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The Joy of Simplicity: Kung Fu Panda

Written by: Russell Davidson, CC2K Sports Editor

ImageI've run across a fun one here, gang.  Saw the movie Kung Fu Panda and really dug it, so I thought I'd give the game tie-in a try.  Usually, tie-in games stink, so my hopes were not lofty.

But yes! I was surprised. Nothing revolutionary in terms of gameplay, in terms of graphics, in terms of anything, but I loved it. There are 13 levels and each one involves standard stuff like punching out baddies, jumping around, collecting things, beating bosses. But here was the great part: I DIDN’T PULL MY HAIR OUT PLAYING. A shocker, to be sure. Just about every game I play involves getting really frustrated at some point, really steamed, cursing out the game developers. Too much aggravation!

This is where Kung Fu Panda shines. It’s playability. It was enjoyable, a welcome antidote to Bioshock and Viking and other games that really put me through the ringer. Perhaps I am at a state where only the games rated E, for Everyone, are at my level. But why should "E" equal Easy while "M" equals Madness? What do they think, that only kids want games that aren’t mind-numbingly hard? That grown-ups only want games that beat your brains out? Yeah, I want a challenge, but c’mon, I don’t have 7 hours a day 6 days a week to slog through some of this stuff. I finished Panda in record time and was happy about it.

I’d love to see more of this. Maybe a trend where games aren’t so hard, where getting through them didn’t mean hitting 12 different buttons 100 different ways. How ‘bout more of the old-school arcade mindset? Two buttons and let ‘er rip. Perhaps this is why the Wii is so popular, it’s simplicity. If game companies really want to bring everyone to the table, women included, they should keep this in mind. Not every game has to be an epic, epically staged, epically played. We don’t always have the time and/or energy for that.

Play Kung Fu Panda, a strike for simplicity.