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11 Video Games That Embarrass You for Poor Play

Game developers are aware that some people just aren’t very good at video games, and they love to play off of it, humiliating those who can't complete specific levels or treating players who take the easy way out like wimps. These 11 games weren't content with simple, mocking "Game Over" screens upon the inevitable failures—they decided to embarrass gamers for their bad performances. 

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain // The Chicken Hat

Metal Gear Solid isn't exactly a game for beginners, with stealth segments that can challenge even the most patient players—so it's not odd to be forced to repeat more difficult sections until you're able to pass them with flying colors. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the latest in the series, and in addition to being one of the series’ largest and most impressive entries, it also features one of the most comical ways to aid players in need of a helping hand: a chicken hat. The poultry headwear can be equipped after multiple deaths, and it eases the difficulty of the game for those who simply can't get their act together. The only drawback? It looks absolutely ridiculous. The game's obviously mocking you for failing to meet its standards, to hilarious effect. 

2. Ninja Gaiden Black // Ninja Dog Mode

Ninja Gaiden Black wears its austere difficulty like a badge of honor, especially given the fact that most of the games in the series are soul-crushingly punishing. You'll die—a lot. And the game knows this all too well. That's why this particular entry in the series will offer you the "Ninja Dog" difficulty once you've failed upwards of three times, where protagonist Ryu Hayabusa is forced to wear a purple ribbon while Ayane, a young female ninja, berates him for being unable to complete his mission. It can be pretty brutal, especially if you're the type to throw controllers. 

3. Dishwasher: Vampire Smile // Pretty Princess Mode

The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile was renowned for its frustrating difficulty upon its release on the Xbox Live Arcade, though it was fast, frenetic, and easy to pick up and play. Gamers who died too many times would unlock "Pretty Princess Difficulty," where enemies would do virtually no damage, take fewer hits to eliminate, and would bleed neon pink hearts. For a normally bloody game, it was a harsh blow to the ego to see hearts and other dainty sparkles and colors fluttering out of enemies rather than guts. At the very least, it kept you motivated to push forward and improve. 

4. Alien Hominid // Mockery

Playing through Alien Hominid is no picnic, no matter what difficulty you've chosen. If you choose Thumb-sucker mode, however, you can at least complete the game. But when you actually get to the end, you realize you haven't completed the game at all. Instead, you’ve successfully finished only one third of the entire side-scrolling arcade shooter. As if forcing you to play without bothering to tell you that you're wasting your time weren't snide enough for developer The Behemoth, the game also greets you with the sarcastic advice that you should play the game on a difficulty that's actually challenging. Talk about adding insult to injury. 

5. TimeSplitters 2 // Monkey Army

If there's one multiplayer shooter that plays nearly all of its features for laughs, it's TimeSplitters 2. While Call of Duty rewards you and attempts to bolster your efforts when you die by awarding Kill Streaks (care packages, special perks, and more), TimeSplitters 2 uses Monkey Assistant mode to humiliate you. If you end up in last place, a squad of killer monkeys will be sent out to take out the player who's doing the best in the current match to help you out, because clearly you're not capable of doing it yourself. 

6. Earthworm Jim // Earthworm Facts

Touted as one of the most difficult platformers out there, Earthworm Jim has a huge cult following, mainly due to its humorous interludes and zaniness throughout the game. So it probably won't come as a surprise that playing through Practice Mode wins you a still shot at the end of your journey with a voiceover by series creator Doug TenNapel and some mockery. "What a worm! Playing on practice, eh?" will ring forth from your speakers as TenNapel decides to regale you with all the facts he knows about worms. Meanwhile, you can't help but feel a little like a worm yourself after completing the game on its easiest setting. 

7. Streets of Rage 3 // "You play this game like a beginner!"

The American version of Streets of Rage 3 features an Easy difficulty that is, essentially, the Normal setting for Japanese players. When you defeat Robot X at the end of stage 5 (out of a total of 7 stages), your adversary will spout "You play this game like a beginner." Not only is the game insulting you for playing on what you think is Easy, but as the North American version of the game ensured the difficulty was cranked up, you're actually accomplishing something and still getting told you're bad. You just can't win for losing. 

8. Body Harvest // Multiple Difficulties

Body Harvest was an incredibly tense and difficult title that followed a genetically engineered soldier on a mission to eliminate advancing alien forces. It offered players two settings for adventurers to play on: Hero and Zero. If you choose Zero Mode, the entire game ends after the third level. Given that it takes a ridiculously long time to play through said levels, it's mocking you for wasting all that time only to find out that you'll have to start again and play on Hero difficulty if you want to see the game's final two levels.

9. Serious Sam HD // Exploding Enemies

Serious Sam is a franchise known for its unrelenting difficulty, waves after waves of enemies, and over-the-top gore, and Serious Sam HD is a glorious remaster of the original game that started it all. If you choose to play through on the "Tourist" setting, however, you don't get the gore. Instead, when you kill advancing adversaries, they explode into clouds of flowers and sparkles rather than blood. It's an interesting effect, but quite an embarrassing one, and all because you couldn't play on a higher difficulty mode. 

10. Contra 4 // Cutting the Game Short

If you've read the other list entries, by now you should know that several games simply take delight in making you feel about an inch tall. Take Contra 4, which ends at stage 7 on Easy mode, thus never allowing you to see the final stage if you continue down that path. What's more, the game actually tells you that you'll never see the ending on Easy. As if you weren't self-conscious about your skills already, right? 

11. Devil May Cry // Easy Automatic Mode

Devil May Cry has a very unique approach to combating what it considers to be "bad" gaming, and it can frustrate players beyond belief. If you die three times within the first three missions of the game, you're offered a mode called Easy Automatic Mode. While it's optional, if you decide to take it and play through the game so you don't embarrass yourself further, you can't change the difficulty later. Certain monsters won't spawn, you can't unlock specific modes, and the only way you can get away from Easy Automatic Mode is to begin an entirely new save file. It's brutal in a very strange and unusual way, but that makes total sense for the world of Devil May Cry.

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Nintendo Is Releasing a Special Gold Famicom Mini, Which Will Come Pre-Loaded With 20 Games

Nintendo’s renewed focus on retro gaming continues as the company is slated to release a manga-focused edition of the Famicom Mini in Japan on July 7. The Famicom—short for Nintendo Family Computer—is the Japanese version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and this new device will come with 20 games pre-loaded onto it.

Back when the NES Classic hit U.S. stores in 2016, Japan got its own Famicom Mini, which featured a slightly different selection of games from its Western counterpart, including Mario Open Golf and Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiundōkai. This new edition of the Mini will be gold-plated and is being released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the manga magazine Weekly Jump, according to Kotaku.

To go with the theme, the games on the system will be ones based on the popular manga at the time like Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, and Fist of the North Star, as The Verge reports. These are games that most Western audiences would have never experienced for themselves in the late '80s and early '90s as the manga/anime culture had not yet spilled over into the States much, and companies would rarely waste the time and money on localizing them for an unfamiliar fanbase.

In the rare instances that these games did come stateside, they were usually altered to appeal to a different culture—the most famous example is Dragon Ball on the Famicom arriving in America as Dragon Power in 1988 with box art looking more like something from The Karate Kid than a manga series.

Now that American audiences have embraced manga, there might actually be a market for this tiny package of retro gaming in the States. Unfortunately, there's no word on a U.S. release, meaning you’ll likely have to head to eBay or your local boutique video game store in order to have a shot at landing one. If you want a consolation prize, the original NES Classic will be heading back to stores on June 29—though if history is any guide, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get your hands on that, either.

[h/t: The Verge]

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5 Smartphone Games That Let You Tend Plants and Chill Out
Ice Water Games, YouTube
Ice Water Games, YouTube

Being in nature is naturally relaxing, but city-dwellers don’t always have an opportunity to get outside. Gardening can be therapeutic for mental health, but you may not have access to a garden—or even the space to tend a houseplant. You can still have a few moments of horticultural meditation every day. It will just have to be digital.

Over the last few years, video game developers have released a number of mobile games that revolve around the simple act of tending to plants. These games are, for the most part, slow-moving, meditative experiences that focus on beautiful graphics, calming soundtracks, and low-key challenges. They’re a great way to de-stress and pursue your gardening dreams, no watering can required.

Here are five relaxing, plant-centric phone games you can download now.

1. VIRIDI; FREE

Viridi is like Neopets for plants. The game is dedicated to nurturing a pot of succulents that grow almost in real time. You can plant a variety of succulent species in your virtual pot. Spritz your plants with water when they’re thirsty and wait for them to grow. Each week, a new seedling will be available for you to plant. The game moves slowly by design. You can let it run in the background, and your plants will do their thing, just like a real plant would. These ones are even harder to kill than real succulents, though.

Find it: iOS, Android

2. TOCA NATURE; $2.99

Toca Boca makes games for kids, but honestly, Toca Nature is pretty fun no matter what your age. You can create your own natural landscapes, adding trees, water features, and mountains. Different natural features attract different animals, and the type of landscape you make shapes whether you’ll get bears, beavers, or birds living there. You can collect berries, feed the animals, or just enjoy planting trees.

Find it: iOS, Android

3. BREATH OF LIGHT: RELAXING PUZZLER; $1.99

In Breath of Light, your job is to bring a garden to life by manipulating a stream of light. Move rocks and mirrors around your zen garden to harness and direct the life-giving light emanating from a single flower. When the light hits another flower, it causes that plant to grow. The very simple puzzles are designed to help you chill out, and the award-winning soundtrack by the audio designer Winterpark features binaural tones that are naturally relaxing. “As a unique, gamified version of guided meditation, Breath of Light helps you enter a state of calm serenity without you even noticing,” according to Killscreen. Sorry, Android users—the app seems to have disappeared from Google Play, but it’s still available for iPhone.

Find it: iOS

4. PRUNE; $3.99

Prune is a puzzle game with a horticultural twist. The object is to plant a tree, then as it grows up, guide it with careful pruning, helping the branches reach the light while staying away from the cold shadows or hot sun, both of which will kill the tree. As the levels rise, you’ll need to contort your trees into ever more complex shapes.

Find it: iOS, Android

5. EUFLORIA; $4.99

If you like your gardening to be a little more high-stakes, Eufloria is out of this world. Seriously, it’s about colonizing asteroids. Your mission is to grow trees on far-off asteroids, sending your seedlings out to turn gray space rocks into thriving landscapes. Your seeds hop from asteroid to asteroid at your behest, creating a chain of fertile life. Sometimes, alien enemies will attack your flourishing asteroid colonies, but don’t worry; you can beat them back with the power of more seeds. The game can be fast-paced and competitive, but there’s a “relaxed” play option that’s more meditative.

Find it: iOS, Android

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