Do a fucking Barrel Roll!

Not as long ago as it should have been, I used to engage in pointless, time-wasting and nerve-wrecking debates about video games. No worthwhile discussions to broaden our respective horizons, but petty warfare with narrow-minded goons, and the only thing that mattered was winning. You shouldn’t do that, but I’m easily triggered and was summoned into the arena time and time again.

The controversy over Star Fox Zero got particularly out of hand. It is one of the few remaining Wii U titles that was not released for the Switch. The reason for this is presumably not so much the title’s lack of success and quality as the impossibility of its implementation, as Star Fox Zero was built to use the console’s two screens, allowing you to switch between cockpit and 3rd-person perspective via head movement instead of button press. And so the game is likely to be forgotten as a bizarreness along with the ill-fated and poorly marketed Wii U.

The game was doomed from the start: the Star Fox IP was superimposed on the original tech demo, the presentations looked technically weak, and the end result was a game that seemd to be a rehash of Lylatwars with a control gimmick. I didn’t have high expectations either, but I was still looking forward to the game. I was eager for another space battle with the old hotshots of the Starfox team.

Because the mere announcement was a terrible provocation for some people, they were finally allowed to be on the move with their pitchforks again. My advice to wait for the final product was followed by the aforementioned fundamental discussion, which had completely worn me down before the game was even released. And so, when I fired up the game, a shadow loomed over the experience. I wanted to be right that it was no inevitable disaster. I trusted Shigeru. A little bit. And so I cautiously felt my way through the first few levels, hoping to see my reasoning validated.

Fortunately, video games – especially from Nintendo – are better suited than almost anything else to vaporize such small-minded thoughts. And that’s because they’re fun. Instead of anxiously analyzing, I found myself grinning in front of the TV, happy to hear the voice of Peppy Hare. My old wingman was back to motivate me and make me feel at home. I was euphoric as I took accurate measurements with a quick glance at the screen, vaporized ten drones, looked back up on the big screen and saw my Arwing gliding through the debris of precisely wrecked enemies. I did not care about the quality of the textures zipping past me. I felt powerful when I casually transformed my spaceship into a walker on an enemy cruiser, boarded it, and destroyed it from the inside – without any need or incentive to do so.

And now let’s zoom in on my big moment: I’m fighting with my team against an enemy fleet when suddenly a huge battleship appears from the Starfox equivalent of subspace. It has an impenetrable shield. General Pepper warns me to get out of the line of fire, but his shot from the Great Fox ricochets humorlessly off the mighty shield. All hope seems lost. But without anyone telling me, I discover that the shield opens up around the laser beam – which is perfectly reasonable! I take the chance and push my way past the gigantic death beam through the shield, which is rewarded by one of the few, very tactfully used slow-motion sequences, while Fox tells the others that he is through. Then I transform the Arwing into the Walker once again and head into the innermost core of the infernal machine to save the day.

At with that, I smile away all the pointless, nitpicky discussions and promise myself I’ll never descend to that level again. Because for all my love of analysis, discussion, and rankings, I just love playing video games. I do my barrel roll and take delight in harmless spaceship explosions with cartoon graphics. And no one can take that joy away from me. Another thing I didn’t let anyone take away from me either despite all the wisdom: One last descent and a verbal round-about against all the dorks that had tried to criticize the game without ever having played it. I was right about everything. They were idiots. And disproved. It was satisfying. But I’m over it now. I really am.


Star Fox Zero was released for the Wii U in 2016, sold miserably, and was also met with a mixed reception from critics. Some believe it has done lasting damage to the franchise and that we won’t see another game with Fox McCloud anytime soon. Maybe so. It could have been better. But instead of arguing with others about games, today I’m writing for a video game site without a comment section. Live and Learn.

Dieser Artikel ist ebenfalls abrufbar in: Deutsch

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