Games That Are Guilty Pleasures

Games That Are Guilty Pleasures - Article

by Brandon J. Wysocki, posted on 07 June 2016 / 8,959 Views

We’ve all had a thing (or things) that we enjoy even though it seems most others harbor a certain degree of contempt for it.  Sometimes, wanting to fit in, we keep those likes a closely guarded secret.  For me, when I was in elementary school, it was the cafeteria lunches, namely the mashed potatoes and gravy.  When they came up in the cycle, many of my friends complained.  Call me crazy, but I loved them, though I never went out of my way to let others know that, at least not after I heard their scorn for them. 

Turns out my Dad felt the same way.  I liked knowing I wasn’t the only one.  As I grew up, I began to care much less about how others felt about my quirks and tastes, but I retained the sentiment that it’s nice to know I’m not necessarily alone in them (except for in cases where I want to be the only one and am far from it, I hate that!).  Anyhow, here is a list of some of the games I enjoy that I believe qualify as “guilty pleasures,” along with some reasons why I enjoyed them.  These games are, in one way or another, the public school lunches that I, right, wrong, or in between, enjoy.

 

Blinded by the Dark Side?

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Blinders likely explain why I enjoyed this game (as well as the movie on which it’s based) as much as I did at the time.  Of all the titles on this list, this is almost certainly the worse. At its best, it’s an unspectacular action/adventure game, at its worst, it’s frustrating due to dull puzzles and poor controls (for the platforming in particular).  Like my school’s lunch offerings, even if I enjoyed them at the time, I will not be going out of my way to experience them again.  

 

Yoda Stories

Yoda Stories

Yoda Stories is still delightful to me and I occasionally help myself to a serving of it (have I gone too far with the analogy yet?) from time to time.  It does so much with so little, capturing an impressive amount of the Star Wars universe and my attention in the process.

 

An N64 Owner Starved for RPGs

We call that the camel clutch!

Hybrid Heaven

Though far from perfect in so many ways, Hybrid Heaven was a trailblazer of sorts.  While blurring the lines between genres is commonplace nowadays, this was one of the first major attempts to do something like that.  

The writing and story is about on par with a certain other Konami series that I feel lacks in that department, and the level design is about as bland and repetitive as can be, but the game featured an interesting combat system (replete with pro-wrestling inspired attacks, which was great for a wrestling fan like me at the time), and blended, or at least attempted to, the action/adventure and RPG genres in a unique way.  Halfway living up to its name, Hybrid Heaven is not quite heavenly, especially by modern standards, but it is a hybrid, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! 

 

The wonderful world of Quest 64

Quest 64

This was far from an epic RPG, and was completely dwarfed and outclassed by some of its contemporaries (Final Fantasy VII and VIII, among others).  The story is lackluster, and many of the RPG elements are very simplified, but Quest 64 had a graphical style and charming world that was very similar to Mario 64.  Added to a unique battle system this made for a delightful RPG adventure, not to mention the first RPG release in the US for the Nintendo 64. 


These Are Fun Games, I Don’t Care What You Say!

Twisted System - This was a blast!

Fuzion Frenzy

While many of the mini-games are skippable (every party game suffers from that), there are some great gems in Fuzion Frenzy, such that it provided plenty of fun for me and my friends on the original Xbox.  Some of the notable mini-games for me were Rubble Alliance, Sumo, and Twisted System - I couldn’t get enough of the latter two in particular.  Free of a lot of the fluff of games like Mario Party, it was quick and easy to hop in and have some fun.

 

PocketBike Racers is solid fun

PocketBike Racers

PocketBike Racers is literally a poor man’s Mario Kart.  Though it lacks the depth of a game like Mario Kart, there’s nonetheless plenty of fun to be had.  This game has provided hours of fun with friends and family alike, including me repeatedly spanking my wife (speaking of which... Happy 10th Anniversary, Channele! Here’s to many more years).  Eventually this, along with its two Burger King siblings, could be purchased from Burger King for just $.99!  I’ve paid a lot more for much less satisfying games.    

 

What guy hasn't been in this position before?

Sneak King

While PocketBike Racers is a poor man’s Mario Kart, Sneak King is a poor man’s Splinter Cell.  It’s not the most polished game, and the premise is ludicrous, but it was so worth a few bucks (or less).  With an emphasis on stealth, the game explores relatable situations for many gamers, such as sneaking up on women and trying to win their affection with random fast food items... or am I the only one who's tried that?  Going back to my initial analogy (did you think I forgot about it?), these games are like getting nice, homemade leftovers served at the school cafeteria.  Some might see them as scraps, but I think it’s silly not to enjoy them, especially when you consider the circumstances.

 

More Recent Games That Some Take Issue With, But I Love

For a Birdie!

PowerStar Golf

When the PS4 and Xbox One launched in 2013, there were very few titles I was interested in.  Fortunately PowerStar Golf provided a lot of fun and helped bridge the gap between major next-gen experiences I was interested.  Admittedly, I only play on 2-3 of the 5 available courses (they start to get a bit absurd), but it's simple fun.  With unlockable golfers and items with different perks, an interesting passive multiplayer feature that allows you to compete with your friends as your schedule allows, as well as more standard local multiplayer, and solid gameplay, my friends, family, and I still play a round from time to time.

 

A look at the main hub world of Nuts & Bolts

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

This may be the best received game (critically) on the list, but many Banjo fans, myself included, were less than thrilled with the different approach it took to a beloved series.  In the years after Super Mario 64 ushered in an entirely new, spectacular platforming experience in 1996, Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie were among the few games in the genre that could hold a candle to it.  Fast-forward to 2008 and many were disappointed by the quantity and quality of 3D platformers, Super Mario Galaxy aside.

Then along comes Nuts & Bolts to seemingly make matters worse - it changed so much, seemingly unnecessarily, about the franchise.  But once I got past that initial disappointment, I came to really enjoy the charm of the game, the amount of collectibles and challenges there were to keep you occupied, as well as the versatility in how you built vehicles and earned jiggies.  I still long for a new, more conventional entry in the series (come on E3 2016, don’t let me down!), but I found myself getting sucked back into the game and completing it again from the start when it became playable via the backwards compatibility feature on the Xbox One.  This is a guilty pleasure I’m likely to indulge in again in the future.

 

How About You?

Care to comment on my list?  Am I freak, or is it not that bad?  Are there any games that you enjoy despite many others having less than favorable opinions of them?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.  Don't worry, it's a safe, judgment free zone (I can't really guarantee that).   Maybe a few more of mine will come to mind as you chime in with yours.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Bio PicBrandon J. Wysocki is a writer for VGChartz... (SHAMESLESS SELF PROMOTION! - Check out some of my sci-fi story here and here! It's free, and I'd love some feedback. We now return you to my regular little blurb) ...You're invited to contact Brandon (username SpaceLegends) in the comments below or through private messages on VGChartz, or even at his barely ever used and effectively dormant Twitter account @BrandonJWysocki


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17 Comments

Slarvax (on 07 June 2016)

Skyward Sword is totally my guilty pleasure. It's just so charming. The music is fantastic, the characters are great, it looks really good, and it has my favorte combat and story of any 3D Zelda... but it's not a good 3D Zelda :P


Johnw1104 (on 07 June 2016)

Haha you feel "guilty" about 93% metacritic game? I don't know who it was or why they started trying to convince everyone of it, but Skyward Sword is a great game.


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SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

I'd agree that Skyword Sword stuck out to be as an interesting pick as a guilty pleasure (save for the motion controls, which I don't like), but a guilty pleasure can be enjoying something that you "feel" is not held in high regard. So depending on what he has heard or experienced, it could easily qualify as such.


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Slarvax (on 07 June 2016)

The problem with SS is that it's a good non-Zelda game. It takes a lot of things that makes Zelda great (or made), and throws them out the window. Besides dungeon design, SS is a very, very different game from other Zeldas. Little to no exploration, way too much hand holding, practically no overworld, and more.It also has other flaws unrelated to Zelda...
I do think SS is a good game, and like I said it's my favorite 3D Zelda. But it is not a good Zelda.


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Johnw1104 (on 07 June 2016)

Fair enough. Personally, I thought it had the strongest cast of characters of any installment, there was actually a fairly interesting story, and even the usually irritating helper (Fi) was actually rather a funny, almost tragic figure. The controls were also probably the Wii's greatest achievement. It's unlike other Zelda games then, but not in a bad way in my opinion.


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SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

Slarvax did a much better job of justifying his position. Very interesting takes on the game by both of you. Eventually the waggling and pointing of the Wii remote turned me away from the game. I've been hoping for an HD remake with conventional controls for a while. I'd love the same for both Mario Galaxy games.


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Slarvax (on 07 June 2016)

Haha, thanks :P
I can see why motion controls turn people off. Personally, I liked them, but I was very confused during my first hour of playthrough. I would also love to see an HD remake, but I hardly see it happening (unless NX supports wiimote, or they completely change the combat and puzzles). I've also been hoping for a Mario Galaxy HD Collection.


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Johnw1104 (on 07 June 2016)

Really, for me it's not so much a guilty pleasure GAME as it is a SERIES: Dynasty Warriors. Personally, I prefer the Empire spinoff, but they just never really add much from title to title. Otherwise, I share your sentiments about Quest 64 (it's as if they programmed the early game and then just stopped there in regards to combat), but there's far too many people feeling "guilty" in these comments lol, so many of these listed games were legitimately good!


SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

I feared I was too liberal in my own list with what could qualify as a guilty pleasure. By definition, there's some flexibility in it, and I'm enjoying seeing what games have been weighing on us for who knows how long (regardless of if I think they should have felt guilty about it.)


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Johnw1104 (on 07 June 2016)

Well really the only condition is that you feel guilty for liking it... All I'm saying is that we're being way too hard on ourselves lol


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SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

Lol, I would agree. Maybe that's the point though, getting it out there and seeing there's nothing to be ashamed of.


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John2290 (on 08 June 2016)

Just went back to destiny after last playing it in late 2014 at 78 hours.. For a gambling simulator its darn good.I expect another 78 hours wasted before summers end.


SpaceLegends (on 08 June 2016)

I've considered trying Destiny again, but I'm so hesitant to waste time, hard drive space, and money (on the DLC), so I doubt I will. I really wanted to like that game, but I came to pretty much regret the time and money I put in it.


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Cloudman (on 07 June 2016)

Hey, I loved Quest 64 too! Something about the simplicity of it made it feel all the more enjoyable. It was like "Here's a world. Go have fun." I did just that, explored all that I could, and had a blast! I didn't care for story, and kind of made my own up playing it. It was interesting, and I had a lot of fun!... Until I discovered that move that makes you invincible for a couple of turns. xD If I play Quest 64 again, I will not use that move. My current guilty pleasure is definitely Akiba's Trip 2. Something about beating up people and ripping off their clothes is so much fun, and ridiculous. Also, I love doing that to cops. Good way to let of negative vibes.


Ljink96 (on 08 June 2016)

Could never really get into Quest 64. I tried about 3 years ago, and didn't get far into it. Everything was free, Fox McCloud in a college jacket and blue jeans kept hitting me with a tornado kick, I was miserable. But the graphics were awesome. Almost makes me mad that Square or Enix didn't make a decent JRPG on the 64.


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Cloudman (on 08 June 2016)

I didn't know what you meant by starfox, until I remembered that enemy. I thought something similar too as a kid, but I thought Wolf Odonnel instead xD I remember that enemy now. That part was kinda hard in the beginning. I needed to grind to do that part, but after I got strong enough, I was able to continue in the game.

It was good fun at the time.


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Johnw1104 (on 08 June 2016)

The absurd simplicity of the combat and grinding is what ruined it for me, but my first couple hours with it I was in love lol


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Metallox (on 07 June 2016)

Agar.io


Machina (on 07 June 2016)

I recently got into Agar.io. A very addictive and surprisingly deep game, although once I achieved my personal goal of getting 1st on the leaderboard in FFA I found it much less compelling.


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Zenos (on 07 June 2016)

Surely there is no game describing a guilty pleasure better than the DOAX games? Just me? Ok.


SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

Lol, that is a fine choice example of guilty pleasure.l


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NightDragon83 (on 07 June 2016)

The N64 is filled with guilty pleasures for me: Shadows of the Empire, Winback, Fighter's Destiny, Beetle Adventure Racing, Destruction Derby 64, Road Rash 64, South Park The Game, even Paperboy 64 was fun in a "so bad it's sorta good" kinda way.


SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

Great list. I love Shadows of the Empire, Win back, and Road Rash 64! And I've had a fair amount of fun with the South Park game and Beetle Adventure Racing.


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Culipechi (on 07 June 2016)

I loved nuts and bolts.


Ljink96 (on 07 June 2016)

Sonic R, there's just something about it. The music, the archaic Saturn 32 bit "nostalgia feeling" a mixture of those I guess.


Teeqoz (on 07 June 2016)

Some of my guilty pleasures are Crash Bandicoot: Twinsanity and The Wrat of Cortex. I genuinely think they are better than the original Crash trilogy.


Alex_The_Hedgehog (on 07 June 2016)

I haven't played Weath of Cortex yet, but Twinsanity is great.


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Zenos (on 07 June 2016)

Better than the original may be going a bit far, but I agree that they are both great games.


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ZuccTheCucc (on 11 June 2016)

nintendo is fucking garbage. You are all in your thirties and playing a shitty ass system for kids. Iwata died of laughter cause you faggots bought his shitty product


korn62586 (on 08 June 2016)

Cod Madden NBA 2k You know, stereotypical male in his 20's games. Hahahaha I love them, but I play other games too. That's why those games are guilty pleasures for me?


Qwark (on 08 June 2016)

Killzone 3 and shadow fall are mine I guess, I rarely enjoy an FPS, but Killzone somehow always entertains me.


Machina (on 07 June 2016)

For me it's basic Risk-type games. Used to sometimes play free versions found via Google search whenever I had a craving to play some Risk. Recently though I got Lux Deluxe in a Humble Bundle (had never heard of it before that) and it's pretty much a perfect, simple Risk game.


Johnw1104 (on 07 June 2016)

It won't be free, but have you ever tried Grand Strategy games like some of those Paradox Interactive titles? You sound like you might love them.


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Machina (on 07 June 2016)

I like Civ and Total War. Have never really tried any of Paradox's offerings - they look dauntingly complex.


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SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

Although they're in a very different genre, when you mentioned free and online games, I was reminded of Ruzzle, Hexic, Bejeweled, and even Angry Birds. I was very resistant to the latter as it took hold on the masses, but I must admit that entertained me in a pinch on more than one occasion.


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Paperboy_J (on 07 June 2016)

Toejam & Earl 3 on the original Xbox. Love that game.


SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

I never really got into Toejam & Earl games, maybe I should try it.


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trunkswd (on 07 June 2016)

I remember Quest 64. It was one of the games my brother and I played together. Switch the controller back and forth.


SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

I have very fond memories of my adventures in Quest 64. Perhaps my son and I should kick the tires on it and play in the same way you and your brother did.


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trunkswd (on 07 June 2016)

It depends what kinds of games he likes. Quest 64 is not for everyone, however, it doesn't hurt to try.


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SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

He's a huge RPG fan. I think he might dig it.


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Veknoid_Outcast (on 07 June 2016)

Haven't played a lot of these, but I can agree with Nuts & Bolts. It's definitely not the game we asked for, but in terms of user-generated content it's pretty awesome.


SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

Yeah, I have to finish Fallout 4: Far Harbor, but then I might hop back into Nuts & Bolts...maybe it will be for the you know what we plan on doing.


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Johnw1104 (on 07 June 2016)

It's kind of like what would have happened if they promised a proper Super Mario title and instead of Mario 64 they'd released Mario Kart 64 (assuming there'd been no Mario Kart on the Snes). Granted, Nuts & Bolts isn't quite Mario Kart 64 quality, but it's a good game; it's just not the game people wanted.


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SpaceLegends (on 07 June 2016)

I agree John, and it just seemed so unnecessary. But I have come to believe that the building and challenges are compelling, and the game still captures a decent amount of the Banjo charm and magic.


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