How two games I played recently handle pop culture references.
May 22, 2016

DOOM (PS4):
It only features a few subtle references.

Example: If you fall into the molten fire in the foundry, you'll quickly die and sink. The last we see of our hero is one of this hands jutting from the immolated soup, giving us one last thumbs up. Yep, it's a well-played head nod to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Why this references works:
It's subtle and unexpected, plus it fits with DOOM's violent theme.


Zombeer (PC):
Spams the living crap out of random pop culture references, as if the developers were desperately seeking approval.

Example: While crawling around in the ventilation ducts on the roof, you come across a Skyrim-ish dragon. The creature speaks in a peculiar language and flies away, never to be seen again.

Why this reference doesn't work:
Skyrim and Zombeer have little in common. Also, Zombeer loves to dish out throwbacks to IPs without context or care, from The Simpsons to Saw. One moment, you're gunning down zombies. The next, you're picking up question mark boxes while an 8-bit BGM plays. Why? For hilarity? For nostalgia? More than anything, it comes off as a cheap bid to winning over players, rather than relying on the game's actual merits (which are few) to accomplish that end.

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Feedback
honestgamer honestgamer - May 22, 2016 (04:39 AM)
Ironically, DOOM does also have an Elder Scrolls Easter egg at one point... though I suppose it makes more sense (in part) because Bethesda owns both franchises now. Plus, it's apparently a great deal more subtle in DOOM. And since you're playing DOOM, have you found the hidden levels from the original game? Apparently, there are 13 of them.
Suskie Suskie - May 22, 2016 (09:06 AM)
I'm around seven missions into Doom and it's kinda the greatest thing in the world.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - May 22, 2016 (09:37 AM)
Jason:
I haven't found any of the secret stages yet. I may end up going through this thing a second time, though, so maybe I'll find them then.

Suskie:
Truth.
EmP EmP - May 22, 2016 (10:08 AM)
Dammit. I really didn't want to get Doom after hating on Doom 3 so much, bit people keep talking about it like it's something I should be playing.

Fine. I give up.
Suskie Suskie - May 23, 2016 (12:22 AM)
EmP, I hated Doom 3 almost as much as you did, and the new one is a complete turnaround.

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