What We're NOT Playing - Volume 14 (Sorry "Harvey Birdman," "NFL Tour," "Sonic Riders")

notplaying3d.jpgIt's the first "What We're NOT Playing" of 2008!

The new year brings us new games that we won't play -- and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the games in question, but more based on our biases, quirks and wacky opinions.

In this installment, Jason Cipriano reveals his affinity for "Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law," poking fun at old man Totilo for not watching the animated TV series. Things get heated when Cipriano, Totilo and Jason Mitchell discuss 2D Sonic vs. 3D Sonic:

JasonCipriano: yeah - Sonic should have stayed 2D - even though the DS games haven’t really been that great

StephenTotilo: that's a hell of an argument, Cip

JasonCipriano: you want me to argue why Sonic should stay 2D … that's like the easiest thing ever

StephenTotilo: Cip, with the logic you’re using, I don’t expect you to win too many "Harvey Birdman" cases. You say that Sonic should have stayed 2D, but then acknowledge that recent 2D Sonic games haven’t been so hot.

StephenTotilo: So the problem with Sonic games doesn’t seem to be just because many are in 3D; there seems to be an across-the-board issue. And you say Mario had Miyamoto.

StephenTotilo: Well, Sonic had Yuji Naka, who did the early Sonic games you love and didn’t leave Sega until after some of the 3D Sonic games came out.

Oh, snap! Read on to find out where this argument goes...

[Photo Credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images]

birdman.jpgStephenTotilo: So here we are at the start of a new year. And I'm already not playing some new releases, namely the "Harvey Birdman" games. I will get to the PSP one, but right now I have too many games from 2007 to play.

StephenTotilo: In fact

StephenTotilo: I think that if Falls are going to be as full of amazing games as this last one was

StephenTotilo: then it actually DOES make sense for January to be mostly barren

JasonCipriano: COME ON - Birdman's awesome

JasonCipriano: that should be at the top of your list.

JasonMitchell: That's the one game this week I will play

StephenTotilo: "Birdman" should get in the way of me playing "Super Mario Galaxy"? Somehow I doubt it is that awesome

JasonMitchell: why do you hate everything awesome

JasonCipriano: Actually it should

JasonCipriano: because there are always going to be more "Mario" games - and this is the last vestige of that series

JasonCipriano: you should savor it

StephenTotilo: Oh, the mail guy just handed me an envelope that has "Burnout Paradise" in it.

JasonCipriano: .... I hate you

JasonMitchell: give it to me right now

StephenTotilo: Now that game, I will probably put "Mario" aside for a little

JasonCipriano: crashy crashy

StephenTotilo: Let's see what's in this other envelope...

JasonCipriano: the last one bothered me a little - but this one looks so much shinier

StephenTotilo: Oh. It's something that's embargoed. Secrets!

StephenTotilo: But I also received "Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom" for the Xbox 360

StephenTotilo: That one may sit for a bit

JasonCipriano: Secrets ... I thought we made a pact not to keep secrets from each other

JasonMitchell: tell us and Tracey can edit it out later

JasonMitchell: is it "Super Smash Bros. Brawl"?

StephenTotilo: No.

JasonCipriano: better not be ... this would be over if it was

StephenTotilo: Yeah, I'd be taunting you if it was

JasonCipriano: not cool

JasonMitchell: Cip's not allowed to play until he reaches the end of his quest anyway

StephenTotilo: So back to what we're not playing... "Birdman" may be fine, but I have too many other games in my stack from last year

JasonCipriano: but ... think about Peanut

JasonCipriano: and Peter Potamus

JasonCipriano: and Guile

JasonCipriano: you're neglecting them

JasonCipriano: "Did you get that thing I sent ya?" ... THAT'S PURE COMIC GENIUS

JasonCipriano: anywho

StephenTotilo: Uh, I don't watch "Birdman." And while "Burnout" is exciting enough and casual enough to play in a short burst (because it's a racing game)

StephenTotilo: I can't see myself digging into something like "Kingdom Under Fire" when "Mario Galaxy" is waiting to be completed and "Fire Emblem" Wii is still waiting to be begun

JasonMitchell: if you were a real gamer you'd have finished "Mario" already

JasonCipriano: You had like a month off -- and you didn't chip away at "Galaxy" ... for shame

patapon.jpg StephenTotilo: I finished "Patapon," "Mass Effect" and "Assassin's Creed" since we last did that. That's slacking? Apparently you guys aren't playing "Birdman" either, even though you apparently love it. Why is that?

JasonMitchell: we didn't get a copy

JasonCipriano: ooohhhh "I finished 'Patapon'"

JasonCipriano: cuz we don't have a copy

StephenTotilo: "we didn't get a copy." Then go buy it

JasonCipriano: don't get me started on when Gamestop actually gets games in

JasonCipriano: it's Wednesday morning which means they wont get this week's releases until tomorrow afternoon

JasonCipriano: release dates mean nothing to them unless its a midnight opening for an AAA level title

StephenTotilo: Remember, "What We're Not Playing" is the leading source of market research for major game publishers that want to know why people don't buy a copy of every single game.

StephenTotilo: We need to show them that there are reasons we don't play games other than "because the company didn't send a freebie out." Come on guys, Capcom needs answers!!

StephenTotilo: so you're saying you're not playing it because it's not out yet? that's crazy talk

JasonMitchell: but we are going to play it, you're the one that isn't and needs to tell them why

JasonCipriano: Mitch has a point

JasonCipriano: you obviously didn't read the WWNP about "Wii Fit" and "Smash Bros."

StephenTotilo: I read that one. But if I hadn't I might have had time to finish "Galaxy"

JasonCipriano: score one for Totilo

StephenTotilo: Please tell me what you're both not playing (that's actually out)

nfltour.jpgJasonCipriano: I will be ignoring "NFL Tour" this week

StephenTotilo: Why?

JasonCipriano: A couple of reasons

JasonCipriano: 1. I just don't enjoy football and football games - not my favorite sport

JasonCipriano: 2. It's an arcade-style football game

JasonCipriano: not since "Tecmo Bowl" has one of those been a good idea

JasonCipriano: Basically - I'm torn on how I feel about arcade-style sports games

StephenTotilo: what if I told that you the Xbox 360 version had easily obtainable Achievements?

JasonCipriano: then I'd be in .. but I'm a whore ... and I openly admit that

StephenTotilo: Jason Mitchell, step up to the mic. What are you Not Playing?

JasonMitchell: I'm not playing "Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity"

JasonCipriano: BUT SONIC GAMES ARE ALWAYS GOOD

JasonCipriano: (by "always" I mean "not since 1991 has a Sonic game been good")

JasonCipriano: strike that -- I meant, 1994

JasonMitchell: I've been burnt too many times by Sonic since he's stepped into the 3D world

"I don't know if I'll ever be able to play a 3D Sonic game again."

JasonMitchell: I don't know if I'll ever be able to play a 3D Sonic game again

StephenTotilo: Mitchell, why not? or in this case, maybe you can say why you do or don't play any of the recent Sonic games

JasonMitchell: I've tried them. they just never come out well

JasonMitchell: i was actually kind of looking forward to Sonic for the 360

JasonMitchell: and it was terrible. the controls were terrible the load time was terrible

JasonMitchell: and you had to go through like 3 or 4 load screens every time you wanted to play a level

JasonCipriano: yeah - Sonic should have stayed 2D - even though the DS games haven't really been that great

StephenTotilo: that's a hell of an argument, Cip

JasonCipriano: you want me to argue why Sonic should stay 2D ... that's like the easiest thing ever

StephenTotilo: but Mitch, how was it that they almost had you back for the 360 one?

JasonMitchell: well Mario transitioned amazingly

JasonMitchell: I don't know what happen to Sonic

JasonCipriano: Mario had Miyamoto

JasonCipriano: the Sonic games on the Dreamcasts just didn't carry over what was fun about the series

JasonCipriano: and that's where it started to break down

JasonMitchell: I don't know, I think I remember hearing some all right things about it, and I guess I just wanted to like it because it's Sonic in HD... but he let me down yet again

JasonCipriano: wait - I forgot - Sonic 3D was the first "3D" one ... and it wasn't really that great. Wikipedia states it is an isometric pseudo 3D (2.5D)

JasonCipriano: maybe that's the problem

JasonCipriano: Sonic didn't go full-on 3D from the start - like "Mario 64" did

JasonCipriano: he just limped along - making little jumps instead of one giant one

StephenTotilo: Cip, with the logic you're using, I don't expect you to win too many "Harvey Birdman" cases. You say that Sonic should have stayed 2D, but then acknowledge that recent 2D Sonic games haven't been so hot.

StephenTotilo: So the problem with Sonic games doesn't seem to be just because many are in 3D; there seems to be an across-the-board issue. And you say Mario had Miyamoto.

StephenTotilo: Well, Sonic had Yuji Naka, who did the early Sonic games you love and didn't leave Sega until after some of the 3D Sonic games came out.

JasonCipriano: the Sonic DS games are still more enjoyable than the console games

JasonMitchell: I think they just never took the time to get the camera right, or the controls right and that is the most important thing. Mario did both well, Sonic did both terribly

JasonCipriano: they just didn't ever reach the level of greatness that the original Genesis titles reached for me

JasonCipriano: Mitch is exactly right

StephenTotilo: I saw a lot of promise in the Wii version

sonicsecretrings.jpg JasonCipriano: "Secret Rings"?

StephenTotilo: but like so many other Sonic games, they threw in too many complicating factors

JasonCipriano: I couldnt even get him to jump right

StephenTotilo: Yeah, but once you started gaining the extra powers you could

JasonCipriano: right ... keep it simple

JasonCipriano: and fast

JasonCipriano: and 2D

StephenTotilo: Well, this is probably enough Sonic talk for now. Any other closing thoughts for Not Playing?

JasonCipriano: but the effort that I had to go through to get those extra powers was annoying and redundant

StephenTotilo: yeah, that's what I'm saying, they made it too complex. there was no need to make the needed abilities a bunch of tacked-on things you had to win

JasonMitchell: I didn't like the 2D DS games because I felt like the game was playing itself, it's fun when you tear though levels but when I played the DS I felt like it was too laid out and I wasn't involved enough. I got bored

JasonCipriano: but they were still better than that the console ones

JasonMitchell: yes I agree with that. the console ones just made me angry

JasonCipriano: just that I hope theres a secret mini-game in "Birdman" where you have to save Birdman's crest from X the Eliminator

StephenTotilo: And that's a wrap..... please.... make it stop

JasonCipriano: haha

StephenTotilo has left the room.