Thinking back on the video games I’ve played, I realize that “hate” is a pretty rare and strong word in my gaming vocabulary. I’ve played bad games, uninteresting games, and great games that just didn’t appeal to me. But to say I actually hate a game, well…that’s really saying something. This brings me to The Adventures of Cookie & Cream (2001). “Hate” does not even begin to describe the feeling that makes my blood boil as I reconsider this wretched, horrible game that nearly destroyed the greatest relationship ever in the history of all humankind! That of me and my husband. [Okay, okay…insert *sad trombone.*]
The Adventures of Cookie & Cream was released in 2001 on the Playstation 2 to very favorable reviews that described it as innovative, enjoyable, and a fun if challenging party game. It had 3D and 2D elements, unusual for a game of this era, adorable pink and orange bunnies as the main characters, and a fairly stylish setup with split screen, co-op play.
The premise of the game was simple: get your bunnies, Cookie and Cream, home safely along roads filled with obstacles and enemies. Obstacles were dual challenges that required players to help each other so the bunnies could move forward (e.g. one bunny turned a crank to let the other bunny through a door, then the other bunny pushed a switch to catapult the first bunny over a crevice, etc. etc.). Getting hit by an enemy lowered a player’s health and knocked time off the clock. Did I forget mention the clock? Each obstacle course was set to a timer, so players only had a set number of seconds to beat each course. At the end of the game…well…uh, who the heck knows?! We never got that far.
Oh fair hindsight, be thee 20-20? Yes sir. If I read the description of a game like Cookie & Cream now, I would avoid it like a room full of mutant fleas and lime disease-ridden ticks. But back in 2001, when my husband and I were in the throes of we-can-take-on-the-world love, we were certain Cookie & Cream was a game we could play together, which we really hadn’t done. Sure, we played against each other in fighting and racing games, but we had never played a co-op game before. Alas, the naïveté!
It…was…bad. Thirteen years ago is too long gone in my mind to recount any of our shouting matches to the letter, but needless to say, over the course of merely a few levels, we quickly plunged into previously undiscovered realms of relentless cursing and creative controller flinging. After the yelling died down, we tried again, as if somehow the momentary end to the volumized cussing had maybe, just maybe, improved our mastery over cartoon bunnies and timed switches.
It never worked. Look, I know that I’m not a very deft gamer – I have a fun enough time virtually clunking around and can manage with stealth when necessary. But Cookie & Cream really brought out my weaknesses and lack of self control. My husband played the game frustratingly well and couldn’t put up with my inability to time my moves correctly – and I hated his moronic, needless perfection. We’d barely make it through a level before the yelling began again. And afterwards, we’d have to leave each other’s company for an indefinite time. What made things really awful was that since Cookie & Cream so viciously displayed our lack of gracefulness in gaming, we fought about it during other games, or even when we weren’t gaming. That was a nasty summer.
It goes without saying that we had to exorcize Cookie & Cream out of our lives if we were to be saved. We quit the game and slowly returned to “normal” relationship mode. However, we kept Cookie & Cream on the shelf for a few months, even though it had burned holes in our souls like a BFG-9000. It served as a reminder of our own frailties and our abilities to overcome them and seek higher ground.
The Adventures of Cookie & Cream was trade-in fodder for the Gamecube and Super Mario Sunshine.
And that was the end of co-op gaming for us…until LEGO Harry Potter and LEGO Marvel Superheroes. The Adventure of Cookie & Cream did not find a place in our world. If you had fun with it, then godspeed my friend; you are a better person than I.
Just because a game is hailed as “great” doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. What games have you simply not gotten on well with? Are there any well-received games that you unequivocally disliked?