The Shame Game

According to the dog eared book of Cliché, variety is the spice of life and without doubt, a broad spectrum when it comes to taste is always commendable. However, in many cases, this generosity is only paid out so far until jerking back abruptly when faced with one of those ‘red face’ games.  Most of us have played them – the ones that have you mumble the title of it or give a vague wave of your hand when queried on what you’re playing in case the other person makes… a comment.  Or gives you a look.  The hypocrites among us, myself included, have at some point been the ones snorting in disbelief… until it is our secret shame game that is exposed to the cruel light of day – because that’s different.

There are some games that we may adore but for some reason we feel compelled to hide them,  sealing them with crooked bits of wood into the attic like a mutant cousin lest they cast shame upon the family name.  Games that when someone asks you what you’re playing, you’d rather flash a cover of a game featuring a Sid Vicious type in hobnailed boots kicking a granny to death to show your hardcore status than admit to fashioning Pokeballs out of seeds or taking photos of fish.  And between… well, all of you and me, I actually enjoyed taking photos of fish.  Yes, Sea Life Safari is one of my ‘shame games’.


Settled in my chair with a blanket around my legs, the floaty music lulls me into a trance state while I idly snap colourful fish from my little submersible, scan for golden sea-shells and simply drift.  Last time I played, it was so relaxing that I very nearly ended up mushed and drooling into my Pyramat – it is just that peaceful.  Had I been piloting a real submersible, I would have been spiralling into an abyss to join Ed Harris and some see-thru aliens.

Try and explain it to someone else however and it doesn’t translate well.  It’s a game in which you take pictures of fish?  Yes.  That’s it?  Yes. I can’t dress it up any more than that when it comes down to it – it is simply Pokemon Snap underwater with a helping of vallium… and I bloody loved it.  But then for someone who went to the shiny and exciting IMAX in Glasgow only to fall asleep and start dribbling during some underwater film, it is no surprise that this game pushes my relax button in an inexplicable way.

Posing 101
Posing 101

Games like this are like a balm for the wounds of war after your crop of hardcore mainstream games have ridden you hard and put you away wet.  And if you think about it, most folk have at least one.  For some, it may be Pokemon breeding in the various incarnations of the game, others may dabble in jigsaws on XBLA, and still more may be sleuthing with Nancy Drew or enjoying America’s Next Top Model on the DS.

So I’ve unbarred the attic and turned over a card in my shame game hand.  Snicker all you like, but I bet somewhere, somewhere dark, somewhere hidden, you have one too.  No?  Liars.








15 responses to “The Shame Game”

  1. Jake avatar

    Sea Life Safari is, yeah… I spent quite a while playing it… Never finished it tho – you’ve almost made me want to play it again. And this from someone who was playing Coffeetime Crosswords yesterday. Seriously. This is a game with clues like “below average grade” and the answer is “dee”. That’s not even a fricking word!!

  2. Tony avatar

    I have a game that helps me to relax – but I don’t actually play it.

    If I’m a bit tired I just highlight the icon for Flow on my PS3’s XMB and let the mellow music drift me off to sleep.

  3. Tim avatar

    I enjoyed the heck out of Pokemon snap back in the day, just glad it didn’t go on my gamercard.

  4. Jake avatar

    I have, on occasion, played games in “offline” mode so no one would see… only coming back online when playing something else, so they’d notice that on my gamercard and not, you know, Crazy Mouse or Beat ‘n’ Groovy.

  5. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    I can’t think of a shame game that I’ve played. Maybe I only play the good stuff, or I’m just good at hiding them form you all. 😀

  6. MarkuzR avatar

    I’m semi addicted to Flick Fishing on the iPod Touch… that’s quite shameful really.

  7. Lorna avatar

    Semi addicted?? Hmmm…you had to recharge it three times in one day as I recall for playing it non stop…

  8. Loz avatar

    Great Blog Lorna! I have quite a long list of shame games, including Britneys Dance Beat on the PS2!… wait did I just admit that over the internet?!

    In my defense it was quite challenging lol!

    awesome work as always!


  9. Anthony avatar

    I played a great deal of Animal Crossing on the DS – I had spreadsheets and no shame.

  10. Lorna avatar

    Thanks for the comments guys, especially Loz – very much appreciated 🙂 x

  11. Tim avatar

    You had spreadsheets for Animal Crossing? I’m sorry, there’s a whole lot of shame in that!

  12. Michael avatar

    I’ve played Harvest Moon, Pokemon, Shadow Of Memories and God knows how many other games that I’ve been criticised for liking… I have no shame over any of them! 😀

  13. Jay avatar

    Pokemon Snap is a great game. Looks like I’ll have to check out Sea Life Safari ….

  14. Lorna avatar

    Well worth a play Jay, very serene – great for winding down after a stressful day at work or when you just can’t face another zombie/alien/maniac with a gun.

  15. Rich from PEOWW avatar
    Rich from PEOWW

    I’m pretty shameless in this generation. I find myself bored to horrible tears by the CoD/Gears/Halo bollocks and so am always looking for a hidden gem or something different. Not to be niche or something but just to stop me hating gaming.

    My shame games are numerous;

    Two Worlds would be the main one. I don’t know what kind of pact was signed by the world’s game reviewers but this game got panned. I played it loads online and completed it offline as well. Loved it to bits. Sure, it’s got technical issues up the wazoo but so what? I’m meant to ignore the excellent combat, levelling up and inventory management because of a bad frame rate?

    Kingdom Under Fire also got panned but won me over because it’s gorgeously linear and has excellent music. The gameplay is no slouch either and it’s larks in multiplayer.

    Speaking of linear, Quantum of Solace. I’ll take it over CoD4 any day. Short, simple levels. No faff, no cheap AI. Just a nice, simple shooter.

    The XBLA freebie, Aegis Wing. Ordinary at first but lovely in 4-player co-op and a good challenge as well. That 1942 game was also much better than I initially thought.

    I’ll take Bully over GTA, Paperboy over PGR4 and, forget what the reviews say, Fuel is the game of the summer. The races are pretty good but I’m still not tiring of driving around and admiring the scenery.

    And you can keep Dead Space and Resi 5, for me Alone In The Dark surprised me more than either of those. Bad controls, bad camera but it just had ‘something’.

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