Shiatsu Massage: The Little Game Who Cried "@#$!"
As most 360 owners know, the Xbox 360 Community games section (now known as "Indie Games" section) is full of crap. For every sparkling gem, there are at least twenty smelly turds; crappy games that have only been released for one reason: to make a quick buck.
However, I recently met an indie game developer, and he explained to me that, despite all it's flaws, the "Indie Games" actually help a lot of budding, young, game designers get a good start. It also gives independent developers a chance to experiment with online multiplayer, a feature that is exclusive to XNA Studio, and also the reason we 360 owners have to empty our wallets in order to play Halo 3 online.
OK, he convinced me. Today, I'm a little more sympathetic to the Indie Games. We all want to play great games, and if the Indie Games section helps potentially great designers get their foot in the door, then I'm all for it.
But then there's games like Shiatsu Massage; a game that spits in the face of every indie developer in the world. If this game were a person, I'd set him on fire.
Shiatsu Massage is (you guessed it) a "massage" game. If you've ever browsed through the Indie Games catalog, I'm sure you've seen at least five of these bloody games, and I'm sure you've ignored them all too. Why? Because they all simulate massage in the same way.
Your controller rumbles.
That's it! You might as well play a regular game with the controller on your back! One of these games boasts that it has FOUR unique massage settings. Here are their names, and the effects as followed:
TROPICAL: Your controller rumbles.
VOLCANO: Your controller rumbles.
OCEAN: Your controller rumbles.
SWEDISH: Your controller rumbles...in Swedish?
Massage is the therapeutic practice of soft tissue manipulation with physical, physiological, and occasionally psychological purposes.
IT CANNOT BE SIMULATED BY A RUMBLING CONTROLLER!!!
I call this massage "Playing Halo 3 Online." It's been known to reduce stress.
So I've made it clear that all of these massage games suck. However, Shiatsu Massage deserves an extra special, super-duper, double fudge-coated round of applause. How come?
...The Main Course...
While all the other massage games in the Indie Games section are fully aware that they are god awful cash-ins, Shiatsu Massage ACTUALLY THINKS IT'S A GOOD GAME! For that, it must die.
Fun fact! The characters on the right are the Japanese equivalent of the middle finger.
While I admit that the game's Asian aesthetic shows that there was some semblance of effort put into the game, it's impression immediately drains away as soon as you get your first instructions.
Wait, WHAT??? You want me to place a rumbling controller AGAINST MY FACE???
So I tried it. Gently, I placed my Xbox 360 controller against my face. At first, it's rumble was soft, and it's warm pressure quickly brought me back to my childhood memory of playing Star Fox 64 and feeling the vibration of a rumble pack for the first time.
However, just as I was in the middle of my nostalgic trance, the game decided it was time to step it up a bit.
And by "a bit," I mean that the controller started rumbling like it did when the nuke went off in Call of Duty 4. For five minutes, my cheekbone felt as if it was being hacked away at by a jackhammer. When the session ended, my face was sore, and I was pissed.
Stupidly enough, this didn't stop me from trying all the other treatments (possibly because of the brain damage I might have gotten from the first one.) After I had completed them all, I had rubbed my rumbling 360 controller on the side of my legs, my forehead, my feet, my stomach, my neck, and and area that can only be described as "very close to the crotch."
In the end, my body felt as if it had made furious, passionate love to a vibrating anvil. Thanks a lot Shiatsu Massage! Thanks a whole fucking bunch!
You might want to get yourself checked babe.
At this point, you might be thinking "This game sounds awful; let's sodomize it!"...or maybe that's just me...
But the fun doesn't stop there folks!
Shiatsu Massage has a feature that separates it from all the other massage games. It's a feature called "couple massage."
...oh dear God no...
That's right, not only does Shiatsu Massage want to harm you physically, it also wants to harm you emotionally by ruining your love life, because it's idea of intimacy is HAVING YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER RUB AN XBOX 360 CONTROLLER ON YOUR BODY!!!
I'm not even kidding! The game gives you diagrams; diagrams depicting you, running AN XBOX 360 CONTROLLER DOWN YOUR NAKED LOVER'S BODY!!!
Imagine this. You're sitting on a couch, your beautiful life partner is curled up beside you.
You can feel her gentle warmth against your body.
Slowly, you embrace her, softly gathering her up in your arms.
You whisper in her ear.
"Wanna give it a try?"
She looks back at you, her face glowing, and she whispers back in your ear.
You take off your shirt. She takes off her dress.
Seconds later, both of you are completely naked.
You stare at each other with a lovers gaze.
A fireplace crackles in the distance.
You place your arms around her hips.
She presses your body against yours. She's shaking with anticipation.
You let your fingers run against her soft, silky skin as you lower her onto the couch.
You kiss her on her tender lips, and during this display of passion, YOU PULL OUT A RUMBLING XBOX 360 CONTROLLER AND START RUBBING IT AGAINST HER!!!
Hey hon, I just thought of a way we could ruin our happy relationship and play COD4, at the same time!
Fuck this game! I hope it dies in an alley.........with cancer.........and syphilis.........while it's being raped...............by me...............
Last But Not Least
The game wants you to rub a gaming peripheral against your girlfriend's body: do I really need to say more!
In the end, playing Shiatsu Massage has made my body sore, my relationships broken, and somewhere in a little town in Boston, a very confused teenage anvil is pregnant.
Now can we sodomize it?
This game is what happens when Twilight enthusiasts get to develop video games. You will not enjoy rubbing a vibrating controller against various parts of your body, and you most certainly won't save your relationship by doing said rubbing on your significant other. Do not buy this game. Do not even download the demo. It is the video game equivalent of turd sculpture of post 1990s Vanilla Ice.
HardRockSamurai is not a professional video game critic, but he can be found surfing the internet looking for lolcats to share with the world. He's currently married to his anvil wife. Together, they live with their two kids in Boston.