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Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

Hey, remember this series? It just goes to show that nothing ever dies here at Noiseless Chatter. I just stop writing and you stop visiting.

Anyway, an old coworker got in touch and told me that Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 was only 99 cents on Steam, and I should review it on my blog. So here I am!

See? You whiners complain about lack of content…but all you actually need to do is text me a polite request to cover something, and I will. It’s that simple, and you have no excuse for not doing it. (I’m not giving you my phone number.)

This one is…well, it has a title, and that title is Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015, so that might as well be my review right there.

It’s obviously meant in a jokey sort of way (I hope); a riff on the influx of “Simulator” games that I guess are really common.

At least, I keep hearing that they’re really common, but I have to confess that for every actual simulator game I know of there seems to be four or five jokey ones making fun of the concept, so maybe people are just starved for ways to be funny.

I don’t know anything about this game beyond the thrilling promise of its title, so, like all $1 Adventures, I’ll be recording my reactions here as I go. That’s sort of the point of this series, but since even I forgot these stupid articles existed I can’t really hold it against you if you didn’t remember.

Unlike the other $1 Adventures, though, this one actually has a content warning.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

OH GOOD. Age restriction. I was worried that even though the game is called Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015, I wouldn’t see any actual penises. Thank Christ we don’t get a gimped experience.

Wait a minute…wasn’t Bad Rats crawling with graphic violence and dismemberment? I mean, I guess it could have just been the first few levels because holy Jesus did that game suck cock, but this does seem a bit like one of those troubling nudity-is-bad-but-violence-is-okay examples of modern American hypocrisy.

Granted, I’m not saying that kids of all ages should be exposed to pixelated dad salamis, but if we’re going to erect an age restriction here, why should we not also do it for games that see you gorily gutting cartoon characters for your enjoyment?

Of course, that’s a much larger and more intelligent discussion than I could ever hope to ignite in a review of Super Soapy Dad 64, so forget I mentioned it.

Have I stalled enough? Do I really have to play this shit?

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

The first thing I notice is how fucking loud the title screen is. Like, embarrassingly so. You know when you watch a movie and you have to turn the volume all the way up to hear anything, but then it ends and for some reason the DVD menu music is about a thousand times louder than the film itself, and you feel terrible because all of your neighbors’ dogs are going apeshit?

Well, this is like that. And I’m really glad I don’t live with roommates anymore; the last question I’d want to answer right now is “What are you doing in there?”

The main menu invites me to choose between ENDURODAD and DADATHLON, which I assume are game modes. There are also a few other icons I don’t understand, but Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 isn’t exactly the kind of game that makes you feel comfortable with blind experimentation.

I’ll try ENDURODAD, because if I spend any longer trying to decide I’ll starve to death and the authorities will find me with this fucking thing on my computer screen.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

Well, those are certainly some dear old dad dicks.

I’m not sure what’s scarier: a dad who calls his kid Magnum, or a dad who calls himself Magnum.

Then there’s Lefty, which is only less horrifying because Lefty is a word other than Magnum.

At least Robin sounds normal. I’m tempted to pick him just because I’m not immediately convinced that his dad whores him out on Craigslist under that name.

Since I don’t see any character stats or anything here, I have to assume that the differences between couples (pairs? partners? there’s no way to describe this without feeling queasy…) is purely cosmetic, and in true simulator fashion you’re just picking the ones that most resemble yourself and your dad.

…and fuck. That.

If anything, I’m choosing the ones that least resemble any real-world experience I might have. Richard & Lefty, let’s roll.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

So the game begins, and those sure are some naked, showering dads. I’m controlling the little naked boy, and if you ever find out I’ve been arrested it’s because I typed this sentence.

You use the arrow keys to rocket junior (or…Lefty) around some massive, open shower room. It’s a pretty easy concept…you just need to guide him to his dad. And, not to be rude or anything, but it’s pretty easy to identify Richard, for the same reason you can always pick Ernie Hudson out of a line of Ghostbusters.

You get points when you reunite with your dad, then the scene resets, the dads scramble, and you need to do it again.

Two things are wrong with this. (ONLY TWO) First, why are you reuniting with your dad anyway? Where were you? I can only imagine that in any situation in which you and your naked dad need to shower together in a place full of other naked dads, your dad would keep you pretty fuckin’ close by. Why was this kid allowed to roam free through a forest of dicks?

And secondly: this isn’t a simulator. Don’t get me wrong…I need to sleep at some point in my life so I’m glad it’s not a simulator, but it’s also kind of disappointing that the game is as simple as “move from here to here, then do the same thing again.”

Unless what you’re simulating isn’t the actual showering, but the experience of running toward a shower. In that case, it’s more accurate…but you really shouldn’t be trotting at high speeds in a shower room. A true simulation along those lines would quickly see bits of Lefty’s teeth being carried gently toward the drain.

Anyway, I had to see what happened if I accidentally paired Lefty up with the wrong naked adult male.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

And that’s it. Whatever you see there is whatever you see there and there’s nothing I would dare add to it.

…yeah, I don’t know what I was expecting to happen, but the result somehow manages to be equal parts “nothing at all” and “Jesus Christ my god I want to be killed.”

Anyway, I restarted the game and tried to touch my naked, soapy dad 50 times. I figured that was the least I could do to give Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 a fair shake. But after around 30 points the game starts adding obstacles, such as puddles. And while running through them still doesn’t result in your kid cracking his head open on the tile floor, one of them did send my little guy sliding face-first into a stranger’s dangling cock while the kid’s arms flailed helplessly, and that, as they say, was definitely that.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

Actually, wait. I guess I still need to try DADATHLON. Fuck.

When you choose a mode, you get a loading screen with a dad joke on it.

I like this.

I do. It’s a nice touch. But this particular one has pantsless lumberjack dad swinging his trunk in the breeze, and I’m not as big a fan of that.

I mean, if you want to chop wood, fine. If you want to chop wood with an exposed genital cluster, okay. Be my guest. I probably won’t join you or ask how your day was, but this is your life, so go nuts.

But when you stand like that, with your legs conveniently spread for full display, I’m probably going to conclude that you’re the worst thing that’s ever lived.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

As odd as it is to thank god that this game mode in which you pair naked children with naked men is the same as the previous mode in which you pair naked children with naked men, here I am doing just that.

Yeah, I think I’m through with this one pretty quickly. It’s the same idea as the previous mode, except that the kid keeps changing, so you’re always looking for a different dad. I’ll give it credit for this: it’s harder than I thought. (DON’T MAKE JOKES) It also doesn’t last as long as I expected. (DON’T MAKE JOKES) But mainly, there’s a lot of semen in my hair.

It’s…fairly challenging. Like, if you weren’t matching naked children to naked men, this could be a pretty fun time waster. Because your target is always changing you can’t fall easily into a routine. It keeps you thinking. It really would be a good thought / reflex puzzle…if you weren’t matching naked children to naked men.

The soundtrack is even pretty good, too. It’s all funky, upbeat earworm action, and I’d honestly be perfectly happy to have this on my iPod…if it didn’t remind me of the fact that you are matching naked children to naked men.

Yes, the quirkily revolting concept of Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 is going to be the reason this sells at all, but it’s also the main barrier to actually enjoying it. I mean, seriously. Just look at those screengrabs. Does it matter how fun I say the game is? Are you going to willingly download that?

It’ll make money — and probably has already — based on its inappropriate novelty, but it’s a shame that whoever made this couldn’t have designed a fun little puzzler instead, and it’s a shame that the market is so saturated that games need to be smothered in dad taint before anyone is willing to talk about them.

Anyway, that’s the end of Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015, and we’ll never have to talk about it again…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

…ugh. Wait. I’ve discovered more lines on this parchment.

It turns out there aren’t only two game modes…there are a crapload more. Fortunately all of them are locked or require DLC (if any game deserves to be kept alive with downloadable content, it is most certainly this one!) so I only feel obligated to try the one that’s actually open. It’s called DAD DIVISIONS, and nothing about that name is immediately revolting so it’s already my favorite.

So I’ll just load this puppy up and take a look at the instructions and…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

…and I’ll look at the instructions and…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

…and…I’ll…I’ll just look at the…

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

what am I doing with my life why was I even born I can’t stand me or the decisions that I’ve made can you stand me because I don’t think I can ever stand anything about me again

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015

In this game you have to catch the falling dads by extending your appendage at them, and you know what? If you ever see me in public…if you read this blog and one day you see me standing in line for groceries or crying silently to myself in an empty theater…don’t say hi.

Honestly, just don’t.

Don’t come up to me and say, hey, I know you. I read your stuff. You’re a hoot.

I…I mean, I like you guys and all. I really do. Even those of you who are mean to me all the time and call me nasty things. (The joke’s on you, because you’re still nicer than anyone I know in person!) I think you guys are just hella rad and I’m so glad you exist, but please, please don’t say hello to me.

Because if you say hello to me I’m going to know that you read this. I’m going to know that you know that Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 is forever linked with my fucking Steam account.

So admire me from afar, point me out to your girlfriends (I guarantee it will get you laid), stuff dollar bills into my pocket, whatever.

But spare us both the embarrassment of talking to me. Like everything in history that’s ever had to do with showering with your dad, this is something that deserves to be repressed.

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015
Released: September 2, 2015
Price on Steam: $0.99
Regular Price on Steam: $0.99
Price It Should Be on Steam: The price is right, but it should come a coupon for eyewash.

Hello everybody! It’s been ages since I posted anything so how about I post something! I’m kind of in the middle of a move and sorting some other things out so hopefully we can get things cleared up and I’ll be back to posting partially-informed horseshit again, or maybe I’ll finally do those Venture Bros. reviews I promised…but until then, why not unwind with a game so cheap, you can buy it with two quarters and get change? (You can’t really, because your payment has to be made digitally.)

As always, click pictures to enlargenate.

Bad Rats:  The Rats' Revenge

Yes, it’s Bad Rats: The Rats’ Revenge, the game so nice they named it twice! …but then only used one of the names anywhere in the game. Seriously, I never saw “The Rats’ Revenge” anywhere but the page from which I bought the game. I guess they realized at some point that it wasn’t technically revenge if the animal they spend all their time killing never did anything to them in the first place but WHAT DO I KNOW.

The game opens with a series of spotlights on computer generated mice (or rats, I guess) as they gear up independently to murder a cat. The cat in question stands on his hind legs and moves his head back and forth in the universal gesture for “fretfulness.” It looks like something I could have put together in 1997 on that stupid 3D rendering program that came with my computer, and it makes the “Money For Nothing” music video look like Wall-E.

Bad Rats:  The Rats' Revenge

Then we get a menu screen where all of the choices are inconveniently written in illegible graffiti, I guess in order to appeal to all the gang members who really want to play an animal-based physics puzzler, but just wouldn’t otherwise feel like it relates to them.

The little rat in the cannon keeps firing himself at the cat in the cage, and the cat is just south of shitting himself in fear. Already this is like Tom and Jerry Go to Gitmo.

I start the game and Jesus goodness does this look horrible.

Bad Rats:  The Rats' Revenge

Of course that’s nothing compared to how it sounds. I start the tutorial, because that’s what’s being recommended to me as a new player, and I really want to properly understand how to insert bamboo shoots underneath the cat’s fingernails. A level begins…with a narrator talking to me.

Only it’s not a narrator. Not a human one anyway.

It’s one of those auto-generated Microsoft voices, with the oddly clipped speech and improper stressing of syllables. They couldn’t even pay an intern $20 to record an introduction? This is cheapness in a way that I’ve never actually seen in a game before, and for some reason this robo-narrator leaves out articles, so that he says things like, “Your objective is to hit ball into vault.”

Or whatever he said.

I couldn’t catch it because I was baffled by why they’d program a grammatically stunted autobot into game to serve as narrator when surely they could have at least asked a friend or family member to read the instructions like…well…a human being.

The game invites me to press the “play” button, and I do. This results in time unfreezing. A ball falls pointlessly out of the air and the cat chained up in the corner starts realizing how wasted its life has been.

Bad Rats:  The Rats' Revenge

The narrator brokenly instructs me to pause the game so that I can place other things on the screen, which will affect the ball and, with luck, will ultimately result in a chained and defenseless animal being disemboweled. I didn’t write down exactly what the narrator said, but I am comfortable assuming it was “Now to be using an pause buttons result for object placing.”

So I place a little rat with a baseball bat underneath the ball. He swats the ball against the wall a few times and then loses interest even faster than I do. That is to say pretty fuckin’ fast.

Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge

Time to try again, I guess. This time I pile up a bunch of garbage so that the rat can hit the ball up the plywood board or something, which should knock the safe down onto the cat who totally deserves this, but it doesn’t work. The ball bounces out of reach but the rat keeps swinging his bat for no reason as neither he nor the game realizes the ball’s stopped completely.

For a tutorial this is pretty difficult. I don’t mean it’s overbearingly hard or anything, but the point of a tutorial, I thought, was to tell you what to do. Otherwise it’s not a tutorial; it’s just a level with robo-Borat bleating at you for a few seconds.

I try to place the rat next to the cat so that he can just blindly pummel him to death with the baseball bat, but it doesn’t work.

Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge

I move every item around in every possible configuration, but nothing makes the rat hit the ball into the safe. This is probably because the physics in this game are fucking terrible. The board, for example, can be used as a slope, but when you’re moving it around it might or might not actually adjust its angle, which means you have to keep trying again and again, doing the same thing every time, for it to finally decide to rest properly against something rather than just hover at an impossible slope.

That rat is floating in the air because I moved him there to get him out of the way, and I pressed “play” accidentally before moving him back. He fell onto the concrete and blood came out of him.

Hilarious.

Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge

By trying the same thing I’ve already tried fifteen times, the rat hits the ball into the safe and the cat’s dead, with its guts and gore splashing all over everything because that’s funny.

To someone.

I assume.

I mean, hey, I’m all for violence as comedy…but isn’t there more to it than dropping something heavy onto somebody WHO THEN DIES?

Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge

Level 2 begins with a text window explaining that I need to hit the ball into the bomb this time, in order to blow up the cat. Why couldn’t they have just done that with the previous level? Or do they think tutorials by definition have to include a robot haltingly piecing together its first English sentence?

Somehow I don’t think I’m going to be sticking with this game very long, but as long as I’m here I guess I might as well fucking blow up somebody’s beloved pet, huh?

Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge

I don’t know what the hell to do so I place some rats and a trampoline and some balloons, and one of the rats explodes on the ground and his head comes off, spinning around with the spinal column flailing behind it and what, in all seriousness, the fuck, is this shit.

Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge

Fun fact: if you take too long to blow the cat into a shower of scorched fur and bone fragments, it will begin to pray for mercy.

HAHAHAHA!! That dumb cat!!!!! He’s so desperate for any kind of comfort at all that he’ll try anything!!!! Anyway, time to kill him!!!!

Or, you know what? Fuck this game.

As a much better game put it, a man chooses…a slave obeys.

I don’t care if the objective is to kill this cat and enjoy the blood geyser. Bad Rats: The Rats’ Sadistic Bloodfuck isn’t convincing me that this needs to be my objective.

This game is crap. It looks and controls like garbage. The endlessly looping soundtrack is that kind of generic guitar music they’d play on sitcoms in the 90s to suggest that those kids with their crazy tunes and their slap bracelets are just so different!

Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge

It’s a physics puzzler without reliable physics. I’ve played through one and a half stages, and sometimes the same exact setup works in vastly different ways. I have a feeling I was supposed to solve the first puzzle with something more clever than “pile all the shit on top of all the other shit,” but it worked so fuck it.

The game design is more offensive to me than the concept, even if that concept does involve gutting helpless creatures as they plead for their lives. But as long as that is the concept?

I’d rather not, thanks. I’ve got better things to do with my day than indulge this deranged fantasy. It’s the kind of thing somebody in your eighth grade math class was doodling every day in his notebook.

If you’ll remember, you sat as far away from that kid as possible.

Bad Rats: The Rats’ Revenge
Released: July 20, 2009
Price on Steam: $0.49
Regular Price on Steam: $4.99
Price It Should Be on Steam: The market value of one severed rat-head trailing its spinal column.

Let me take you on a journey through the past, to a magical time in our great planet’s history. I’ll set the scene for you:

A bleary-eyed world disconnects from Facebook for two and a half hours in order to watch a film about Facebook. An animated show called The Simpsons celebrates 20 years on the air, eight and a half of which were worth watching. A young Jessica Simpson releases an album of warbling Christmas standards in the hopes that it will generate enough money that she can do her own holiday shopping. And America comes, at last, to the tragic realization that their new president isn’t a Magic Negro after all…but is rather, disappointingly, just an extremely intelligent leader with his nation’s best interests at heart.

Yes, it’s 2010. And no I did not use a time machine to get us here…I simply inserted a dollar into Steam and downloaded World Basketball Manager 2010, the absolute best 2010 simulator I have ever played.

World Basketball Manager 2010

I haven’t played it yet…I’m about to play it for the first time which is kind of the whole point of this series…but I don’t think I’ve played any other ones so I think that’s a fair assessment no matter how it goes. (And as always, click the images for full-size. It’s funnier that way, I hope.)

World Basketball Manager 2010

On booting up the game I am presented with an option to run it in windowed mode, which automatically makes it a better game than Vegas: Make it Snappy. I also have an option to choose my skin color. I’ll go with orange, so that nobody will be able to tell whether or not I’m holding the ball.

There’s also a tab called EXCLUDE TOURNAMENTS. When I click it I get a list of around 50 different countries with check-marks next to them. I guess I can deselect any of the nations against whose races I am so prejudiced that I can’t even bring myself to play a game of basketball with them.

I de-select China.

World Basketball Manager 2010

I told the game — explicitly told! — to play the intro movie, but I guess that was just a short, choppy animation for the Ice Hole developer logo, because I’m immediately dumped onto this title screen that leads me to believe the entire game was developed in Microsoft Paint.

I click NEW GAME and it asks me for a “game name.” It helpfully suggests the game name “New Game.”

I sure as heck can’t improve on perfection so New Game it is!

World Basketball Manager 2010

Except I can’t get the game to start. I press Enter and nothing happens.

I press other buttons and things do happen, yes, but the game starting isn’t one of them. I just mess up my extremely well-chosen game name with garbage characters.

I can’t get this game to start. At this rate I’ll never see 2010!

I’m clicking everything. Nothing’s happening. I’ve pressed every button. Nothing’s happening.

I can click CREDITS and read about all the wonderful people who made this title screen, but I can’t play the game.

Doing something I never thought I’d have to do, I navigate to the game’s section on the Steam forums to see if anyone was discussing how to get the fucking thing started.

What I find instead:

World Basketball Manager 2010

There are only two discussions, both of which are baffled by the awfulness of this game. This screengrab comes from the more active of the two threads. The other is titled, simply, “wat.”

I don’t know what to do. Everyone’s talking about how bad the game is, which I guess should make me at least somewhat happy that I can’t play it, but certainly they had to get further than the title screen in order to make that determination.

Right?

Maybe not. I’m stuck at the title screen and I’ve sure as cock made that determination.

World Basketball Manager 2010

I find the website for the game, in the hopes that there will be some instruction on how to START PLAYING THE THING. Nothing, but their FAQ is crawling with concerns about game-crashing issues and the answers to simple questions (such as how to activate and deactivate basic features) tend to be “install this patch to keep your computer from catching fire when you try to run this horse shit.” Promising.

BUT I STILL CAN’T PLAY IT.

I finally look for some footage of the thing on YouTube to see if anyone has actually successfully started the game. Sure enough when the guy in the video — whose disgust for this game is already palpable — types in the name of his game, a little CREATE button appears in the lower right.

What’s that? You don’t see that in the screen grab above?

Neither do I.

It was under the Windows task bar.

Yep. Great design, Ice Hole!

Of course it’s not their fault…how were they to know that literally everybody ever has their task bar locked to the bottom of their screen?

Everybody but me that is, because I now had to move mine to the right in order to make room for World Basketball Manager 2010. I expect that’s something you won’t hear many other people say today.

World Basketball Manager 2010

The game has helpfully auto-completed the appropriate fields with my personal information. Or its best guess, which is that I’m a middle-aged Indian man who coaches exactly as well as he psychologizes. He also somehow has a perfect 10 in youth, despite the fact that he’s five years away from being eligible for residency in a retirement home.

Already I’m irritated by the fact that I need to click to this window in order to type my commentary by moving my mouse to the RIGHT SIDE OF MY SCREEN WHEN IT SHOULD BE THE BOTTOM but it’s okay. It’s okay. I’m doing it for you. I need to keep doing it for you.

I name myself Philip Reed, 32, U.S.A. Don’t ask me where I got all that…it just sort of came to me. I leave all of my stats at 10 because that’s the maximum and why the hell wouldn’t I?

Even with the task bar moved I can’t see where I need to click, but if I move my cursor just off the bottom of the screen I can click whatever it is anyway.

Did I mention you can’t resize the window? This is truly stellar stuff, Ice Hole.

World Basketball Manager 2010

This grammatically-troublesome invitation is also the least inviting thing imaginable to me right now. Pairing it with a geography test isn’t helping to get me in the mood for fun. I don’t know where half these places are. (Okay, more like a quarter, but go along with it please.) Even less do I know / care about their historical basketball skills.

Fuck it, I’m already overthinking this. I’m picking Serbia.

World Basketball Manager 2010

Now shitting what.

And why is it August 19, 2009? I was specifically told I’d be enjoying some 2010-era basketball action, not this mid-to-late 2009 bullshit! Everyone knows basketball was a joke between August 17, 2009 and September 10, 2009!

I don’t know what to do.

I’ll click World News.

World Basketball Manager 2010

Hm. Slow news day I guess.

I click blindly through some menus with the vague hopelessness that precedes any upcoming basketball game, I guess, and try to pick a fight — that’s what they call it in sports, right? — with Canada.

I get this:

World Basketball Manager 2010

I don’t get this.

What does this mean.

What does any of this mean.

Are these basketball words?

I don’t understand basketball words.

Please just let me play some basketball please just let me play some basketball please for the love of Jesus on the cross just let me play some basketball.

I honestly don’t know how to start a game. I click through to my own team info and I see that I’ve already won some Olympic medals.

World Basketball Manager 2010

GO TEAM SERBIA!

While I was reading the evening headlines and mindlessly poring over Canada’s dayplanner, my team went out and won a shitload of medals and awards!

I’m tempted to just end this “playthrough” here (though it’s more of a read-through I guess…my earlier presumption that this game was developed in Paint has yet to be shaken) with the joke that I WON THE OLYMPICS GAME OVER but, in the course of blindly clicking around (which passes for strategy in World Basketball Manager 2010) I clicked on the date and found that you can advance to the next match day.

So I will do that, obviously, and give the game an actual chance. Let’s just advance to the next match day and…

World Basketball Manager 2010

What.

WHAT.

How did I go four days back in time? What the hell is World Basketball Manager 2010 trying to pull? It’s bringing me even further away from 2010!

Why on Earth did the game wind back the clock? I just wanted to jump to, I dunno, A DAY ON WHICH I COULD FUCKING DO SOMETHING but instead it brought me backward.

To a day on which basketball is still not happening.

Let me just take a look around here to confirm…hmm…yep…no basketball. No basketball. Just me standing in front of the map from Dr. Strangelove‘s war room, waiting for something, anything, to happen.

Look, I know this is a management game. I don’t expect to be slam dunking and free throwing and ball dribbling and penalty stroking and whatever the hell else athletes do. But doesn’t managing a team entail more than sitting around with a world atlas open in your lap, waiting for your team to win some things so you can read about them?

I can click through to different countries but all it lets me do is look to see what games they’re playing while I sit around, doing nothing, waiting to be invited to a game.

World Basketball Manager 2010

Look. It’s insulting. Everyone else in the world — literally! — is having so much fun, but all I get to do is sit around fantasizing about what it must be like to ACTUALLY DO THE JOB I DOWNLOADED THIS GAME TO DO.

I can click on the names of the teams, including the Baston Ciltics a-fuckin-har-har, but that still doesn’t let me challenge them. It just lets me check out their roster and peek into their bank accounts for some reason. I guess that would be really helpful in Identity Theft King 2010 but for now it’s just a further reminder that somebody out there is getting paid to do the thing I thought I’d also be doing. Why am I just clicking on meaningless words over and over, like I’m being forced to navigate some middle-schooler’s hypertext poetry project?

I give up on this thing. If you want to play World Ass-Sitter Nobody “2010” then be my guest. Maybe you’ll even get it to work.

But for both of our sakes, I hope you don’t.

And with that, I’m putting my task bar back at the bottom of my screen. Where God intended it to be, Ice Hole.

World Basketball Manager 2010
Released: April 21, 2010
Price on Steam: $0.99
Regular Price on Steam: $4.99
Price It Should Be on Steam: You should have your credit cards taken away if you attempt to buy this game through Steam.

Hello and welcome to a brand new series that I thought of just now, while writing this sentence, which is good, because if I hadn’t thought of one I’m not sure where I’d go with this.

This is $1 Adventures, wherein I spend one dollar on Steam, hoping to end up having an experience that’s worth far more than that. Say, $1.01. Steam is a digital distribution service that’s home to many great games, and sales are regular and plentiful. In fact, sales are so frequent that I end up downloading tons of games that I never even find time to play. Obviously, then, the best thing for me to do is start a series in which I download even more, focusing on games that are likely shit.

As far as rules go, that’s the only one: spend no more than a dollar. That may be the game’s normal price, that may be its sale price…it doesn’t matter. I’ll then play through the game and assess its actual worth, which is legally binding I think.

And where better to start than Las Vegas, where you can take such a small amount of money and turn it into something larger, and then even larger, and then a little smaller, and then you lose your house?

So let’s move forward and invest $1 in Vegas: Make It Big, a title which lends itself to hooker jokes so cheap even I wouldn’t make them.

The first thing we see when booting it up is that the game runs automatically in Windows 95. Maybe 98. Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve seen a launch window like this that I’m already assuming it’s a Minesweeper clone. It’s the sort of thing you’d find on those 50,000 Most Wonderful Games Ever compilation CDs, where 25,000 of the games didn’t work, 24,999 didn’t tell you how to play them, and the last was some bootleg Tetris thing that totally wasn’t a ripoff because it used bugs instead of blocks or something, and which you’d play on Saturday night well into the next morning, eating Spaghetti-Os out of a can and crying.

Those were the days.

I click “configure” to see if I can run the game in a window and I can’t, which means taking screen shots will be that much harder. Not off to a good start, Las Vegas: Make It Hard. I also check the “ReadMe” file, which is indeed in txt format, just to remind me of how not-far I’ve come since middle school. Instead of teaching me how to play the game it warns me about “performance issues.” This should be great.

Ah, so it’s Windows 98 after all.

We get some title cards and then we’re dumped at an options screen that welcomes us to The Strip and invites us to watch an episode of King of the Hill.

Actually these are two different scenarios to choose from. In the first, you build a gambling empire in the heart of Las Vegas. In the second you drink too much and verbally abuse your fat son Bobby. I go with the first.

It’s Sim City, if Sim City sucked. For starters, we’re stuck in a mandatory tutorial. The game squawks and screams at me every time I click something, because I’m not clicking the one thing it’s squawking and screaming at me to click. Unlike Sim City I don’t get to build roads leading into the sea or chemical refineries next to elementary schools for the fun of it. No, instead I need to follow instructions so precise that I honestly don’t know why Vegas: Make it Salty doesn’t just build it for me and wake me up when it’s done.

There are a wealth of options and menus and suboptions and submenus and menuoptions and optionmenus, each with its own mess of unidentifiable commands embedded within, but I’m not allowed to play with them I guess. I just need to do what the game tells me to do. It’s like going to the actual Las Vegas, but you’re with your overbearing father who won’t even let you roll down the windows because it’s too loud out there.

Las Vegas is supposed to be a world of magic, of enchantment, of gaudy approximations of enchantment and magic. It’s a place where dreams come true, and dreams are crushed. (Both, if your dream is to have your dream crushed.) But playing Vegas: Make ‘Em Laugh is like being bossed around by a crabby supervisor who keeps telling you exactly how you’re making the coffee wrong, but would rather stand in the corner with his arms crossed than help.

I eventually succeed in building my first hotel, which upsets my supervisor even more because I built it too far away from the sidewalk. Well forgive me for wanting to give my guests some exercise! There’s nothing I hate more than fat people clogging up my elevators, and that’s saying something because I hate an awful lot of everything. I figured I could discourage them from staying here by stranding my hotel in the middle of some scooter-unfriendly desert sand, but I guess not.

As penance I am forced to lay some pavement for the residents, so that they can get from the street to my hotel while bitching all the while that this walk is so long my god. It costs me another few hundred dollars to do that, and not one little pixel man thanks me for it.

Actually I just expected that the hotel would be larger. You know. Since it’s in the middle of fucking Las Vegas. Instead it’s barely the size of a small Arby’s and I had no idea how much space was going to be wasted. Oh well. At least I’ll definitely get all that lucrative wanted-to-stay-in-a-huge-city-but-couldn’t-stand-the-idea-of-an-appropriately-sized-hotel business. Ca-ching!

I’m asked to choose a theme for my hotel. I choose House of Zeus. My only other option was a gambling theme, which, let’s face it, is a cornered market. At least with House of Zeus I might be able to reel in some confused history teachers.

I don’t know what’s going on. I think the game is trying to scare me off by throwing irrelevant options and windows at me. The joke’s on it, though…I was scared off before I even booted it up.

It looks like it’s trying to both tell me how shitty a business man I am and sell me things like family portraits, sunglasses and a yacht. That’s not how salesmanship works, Vegas: Make It Soggy. You’re supposed to flatter me. Make me feel good about myself. Get me on your side and then move on to the okay okay I really want that yacht please please please let me give you all my money for a yacht.

But alas, the game won’t let me click anything. It’s as though Jesus has led me into the desert to offer me all this great stuff as a test, and I keep failing because I just nod and say “Yes please, that sounds wonderful.”

I’m told — in a way that doesn’t so much edify me as it does remind me that I sure was stupid not to know this in the first place — that I need to build a management office. I also learn how to zoom in so that I can take better screen shots, just as I’m losing interest in taking them.

The management office has some naked Greek people writhing all over each other as a motif, which I think does a great job of conveying my “no shit from anybody” management style. The default green and white checkerboard foundation also does a great job of conveying my “embarrassingly unprepared for this” entrepreneurial style.

I also tinted my upper windows, apparently, so you guys will just have to imagine for yourselves what kind of wild shenanigans I’m getting up to in my over-office penthouse on a vacant lot. (Tetris. Spaghetti-Os. Crying.)

I now have to build both a souvenir shop (because who would want to forget their visit to the world famous Hotel Inaccessibility?) and a maintenance shed. I learned my lesson from the hotel, so I’m saving on paving stones by building the souvenir shop right next to the street. That’ll make it easier for both customers and robbers, which proves that I don’t play favorites.

The maintenance shed goes right next to it, because that’s faster than scrolling, and look! It even comes with a little maintenance guy to stand out front and make the shoppers feel uncomfortable!

This is Brad. Or that’s what I’m calling him anyway, because I see a man drunk before 7 o’clock at night, wiping his nose on his sleeve and standing outside waiting for a stranger to talk to him, and I think “Brad.”

Brad serves a dual purpose, I’ll say. Since he’s so close to the souvenir shop, he can help with restocking duties and unclogging toilets. He’s not particularly strong so I can’t rely on him for security, but he’d probably stop more rapes than he’d cause so overall that keeps us on the positive side of the ledger.

I zoom out to get a better look at my misfit empire and…and…what’s this? Somebody checked into my hotel! That’s another $25 in my pocket like that!

Wait a minute…$25? Why the hell are my rates so low? I just spent several thousand dollars paving walkways to nowhere because you assholes are afraid of getting a little sand in your shoe and all you’re giving me for a night in my hotel is $25? That’s not even enough to feed Brad! And the labor board told me I really needed to start feeding Brad!

But the game doesn’t let me linger or even let me, you know, shake that fucker down for some more money which should totally be an option especially in Vegas. Instead it forces me to start placing all kinds of unnecessary crap on my property that I don’t want.

For starters, why do I have to build a movie theater? And why must that movie theater tower over the things I actually care about here, such as my hotel, and my precious sand? And how much will these movies cost anyway? Judging by the discount rates of my hotel I’d say you get to watch endless movies all night for a nickel. Maybe I’ll even shine your shoes.

Come on, Vegas: Keep It Greasy. I’m a better business man than you are…can’t we just skip this tutorial already? You’re forcing me into the role of theater mogul and I think I should have the right to put the breaks on this new career path.

I also need to build another maintenance shed, only this one is for maintaining the theater. Come on, I have Brad! This is his job! Do we really need a whole other building with a whole different name and a whole new even-shittier-looking appearance to drag down my own property values?

I put it immediately to the left of my cinema, so that I don’t have to pay for this guy to take a taxi to work or something. It even comes with a whole new creep to stand outside and accost women and children who were dumb enough to go to my theater alone.

I’m telling you right now if you’re reading this: I don’t know this man. I can’t seem to force him to leave my property. Until I can get rid of him please don’t go to my theater alone.

Anyway, that’s a hotel, a management office, two maintenance sheds, a souvenir shop, a movie theater, and six hundred trillion miles worth of paving stones. Not bad for a single day’s construction.

Not bad…but not enough! The game now informs me that in addition to disappointing my parents, wasting money on a worthless literature degree and regularly throwing my vote away, my near-vacant lot in the middle of the slummiest slums of Las Vegas isn’t “beautiful” enough.

The game even overlays a filter showing me, scientifically, exactly how not-beautiful my investment property really is. It’s the video game equivalent of someone not only lecturing you on how you should take better care of your money, but actually producing photocopied bank statements to definitively prove that you are incapable of taking care of yourself.

So it tells me to plant a tree. And I plant a tree.

And damned if this isn’t suddenly the most beautiful patch of desolate earth in Vegas. I even check the overlay again, and, sure enough, the tree is radiating green pixels that — as in real life — symbolize beauty.

Man this tree is just gorgeous. I even kept it away from Brad and that sex offender who lives next to the theater, because it’s a beauty that I simply couldn’t bear to see corrupted.

Also I don’t want them grabbing free coconuts or anything. Those guys are robbing me blind!

At long last, after so much waiting, nearly one full day after I came to Vegas with nothing in my pocket but hundreds of thousands of dollars and a screaming tutorial, I build a casino.

I think I’ve got the perfect name for it, too: Casino Casino Casino. It’s like Circus Circus, but with Casino instead of Circus, and three of them rather than two.

I predict big things for Casino Casino Casino. And by that I mean I predict I’ll never visit it again once I shut this game off. Good news, Casino Casino Casino…you won’t have management breathing down your neck.

I’m noticing a man in the lower right of that picture, walking along The Strip and daydreaming about wooden chairs. I wonder what kind of simulation he goes home and plays at night.

I’m invited into my own casino, which is pretty nice, considering that neither Brad nor the sex offender ever invited me inside, and the souvenir shop didn’t even let me browse my own selection of walnuts with googly eyes that say I WENT NUTS IN VEGAS.

My excitement is short-lived, however, as they just want to make me decorate the place. That might normally be fun, but then they start teaching me about how to maintain the machines and unload the money and all that crap.

Why am I doing this stuff myself? I only install one slot machine because as soon as I install it I’m assailed with windows trying to teach me about all the various things I’ll need to do in order to keep the thing operational.

Isn’t that why I have a staff? Donald Trump doesn’t have to get down on his knees and recalibrate spinwheels. He doesn’t have to vacuum the rugs and pick the green M&M’s out of Tony Orlando’s candy bowl. No, he has other people do that for him, so he can stand on top of a skyscraper shouting about Sharia law and birth certificates. That’s what I want to be doing!

Perhaps — and, really, just stay with me here — I should have hired a staff before I opened four disparate places of business. Perhaps — and, yes, I know I’m new here but I think I might have some insight — these places would run so much better if I wasn’t running them all myself, simultaneously, with no help. Perhaps — and I really do hope I’m not overstepping any boundaries here — an entire massive gambling vacation resort needs more than two maintenance guys who never leave the shed and a CEO who dutifully scrubs every toilet with his own loving touch.

Why oh why am I now in charge of emptying slot machines? Aren’t I supposed to be managing the company? Can’t somebody else sell chewing gum or do I have to man the concession desk myself, too?

Anyway, welcome to the floor of Casino Casino Casino. I’m already overworked to Hell and back so I’ve limited myself to a slot machine, a black jack table, and a security guard.

This should work well, I think. It’s no frills, I know, but I’m not much one for frills anyway, and with the security guard I have at least one extra set of hands to help keep the place running. I know that that’s not his job, strictly speaking, but if I’m washing sheets and singing lullabies to Brad then maybe Officer Hardass here can pitch in a bit as well.

THEN AGAIN MAYBE NOT:

Come on now! I need to move this bastard’s legs as well? Can these people not do anything without me?

The asshole I hired sees a crime — in a casino that has a whole two gambling stations — and I need to come in and bend his knees for him so that he can go investigate?

This is getting ridiculous. Who knew the workforce in Las Vegas was this unmotivated? These are the laziest people on Earth. Do I need to keep checking on him to make sure he didn’t drink too much liquid on the job? What if he did? Would I have to walk him step by step to the bathroom, undo his belt, and squeeze him until urine comes out?

For crying out loud, man, I shouldn’t need to carry you back and forth across the casino floor. I know the economy is tough, but it’s not so tough that I need to hire invalids as my security guards and maintenance men.

I can’t spend all day babysitting him in here. I need to get back outside. Somebody might be vandalizing the tree!

I’m not doing it. If you want to move across the casino floor, you can move yourself across the casino floor.

Needless to say I move Officer Useless across the casino floor. It requires me to click a series of very precise icons in such an unintuitive way that I think it would be easier to just slice his legs open and tug on the muscles myself.

He makes it halfway across the floor before giving up — which, to be fair, coincides exactly with me giving up — and stands with his arms crossed, splashing green light everywhere which now represents security. So, well done. I’ve secured this empty patch of the casino which somehow manages not to encompass either of the two areas where security might be necessary.

One of my lone, confused patrons walks over to an unused raised platform, surveys the emptiness around him and inside of himself, and frowns.

I know the feeling, sad man. I too came to Vegas seeking something larger. I too ended up in an empty casino that really shouldn’t be open to the public until it’s actually stocked and staffed. I too had a dollar in my pocket, and hoped against hope that it would lead me to something bigger.

Here you go, friend. These are the keys to Casino Casino Casino. It’s yours now. And I won’t be coming back again. I’m leaving Las Vegas. Like Nicolas Cage. But with the sense to know when to quit.

Vegas: Make It Big
Released: Dec. 21, 2006
Price on Steam: $0.99
Regular Price on Steam: $4.99
Price It Should Be on Steam: -$25, in honor of my first and only guest at the House of Zeus

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