Parody Game Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Parody Game RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Not For Broadcast Review: Bleeping Swears for Fun and Profit Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:08:09 -0500 RobertPIngram

Nothing will put you in the right mindset for Not For Broadcast's Early Access release better than a brief explanation of who you are as David, the main character.

On the day of a major national election, you show up to clean the television broadcast control room only to receive a call from the show's producer. He can't make it, and he says you need to fill in. Don't worry, he'll walk you through it.

One hundred days later, you're still manning the booth, with the help of the occasional call-in to tell you about new responsibilities.

No explanation is given for why the default response to an absent producer would be to plug in the cleaner on his first day, nor is it explained why you are then permitted to stay in the position for months on end, even as the news being covered grows more and more dire and important.

If you're looking for a meaningful simulation that looks with solemn sincerity at the difficult decisions facing news media amidst the rise of fascism, you've got the wrong game. 

That's not to say I'm certain the creators didn't have an intended message when they made this game. But while the point being made often feels muddled if not entirely absent, humor and riotous, panicked fun is ever-present.

Not For Broadcast Review: Bleeping Swears for Fun and Profit

Not For Broadcast is excellently paced. As soon as you pull up behind the switchboard, you're presented with a smorgasbord of screens, buttons, and switches. While it would be easy to overwhelm new players with options, the game takes it slow.

After choosing three ads (of an available five) to load up for commercial breaks, the game keeps it simple as the broadcast gets underway. All you have to worry about is switching between four cameras, ensuring that the active speaker is on screen. Well, save for the occasional reaction shot or wide-angle.

As you roll through the first segment, however, new complications start to arise. First, you learn about interference, a simple game of adjusting the height of a circle on a screen as it moves constantly forward, keeping it out of the interference areas. It's a simple task on its own that you 100% will forget about at least once later on. But don't fret: your system will shout at you as static takes over.

By the second segment, you're managing an interview with a blowhard actor, only to see him drop a swear not once, but twice in rapid succession. No harm there. You haven't been told about bleeping, but you better learn how to do it in the future in case you run into more swears.

And yes, you will run into so many more swears.

By the final segment, a properly sloshed Prime Minister is tossing them out like candy, and it's your job to hear them in real-time and bleep them on the feed, with the help of your two-second delay. Of course, that means having the volume on both the live feed to the booth and the broadcast feed playing at once.

It's chaos. It's also outstanding fun.

As David gets more entrenched in his role, the complications continue to increase, as does the importance of his job. With the world sliding toward fascism and a guerilla rebellion afforded none of the solemnity you'd expect for such a topic, your decisions on what to air and what not to air can change the world.

Also, try to keep the cameras off the streaker protestors interrupting the world championships of a sport where the entire goal is to not throw the ball into the basket.

Keep Your Eyes Off the Prize

The biggest mistake you can make as a producer in Not For Broadcast is paying attention to what's actually happening on screen. When you're trying to keep track of the various feeds and dials on your workstation, the last thing you have time for is taking in what's actually being said and done. But you'll want to.

The comedy in Not For Broadcast is over the top parody, the kind that you'll want very badly to pay attention to. For best results, however, you can't waste focus on listening to the writing or laughing as a family of awkward teenagers rap terribly about bullying.

The good news is, you don't have to pick between doing well and enjoying the game's generally-excellent performances. After each day's broadcast, you have access to a replay broadcast, where you can take in the ups and downs of your efforts.

You can also check the raw feeds on all cameras, so you can listen in as the news desk takes the piss out of the politicians on the remote, hearing all the jokes you missed while you frantically switched between cameras at the press conference.

Satire with the Subtlety of a Shotgun

Unfortunately, there's a lack of clarity in what the designers are trying to say with Not For Broadcast, and I'm still not entirely sure the answer isn't "not all that much." If you told me the only goal was to make a fun and silly game, I'd believe you, and I'd say they succeeded.

If the game was meant to have an impact on me, however, I'm left unsure of what that impact was meant to be.

I bounced back and forth between wondering if the far-left extremists claiming power are meant as a right-leaning critique on socialist movements or were a warning against the risk of faux-populists turning not-faux fascists when given power. If you come in inclined to think either of them, I reckon you'll find the game is speaking to you.

That's not to say the lefties in charge are the only source of mockery, however. The conservative constable decrying the loss of family values keeps a disabled person in his closet. The hyper-rich resistance is played up as spoiled, out-of-touch weirdos.

If South Park hadn't seen recent games that so perfectly translated the show to the console, for better and worse, Not For Broadcast might be the most South Park game ever made.

In the world of Not For Broadcast, everyone is terrible and worthy of mockery. How much mileage you get out of that will come down to how you feel about the current state of politics and media.

Not For Broadcast Review — The Bottom Line

  • The learning curve is well-paced, and the too-many-balls-in-the-air approach to keeping things running is both fun and challenging
  • Entertaining writing and strong performances keep every broadcast interesting and compel you to play just one broadcast more
  • Choose-your-path interludes show the potential for interesting story development in the full release
  • Video in the game's archive runs slow, desyncing the audio, which you would expect to be fixed before the final release
  • Current gameplay is short, with just three broadcasts and two sessions of living your life away from the station

As someone who studied journalism, "you play as a news broadcast producer" is about as far from my ideal pitch as you could get, and yet Not For Broadcast had me hooked almost immediately. The game's characters provide just the right kind of stupid fun, with the cheesy commercials serving as a particular high point. I'll have footie star Johnny Hamsleeve's fitness video tune stuck in my head for days.

On a gaming level, the frenetic dance of bouncing from one feed to the other, all while making sure you don't have interference or let some colorful language slip by or shock yourself into an early grave, is simply a good time.

I'll be eagerly awaiting the full release, and will surely play through it a few more times in the interim just to see the rest of the commercials and how my decisions could have changed the way the story unfolded.

[Note: A copy of Not For Broadcast was provided by NotGames for the purpose of this review.]

West Of Loathing: One of the Year's Best Games is Made of Stick Figures Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:51:42 -0400 Ty Arthur

Until just very recently, I had never even heard of Kindgom Of Loathing or developer Asymmetric, which now seems like a sad oversight on my part. Out of nowhere we've now got a full-length, Western themed follow-up to that browser game, and it just may be the sleeper hit of the summer.

Sure, the gaming world is in the doldrums without any AAA big name releases until autumn arrives, but as West Of Loathing very clearly shows -- we don't even need 'em!

Saddle Up, Pardner

On the graphical front, West Of Loathing might have seriously been drawn in Microsoft Paint. The gameplay is just as simplistic as the art, with each map segment behaving like an adventure game -- peppered through with occasional combat that offers up a bare bones, turn-based RPG style.

Elements from classic cRPGs of bygone eras like Fallout are present, where you've got perks and skills to develop that can be used in dialog or various world map situations. Some are gained just by leveling, while others appear by completing tasks (like foolishly walking into cacti over and over).

The combination of six-shooters with magic along with the dusty Western setting will obviously bring to mind Wasteland 2 or Hard West, but there are none of the gameplay or graphics pitfalls from those titles, because West Of Loathing doesn't bother with anything even remotely complex or complicated.

 She may only have her grandpa's brass knuckles and a bit of moxie, but she's ready to take on the whole weird west!

How Is This So Much Fun?

Not long after deciding whether to be a Cow Puncher, Beanslinger, or Snake Oiler, our gritty protagonist has left her farm life behind to discover adventure out in the west. As in any RPG, there's adventure aplenty to be found in some dusty little hamlet.

As it turns out, the local Sherf (yes, the Sherf) can't lock anyone up anymore because the last criminal to break out took the cell door with him. The Sherf is too busy practicing his chair tippin' and nappin' to go find it himself.

During the adventure I pick up the Walking Stupid perk, and now I find myself staring at my Cow Puncher as she glides, crawls, digs, flaps, flies, levitates, and cartwheels across the game world. It's a stick figure, but somehow it's more interesting than an open 3D world.

While out searching for the cell door I find myself trying to convince a skittish horse (who has seem some serious shit, man) that it should put the locoweed down and accept reality in all its harshness. When finally discovering the varmints who stole the cell door, I remember seeing a wanted poster about a bandit who steals faces, which seemed like a pointless joke. Turns out I can convince the gang that I'm that very face-stealer, letting me get the door without even pulling out my pistol.

Somewhere in all this silliness it suddenly dawns on me... I'm actually having more fun playing this ludicrous RPG parody drawn with stick people than I did with the bigger budget Wasteland 2.

 There's never been a barrel labeled TNT that shouldn't be blown up!

Silly Mode: Activate!

Remember playing classic RPGs like Torment or Icewind Dale II and realizing all those seemingly-useless items did in fact have a purpose, or that places you'd been to before actually had a lot more to discover once you acquired some new item or nugget of information? That's basically the entire game with West Of Loathing, just with joke after joke after joke coming at you hard and fast.

There's a fabulous meta-ness to the jokes that somehow straddles the line between silly nonsense and legitimately being funny on multiple levels. For instance, you can wear many hats throughout the game, including a secret hard hat that... makes the game more difficult.

It's a black and white game... with a color blind mode. Locks are picked with needles, which are found by opening haystacks. "When The Cows Come Home" goes from a quaint Western colloquialism to a phrase filled with dread, as it now means flaming demon cows tore open a portal from hell.

The pun-tastic tone here is something along the lines of Discworld or the Xanth series if they were set in the old west.

 Coincidentally, his name was Cactus Man before he mutated into a Cactus Man

The Bottom Line

Considering the vastly different tones, size of the development crews, and amount of money that went into them, it would be silly to try to compare West Of The Loathing to any of the AAA games that came out this year, from Resident Evil 7 to Prey to Horizon Zero Dawn.

But here's the thing -- for RPG fans who like a little parody every now and again, this tiny little indie title might be just as fun as any of those gamesWest Of Loathing is a testament to what you can do when you have a fun concept, solid gameplay, and enough polish on the style front.

It doesn't matter that these are literal stick figures, or that the game is entirely black and white, or that each area is tiny. It's silly, it's accessible, it's enjoyable, and I could play it all day long without getting bored.

Sunset TV: A Glimpse into Sunset Overdrive Gameplay Wed, 16 Jul 2014 05:32:19 -0400 PencilPusha

Since May this year, Sunset TV (Sunset Overdrive's YouTube channel) uploads a video every week. The videos showcase different features of the game. Movement options are referred to as traversing in the videos. Co-op multiplayer capabilities include things like Chaos Squad and Night Defense (more on that later).

The videos also show detailed gameplay snippets of different parts of the colorfully wacky open world that is Sunset City. Host Brandon Winfrey from Insomniac Games (remember him from RTX 2014?) answers questions from fans that range from Sunset Overdrive to his injured finger.

So what exactly is in store for players itching to run around Sunset City? Well...

Players can traverse in-game by bouncing or grinding (shoes are the Sunset City version of a skateboard) on walls, railings, power lines, and more. So there's not much running or walking on the street going on in this game! And this type of travel means that players can get their character higher and higher on buildings and other obstacles - but that doesn't mean mutants won't try to get in the way! The higher players get, the more difficult and complex it is to move around Sunset City.

Weapons and special moves - also called 'amps' - can emit cool stuff, such as electricity, tornadoes, and nuclear explosions.

So if there's a horde of mutants in a player's way, they can easily be taken down with a handy-dandy amp. As players progress through the game, there are more amps to earn and use in any way the player chooses. The amps range from cool and imaginative to weird and wacky, which seems proper since all these mutants came soda? Or an energy drink? It's not clear what the in-game drink, Over Charge, is...

Players can traverse in-game by bouncing or grinding....

There are a lot of fun things to do aside from the main story, like side quests to help other characters and unfold the story more, eight-player co-op multiplayer Chaos Squad and Night Defense, in-depth character customization, and so much more. In Chaos Squad and Night Defense, players duke it out with mutants in teams, completing objectives by day and "defense-style battles" by night, according to Meanwhile, players earn more money and more amps! Best of all, there's no set amount of gameplay hours, so players can keep on killing mutants as much as they want.

During the latest Sunset TV installment, Winfrey hinted at the Sunset Overdrive digital pre-order.

According to, the XBox overlord Phil Spencer said "Pre-buy, pre-download are all things we look at as important to our long-term success."

That's something for not only Sunset Overdrive fans, but all XBox One fans to look forward to. Pre-orders and pre-downloads on the XBox One console? It doesn't get better than that.

Some gamers, like writer Max Parker, doubt that Sunset Overdrive will keep players engaged for so long.

According to, Parker said "Sunset Overdrive has the aura of something fun and original, but I worry that it will outstay its welcome rather quickly. How fun can obliterating zombies be after the third or fourth hour?"

Hasn't Parker ever heard of the zombie co-op multiplayer in past Call of Duty games? Those haven't lost their luster yet.

It's all leading up to the release of Sunset Overdrive on October 28 exclusively for the XBox One.

New Trailer & Gameplay Video for Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:52:11 -0400 PencilPusha

Insomniac Games has done it again...

The same wonderful group of geniuses who brought us Spyro The Dragon have finally blessed the gaming community with Sunset Overdrive! This past holiday weekend, Insomniac Games announced on their official website that they would be gracing the RTX stage with their presence - and they'd be bringing along Sunset Overdrive. The first two-minute cut scene of the single-player campaign looked absolutely stunning! It gave viewers a little more background about why there are monsters running around everywhere. Apparently, some company called FizzCo made some energy drink or soda called OverCharge Delirium XT (which sounds fishy to begin with) that ended up turning most (if not all) of Sunset City's residents into giant, soda spewing monsters! And the worst part of it is...the effects aren't reversible. What a creepy play on energy drinks and soda!


It seems like a funny take on an otherwise grim concept of survival horror amidst a monster apocalypse (so used to saying zombie apocalypse...). From the looks of the trailer, Sunset City is a bustling tech-savvy metropolis filled with people who are simply looking for a good time! And what better way to do that than with a new drink?!

The key things to take away from the gameplay video are:

  1. "Keep Sunset City weird." That's easy, considering the endless supply of monsters, the colorful, nonsensical action aspect of the game, and the endless wonder of hwo the issue will be resolved, if at all. 
  2. "The city is a playground." Yes, everything is a helpful tool ready for use in the epic battle that is Sunset Overdrive!
  3. Weapons-wise, there's a "crazy theme and unique functionality in the arsenal." In order to take down monsters in a way that only Insomniac Games can deliver, a vast array of interesting (perhaps strange), functional bringers-of-death are required.

The fun begins late October on the Xbox One!

Steamrolled: Evoland Review Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:21:28 -0400 SupportGuy

A few days after the amusing diversion that was DLC Quest, I saw Evoland on sale on Steam. It only released last week, and was on sale for 10% off the usual $9.99 price tag.  Another parody game sounded entertaining, so I picked it up.

So It Begins

The start-up screen already has me intrigued - it has the same look as the games I grew up with, and that little thrill of nostalgia starts to build.  I click 'New Game'.  It starts up (I didn't even have to blow in the cartridge, so kudos there) and I'm greeted with a familiar sight from my childhood.

It even starts with the full-on map transitions that the original Zelda had, where when I move to the edge the new map section loads.  Good times, it brings me back to simpler days where I didn't have to worry about my character's motivation - I just did them and that was okay.

I go through and keep opening chests, which open up new features and otherwise make changes to the world.  A few minutes later and I've got the map focused on my character (no more worrying about full pages loading, the map moves with me) and an impressive development: color.


 ...And Keeps Going

Then I get a sword.  And monsters.  It's starting to feel more like a game.  I'm still digging the classic vibe, too, right down to cutting down grass with said new sword and hacking away at squishy little octopus monsters.  

Then there are save points, which at this point is more for a sense of security than anything else (the monsters have the same movement as most did in 8-bit games, so they're easy to avoid running into).  

The Precipice

I'm about ten minutes in at this point, and that sense of nostalgia is wearing off.  Every time I open a chest to get something, there's a comment about what it is at the bottom.  At first they were friendly and funny, but they start going more along the snarky/sarcastic route as the game goes on.

It starts getting downhill from here.  

Over The Hill

The game itself is very well made, and after all is said and done it's entertaining.  The problem is it ends up being a little pushy about its own message.  Every new chest I open gets a new mode or object, and gets another snarky comment that starts to be vaguely irritating.

I think that's the worst part.  It's still entertaining, there's just the mild sense of annoyance that starts building.  It never gets to the point that I'm frustrated, the game itself is straightforward and still has those moments that I remember from games long past, but I feel like I'm playing it with a bitter narrator who snidely comments about how cool aviators were... back in the eighties.

I suspect a lot of that is more on my overly nostalgic nature than it is the actual game (after all, it's text - the tone you get is your own mental dialogue), but I couldn't get past the nagging feeling that I was listening to my high school self over-critiquing everything.

Update: After some comments on reddit saying that it gets worse after when I stopped, I ventured a little further (apparently it wasn't just me).  And unfortunately confirmed that it does get worse after that point, which made me sad.  This is another game I wanted to like.

Steamrolled Score: 5/10

This has been an installment of Steamrolled, a semi-regular column about impulse buys on Steam that turn out either very impressive or very... not.