And I mean that in the same way that Adolf Hitler was almost chosen by TIME as the person of the 20th century.
Every decade has their gaming climate. The 80s had 8-bit side-scrolling platformers, the 90s had moral-outrage-causing hyperviolence (or cutesy studio mascots, take your pick) and the 00s had Halo clones. Only 4 years in, one game has exposed every nasty trend of this decade.
I present to you Super Monster Bros. by Adventure Time Pocket Free, the epitome of 2010s games. It will be forever known as the game that took every 2010s gaming trend and cranked them beyond all logical possibility to produce an unapologetic, horrifying mockery of the video game medium.
There are things that should never be gazed upon by mere mortals.
Then there’s this.
(sadly, no, it’s not a parody or satire like Cow Clicker)
4. It’s mobile shovelware
Say what you will about the mainstream game market, but anyone familiar with mobile gaming is no stranger to shovelware.
“Shovelware is a derogatory computer jargon term that refers to software noted more for the quantity of what is included than for the quality or usefulness.” – Wikipedia
Shovelware is the $5 discs you find in bargain bins. Shovelware is the lazy cash-ins on kid’s show licenses. Shovelware is the faddish celebrity-endorsed games.
Why is this more common in the mobile game market? Ever since companies realised they can make a quick buck from low-cost, low-effort, low-time-investment pieces of garbage, online app stores have been FLOODED with derivative arcade-style mini-games. Don’t get me wrong – all creative industries have some poor quality titles and stolen ideas, but in a market where developers can profit by pumping out tiny games as efficiently as possible, that’s pretty much all there is.
Super Monster Bros.:
It’s an indie sidescrolling platformer. Need I say more?
(not really, but I’ll mention that you can’t even fall down the holes)
3. It’s a free game that’s neither free nor a whole game
Super Monster Bros.:
If you’re a gamer you’ve heard the suspicions that companies are cutting out parts of the main game as DLC, but Super Monster Bros. takes that a step further by not even trying to hide it.
Apart from the starter character, you have to pay for everything. And I mean microtransactions with real money. You have to pay for fireballs once you run out. You have to pay for lives once you run out. Every character other than the starter is in the main selection menu but still has to be purchased, up to $100 USD. No, that’s not a joke or typo. One hundred United States dollars.
When earlier games scholars touted the benefits of internet integration in video games, I don’t think they meant this.
2. It’s a rip-off
There’s a difference between a rip-off with the same concept as the original, and a rip-off that’s literally the same thing.
Angry Birds isn’t just copying Crush the Castle, it is Crush the Castle. Flappy Bird isn’t just copying Helicopter, it is Helicopter.
When the easiest way to enter mobile games is by copy/pasting reskinned games, the whole thing becomes a perpetual cycle of clones. This market is unprecedented – never before have millions of amateur developers been able to instantly market a game they made in 5 days, into a store so saturated that the original creators and moderators won’t notice the plagiarism, for a casual audience that just wants to pass an hour and doesn’t care where the game came from.
Super Monster Bros.:
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but I have no idea what this is supposed to be.
(top: Super Monster Bros., bottom: Pokémon)
The characters are copied from the original Pokémon, and the game mechanics, level design and sound effects are the same as Mario. The first two points are what we already think of as plagiarism, but the level design and sound effects go even further – they’re 100% lifted straight from Mario. Not “copied”. Not “inspired by”. The exact same things.
1. It cheats
What do I mean by this?
You’ve probably noticed that the title rips off Pokémon (Pocket Monsters) and Mario. You’ve probably also noticed that the game genre matches what I described as the 80s gaming trend.
As Cracked mentions in its article writing tips, “nostalgia is cheating and cheating works”. It’s cheating because you don’t have to think of something new. It’s cheating because you don’t have to be creative. It’s cheating because you don’t have to put any effort in.
The specific combination of Mario and Pokémon is calculated to take advantage of bored digital natives without having to think of an actual selling point.
“Blah blah I’ve fallen and I can’t get up blah blah Ash Ketchum’s father blah blah new Transformers movies suck blah blah casettes and pencils blah blah be kind rewind blah blah LIKE THIS POST IF YOU AGREE”
Now, I’m not saying that nostalgia is bad. I’m talking about nostalgia as a genre. I’m talking about the endless reskinned 8-bit era retro throwback Flash/mobile games. It’s a genre that’s defined by repeating the same thing without having to apologise. So what does it mean when the game that encapsulates the 2010s style has knowingly looped back to the 80s style?
There’s only one conclusion – human history is over and we’re living in a weird cultural overtime 😛