Whacked! (2002) by Microsoft Game Studios

In the name of transparency this is not the only game on this list with an exclamation point in the title.  And yes the game’s official title includes the exclamation point.  Oddly enough there was also a movie titled Whacked! (with the punctuation) that was also released in 2002.  Do not be confused, I actually really liked this game.  Whacked! was a multiplayer party game released at the same time as Xbox Live.  It was basically a tech demo for the online service.  At the time my gamertag was Lab Master and I was the master of this game.

Okay I was actually really bad at this game, but I still tried to have fun in it.  Initially I was hoping that the game would be similar to a Mario Party style game, but it was actually a lot more like a first person shooter/action game.  You could queue up into a matchmade lobby and jump into a round of free for all death match.  Weapons popped up around the map for you to grab and attack opponents with.  The levels were varied and full of character.  Plus it had that dirty toilet humor that I love.

More games should have dirty toilet humor.  Speaking of, I should go back and play Conker’s Bad Fur Day sometime soon.  One of the characters in the game was naked and had black bars over her private parts.  She was my favorite character to play as, for obvious reasons.  This was another Microsoft Game Studios game that was full of character, but was slammed by critics for a lack of content.  In my opinion the game did not have a lack of content, but was highly focused on a specific game mode.  The game was solely designed to prove that the Xbox could handle online game play.  And this was my first foray into the digital world of competition.  I have been subscribed to Xbox Live since 2002 and Whacked! was the fist game that I ever played online.  Back then there were no private parties so you actually talked to the other people in the game.  The game had so much humor that it was not overly competitive, so people did not get mad.  I really think most of the people that played the game were just amazed to be playing with other real-life people online.

It was an amazing time to be a gamer.  The game play was simple, the characters were fun, and the online worked.  That was all I needed to have a great experience.  Looking back the game was actually a lot smarter than I gave it credit for.  The game’s seven characters each represented one of the seven deadly sins,  greed, lust, envy, sloth, wrath, gluttony, or pride.  The story mode also tackled themes like the hellish nature of consumerism and the nature of game shows.  At the time I was just playing a minigame beat ’em up style game, but the themes and motifs that the game tackled poised some interesting questions about our culture that are even more relevant today.

People probably remember this game as shallow, but fun.  In the context of the time period this game was an important way to show that Xbox Live worked and was worth the money.  I wish this game was remastered for the Xbox One so that players could have a few more options for casual multiplayer mayhem!

Tomorrow we head back to the GameCube for one of my personal favorites: Resident Evil.

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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