Hello everyone and welcome to my new feature here on AYBOnline, where I trust-fall into the arms of Valve quality control and let their loving arms rock me to sleep. Or, alternatively, crash to the ground in a fiery wreck worthy only of Sir Michael of Bay himself. Today, I put the Greenlight system (and my own sanity) to the test and try some of the best (worst) and brightest (worst) that Steam Greenlight has to offer.
This is Red Light Greenlight.
*Cue sweet theme music*
For the first week, I figured that it was only right to pay homage to the man who made this all happen: Gabe Newell. And what better way to give our thanks to Mr. Newell than by reviewing the best-selling, biographically accurate, endorsed by his grandma, Greenlit game GabeN: The Final Decision: Don’t Trust Anyone (retailing for $3.29 but, at the time of writing, on sale for a life changing 33 cents off).
GabeN begins, as most fine pieces of art do, with an Illuminati conspiracy. It is the year 2096 (putting Gabe Newell, the player character, at a spry 133 years young), and Team Fortress 3, Portal 3, and Half-Life 3 have all just simultaneously been released, causing an Illuminati terrorist attack headed (inexplicably) by Valve big wig Robin Walker. It turns out that Wallace Breen, GLaDOS, and the Administrator from TF2 are behind the attack, serving as de facto heads of the secret society, and Gabe Newell and imaginary Valve co-founder Mike Johnson must take them down!
If this sounds at all interesting, you are sorely mistaken, since GabeN is, unsurprisingly, little more than RPG Maker schlock featuring all the mainstays of the genre: boring, repetitive gameplay, a shaky understanding of the English language, default monsters and tile-sets, and the LOLrandomest memes circa 2005.
Seeing GabeN in the Steam Store filled me with glee, because I was SURE it was going to be a comedy goldmine. We would all laugh together at the bugs and spelling mistakes, the absurdities and blatant copyright infringement. But I’m just left feeling hollow and bored. I walked, I spammed spacebar for an hour and a half, I levelled up 40 times(!), and all I could think about was how much I wished it was over. The “dungeons” used re-coloured enemies with stock attacks, the random battles were relentless, and it was all so heinously bland.
Fed up with the constant encounters (often triggering after as little as three steps), I remembered the “escape” button — with the closest thing to excitement that I felt since starting — only to find that I couldn’t get the cursor to move. Nothing seemed to work. It was only about a thousand battles later that I realized I had to press left in order to move the cursor right (necessary to select escape). This sums up the GabeN experience in a nutshell.
I suppose it’s a little disingenuous to review a throwaway RPG Maker Greenlight game like it’s a grown up release, but I can’t stress this enough: There were supposed to be jokes here. GabeN literally sucked any traces of humour I had inside of me out through my nose and left me an empty husk of a reviewer. There is nothing left. You remember playing Portal for the first time, and how absurd and hilarious GLaDOS was? This is the opposite. In GabeN you fight GLaDOS five times in a row, each time basically identical, and she doesn’t say ANYTHING beyond cursory exposition. They took a default anime portrait and photoshopped a moustache on it and used it FOR ONE OF THE LEAD CHARACTERS for God’s sake, I don’t even know how to begin to make a joke about that.
I’m sure there’s an end to the game, but I can’t be bothered to get to it. An hour and a half was long enough for me to be sure there’s nothing better waiting. GabeN has committed the cardinal sin of crap. It’s not good, and it’s not weird enough to be funny; it just exists.
Honestly, I have to wonder how long GabeN is even gonna stick around, since it’s throwing around trademarked characters like nobody’s business. At the time of downloading, it was in second place on Steam’s Featured New Releases, but has since vanished. Could Valve actually be doing quality control on a Greenlit game? Or is it something darker? Something more sinister (and more likely)? Perhaps GabeN got too close to the truth, and somebody didn’t like it. Somebody like… the ILLUMINATI?!
Eric Roy is a Contributor to aybonline.com.