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.

Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker

"American Mall," Bloomberg
Unwinnable Video Game Challenges You to Keep a Shopping Mall in Business
"American Mall," Bloomberg
"American Mall," Bloomberg

Shopping malls, once the cultural hub of every suburb in America, have become a punchline in the e-commerce era. There are plenty of malls around today, but they tend to be money pits, considering the hundreds of "dead malls" haunting the landscape. Just how hard is it to keep a mall afloat in the current economy? American Mall, a new video game from Bloomberg, attempts to give an answer.

After choosing which tycoon character you want as your stand-in, you're thrown into a mall—rendered in 1980s-style graphics—already struggling to stay in business. The building is filled with rats and garbage you have to clean up if you want to keep shoppers happy. Every few seconds you're contacted by another store owner begging you to lower their rent, and you must either take the loss or risk them packing up for good. When stores are vacated, it's your job to fill them, but it turns out there aren't too many businesses interested in setting up shop in a dying mall.

You can try gimmicks like food trucks and indoor playgrounds to keep customers interested, but in the end your mall will bleed too much money to support itself. You can try playing the bleak game for yourself here—maybe it will put some of the retail casualties of the last decade into perspective.

[h/t Co.Design]


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