Crapshoot, a column about rolling the dice to resurrect random games, was written by Richard Cobbett from 2010 to 2014. This week, there was a game that attempted to play its cards correctly but failed. Hearthstone, the World of Warcraft collectible card game, may have become a worldwide phenomenon thanks to Blizzard, but it’s not the first time that worlds and cards have been combined. Obviously. Scrolls, a couple of Magic: The Gathering games, EA’s Battle Forge, and a few other titles were available. However, if every screen in the actual game didn’t make it plain that its true name is simply “Aiken’s Artifact,” I may snarkily refer to it as Sanity: Pointless Subtitle. This small action game/CCG hybrid was released in 2000.
Sincerely, I had forgotten how peculiar this game was. The fundamental concept was to combine collectible cards in an action-RPG fashion, with some cards being given away for free and (if I recall correctly) plans for booster packs that would keep the multiplayer engaging all of the time. That was never going to happen because this is a 3D action game from 2000 when the internet was still a novelty to most people.
Sanity eventually went into the bizarre and fantastic pile of games Monolith kept vomiting out in an attempt to find something that worked because its makers, Monolith, couldn’t even be bothered to fix it correctly. The Operative: No One Lives Forever, or to be more precise (and thanks to the same skill at naming that gave us this game’s lousy title), No One Lives Forever, and F.E.A.R, which stands for Forget English, Acronyms Rule, would eventually result in two beloved successes that would make the company’s name.
In the process of getting to that point, its name appeared on an absurdly broad range of games—either as publisher or developer—including the infamous Shogo: Mobile Armour Division, also known as “We’re Watching A Shitload Of Anime In Our Office Right Now: The Game” or, to give it its full name, “We’re Watching A Shitload Of Anime In Our Office: The Game,” a cartoon mascot platformer with the same name, a truly terrible