on Aug 14, 2008
In the latest Zero Punctuation review, Yahtzee mentions that a certain segment of his viewers seem very curious about what games he does like. This is a very predictable demand from any crowd of inflamed fanboys. The defining aspect of a fanboy is that he is emotionally attached to a game in such a way that lambasting the game is taken as a personal insult. When you stomp on the object of their affection their first reaction is going to be to try to do the same in return. This completely misses the entire point of being a critic, and indeed of having an opinion at all.
This is why, despite the normal friendly and jovial tone of this site, I tend to treat fanboys like vermin who must be exterminated. They can have no positive impact on a discussion. It doesn’t matter if they agree or disagree, because they aren’t having the same conversation everyone else is. If you set them off it’ll be profanity and angst.
But in a clever bit of fanboy-baiting, Yahtzee actually showed a list of some of his favorite games during the review:
At the end he promised that anyone who figures it out will win his “utter disgust”. All the same, we can’t let the threat of of disinterested loathing deter us from an amusing little puzzle. The moment I saw the obscured list I felt my puzzle drive kick in. I don’t care about the list in the sense that I care if Yahtzee likes the “right” games, but he’s presented us with a puzzle and (I’ll bet) just enough clues to solve it.
This is an interesting sort of puzzle because it’s a mix of what you know about the critic with your knowledge of videogame titles and box covers. If this was just a list of 5 random games it wouldn’t be very compelling. If there was no image and the problem was just “guess my top 5 games” it likewise wouldn’t be much fun. But here we have both clues and motivation.
My own attempt below the fold:
Portal was a gimmie, but it took me a bit to recognize Silent Hill 2. I’m pretty sure my copy of the game had a darker green cover, and so the pale pixels threw me off.
(At least, I remembered it as green. I stupidly traded the game in years ago. I know sooner or later I’ll end up buying it again. At the time it was my first real survival horror, and I didn’t realize how sparse the genre was or that I’d just played the best it had to offer. I thought I could just pick up another survival horror game and have another enjoyable experience. I’ve spent the last five or six years looking for a game that satisfies on the same level. I’m still looking. My own plot analysis of the game can be found here.)
The third game in the list was Sands of Time, which wasn’t obscured. The fourth took me a while to figure out. Games with red covers are very common and I had to scan through my mental catalog for a long time before I came up with it. The fifth was Fantasy World Dizzy, which I never would have gotten if not for the fact that Yahtzee named the game in an earlier review. (And really, I wouldn’t have expected a guy in his mid-20’s to know much about the C64. That was more something for my generation.)
But now I’ve left you without a puzzle. I’ll put up five of my own. Note that I’m not going to use anything from Yahtzee’s list, because I’d put Portal and SH2 on my list as well.
I know it might seems ridiculous and impossible at first, but give it a chance. It’s actually easier than you think once you consider the color of the pixels and the length of the title, alongside my past reviews. Even #4 is do-able, I think.
I’ll post the answers tomorrow.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.