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8-bit Girlfriend (Xbox 360) artwork

8-bit Girlfriend (Xbox 360) review


"8-bit Girlfriend is a paper thin joke that doesn’t even stay around long enough to wear out its welcome."



I’m a big fan of the Indie scene on the 360, and happily drop more money on it than I do on the ‘professional’ contributions over on the Arcade side of downloadable content. For very little cash, I’m able to tap into a well of creativity that would otherwise lay dormant and reap my financially acceptable rewards. For the sultry sum of 80mps (about $1) I’ve stolen games like Lights End, Z0MBIES and Breath of Death VII, all titles that made countless people sit up and take notice of a service Microsoft once seemed oddly determined to keep hidden in the bottom drawer.

Maybe those games have spoiled me. Maybe now I expect a bigger bang for my 80mps than I should reasonably expect. I pondered this deeply while I played the opening minutes of 8-bit Girlfriend. Several seconds later, when I had finished my cerebral workout and decided to give an initially engaging game a fair roll of the dice, I had already seen everything it had to offer.

8-bit Girlfriend wants you to think it’s more than it is. Listen to it promise to give you “what you secretly wanted to do back in Dragon Warrior“. Forget all that “But thou must love me!” shenanigans -- apparently what that now infamous scene really needed was playground innuendo with the subtlety of a half brick and a silent prayer that Ted “Saving The Minds Of Our Kids” Woosely was looking the other way for a second. Cunningly, the game doesn’t outright tell you what it is, but it hints at a deeper meaning. It promises parody but delivers overly-simplistic features designed to further a wad of jokes carefully removed from the James Bond pun-writer’s wastepaper basket.

What you get is the chance to woo one of four girls. How you achieve this is by suffering through a basic question-and-answer scenario where the girl of your choice asks you a question. Answer it right, get another question. Answer it wrong, then it’s game over, and you have to start again from the beginning of the dialogue branch. The answers are sometimes humorous, sometimes groan-worthy but each girl can be wooed in about a minute with a bit of common sense and a lot of trial and error. As such, the big claim on retro parody isn’t actually present: the retro claim is more a transparent bait to seize upon nostalgia and excuse the MS Paint graphics.

You’ll probably get a laugh or two out of 8-bit Girlfriend (especially if you try and woo the lesbian thief with a constant cascade of serial lies and futile bouts of surrealism) but then, the game’s over and you’ve no reason to revisit. It’s geeky-cool that the boozy item shop girl has set her difficulty to super-easy and that answering correctly to the princess’ question about the colour of her panties leads her to label you as a perverse peeper, but there’s nothing beyond that. 8-bit Girlfriend is a paper thin joke that doesn’t even stay around long enough to wear out its welcome.

Rating: 2/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (June 29, 2010)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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Feedback

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CoarseDragon posted June 29, 2010:

Shame the game is not that good. I thoguht you did a good job of telling us that.

I wondered if you planned to do a review of Breath of Death VII?
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EmP posted June 29, 2010:

Thanks! Breath of Death is the indie game I most want to cover, but I always get distracted by something else. So, it'll happen, I just don;t know when.

Fantastic game, though. Unlike this one.
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Ben posted July 09, 2010:

A short review, yet now I have absolutely no intention of checking this indie game out. Job done! Everything that needs to be said is said.

By the way, I think the people refer to Microsoft Points as "MSP" rather than "MPS", but correct me if I'm wrong. One more thing:

Listen to it promise to give you that you secretly wanted to do...

I assume "that" should be "what".
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wolfqueen001 posted July 16, 2010:

Haha. Despite having a strong (and accurate) impression of what this game would be like, I still don't know how to approach the feedback here, maybe because the game is so simple. I guess I'll just say that I'm highly amused at the idea that this game not only exists, but that you actually played and spent money on it (even if it's only a dollar). Even before reading about it, it looked as though it would have similar mechanics to other lousy games of the sort, though not necessarily of the same topic. (that weird fortune telling game for NES that I reviewed came to mind for some reason).

Anyway, it's a short and effective review. Had the time been right for it, this probably would've done really well in the Brevity contest (if it's short enough), but I know you primarily reviewed it for Alpha Marathon ambitions. That's the only reason (besides genuine curiosity anyway) that I can think of for why you'd play such a boring game.

I was going to make a joke about how the world would be if girls were really that shallow, but then I decided not to. XD
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EmP posted July 31, 2010:

Yes. If.

...

Thanks for the catches!

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