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The Pirate Hacks Of Africa: Our correspondent goes shopping for knockoff games in Nairobi.

Gameological contributor Joe Keiser is in the midst of a year-long stay in Nairobi. We asked him to check out the video game selection in his neighborhood. This is what he found.

In Nairobi, there is this shopping center called Diamond Plaza. It is the natural conclusion of a city that doesn’t enforce building codes. It is always under construction, has always been under construction according to the locals, and is a malignant tumor of a building. You can go the second floor, climb through a four-foot doorway into a straight, too-small hall, and end up somehow on the first floor. The stairwell constricts around you the further down you go. There are multiple doors on the highest levels that open into the alley dozens of feet below.

It is a beautiful, terrible place, perhaps my favorite in the city. And they sell games here, the sort of games you would expect in a place where only some of the rooms have a floor. Which is to say they are delirious hacks of old, pirated PlayStation 2 standards, from all over the world, with cover art that is uniformly amazing.

Grand Theft Auto: Saw

GTA: SawNotice the liberal use of rainbows on this cover, which accurately depicts the childlike whimsy of both Saw and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the game this hack is based on. San Andreas is about the deep entrenchment of American gang culture in the early ’90s, and Saw is about getting people to murder each other. So, rainbows.

GTA: Saw in-game screenshotThe game itself is a mutation of San Andreas where the load screens and main character have been replaced with the Jigsaw puppet from Saw. It’s the perfect game for the least discerning of Saw fans, which might be all of them.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Kirk Douglas

GTA: San Andreas: Kirk DouglasFull disclosure: this article exists so I can tell you all about Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Kirk Douglas. Just look at it! It’s exquisite. The game itself is as grand as the cover. It is San Andreas, with the load screens replaced by EXTREME closeups of Kirk Douglas—and occasionally his son Michael Douglas, because hey, close enough, right? In the game, the main character appears to be a rough approximation of Kirk Douglas. Oh, and all the missions have been removed, so there’s nothing to do.

Why would someone make this? Is there some shadow demographic of Grand Theft Auto/Kirk Douglas fans that is going completely unserved? No? Then let us create one, you and I, and give this labor of love the respect it deserves.

Battlefield 2: Special Forces

Pirate Hack Battlefield 2: Special ForcesNow, there is a real video game called Battlefield 2: Special Forces, but it never came out for the PlayStation 2, and it certainly never starred deceased pro wrestler Eddie Guerrero, even though he was amazing and should be in everything VIVA LA RAZA! Hey, the guy who made this cover knows what I’m talking about.

Anyway, you might think the game inside this case is simply a pirated copy of the Battlefield 2 game that did come for the PS2, because that would be a sensible thing to steal. Yet that would make too much sense. This is actually a Japanese game, Simple 2000 Series Vol. 108: The Nihon Tokushubutai, which is translated as “The Special Forces.” It’s not really clear how you could start out intending to pirate one game and end up pirating an obscure, Japan-only budget title instead, but at this point, we should really be willing to accept anything.

Guitar Hero: Satellite 2009

Guiter Hero: Satellite 2009This is a hack of the classic plastic guitar phenomenon Guitar Hero 2, but all of the songs have been replaced with Bahasa rock and rap, which are actual things that exist. This is actually a cool idea for a pirate hack, since it gives the local community a version of the game the original developers never would have made. But for this specific game, that local community is in Jakarta, thousands of miles away. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it, so go ahead and listen to “Maaf Dari Surga” while you play air guitar.

Guitar Hero: Unleashed and X’mas Songs

Guitar Hero: Unleashed & X'mas SongsI know what you’re thinking: “Bahasa versions of Guitar Hero are all well and good, but where is the compilation of Christmas songs and Nu metal?” Don’t worry, here’s Guitar Hero: Unleashed and X’mas Songs. Do you like “White Christmas”? Do you also like Korn? No? Well, that’s okay, because all of the bonus tracks are Bahasa rock and rap. Something for everyone!

Guitar Hero: The Legend: Beatles and Friends

Guiter Hero: The Legend: Beatles & FriendsYou’ll come for the Beatles, but you’ll stay for the anime girl that who maybe is supposed to be Yoko Ono. Okay, the Beatles have other friends, too, but they are mostly Bahasa rock and rap stars.

RoboCop

Pirate version of RoboCopThis is just an old, awful RoboCop game that nobody should ever play. Look at that cover, though! It will brighten your life in countless ways.

Grand Theft Auto hacks that are all the same

Grand Theft Auto hack assortmentGrand Theft Auto: Supernatural, The Legend, Infinite World, and 2012: End of the World all seem like they would be different games, right? They took the hero of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And Damned , Johnny Klebitz, and Photoshopped his head into so many different other games! Unfortunately, all of the games are San Andreas—more specifically, a San Andreas hack of possibly Brazilian origin that removes the story missions and adds explosive superpowers (and Linkin Park to the radio). 2012: End of the World gets bonus points for replacing the game’s opening video with a trailer for the movie 2012. Very classy.

Grand Theft Auto: Dubai City

GTA: Dubai CityThis one was a real surprise. Oh, it’s still San Andreas. But it was edited and “improved” as much as possible. The opening video is a tourism promotional video for Dubai.

GTA: Dubai City loading screenThe loading screens are all advertisements for Syrian Games, which may be an outfit of pirates and thieves but also employs video game cover artists of great vision and poise.

GTA: Dubai City—horror jaw GTA: Dubai City—horror jawThe face of Dubai City’s new main character will periodically glitch, becoming a horrible nightmare with stretched skin and an impossibly distended jaw.

GTA: Dubai City in-game screenshotMany of the signs and billboards in the game have been replaced with Arabic text, and the radio stations play only Arabic music. It’s quite a comprehensive hack, and the best part is that buying it in Kenya almost certainly doesn’t violate American sanctions against Syria. So any American customs agents reading this article shouldn’t even worry about sending me to federal prison. Please?

Words by Joe Keiser. Title illustration by Keith Vincent.

Looking to extend your descent into pirate-game madness? Check out our treasury of the Syrian Games cover artist’s finest work.

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DEAR KENYAN GAMER: TO TAKE OFFENCE OR TO BE PROUD?

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GP- 2000+ HITS!!!!!

Salute to the Gamer’s Pound Family,

Your support shines our torch bright  to all corner of the global!!! Lets take them all by storm!!! Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen!!!! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!! GOD BLESS!!!

WHY YOU LOSE?

by Russell Puntenney

Video games are weird. Sometimes they work like they’re supposed to, then sometimes there’s like a glitch in the system or something and you end up losing to a 10-year-old in Morocco who can’t even do long division.

It’s not like you think you’re the best gamer in the world, it’s just no one has actually beaten you fair and square yet. No, based on the feedback you’ve so generously offered every time some poser steals a win against you in some worthless piece of trash game you swear you don’t even really care about, it’s pretty clear there are really only five reasons you’ve ever lost:

 A1

Sure, you could just run the same play over and over again like that guy that just whooped your ass in Madden, or snipe from that perfect hiding spot all game like that kid that just killed you thirty times in a row in Call of Duty, but how lame is that? So lame that if it were a movie it’d be one you stop on when you’re browsing Netflix just to laugh about how much it sucks? Exactly.

And that’s the reason you lost, not because you weren’t skilled enough to stop your opponent. Please. It’s because you chose not to stoop to their level. Ever heard of a little thing called “class?”

 A2

Sure you lost, but it was the first time you’d played in over a week, what do you expect? You were rusty. Plus you weren’t even your usual team, or you were using a different gun or whatever, and you tried this new strategy that you seriously like never use. Plus you were distracted because your phone kept blowing up and you were sitting in a different chair than normal and there was a glare from the kitchen and pretty much everything about that game just seemed a little off.

Granted, a loss is a loss, this one just happens to come with an asterisk. Let’s see that same chump beat you after you’ve had a chance to warm up first.

Then it’s game on.

 A3

Obviously you get a free pass for sucking at video games if you’ve been pounding Milwaukee’s Beast with your brozers all night before you play, everyone knows that. It’s not like alcohol is going to make you better at controlling an avatar on a TV screen, now is it? Of course not. It’s not like poker or something. This isn’t bowling. It’s hand-eye coordination in its purest form, something the whole point of drinking alcohol in the first place is to specifically try and disrupt.

Who cares if you lost eighteen games of Battlefield last night? If you were too insanely slosh-faced to remember, it never even happened brah!

 A4

Funny how even with all the incredible advances in technology, they still can’t make a goddamn video game controller where the stupid buttons just do what they’re supposed to every time, can they? How the hell are you supposed to compete when the game can’t even interpret your commands? Let alone the fact the cheap ass they matched you up against had an internet connection so shoddy you had to play the whole game in slow-motion. Go figure.

Let’s face it: Michael Jordan FERNANDO TORRES is just another basketball FOOTBALL player if you make him pass the ball every time he tries to shoot. Why should you be any different?

 A5

Turns out it’s pretty tough to pull off a victory when the video game gods decide they’re going to just hand the game over to your opponent right at the end. Who knew?

Clearly it’s not your opponent’s fault, so it’s not like you’re immature enough to take out your frustration by yelling at him through your TV screen like a crazy person even though you know he can’t hear you or anything, but it is annoying. Apparently the computer just felt the Jaguars deserved to win this game, so that’s why it let Blaine Gabbert complete a Hail Mary for a game-winning touchdown as time expired even though Peyton Manning hasn’t gone five plays without an interception all game. Because that’s totally how that situation would play out in real life.

Not like those same twists of fate ever swing in your favor or anything. No, when you randomly heave a grenade across the board and end up killing three opponents you had no idea were even in the area for a stat-boosting triple kill of doom, for example, that’s not luck.

That’s skill, baby.