The good thing about befriending someone that works for a game company is that it just proves to me how lucky I am there’s no such thing as a door-to-door videogame salesman. Every time I hang out with Atlus employees, for example, I ultimately end up buying an Atlus game as a result. Sometimes it’s simply demoing a game for me, sometimes it’s as extreme as coming to my house and walking me to a Gamestop to pick up a recent release, but the result is always the same: more money into Atlus’ pockets. Case-in-point: during my most recent visit to Southern California, I was literally driven to a Best Buy and told we weren’t leaving until I bought Dokapon Kingdom. Talk about customer “service”.
The good news, though, is that Dokapon Kingdom is actually pretty fun! I hadn’t heard of it until the day I bought it, so in case you’re unaware: Dokapon Kingdom is essentially Mario Party, but without minigames and an RPG thrown in for good measure. Utilizing the one-on-one duels in Suikoden with special abilities thrown in, you fight enemies and friends to gain levels, save towns, and explore the world. The twist is that the ultimate goal isn’t to save the world; oh no, it’s far more devious than that. The main objective is to be stronger than your friends, so that you can defeat them in battle and then humiliate them, with everything from ugly haircuts to (my personal favorite) changing their name to whatever you want.
[[image: ar_120208_dokapon_01.jpg:There are a lot of, er, interesting characters in the Kingdom:center:0]]
As with other boardgame, uh, games, Dokapon Kingdom isn’t much fun as a single player experience, but that does tend to create a sort of meta challenge: how do you take full advantage of the game’s best feature and stick them with a name that would make your mom blush, without risking pissing off the only friends you somehow convinced to overlook the art style and play with you? It would be an interesting social experiment to track someone’s behavior in this game versus the exact same game if it had online multiplayer and see if the owner is more inclined to be a jerk if he wasn’t afraid no one would play with him. As it stands, it probably says something about humanity that this isn’t an issue at all; who doesn’t love embarrassing their friends?
Wait. First they force me to buy the game, and now I’m unintentionally shilling for it? Something’s definitely wrong with this picture.