Games Inbox: What’s the worst game accessory you ever bought?

The morning Inbox discusses the importance of Halo Infinite to Xbox, as one reader insists easy mode shouldn’t be a dirty word.

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Master of none

Really enjoyed the Mortal Kombat/Aura Interactor Reader’s Feature over the weekend, in fact they were all great as usual. But it got me thinking about weird and pointless game peripherals I have owned over the years. For most people the obvious answer will be rubbish third party controllers but easily the worst I ever came across was The Fragmaster.

My mate had it back in the late ‘90s and it was meant for PC shooters of the time like Quake. The idea was… actually, I don’t know what the idea was because it was a PC so it already had a keyboard and mouse that was automatically much more accurate than a gamepad.

But it looked like a big upright toilet seat that you held on to and could move up and down and side to side a bit like a joystick. I have absolutely no idea how it was supposed to be better than normal controls and neither did my mate, despite all his attempts to pretend it wasn’t a waste of money. I’ve no idea where he got it from and in all my years I’ve never heard anyone else even mention it.


The clue’s in the name

I think it’s pretty much a given that Halo Infinite is going to be something more than just a six-hour campaign and some multiplayer, and an open world equivalent to GTA Online sounds like a pretty good guess to me. I’m also going to bet it’ll never be on Xbox One and Microsoft will drop that format the second they have a better horse in the race. And I can’t blame them. The whole thing was an unsalvageable mess one of the very few consoles I haven’t bought in the last 20 years.

But I do think getting Halo right is one of the most important things Microsoft can do right now. Nobody cares about Gears Of War or Fable the way they care about Halo. It’s one of the most iconic games in history and the one thing Microsoft has over Sony: a mascot that everyone instantly identifies with the console and brand.

I think Nintendo, I think Mario. I think Xbox, I think Halo. I think Sony, I think of any number of great games but nothing in particular. You may argue that doesn’t make much difference overall but it’s still an advantage that Microsoft have and aren’t currently leveraging. It might not be $500 million but I bet the budget on that game is pretty much infinite.


Stealthy whispers

So it’s looking like Watch Dogs 3 is going to be Ubisoft’s big game this Christmas, but what happened to Splinter Cell? We’ve been hearing about whispers of a reboot for what seems like years now and nothing ever seems to happen. I would’ve said Sam Fisher was Ubisoft’s most popular character outside maybe Ezio from Assassin’s Creed, so what’s taken so long?

The only thing I can think is that Michael Ironside is getting too old for the role and the new guy wasn’t half as good but surely they can find someone else, or just put up with him?

They could start off with some decent remasters of the old games as they’re still some of my favourites and the ones I most associate with the Tom Clancy brand. They also seemed to get round the whole politics angle without getting themselves in knots. Maybe they’re just waiting for the next gen?


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Foxed again

I still can’t believe Ubisoft and Nintendo actually went ahead and made Starlink, letting it become the latest in a long line of games that seemingly everyone knew would be a flop before it even came out. What worries me though is what this means for Star Fox. It hasn’t had a major hit since basically the N64 era and I’m shocked it keeps getting second chances. Especially when other second tier games like F-Zero don’t.

We’ve had Star Fox games by Rare, PlatinumGames, Bandai Namco, the original creators, and now Ubisoft. I think at some point you just have to admit that the idea has nowhere to go and the franchise is dead.

The problem is that it could be made to work but only if it was a really major production, on par with the biggest Mario and Zelda games, but I don’t think Nintendo would go for that. But unless you spend that sort of money on it and make it some bigger than just a dozen on-the-rail levels I just don’t think anyone’s going to care. Especially not with such lame characters.


It happened again

I didn’t realise that Criterion, or at least the people that did Burnout, were another victim of EA. I really don’t understand why that company bothers buying all these famous developers only to shut them down a few years later. It always happens, everyone ‘jokes’ about it, and they never seem to learn anything from it happening again and again.

It’s shameful that the people who made Burnout should be scrabbling around for the money to make a new game and I will be supporting them with Dangerous Driving, in the hope they’ll be able to make bigger and better games later. I fear I’ll be doing something similar with BioWare and a spiritual sequel to Mass Effect in the future…


Nintendo reality

Just a quick thought regards to putting a strap on the Labo VR headset and using the Joy-Cons independently. I thought it was the Joy-Cons that contained the movement sensors which would be required for headtracking, so removing them (for Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath Of The Wild) surely won’t allow the VR to work correctly?
Steve, S Wales

Just a thought about the Nintendo VR and Zelda, aren’t the motion detectors housed in the Joy-Cons and not the actual unit? If so doesn’t that eliminate the possibility of using the Joy-Cons detached and having a strap for the headset?
TheGunslinger (NN ID)

GC: The headtracking is actually done by the Switch screen itself, which was a surprise to us as well. There’s probably a good chance Nintendo will try to make the use of a strap impractical with Zelda, but although we can review the VR kit this week the patches for the existing games aren’t released until later in the month.


Direct rumours

I saw there’s some rumours going around that there’s going to be a new Nintendo Direct on Thursday, does GC know anything about that? I hope it’s true because like many I’m worried about the lack of new Switch games confirmed this year.

I think there is a good chance there’ll be one this month at some point because they’ve got to release Joker and v3.0 of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate this month and that’s surely worth a Direct.

GC: We saw that too. There doesn’t seem any evidence for it, but it won’t take long to find out if it’s true!


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Setting the rules

I strongly feel that Preston is missing the point regarding having an easy mode in games, in particular in relation to games developed by FromSoftware.

There seems to an assumption that one difficulty mode feels the same for all players. However, people with different skills sets will experience the same game differently on the same difficulty setting.

I think there’s been a misunderstanding because I don’t see many asking for an easy mode as such, just a mode that still feels difficult but for a player of less skill, those players will still get a challenging game and the experience will have no notable differences as their skill is less.

It’s not a zero-sum game. The person playing on a theoretically lower difficulty will still have a similar experience to that of the more skilled gamer on the default setting and whilst all this is going on nothing is taken away from the more seasoned gamer. No one can take your experience away from you.

It’s just something that some gamers desire and as it becomes harder to obtain it is coveted more and more, with people not liking others to be able to obtain it unless it’s under the exact same conditions. Who sets these arbitrary and elitist rules and why?

I don’t know of anyone that wants a game to literally walk through and have a boss be killed in three hits. Certainly not me and I doubt any other readers either.

If a film, book or song is difficult for someone that experience doesn’t then end immediately but will leave the viewer to make a choice as to whether they want to continue towards the end regardless of their understanding or lack thereof. This is why games need to be treated with a different approach, in my opinion.

Whilst I do agree completely that nothing should get in the way of a game designer’s ultimate vision for their game it was actually the head director of Dark Souls himself that expressed a desire to create a less difficult mode only for some gamers to light up the Internet with rage just at the very idea of it, making themselves look rather ridiculous in the process.
Chaosphere616 (gamertag)

GC: Hidetaka Miyazaki doesn’t strike us as someone that’d give in to Internet outrage. It’s the developer that sets the ‘rules’ and it seems clear that From don’t want an easy mode in their games.


Inbox also-rans

I hope these Vikings rumours aren’t true for Assassin’s Creed. I agree it’s too cliché at this point. Just do something that someone else hasn’t done. Surely that would be a good thing for it to stand out from the crowd, if nothing else?

You mentioned being fans of Hellboy before, GC, what do you think of the trailers for the new movie?

GC: It looks awful. Tonally it still seems nothing like the comics and yet somehow the make-up effects are considerably worse than the old films. A real shame as we like Neil Marshall as a director.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ishi, who asks what’s the best VR experience you’ve ever had?

With even Nintendo now embracing virtual reality we want to know whether you’ve ever played VR on a modern console or PC and what you thought of it. Were you impressed by the technology and what did you think of the games you played?

What’s your favourite VR game and how much does that have to do with the virtual reality experience alone and how much to do with the gameplay? How close do you think VR is to being mainstream and do you think companies should put more or less emphasis on it than they currently do?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]


The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

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