Mutant Entertainment Studios’ I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gambling is a perfect slap to the face of AAA publishers out there using premium loot boxes while disingenuously defending that the practice of selling lottery-style digital goods through a slot machine of microtransactions is somehow not gambling. Well, Mutant Entertainment Studios strips away the oftentimes boring and derivative shells of AAA games and just focuses on the act of opening loot boxes, all while diving into the meta-conversation involving the absolute inanity surrounding premium loot boxes and gambling.
The game isn’t really a game but more like a satirical commentary about the state of the gaming industry. All you do is open loot boxes. Sometimes the loot boxes have nothing in them but junk. Sometimes they have legendary items. You’ll always get something, though.
You can see how the game is played with the video below, courtesy of tr1ppa.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gambling is currently available for only $0.99. During the first week of being on sale you can get the game for 1% off the normal price for only $0.98. This has spawned some hilarious reviews, with Arabin writing…
“Refunding Star Wars Battlefront II to buy this was the best decision I ever made. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gambling fulfills all my unboxing needs.
“I wouldn’t recommend buying at full price, but the 1% discount sale is a bargain!”
It’s also pretty hilarious that in the corner of the game screen it has an icon that says “Not BF II”.
The game features multiple tiers of loot boxes, ranging from trash to legendary. The description also takes jabs at the fact that in many games featuring loot boxes you’re never actually finished, stating that they constantly remind you of the fact that your collection of “loot” is invariably incomplete.
This tactic by AAA studios ensures that games get hooked on the game and keep playing and spending money in order to unlock everything, just like people who get addicted when they step into a casino and think that they can hit the jackpot if they just keep playing and spending.
Duke Nukem jokingly poked fun at the addictive nature of premium loot boxes, writing…
“i installed it as a joke….now I have every item in the loot boxes and I’M STILL OPENING THE LOOT BOXES
“I’m not addicted though, I can’t be addicted because its not gambling…..its just cosmetic…..just….cosmetic”
VectorVictor takes a flippantly earnest approach to the situation, bringing up how Star Wars: Battlefront II and Overwatch use these premium loot boxes to get gamers hooked and addicted to spending real money on these lottery-style loot boxes to unlock stuff by opening up the random boxes. He writes…
“Do you have a gambling addiction?
“Have you ever played Overwatch or Battlefront II and thought “this game would be great if this pesky first-person shooter wasn’t interupting”?
“Do you have a depreate urge to constantly waste your hard earned money on a feature in a game that is usually free?
“If you answer yes to any of the above questions please seek help Then come back and play this little game (but if you wait too long you’ll miss the current discount) [sic]”
If you’re still lost and don’t understand this meme, user Speyedr breaks it down and explains how Mutant Entertainment Studios is using the platform to call out the AAA premium loot box culture, writing in the review…
“This game is NOT a “game”. It’s a protest against AAA games and their companies, much like what DLC Quest was. Except, you will not enjoy the actual “Game” that is offered; you will instead be continuously opening loot boxes. And for what? A sense of “Pride and Accomplishment”? There is no reason this game is ‘good’ other than that it’s pure genius at poking fun at recent AAA releases. Very well done, MES.”
At any other time this “joke” game would have flown well under the radar, but a lot of people are rightfully peeved at the AAA publishers constantly trying to push to get digital gambling into their AAA games. Not only that but they’ve been aiming to put these predatory practices into games aimed at kids in order to get them hooked because they know that kids are easy prey. This was so bad that parents campaigned to Disney about it and even got state representatives involved so that some legislation can be put into place to prevent predator, premium loot boxes from making their way into games aimed at those under the age of 18.
Organizations like the ESRB, ESA, and PEGI, along with publishers like EA and Take-Two Interactive came out in defense of premium loot boxes, claiming that they aren’t gambling because you always get something. Obviously this was countered with the fact that just because casinos give you free drinks doesn’t mean playing craps isn’t gambling.
You can check out I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gambling by visiting the Steam store page.
(Thanks for the news tip Adrian Chmielarz)