Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Perspective: The Guy Game

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guygame_boxThere are times when a game comes around that is seemingly so transparent that the public can shun it on general principle.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I can be more honest about my morbid curiosities or maybe it’s just the fact that I am into stupid things that the rest of the world can dismiss, but I still want to know if a game that has such a reputation is abysmal.  One such title is The Guy Game.  Developed by Top Heavy Studios – of which it shocks no one that this was the company’s only title – but what you may not know is that the man behind the studio is Jeff Spangenberg, most notable for Iguana Entertainment and Retro Studios.  Take-Two Interactive released this title in 2004 and it was accompanied by the likes of Serious Sam and Manhunt, so the company wasn’t unfitting.  Needless to say the game tanked, but not before strumming up a slew of controversy and had me interested in just what the hell it was.  Now that I’ve gotten my hands on a copy I can sadly report that there is no meaningful purpose for this game to exist…well, except boobs.

As if Top Heavy looked at the worst stereotypes of gamers and “spring breakers” all at once and weaved them into a shallow shell of a game, this title offers little value even to those that accept its very nature.  You and up to three other people get to compete in a sort of mini-game/quiz show hybrid where the stakes are topless young ladies.  Outside of the actual program proper each player is given a series of mildly homophobic rules about how to behave while playing the game and it is expected that all other players in the room assist to police each person, the penalty being to drink.  Even your player avatar reeks of desperation as you select one of eight models to represent you and if you play well enough, you guessed it, she too will get naked for you.  There are a total of 20 episodes, each one containing three rounds, and of course the mini-game that makes up round two in some derivative of beer pong is entirely optional (there’s a “skip” button at round start).  The other two rounds consist of watching young bikini-clad girls answering trivia questions that range from flat basic to college level academia.  Your task is simple: answer the question and then guess in round one whether the girl gets it right or wrong and in round three what wrong answer she gave for each question.  If you personally get the question right you get arbitrary points that hold no meaning to main game and by its own admission aren’t even considered.  On the other hand if you guess what the girl is going to do correctly the reward is that you get closer to seeing her topless without the game’s signature censor bars or mosaic.  So basically you’re playing a Magic 8 ball to hopefully see a set of breasts for one or two questions (it takes 8 perfect guesses out of 12 total questions to remove censorship).  I guess the long term reward is that you permanently unlock censorship for that episode, but if you don’t you have to play every other episode before getting the opportunity to play again.

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It all smashes together into a not fun, not really a game mess that makes you go, “what’s the point?”  There are so many ways in which this basic stupid premise could be better utilized into something resembling fun, regardless of nudity.  The fact that your guessing of the girls’ behavior dictates the nudity is stupid and just further pushes the concept that Top Heavy and Take-Two actually expected you to play hours upon hours of this game with a topless coed as bait.  If this had come out in 1985 – when naked ladies were hard to access and kids pined over a torn Playboy among each other like it was solid gold – then I can totally see the value proposition of this title, however nefarious it may be.  In 2004, however, pornography and naked teens on spring break was so easily accessible with high bandwidth Internet that it was more work than any teen would bother with and no rational adult would even take a glance at.  Not only that but the game isn’t simply a bunch of knuckleheads asking girls questions for boob shots; it’s quite clear that not only are these girls not explained the full purpose of the video being shot before signing the consent form (ie: false pretenses) but that the sole goal of the questions is to make them look like idiots.  I don’t think any human being deserves to be treated that way and it goes on to suggest that all gamers are interested in being elite, out of shape pricks that just want to see arbitrary nudity while cutting down the very soul of a human being.  It’s objectifying and it’s stupid.  In conclusion, The Guy Game lacks value not because it’s a bunch of teenage girls showing their breasts for a video game, but because it succeeds in being a sleazy exploitation of gamer stereotypes while simultaneously cutting down women for participating (something essential to the product) and failing at being any fun in the process.  So you see, it’s not just one problem, but rather the fact that this title has almost zero entertainment.  If you really want to put in the time to guess your way into 20 videos of girls showing boobs for a few seconds, it does succeed at that, which I can commend developers for because it’s the one goal they actually accomplished in the mess that must have been the design document.

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Because…boobs

What would The Guy Game be without the controversy that made it “famous”?  Four months after the title’s release one of the girls in the game (she was Diane from episode 20) sued Take-Two and Sony over the fact that they used her without consent because she was only seventeen at the time and had signed the consent while drunk and with a fake ID.  Since any decision involving this video game has been historically without merit, my only guess is that this girl wanted to follow suit by suing the involved parties to either get the game removed from existence or make a bunch of money – neither happened.  While a Travis County judge (the game was produced at South Padre Island in Texas) did order the game off shelves for PC, PS2, and Xbox, the game garnered a decent circulation on the used market and was sold at smaller retailers that were unaware of its status.  Hell, I found it at a local brick and mortar shop in the suburbs of Kansas City.  This does explain its relative rarity and popularity.  It seems like the case was settled out of court because I could not find any documents on the eventual outcome and I know it wasn’t a substantial payout even if there was one at all.  This girl Diane also probably earned a valuable lesson because not only did the game continue to be available after all this, it was highly sought out after the controversy, spawned a re-release of the footage in DVD format, and continues to be on countless YouTube videos to this day.  In trying to undo her mistake she instead brought it into the spotlight.  In the end the game disappeared into obscurity and I’m betting no one really cares about it today.  Still, I had to know.

Written by Fred Rojas

February 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm

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