While the response to last week's inaugural column was universally appreciated, the very first comment
was particularly intriguing. The reader brought up an excellent point: definitively labeling a developer as poor because of one bad game is very narrow-minded. After all, good developers and bad games are not always mutually exclusive. In order to prove this idea, one should start with an incredible game. Fortunately, the DS has plenty of those. Then, the developer's catalog should be searched for any traces of shovelware.
And when talking about good games on the DS, one need not look further than the only title to receive a perfect 10
from DS Fanboy: Contra 4
. It is awesome. For any other game, that wouldn't be enough for a "review," but with Contra 4
, nothing else is necessary. WayForward Technologies' 2007 masterpiece was about as close to perfect as a game can be. Thus, the California-based developer was a perfect candidate for closet searching. And was there ever a skeleton to be found inside! Ping Pals
, which is well known as being one of the DS's earliest atrocities, was the first game WayForward developed for the DS. At face value, the tween-focused chat utility appears to be nothing more than a glitter-coated PictoChat
used to discuss iCarly
and Webkinz. Released mere weeks after the launch of the DS, it was universally lauded by both critics and love-to-hate gamers. Electronic Gaming Monthly called it "An abysmal failure," and IGN -- who employs Mark Bozon, brother of WayForward's creative director Matt Bozon -- pulled no punches when stating that "Ping Pals
is easily the most unnecessary product for the system." Ouch. Clearly, somewhere between Ping Pals
and Contra 4
lies the purest definition of shovelware.