Article A Message From Gabe Newell
1. No Traffic
The best thing about open-world driving games (think Burnout Paradise) is not the turbo, nor the ability to walk away from a horrible-yet-badass crash: It's the fact that there are barely any cars on the road. Sure, there might be some other vehicles, and in some games there are actually working stoplights, but it's hard to imagine a game where there is bumper-to-bumper traffic trying to get off the highway.
And with good reason. Traffic is miserable. If human motorists drove like their NPC counterparts calmly, methodically, programmed to drive at the same pace and leave a safe following distance between cars, not only would road rage decline, but so would the majority of traffic collisions. Except for ones caused by turbo strips, of course.
Role-playing games, be they Japanese or fun, are designed to present a captivating world for your characters to explore. Whether they be frozen fantasy landscapes, lush magic jungles, or neon space futures, good RPG worlds can make you want to leave your dreary 9-5s behind and fight an evil empire or encroaching alien menace. Unfortunately, that's the only good part about living in a role-playing world. Everything else is terrible.
7. Heroes Steal From You
As a meager dirt farmer, you have spent years scraping to buy medicine for your sick wife. Sure, it meant living in a one-room house without a bathroom, but it's worth it for her. And who knows? Word has it the Chosen One is passing through town. Seeing him could boost your wife's spirits! In fact, here he comes now!
"Hello, Chosen One! Welcome to our village!" you say before he smashes your pots and chests, stealing all your medicine and the only three gold pieces keeping you from homelessness. He has thousands of gold pieces, and powerful medicine he'll never even use during the final battle because it's too valuable, but he takes your goods anyway.
6. Shops Don't Sell Anything You Want
Happy Birthday! You get a gun-sword and a bag of potato seeds! What? You wanted a new watch? Too bad! Your village shop only sells pain killers, pain makers, and onions. Even though you've lived in your town your whole life, the sales folks only market their goods to strangers passing through for 15 minutes. If you've got a few hundred gold pieces, maybe you could buy some shields and use them as cereal bowls. Except there's no cereal or spoons either.
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9. Justin Bieber (NBA 2K13)
The fact that's there's a "celebrity" team in NBA 2K13 isn't all that odd there were presidents and celebs playing basketball as far back in NBA Jam. But, really, the lineup includes Pauly D from the Jersey Shore, Kevin from The Office, Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm, and most egregiously Justin Bieber. Really, Justin Bieber's inclusion alone isn't enough to set him apart or make him notable in any way but in the game the 5'7" tall tween singer has shot up to 6'4" and has stats that would make fantasy basketball fans weak at the knees. Maybe he does have some real basketball skills, but when a guy can't make it through a lip synch without vomiting, that doesn't seem too likely.
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Romance in video games: It makes us laugh, it makes us cry, it makes us scratch our heads and sort of sit back and look confusedly at the screen. Mostly the last one. There have been a lot of horrible romance subplots in video games, but here's our tribute to the worst.
8. Ryu Hayabusa and Irene Lew (Ninja Gaiden)
Ninja Gaiden for NES is a ludicrously hard side scroller with a ninja protagonist named Ryu whose romance starts when he sees a young girl and says, "Just a girl. Get out of here!" Ninja Gaiden comes from the era of dialogue that could only be produced by Koreans translating Japanese games into English without understanding either language. Not only does Irene shoot Ryu at one point, but they only end up together because Ryu proclaims that he'll be taking her as his payment for saving the world. Luckily, she's inexplicably aroused by this, so they kiss and sort of hold each other while they conclusively watch the sun rise. Even though she still probably wants to kill him.
7. AltaÃ¯r ibn-La'Ahad and Maria (Assassin's Creed 2)
The unfolding of this relationship can barely even be called a romantic subplot it's more like an afterthought. It's like Ubisoft realized two weeks before the game shipped out that the concept of DNA memory (and therefore the entire franchise) depends on AltaÃ¯r reproducing, even though he's a combination between ninjas and monks, the two most celibate professions in the ancient world. So they threw in a level where AltaÃ¯r chases a mysterious cloaked figure to the top of a tower, finds out it's a beautiful woman, and then has sex with her. On a tower, without a single word of foreplay or even warning, and with both of them wearing all their clothes. Then AltaÃ¯r uses his assassin skills to promptly get the hell out of there, because assassins make terrible dads.