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Joystiq presents

2007: A year in OMGWTF

2007 is almost over, and the end of the year brings joyous tidings of List Season. It's the time for taking stock of the last 12 months of gaming, and trying to make sense of it by putting things in numerical order. Join DS Fanboy for our best-ofs, worst-ofs, and other categories-ofs.

Our favorite system has two screens, is controlled with a stick, and features extremely popular games about petting dogs and doing math. What we're saying is that it's not that surprising when something weird related to the DS comes along, because everything about the DS is weird.

But the things on this list are above and beyond the baseline DS weirdness. Nothing has made us go "hmm" this much since the Phil LaMarr-ious C&C Music Factory: Make My Video. Turns out, it was a banner year for crazy junk happening. Join us after the break as we look at some of the most bizarre DS stories of 2007.

1. The rise of the "sexy" DS game
Out of a recent history of fanservice-filled mobile games nowhere, SNK Playmore decided to abandon their normal development cycle of reusing character sprites for new King of Fighters recombinations, and make an original game for the DS. That game was Doki Doki Majo Saiban (later Shinpan), and it broke ground in another important way: it was the first well-known DS game that was even vaguely sexual. Finally someone saw the potential in using a touch-based interface to simulate the touching of women, we thought. It was a natural. Of course SNK couldn't flat-out state that the premise of the game was that you're groping women, so they concocted some MacGuffin about finding witch emblems hidden on their bodies.

We enjoyed the thought that the Nintendo "kiddie" image would finally be shattered by this shocking game for mature audiences -- until we found out that all the girls were underage. Well, no amount of implied anime ickiness could make the game less funny, so it's still perfect for the one use we ever wanted from it: making fun of it on the Internet.

Konami has since introduced their own interpretation of the prodding-at-bodies game, Duel Love, in which you portray a high-school girl who is apparently obsessed with the members of a secret brawling club, and is always there to congratulate, console, or apply nice, soothing towels to them. Unfortunately, Duel Love isn't out yet, so we can't rightly declare 2007 the year of the glistening chest.

2. The Best Hits Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow boxart

Apparently, Konami was satisfied with the American sales of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. The first printing sold well enough to justify another fucillade of copies. As is common with hit games, Konami decided to release the game at a lower price point with a special package indicating its status as a "hit." It was the first DS game from any company to receive such a (manufactured) honor from its publisher. But whereas Nintendo's GameCube "Players Choice" series marked its entries only with a yellow bar, and Sony's "Greatest Hits" with red, Konami decided to go all-out with their rebranding, seemingly in an effort to ensure that no more copies of the game were sold. That's the only scenario we can think of in which Konami's marketing department looked at this new boxart, which consists of a picture of the original boxart, and marked their approval.


4. Training games go wild

Seeing the success of Brain Age and Eigo Zuke in Japan, companies were suddenly alerted to the fact that success in the game industry may be hampered by their constant attempts to make games. In 2007, Japanese DSes taught people how to walk, how to see, how to hear, how to read, how to drive, how to stretch, and how to do a different kind of stretching. Training games taught people about music theory and music appreciation. The staff of a high-end hotel offered cooking lessons, Japan Rail taught train history, and both EA and Square helped people start drinking. 2008 promises to be another banner year for insane training games with Namco Bandai's Our Video Game Certification, designed to train DS owners to play video games. If we really want to know what 2008 will be like, we can teach ourselves how to read tarot cards.

Chances are, if you couldn't do it, there was a training game to help you learn in 2007. The market for training games outside of Japan was somewhat more modest, but that doesn't mean we didn't see our share of noteworthy training materials. Speaking of which:

5. Spanish for Everyone but people who want to learn Spanish

Back in July, a rumor popped up that Activision was preparing a Spanish language learning program for the DS, and we were impressed (pending confirmation of the rumor) with their forward thinking. At the time, there weren't any language training games available in the U.S., so we were happy that, regardless of the quality of the title, it would help start a trend of language games. Every DS Fanboy writer is a writer, obviously, and thus we all have an affinity for words. More languages means more words.

When Spanish for Everyone actually came out in September, however, it seemed more likely to kill the trend of language games, and maybe get some people sued and fired while doing it. It seems that the developers wanted their game to stand out in some way, and they chose a nonsensical, offensive story presented in amateur-level animation. Similarly, we want this feature to resonate with our readers, and so we've decided to pound on the keyboard randomly for the rest of this paragraph lksf9ofkmkm sdm m fdwe004 iididjio;'

Here's the story, safely ensconced in a nutshell: A kid loses his DS when his friend accidentally drives off to Mexico with it (while being chased by cops), and his taxi driver aunt shows up and offers to drive him into Mexico to retrieve it. On his trip, the kid learns Spanish from a talking bull and some guy who was hanging around in a Jeep. When he finally reaches his friend's house, he is asked to courier a mysterious package -- right before a bunch of cars show up and vaguely gunshot-esque sounds ensue. We never even knew there could be a "wrong" reason to want a language training game, but there is -- and it's exactly why we love Spanish for Everyone.

6. DS Fanboy accidentally makes the news

At GDC, indie developer Sanuk Software unveiled a side-scrolling action game called Barnyard Blast. We fell in love with the concept of a Castlevania parody game starring a pig in a cowboy hat, because who wouldn't? Eric wrote the initial post about the game, titling it "Barnyard Blast: Swine of the Night" in a clever play on the famous Castlevania game for the Playstation. Eric coming up with a clever post title is hardly unusual, but rarely is a title so awesome that it changes the thing the post is about. And that is exactly what happened in this case: Sanuk Software liked the title so much that they used it for the game.

When you go into a game store in January, a game named by us will greet you on the shelf, a gleefully maniacal smile on protagonist Robert Belmart's face as he shoots at the meddlesome ESRB rating. It is for this reason that Barnyard Blast: Swine of the Night is the greatest game of all time.

We can only hope that 2008 will bring, along with the normal, boring good games, some weird crap as well. Barring that, we'll take some logic-defying news announcements, ugly boxarts, or ridiculous glitches. Playing games is okay, but being all "Whaaaaa"? about them is the experience we're really after.

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