considered by your friends as classics but you love them anyway. Those games that the flaws are overlooked for something that just clicks with you and your desires. These games are the B grade action movies of gaming, bad but fun at the same time, making them perfect lazy afternoon entertainment. So here are some of my guilty gaming pleasures and the reasons why I can look past their problems to enjoy what’s on offer.
In essence, Tropico 5 is simply a management sim. It doesn’t do anything particularly new or inventive with the genre, it just presents typical management sim gameplay. What is worse is that each game is essentially the same with only graphical updates and minor tweaks the difference between versions. Yet saying this doesn’t lessen my love El Presidente, Penultimo and their wacky brand of humour. Currently, I am sitting on about 80 hours with Tropico 5, after spending nearly double that with Tropico 4, and my love isn’t fading. I know this game does nothing new yet I keep coming back for that soothing gameplay. Whenever I am feeling sluggish, down or unenthused and hour or two with the Caribbean’s favourite virtual dictator seems to lift my mood immensely. I will keep playing Tropico 5 until……well Tropico 6 is released and I can start the cycle all over again. It may not a genre defining masterpiece but it certainly brings a rum smuggling, population pleasing, superpower taunting smile to my face. Viva El Presidente
Saint’s Row 4
The Saint’s Row franchise has always been about guilty pleasure gaming but number 4 in the franchise took it to whole new levels. Despite reusing just about every graphical asset from Saints Row 3 and having quite a few glitches, the fourth entry in this franchise took the series to a new place with the introduction of super powers. Yes, the once GTA clone finally jumped off the edge into full crazy mode. It is crass, stupid and repetitive but do you know what? Saint’s Row 4 is just a blast from start to finish. Objectively there is no real reason this should be one of my favourite games, but here I am on my 5th playthrough (on a third system). The pure insanity of the game clearly overrides the inner video game critic in me and I don’t even notice the shoddy graphics, hit and miss jokes and rough edges. Fun is an overused word where video games are concerned but in the case of Saint’s Row 4 that is exactly what is on offer. It is not pretty, it is not clever, it is just fun.
Rory McIIroy PGA Tour
Shush, I can already hear you all groaning. I love golf games. Sure, golf is a daggy sport (that I do play in real life so I guess that says a lot about me) but it has always translated well into video games. I have a long history with golf games and while the most recent EA title has some issues, it is still a relaxing virtual walk around the course. When it was released it was criticised for a lack of content and some long load times but thanks to a heap of free content, including 10 new courses, the game is finally where it should have been at launch. I know that almost no one in my sphere of gaming likes these games, I am constantly ridiculed for this love, but I stand by it. Relaxing, skill-based gameplay that I can happily lose hours too. PGA Golf really is a guilty pleasure.
Red Faction: Guerrilla
That Guerrilla is a good game is not in doubt, but it does have its problems. A rather bland world, boring story and quite the toxic protagonist all hold it back from greatness. However, once I get that big ole hammer in my hands and start knocking down buildings none of that matters. I have played through this one at least four times and each time I have had a blast because of the wonderful geomod engine. Creating my own destructive methods is such a huge part of the fun for me and the fact that every man-made building in the game is destructible is a pure treat. Sure the missions are a bit naff and I want to punch some of the characters but when I can set 10 remote charges and watch a whole village crumble before my eyes none of that matters. Explosive entertainment of the highest order, despite the game’s inherent problems.
So there you have it, my guilty pleasures that continue to take up my spare time even though I can recognise their problems. I am keen to hear about your favourite guilty gaming pleasures too. Make sure you sound off in the comments and on social media with those games that deep down you know are problematic, but love them anyway.