ABC’s Wipeout The Video Game makes me happy because it reminds me of a time where damn near everything could get it’s own video game. In fact the Wii as a whole captures those days perfectly. Just like how now I enjoy looking through old NES games and making discoveries like “Holy shit they actually made a game based on Wayne’s World”, I can’t wait for a decade from now when I look back at games like Wipeout and wonder how on earth that was ever a thing.
When you compare it to some of the other TV show based games on the Wii (Grey’s Anatomy, America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, The Bachelor), Wipeout at least makes some sense. I don’t think I would ever look at the show and think they should make a video game out of it, but I think I at least understand why someone else did.
Now I’ll be straight with you – Wipeout is not by any means a good game. But in a strange twist, it’s still a fun one. I know right, how is that possible!? Simple, it’s a classic example of the “so bad it’s good” formula.
The goal of Wipeout the video game is the same as Wipeout the televised program, get to the end of a crazy obstacle course without falling into the mud. Not being very familiar with the show I can’t say how true to it the game courses are, but the giant red balls are here so I assume fans will be happy.
Of course the main reason people watch the show is to watch the contestants hurt themselves in spectacular ways. It turns out that’s also the main appeal of the game. Wipeout uses ragdoll physics to depict the wipeouts which means that limbs and bodies are flaying all over the place in all sorts of ridiculous ways. Of course the physics don’t work what you would call well, and sometimes a simple wipeout such as walking into a wall will then cause your character to flail around on the ground while spinning in a circle, his head rotated completely around and his legs bent back around his neck. In that sense I doubt the game is very loyal to the show, but this element is what makes the game so damn entertaining – the fact that in many ways, it is fundamentally broken.
Wipeout isn’t a game you play because you are genuinely enjoying it, at least it won’t be for any sane individual. No you play it to see what sort of insanity the game will throw at you next. Will your character get stuck on an obstacle and flung into the background? Will your character be running along and suddenly collapse to the ground as though all the bones in their legs suddenly ceased to exist? Or maybe the obstacle you’re supposed to jump onto will simply vanish off the screen. You just never know with Wipeout the Video Game!
There isn’t a whole lot of variety to the game. Each time you play you’ll be running through the same obstacle courses and the higher difficulties only make those same courses longer. For example, on Easy difficulty you may have to jump across 4 balls in a section, where on Challenging you’ll have to jump across 5. There are qualifying challenges in-between the courses, but only a handful, so you’ll have seen everything the game has to offer very quickly.
I suppose fans of the show will be happy to see that all of the hosts are here to provide some original dialogue but it repeats every single game and it’s corny and awful. I do enjoy that they clearly made no attempt whatsoever to have the hosts’ lips match what they are saying. Their mouths simply do whatever they want and sometimes just hang open for seconds at a time while words are being spoken. You can also unlock the hosts as playable characters, but aside from a nice touch where the voiceover actually acknowledges that it’s them participating in the game, it really doesn’t change much.
However like I said before, none of this really matters because of course Wipeout isn’t a good game. Does that come as a shock to anyone? But my point is that you can still have one hell of a good time playing it based solely on how unpredictable it can be with its sheer awfulness. It’s not like anyone is going to get upset because a bug caused them to lose a Wipeout challenge. So grab some friends, some drinks, and enjoy one of the best bad games I’ve played in a really long time.