Took a couple days off from work this work to soak in all the E3 coverage. I hadn’t taken any vacation time in well over a year so I figured I was due anyways. I started off the morning watching some Giantbomb coverage. When I ran out of videos I wanted to watch I moved over to cinemassacre.com to see what James Rolfe has been up to which brought me to a video about a hacked version of Castlevania. All very interesting I know!
Eventually I came to the G4 show Icons about Bungie. I started watching and I continued to do so until they hit upon Oni. Oni is infamous like…really infamous and if you haven’t heard about it shame on you.
I had just started to work at EBGames during the run up to release of Oni. The company was pushing this game like it was the second (…third?) coming of Jesus. I didn’t even know what the game was but I knew for some reason I had to sell the shit out of it and this company Bungie who I had never heard of was a massive deal.
Launch day comes, the store floods with PS2 gamers and to a lesser extent PC gamers all looking for Oni and we are more than happy to sell them copies. We probably had around 100 total preorders which for that time period was quite a bit for a single game.
Fast forward a day…people start coming back to the store incredibly pissed off. They talk about how unplayable the game is, its broken, its impossible it just doesn’t work! Keep in mind this is at a point where stores didn’t lie about copyright issues and they let you return new games and get your money back. Oni is one of those titles that changed that.
We had so many returns the company sent out a memo extolling the virtues about Bungie’s Oni. Try to convince these people to keep the game! Do whatever you can to keep it from coming back into inventory! Sell Sell SELL!!!
Well it didn’t work. We probably got about 60% of copies back within a couple days of purchase. I still had no idea what the hell was really wrong with this game so I signed it out. A lot of reviews said the issue was the graphics and how all the textures were the same and every room looked the same but that wasn’t it we all let that slide when we played Bungie’s Halo. It was something deeper. Fact of the matter is gamers just were not ready for Oni. It used dual analog controls, something that was incredibly new at the time. Oni was not compelling enough to force us to learn how to play so gamers got pissed off and returned it. Its that simple.
Go ahead, play Oni now. Especially if you played it back then. Amazing isn’t it? The game isn’t that bad! Sure its not great but its passable. Hey at least it didn’t delete all your save files!