Feature

Sacred Cow Barbecue Strikes Again

by Jeff Marchiafava on Feb 03, 2015 at 06:40 AM

Issue 261 marked the long-awaited return of Sacred Cow Barbecue, our annual randomly recurring feature that roasts the best games the industry has to offer. While good-humored gamers enjoyed our sendup of their favorite titles, others weren't laughing, and we've compiled the best (and worst) responses we received.

Previous installments of Sacred Cow Barbecue have focused on classics like Super Mario Bros. and Final Fantasy, but this year we put the flames to some more modern hits. Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed, Dark Souls, and Minecraft all got their unenviable time in the spotlight, along with a host of other games. Kingdom Hearts fans were particularly unamused by our take on the cartoony RPG series, and didn't hesitate to share their discontent with us. Below are some of the responses we received; as always, we've withheld the names of our irate respondents to protect the humorless. 

Relishing The Roast:

  • I just got done reading the newest Sacred Cow Barbecue article and absolutely loved it. Most of the games you bashed are among my favorite ever. It was so entertaining and hilarious to hear them talked about like that; I couldn't stop laughing. No matter how much hate mail you may receive for it, you will definitely have good-humored gamers on your side. So thank you, and keep the roasts coming.
  • Issue 261 was a roller coaster of emotions. From your evisceration of Mass Effect 2 in Sacred Cow Barbecue to the heaping of accolades you gave it in your Top 25 Sci-Fi Games list, you had me laughing through tears and following them up with spontaneous shouts of glee in just a few short pages. I sincerely thank you for tearing apart my favorite game of all time only to restore it to its rightful place in the video game pantheon, you magnificent, sadistic bastards.

Who's Laughing Now?:

  • I would personally like to say how much I appreciated Sacred Cow Barbecue. I love how you guys have mastered the ability to use hyperbolic sarcasm to both actually criticize games that people don't want to critique, and also make people laugh. And I don't mean laugh at the articles, I mean laugh at the people who take you seriously and get really angry. Those guys are great, and I hope people continue to be so amusingly gullible in the new year.

The Polite Dissenter:

  • I enjoy reading Game Informer’s reviews and stories, but this month’s Sacred Cow Barbeque is a bit much for my taste. I understand the writer has his own opinions, and while I do agree with some of his theories, I don’t appreciate being degraded for playing games like Assassin’s Creed, Minecraft, Kingdom Hearts, and Dead Space. It’s nice that the author thinks everyone who plays Minecraft is a “hopeless mope,” but that is just an opinion and should be left out of an article that seems more like a roast. While it can be humorous to some, I feel that it’s poor writing; even a normal college English course teaches us not to direct our views directly at the reader. If he wants to call me and others a hopeless mope, then he should find a different way to do it, like politicians and other news media outlets do.

Dig Deeper:

  • I highly suggest putting more thought into your articles because your opinion doesn't pass off as fact any more. Sacred Cow Barbecue made me drop the magazine in disbelief. Saying things like Dark Souls doesn't have a thought-provoking story makes me question the legitimacy of the product you are selling me, because you did no research, no digging into the story, and you pretty much just looked at the game and decided you didn't like it because it does not spoon-feed you the story like other games. Also, the fact that you bashed the game for being too difficult and said you pity people who play it seriously makes me pity you. So I highly suggest you dig deeper into your research on the lore of...everything, then perhaps consider not basing your work on biased opinions that you only gave three seconds of your time to.

Unsubscribing From A Nonsubscription:

  • I am not a subscriber of your magazine, and based on your Fourth Inaugural Sacred Cow Barbecue article, I will never become one. I’m not sure if the writer means to sound like a snide, pretentious hipster, but as a gamer and a fan of the honest reviews this magazine gave years ago, that is all they come across as. He went so far as to critically rip apart eight of the most popular and possibly highest grossing games that have currently released. More to the point, he made me, a possible subscriber and revenue source for your magazine, feel intellectually inferior for liking and playing them. I don’t have a problem with critiques, but they should be based on graphics and gameplay, not trashing well-loved characters from our childhood and telling Japanese developers to make more first-person shooters. Since enjoying Kingdom Hearts and Assassin’s Creed makes me stupid, I guess you won’t care about loosing my subscription money!

You Do NOT Joke About Kingdom Hearts:

  • If your intentions were to piss off readers, job accomplished. I hated the Sacred Cow criticism of Kingdom Hearts with a passion.
  • First of all, Kingdom Hearts is awesome. Why would you put it as a lame game...as a huge fan, I tend to take anything badmouthing Kingdom Hearts very seriously, so WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!! I get this is a joke; if it wasn't, I would be in Phantoon's rage mode or something. I love GI, but Kingdom Hearts is a thing you just don't joke about.
  • So, I read your guys' Fourth Inaugural Sacred Cow Barbecue. Now, I get that you are pointing out flaws in the games you listed, but I don't think Kingdom Hearts was all horrible; you also have to think that it was geared more for a younger audience. I'll admit, there are a few flaws, but overall it's not that bad of a franchise; there are worse games out there.
  • I know you get tons of messages every day, but I just wanted to say I am VERY disappointed in Sacred Cow Barbeque, which had a very brief paragraph that brutally bashed the Kingdom Hearts series. I have multiple issues with this. I don't agree with this review at all, and not just because I am a fan of the series. It is evident to me that the writer did not do his research before submitting it. I just don't understand where this writer got his information, because it is all completely false. I am utterly disgusted by the trash that you're willing to publish in this magazine. I am not just complaining because I can; I am simply trying to voice my opinion about this magazine in a conscious effort to improve it. Thank you so much for reading this rant, and I apologize if I pissed off the writer of that bullsh** article, but that's what happens when you mess with feisty fan-girls on the weekend. 

Team Minecraft:

  • As much as I love the Game Informer magazine, I do have one slight issue. We all know Sacred Cow Barbecue is supposed to get people that love certain games in an uproar, and most times I agree with them. But the part about Minecraft was just...terrible. My roommates and I actually got the feeling that we were being attacked because we want to play a game where we can explore the 3D world we build, and sadly you can't do that with Legos unless you have trillions of dollars to buy them (note: Legos are expensive)! 
  • Sacred Cow Barbecue was most entertaining. Having said that, let me offer my counter to your inclusion of Minecraft. You compared the game to Lego blocks, and I won't deny that; I thoroughly enjoy both. Personally, I give Minecraft the edge for one reason: economics. For less than the cost of one medium Lego set, I can get umpteen versions of Minecraft with unlimited building blocks. That is all.
  • How dare you call me a sucker for liking Minecraft in your latest magazine and talk about good games like they are crap. I have taken your crap long enough but no more. You are the dumbest person alive. Congratulation.

Slaying The Assassin:

  • I look forward to Sacred Cow Barbecue to laugh at some of the unbelievable flaws in my favorite games, but as I read the entry for Assassin's Creed this year, I wasn't laughing. Not because I was offended by your poking fun, but because of how true every word of it was. I then read your Unity review, and other than length, couldn't really tell the difference between the two articles. You would think that by their 7th major console release, they would have figured out how to let you run through a narrow alleyway instead of first hitting the edge of the buildings on both sides, turning a few circles, and then getting stabbed/shot from behind by the 10 guards who were chasing you. I own every Assassin's Creed game, but eventually Ubisoft needs to figure out how to fix it, or risk losing even die-hard fans like me.
  • I found your evisceration of Assassin's Creed hilarious, and I love most of those games. Everything you said was true because, seriously, Altair? You just murdered four people – why are you sitting down?
  • I have to say that this is hands down my favorite issue yet. Not because of the sci-fi features, but because of Sacred Cow Barbecue. I was losing my faith in Game Informer, but when I saw the entry that tore apart Assassin's Creed, I couldn't have been happier! How is that series entertaining?
  • You're asking for trouble with your Sacred Cow Barbecue article, but I had to laugh about the Assassin's Creed write-up. Especially were it states "Maybe you'll run up the front of a building, or merely grab an adjacent ledge and hang off it like a limp noodle." I am a player who has often hung off a ledge yelling at Altair, "Let go! Run you idiot! What kind of assassin are you?!"

Another Inconvenient Truth:

  • Look, I'm aware that you are going to get some backlash for what you said about Dark Souls in Sacred Cow Barbecue. Honestly, I was a bit upset at first myself. Then I thought, "But isn't it true?" I run into people online who say how great they are for beating the game without using this or that. Truthfully, you were right that it goes to their heads. However, not everyone who has beaten it thinks that they are the greatest thing ever; there are a bunch of elitist jack*sses in every gaming community – Dark Souls isn't the first, or even the worst of them *cough* Call of Duty *cough*.  

Mixed Messages:

  • I'd like to show my appreciation for the amount of irony that was put into your latest issue. You did a great job roasting Mass Effect to oblivion in Sacred Cow Barbecue, and then not 60 pages later, regarded it as the number one sci-fi video game of all time.
  • You do realize that you list Mass Effect 2 as the best sci-fi game of all time in the very same issue where you list it as an "awful" game that "sucks," right?
  • In the January issue, I noticed that you have two reviews for the same game: Mass Effect 2. One was in Sacred Cow Barbecue, where there were many criticisms about its gameplay and story. The other was in the Top 25 Science Fiction Games portion where it came in first, partly due to its "incredible cast and clear-cut story structure." I realize these reviews were most likely written by different individuals, however having both in the same issue makes it difficult to discern Game Informer's true opinion of Mass Effect 2 years after its release.
  • I just got my new issue and saw that in the 4th Inaugural Sacred Cow Barbecue, Mass Effect 2 was called "...little more than a somewhat capable shooter." Harsh but fair enough. However, as I kept reading, I got to the article about The Top 25 Science Fiction Games and who took the #1 slot? Why it's...no wait that can't be right...just over 50 pages ago, you told me why it was so awful. I get that these articles are written by different people but come on, guys – that's just lazy!
  • With regards to your Science Fiction Issue, I'm a little confused as to why a couple of the video games that you bashed in the Fourth Inaugural Sacred Cow Barbecue ended up receiving praise later on in the very same issue. For instance, the "Barbecue" relentlessly bashed Mass Effect 2, but ME 2 was also placed number one on the top 25 science-fiction games list. The same could be said for the Kingdom Hearts franchise, which was also "roasted" (no pun intended) during the barbecue but also received an impressive 9 out of 10 in the review section for the "HD 2.5 Remix" installment. Can you please shed some light on this? 
  • Isn't it a little inconsistent to call Uncharted 2 a bad game when your website lists a score of 10 for that game? That's my problem with your magazine. You aren't consistent.  Either it's a good game or you should change the score.  
  • How is it that after eviscerating Mass Effect 2, it somehow makes it as NUMBER ONE for the Top 25 Sci Fi games? Indoctrination? I know. I know. Opinions of one writer verses another. Blah. Blah. It doesn't stop the entire magazine from contradicting itself.

A Shining Analogy:

  • I am writing to express my absolute disgust with Jeff Marchiafava's comments in his Sacred Cow Barbecue of Kingdom Hearts. I cannot believe that garbage can actually be passed for journalism. I understand everyone has their own opinion and that gaming magazines have many reviews based not only on facts but the opinions of the writers themselves. But there is no way I could let this pass. With my blood boiling, I actually threw the magazine to the floor in a furious fit of rage at the following quote: 

    "...you can't polish a turd, if you slap a pair of Mickey Mouse ears on it, you're golden."

    Seriously? What is he thinking? That myth has in fact been busted! The Mythbusters themselves toiled for days on various species of turd and proved to the world that they can be polished to a lovely shine. Employing the Japanese art of Dorodango, which literally translates to "mud dumpling," both Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage successfully created an amazing gloss on their respective turd balls. This is not just their opinions, either, as they actually measured the shine with a gloss meter. Their mud dumplings blew the minimum requirement to be labeled as polished clear out of the toilet water. SCIENCE!!!!! So please, Jeff Marchiafava, from now on do a little research before you spew your waste at the world. Always remember this, you CAN polish a turd. And it would really complement those Mickey Mouse ears.
  • I just finished reading through issue 261 and I only have one comment. About the grilling of Kingdom Hearts: I don't mind what you said about it, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but when you said "proving that while you can't polish a turd," it immediately reminded me of a Mythbusters episode where they did just that. 

Another Blatant Oversight:

  • First of all, I want to commend you for going above and beyond the call of duty in your jobs. I've read Game Informer for years, and I probably won't stop. That being said, I'm quite upset with you as a result of your Sacred Cow segment. Ripping Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, and Minecraft a new one? Good for you. Telling it like it is about Dark Souls, Assassin's Creed, and the highly overrated Walking Dead? Kudos! But don't you DARE say bad things about Choose Your Own Adventure novels. That's just hurtful.

The Best Backhanded Compliment Award Goes To...:

  • I'd like to congratulate Jeff Marchiafava on bashing several (in my opinion) overrated games. Jeff must be the Simon Cowell of video games.

Head to the next page to see the hilarious and vitriolic Twitter responses Sacred Cow Barbecue garnered this year...

Reading hate mail is always fun, but it can't beat the pure entertainment that Twitter provides. The character-restricted instant messaging site is the perfect platform for angry readers to vent some unbridled hate before logic sets in. This year's Twitter responses didn't disappoint.

It's All In The Name:


Gone Home?:

To Sir, With Love:

A Poor Substitute For Toilet Paper:


Editor's Note: "KYS" is Internet slang for "Kill Yourself," because that's the totally rational response to someone making fun of Donald Duck and Goofy.

A Call To Arms:

The Edward R. Murrow Spin-Off:

Dark Souls Fans Are Too Cool For School:

The Poop Emoji Really Sells It:

Sacred Crow?:

You can read The Fourth Inaugural Sacred Cow Barbecue in the January issue, and also get a behind-the-scenes look at Zander Cannon's hilarious art. For more responses from readers who missed the point, check out the humorous hate mail to Darth Clark's annual trolling, as well as our infamous Clash of the Titans gag from a few years back.