You know what I love? Stuff that’s not Vidiot Game. I wake up every morning in the warming rays of something that isn’t Vidiot Game and spring out of bed knowing with heady certainty that my day will be enriched by a persistent absence of Vidiot Game. Well, apart from that one day when I played it – the day when indie developer GZ Storm took the Jigsaw Killer-like step of making me appreciate the comfort of my daily life by exposing me to gruelling misery.
The game, such as it is, takes the form of a sequence of apparently randomly selected mini-game segments. Or it would if these segments required actual play, but fully half of them don’t. Like Baller Industries’ malodorous offal heap Rock Bottom, GZ Storm’s Vidiot Game seems like a showcase for the developer’s attempts at scriptwriting (in this case, sketch show writing) that has been released as a game only because TV networks wouldn’t return their calls.
It’s depressingly obvious from the sniggeringly forced tone of artificial wackiness that Vidiot Game is meant to be funny. The humour here is that same sort of humour that you have to suffer if you spend much time around teenaged cousins – the “I’m so random, random things are funny, I like random things that are random, and being random”. It’s the Seth MacFarlane-wannabe zaniness that doesn’t understand why absurdity is funny, and equates just crowbarring unrelated objects into nonsensical situations with being uproariously funny – the sort of ‘humour’ that causes my soul to heave a weary, disillusioned sigh whenever I’m subject to it.
It might seem unfair to harp on so much about the tone of the game, when the gameplay should be all that matters. I quite agree – or would, if it wasn’t for the fact that there is next to no gameplay contained in Vidiot Game. It’s a montage of strained strangeness occasionally punctuated by a multiple choice question or a few stilted seconds of clunky interactivity. Even so, I couldn’t in good conscience completely write off Vidiot Game simply because I don’t find it funny. It’s conceivable that if you’re fourteen and you’ve watched one too many episodes of American Dad you might get a chuckle out of this. Shame on you, but fair enough I suppose.
The biggest problem, though, is that even after you’ve sat through your allotted portion of tiresome zaniness and managed to wring some semblance of play from one of the game’s segments, it doesn’t matter. Whether you succeed or fail has almost no relevance to anything, and because so many of the (marginally) interactive sections are multiple choice scenarios with arbitrary answers that require blind guesswork, there’s no satisfaction in success or disappointment in failure – just a flat, monotone “whatever”. Without any real gameplay or actual fun content to back it up, Vidiot Game relies too heavily on its humour. Even if you find it utterly hilarious, there’s barely any game here. Lesson #1 in making a game: make a game.
I don’t bear GZ Storm any ill will. Whatever else their game is, it isn’t lazy or a cash-in. They clearly had something in mind that they wanted to attempt, and they did it in their own style. They get some credit for that, even if it pains me to say so. The game itself, though, is a nauseating trek through a slideshow of scenes that were probably assembled by picking nouns from a hat. I don’t know whether Seth MacFarlane was consciously the inspiration here, but I blame him and his carnival of mediocrity, Family Guy, for the spread of this sort drooling, malformed abomination. I curse you aloud, MacFarlane and Vidiot Game. A plague on both your houses.