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Letters from the Western Front...
Editorial by 
December 15, 2008, 09:41:56
This is an ongoing discussion between me and ... Zero. I thought I'd continue it here, so others could jump in if they were interested in any of the topics. It would be kind of confusing to post my response without any context, so I'm including his last response. Without any context. See if you can figure out what we were talking about. It'll be fun. Like Memento.

Except fun.

Left 4 Dead is pretty cool, but I'm not sure I'd buy it. For one, it's really about the co-op, so unless you are going to be playing with someone it seems to lose the appeal. But the big kicker is... there are only 4 scenarios, and I made it through the first in about an hour. From what I've read the rest aren't much longer. On the plus side it is a VERY intense game, the hordes come at you fast enough to even make 28 Days Later look tame. On the minus side well... I dunno... they did this thing where the game weighs a bunch of variables to determine what enemies, and how many, etc. appear. Which is cool in theory, but it makes it feel like you're just fighting the same enemies over and over without any real game design involved. It probably would make for more interesting replayability though. Which it needs, with only 4 scenerios. Still, it's fun, and I like playing it ... just couldn't see spending $60 on it.

Wow, you did buy a LOT. No wonder you have so many unopened games. And I thought my recent lack of self control was bad. You may need an intervention man. I think I'm pretty set for the holidays unless some amazing deal comes up... LittleBigPlanet alone is sapping a lot of my free time. I'll probably get another DS game around Christmas, but that is about it. Oh, and downloadables on the Wii and PSN... they don't count against me, do they?

Hmm, I guess you bring up the question... does "good for the industry" really deserve higher scores? My opinion is always that when it comes to an actual score you leave the politics behind. I always hate when IGN knocks a score down just to prove a point, like in the middle of a franchise which has done the same thing for game after game and got decent scores they will just be like "enough is enough!" and trash it with a low score. Of course, the more unique a game, the more it stands out, the more of an "experience" it becomes to jaded gamers like myself, so it probably deserves a bit more for that. No reviews can truly exist in a void.

Of course at the time I hated that Nintendo "lost" Rareware because without a doubt they were my second favorite developer at the time (albeit, some would say N64-only owners had no other choices for favorites.) But I don't think there has been a single Rareware game in the years since that I feel like I truly missed out on... Viva Pinata is the only one I actually want to check out even. Then again, it begs the question... did Nintendo dump them because they saw them going downhill, or did they go downhill because Nintendo dumped them? Working hand in hand with Nintendo can bring out amazing results that I severely doubt working hand in hand with Microsoft can. People point to Starfox Adventures to "prove" that Rareware had already lost it at that point, but I dunno... that's one game. Perhaps we will never know, but I can't say I feel like I miss them too much. Silicon Knights is another, though I wasn't a HUGE Eternal Darkness fan and the only other thing they really did was a passable but not much else port of Metal Gear Solid which managed to look worse on the Gamecube than the PS2 Metal Gear Solid 2 did.

Well, it is tough to call the limit on the expanded audience, but I think a part of it is just the fact that the options for the various types of non-games seem somewhat limited. In a recent interview with Miyamoto someone said something like... you have done sports, fitness, and now music... what else is left? And Miyamoto seemed to agree that it's tough to find a lot of sort of everyday interests to turn into non-games. Once you get past the few universal topics then you really have to start digging. And it seems Wii Music may be underperforming... possibly because it's just being poorly accepted/reviewed, but maybe the "non-gamer" just doesn't have as much interest in music games? Then again, they seem to love Guitar Hero.

It does seem odd to me that the Wii is taking so much flack with the TRU GAMERZ nowadays. At launch it had a pretty positive vibe. And it may have slow times, but come on... it's cheap and offers types of games not found elsewhere. But that's just the way some people are. I haven't played my Wii since Brawl, blah blah blah. It's a different type of gamer, I suppose. People like us will look at more unique looking B titles over more standard genre fare A titles, but to those who don't well... the Wii lineup IS kind of weak.

I do think a fair amount of PS2 owners went Wii and some probably still are (especially in Japan) but I think the more Nintendo gets this image of having a console without games to support it, the more PS2 owners may look elsewhere when they finally decide to jump into this generation. I'd say the Wii is closer to the PS2 than the 360 or PS3 are, but... none of them really match the vast library of AAA titles the PS2 had.

I actually question how many "non-gamers" there even are truly buying Wiis and Wii software. You say you wonder why Nintendo hasn't abandoned "us," but I would be willing to bet a large portion of Wii owners are "us." Everyone talks about the soccer moms buying Wiis but I dunno... I have a huge family and none of the moms bought a Wii. It's just me and my one group of cousins who have one... and they are Gamecube/N64/etc. owners. And I can't imagine the soccer moms really wanting Brawl or Galaxy, and maybe even few wanting Kart... but all of those sold amazingly. Actually there is your answer right there, why would Nintendo abandon a fanbase that (in my eyes) is making Brawl, Kart and Galaxy not just million sellers, but (by the end of the gen) possibly 10 million sellers? Well, in general you spread out to the widest market possible, and that is what Nintendo is doing. Wii Fit might sell very well with minimal effort involved (though probably more than most think) but can you really go a generation with 10+ Wii Fit type games all selling in the multimillions? I think not. Nintendo knows, however, they can appeal to us and them and thereby get their many, many million seller games this generation.

I think franchise sales probably do, in general, decrease each iteration and increase a bit over the last with the first new game every generation. Still though, Prime 3 has sold close to 1.5 million worldwide. Only on the WiiGB would a 1.5 million seller be used to prove a hardcore market DOESN'T exist.

Pikmin sold, I think, 1.5 million and Pikmin 2, longterm, ended up selling over a million. People don't realize that though because the first week sales didn't *quite* add up and everyone freaked out and called it a disappointment, but Nintendo franchises tend to have some legs. Keep in mind though, without new franchises there would be no Animal Crossing, Wii Sports, or Wii Fit. Or Brain Age. Or Professor Layton for that matter (Level 5 developed but Nintendo published) which sells a few million in Japan every iteration. Even Smash Brothers is a somewhat new franchise, end of the 64 era. You need to take some risks to find that franchise that turns into a mega success, and Nintendo is in the lucky position where most of their "risks" sell a million copies, and the ones that really pan out sell 5-10 million. More than that though is just diminishing returns if you don't keep trying new stuff. I think that, more than anything else, is what led to the dropoff in the Gamecube era... a lot of people were like ok it's a neat machine but what does it offer that the N64 didn't? And we see that with the Wii haters as well, though they do have a point... outside the Wii *something* titles has Nintendo really done much new and innovative on the Wii? If they want to win over the haters they need more than just their old franchises with a new twist. Besides, a lot of their staples don't actually sell a TON... F-Zero and Fire Emblem come to mind. New franchises can easily outperform these two (not that I want them to stop those series, love both of them, but it wouldn't hurt to have a break from them to try something new.)

It does seem interesting that Kirby and Donkey Kong became the branch out characters. I wonder if a part of that, though, is just that Nintendo didn't feel like working on a full platformer with them? Focus on Mario instead? Especially Donkey Kong... the WiiGBs obsession with Country aside, I'm not exactly sure what a new "traditional" Donkey Kong platformer could add that Mario couldn't do better. Maybe the rope swinging.

Hmm, actually your comment on Iron Man reminds me of another reason why I think Nintendo will keep making games for "us." Their teams have to be happy when a game like Galaxy comes out and debuts to awesome reviews and sales, regardless of whether something like Wii Fit is a better financial success overall. After all, we do have to remember that Nintendo are individuals, and probably an awful lot of them would prefer to work on games like Galaxy over Fit and the likes. If Nintendo doesn't keep making the gamer games, they may find a lot of their employees slipping away elsewhere... not good for business longterm.

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Posted: 12/15/08, 09:41:56    
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Ok, so here's my response. Feel free to jump in, get naked, whatnot...

Left 4 Dead seems pretty short, but, supposedly, each mission is highly variable, and plays differently every time. Sort of like Diablo, I guess? Or Resistance 2 Co-op. I don't know how well they pulled it off, though. Anyway, my desire for the 360 version cooled when I saw how much more potential the PC version has. User-made levels and mods. That's a pretty huge extra feature. And MS's draconian 'pay us or else' system won't allow that. I wonder what the etymology of the word 'draconian' is. I could look it up, but it's more fun to just ponder. Maybe it has something to do with dragons. Or Ivan Drago.

I seriously do need an intervention. I thought I was cured for a while, but upon reflection, there were just no good deals for a while. I just saw on Cheapassgamer that the full Rock Band 2 set was $109 with a $25 Gift Card at ToysRUs. Luckily, I only saw it right now. I would've jumped on it like the consumer whore I am, but I'm sure they're sold out now. Good. At least I don't buy stuff to sell on eBay anymore. Except I just put those two extra copies of Wii Fit up for auction. 3 days left and no bids. I know they'll come, but it's always nerve-wracking.

DLC is actually very expensive, in a way. Because you have no physical product. Just a LICENSE to play the game. It drops the resale value down to zero. More importantly, when single-player games have post-release DLC to extend the campaigns, it's always such a bad value, compared to the retail product. Like, Fallout can give you hundreds of hours of gameplay for $60, and the DLC will give you TEN more, and it'll probably cost 25-33% of the retail cost. With no resale value. I hate DLC. Just make a fricking sequel. Certain genres lend themselves to the concept, though. Burnout Revenge seems to be the best example so far.

It does seem wrong to review games with an agenda, be it positive or negative, but I can see where 'message' reviewers are coming from. With great power comes great responsibility. If you can influence the industry in (what you think is) a postive manner, then shouldn't you? It's possible that Casamassina's endless bitching about widescreen and progressive scan has resulted in more Wii games adopting those features, so they won't get knocked on the review. Kind of unfair, to be sure, since Nintendo didn't require the features in their standard, but I can't really argue with the results. Do the ends justify the means? YES. Sort of.

Viva Pinata is ok. Kind of cool, but it didn't hook me. During my rental period. I think Nintendo dropped Rare because they weren't a very safe bet at the time. A lot of people had left (like most of the GoldenEye team), their projects in development at the time were kind of shaky (Kameo, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, PDZ), and they took forever to get games out. Surprisingly, they're cranking them out at a pretty fast pace these days. I wonder if that's due to internal or external factors?

Anyway, Microsoft's purchase seems to have been mostly political and strategic. They wanted to take them from Nintendo, and, more importantly, they wanted to have a developer capable of creating Nintendo-like games to try to appeal to kids and families and grab the big N's tiny remaining market share. Then Nintendo dropped a(nother) tiny, white bomb on the industry and fucked up their plans beyond all recognition.

Silicon Knights might be the most overrated developer of all time. I do NOT understand the fawning praise for Eternal Darkness. It had a decent story (for a game) but the gameplay was pathetic. And they made a port with LESS FEATURES THAN THE ORIGINAL (and, supposedly, broken balance).

Wii Music popped back up on the November NPDs. Pretty interesting. And LBP dropped off, even though it was only available for 5 days last month. Also interesting. I'm rooting for Wii Music. It's a weird, funky product. Animal Crossing also didn't show up, which was surprising. I almost WANT that game to fail, but I kind of want people who have never played the franchise to give it a try. It'll probably pop back up, anyways. Can you imagine, if Nintendo had SIX games setting up camp in the Top 10??

It's true that the Wii lineup is uneven (although people sure do love pretending the quality games that DO come out don't exist), but most of the games that 'hardcore' gamers get excited about honestly bore the living hell out of me. How many shooters can a man play? I appreciate the quirk of the Wii lineup. Hopefully, next year, third-parties will step up to round out that quirk with some meatier experiences, though.

It will be bad if Nintendo doesn't shake this (unfair) 'bad third-party sales, hardcore games don't sell' stigma soon. Perception is as important as reality. Maybe more, since it seems that many third-parties make their development decisions based on what they hear on podcasts, rather than what existing data shows.

I'm sure that longtime Nintendo fans picked up the Wii. And I'm sure a lot of gamers did, as well (before the current spate of anti-hype). But I think our numbers are being eclipsed by new gamers and kids. Gamers don't buy systems at this rate for a prolonged period of time. (And I shit-tons of flimsy, anecdotal evidence from making the rounds on Sunday morning.) Still, I think traditional games catering to the longtime gamer contingent on the Wii could definitely be profitable. Our numbers aren't small. They're just smallER. And, yes, Nintendo can score megamillions with Brawl, Kart, Galaxy, and TP. But how many other franchises do they really have that are guaranteed, sure-fire hits? How much money would a true successor to F-Zero GX cost? And how many copies would it sell? Now how much additional effort would it take to bring a TRULY new IP to fruition? And how much riskier would that be? I'm sure Wii Fit took a lot of effort and ingenuity, but I'm equally sure that it didn't take much manpower. Hell, Nintendo is always bragging about how they made Brain Age with a team of only a few people over a period of a few months, and made hojillions off of it. That's got to be pretty intoxicating...

I don't know if I agree with your reasoning for the Gamecube's slow adoption. What did the PS2 do that the N64 didn't? Although it's kind of a vague notion, I think the poor performance of the Gamecube was, in a way, a result of Nintendo, for once, trying to keep up with the Joneses and follow the rest of the industries' lead. (Sort of like what 'hardcore gamers' want Nintendo to do now. Which is funny, because most of them didn't give a shit about the Gamecube.) There were too many horses in the race, and the 'kiddy' image erosion started in the 16-bit era was increasingly taking its toll.

And I think it's unfair to say that Nintendo has only been innovating in the Wii... something titles. It's not that I disagree. I just think innovation is innovation, regardless of the form. Nintendo has chosen to keep their traditional franchises somewhat safe (and how many gamers would bitch if they didn't?) and prove concepts with the Wii... line. That's not a bad plan, really. Are third-parties really so incapable of taking their baton and running with it?

I'm sort of playing Devil's Advocate here and looking at things from a business perspective, but I, personally, would LOVE new, innovative, in-depth IPs from Nintendo internal. The only thing I'd prefer is innovative crazy shit from Nintendo internal, like Jungle Beat, Rhythm Tengoku, Yoshi's Touch and Go, and Wario Ware (once upon a time). That's why I have a soft spot for Wii Music. It's insane.

Anyway, this industry doesn't necessarily reward innovation. Unless it's innovation in the honorable field of killing stuff.

I thought Jungle Beat showed an interesting path for the Donkey Kong platforming franchise to take, to distinguish itself from Mario: beautiful 2D, combo-based, arcade-ready, high-scoring action. Donkey Kong could finally continue the evolution of the 2D platformer, as Mario explores the boundaries of 3D. All of Nintendo's platformers are actually pretty distinct, at this point, except for Starfy. He's kind of like Kirby.

I do think Nintendo will keep making games to satiate us. They don't seem to be stopping quite yet. I don't even really want to think about why. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

What does that even mean?

Posted by 
 on: 12/15/08, 09:46:00
Hmm, an experiment of sorts. We'll see if anyone bites. If nothing else you and I can continue on and make the biggest thread on the Negative World EVAR. I might suggest changing the title to something a bit more... descriptive... of what is going on in here? Your call.

Carrying on...

I think the problem with the claim that Left 4 Dead plays differently every time is to me it *barely* plays differently room to room. Because there are a limited type of enemies and because the game can put any of them in almost anywhere, nothing ever really surprises you. Run into a room, tons of enemies swarm you, shoot, repeat. I can definitely see how it is one of the more replayable games in recent times, but I'm not sure I'd actually care enough to replay it more than once or twice, which is about my limit with any recent game (outside Resident Evil 4 which I think I have played through about 5 times now.) I like it, my cousin likes it, but I'm pretty sure he is going to Ebay it right away after we finish the last scenerio, and I can't say I feel like I'm missing out by not playing through it a few more times. The online multiplayer is supposed to be good though... that would probably be worth checking out for those who play online.

It seems Rock Band on Wii is making a big comeback now that it is cheap and Christmas is here. As recent NPDs have shown, the Wii is definitely a console that benefits a LOT from the Christmas season. One might say the "hardcore" gamers are going to buy games ASAP, but the casuals might wait till Christmas. God I hate those terms though. I thought I was done with holiday spending but then I ended up ordering Persona 4 from Amazon. I did get the special edition with large, full color art book + soundtrack cd for $35 shipped though. I'm going to TRY to not start it until after I finish up some of what I'm playing at the moment... actually I wasn't even going to open it but then I came up into my room one night and my brother was playing it, I was like DAMN DUDE... ASK BEFORE YOU OPEN MY STUFF! Not that I really cared. It looks... interesting... from what I've seen of him playing. Definitely a bit different than your average JRPG.

Yeah it does seem DLC is not priced in accordance to its respective worth. But then again, if it was, would we ever see any? Developers would probably just prefer to work on new games. I think DLC is one of those things that doesn't have to be priced accurately because for the most part if someone wants something, and it is the difference between $1 or $2 that probably isn't going to stop them since either one is less than they probably spend on a crappy meal at McDonalds anyway. But the second IS a 100% increase over the first, which is HUGE, relatively. So developers probably figure why not try to milk it for all it is worth? Hell, it looks like it costs $1 just for a couch for Home. I really wish Nintendo didn't slack on the new Animal Crossing, it could have totally been better than Home without making you pay for your furniture.

Well, I think one could make the argument that not having widescreen, progressive scan, etc. DOES make for a "worse" product overall, so I'm not too concerned with that. It's more like the type of people who see something like Wii Fit and think "I don't want Nintendo making these kind of games, I want them making hardcore games!" and then dock it for points when in reality for what it is, Wii Fit is a high quality, varied piece of software that comes with a remarkably well crafted accessory. It's nothing I want personally, but it still bothers me when it gets bashed for doing exactly what it claims to do and doing it well.

I'd imagine Rareware is cranking out games faster now because Microsoft doesn't seem to be a "delay until ready" type of company. At least not in respect to Rareware who, despite being a large purchase, doesn't seem to factor into Microsoft's overall plans very much. I'm sure they are more worried about making sure Gears 2 and Fable 2 are quality games, and like... whatever state Rareware has Banjo in at Christmas is fine because it only exists so Microsoft can point and say "see, we're a company for everyone too, just like Nintendo!" Have you seen their holiday ads? It's like they forgot Gears 2 is their biggest game, they're trying to push the family image now.

It probably didn't help that I played it years later, but yeah... I didn't go nuts over Eternal Darkness either. Good but not amazing story, decent gameplay, eh. I bought it for $8 used, beat it, and put it right on Ebay. Worth playing, but didn't change my life. And what else have they actually done? I guess some PS1 games? Considering they have put out three games since the PS1/N64 era... one "great" game, one passable port, and one total disappointment... I can't say I'm too impressed with their capabilities.

I think Nintendo is going to own December. They have, historically, shown their games have much longer legs than the other two consoles. The full top 20 was released and Animal Crossing was #11 by the way... I think it'll sneak into the top 10 next month, but I doubt it will match the DS game's amazing success. I sort of kind of want it to fail as well, so Nintendo realizes they can't just rehash. Oddly enough, the Gamecube version didn't hit nearly as big as the DS version, I wonder if this game is actually better matched to handhelds? I'm not sure I want Wii Music to do TOO well. I sort of want a nice balance where Nintendo HAS to focus on a wide variety of games to sell, I don't think I'd mind if Wii Music showed them that every Wii *something* title isn't going to automatically outsell all of their other titles. Mostly I just want them to look at that 7 million+ for Super Mario Galaxy and think yes, we NEED more games like this. LittleBigPlanet is kind of a sad story for Sony... hell their entire Christmas is turning into a sad story. I honestly can't say I care too much though, it's still going to get some interesting user created content and well... now maybe my stage will have a chance of standing out more in what is destined to be a somewhat smaller pond than many expected. Albeit there are still THOUSANDS of user created stages already.

I definitely like the quirk of the lineup as well, and if say... Retro came out and announced their next big game and it was just a traditional space marine FPS, I'd probably be a bit disappointed in them. Still, some big quirky games are making their way to the other consoles too now... LittleBigPlanet and Valkyria Chronicles are two examples. Persona 4 on PS2 another. I'd love to see the Wii get more stuff like that. Albeit I was looking at the space required for LittleBigPlanet... 600 MB. Isn't the Wii flash memory only 512 MB? Ha ha. My LBP save is bigger than my entire Wii memory!

I think a few games are going to show that hardcore games do sell on the Wii, but it may be too late for other developers to take note this generation by the time those games hit. The new Tales will probably be huge, hell Tales of Symphonia 2 outsold the (misplaced) Tales of Vesperia on 360 despite being a much lower scoring, low profile game. A true Tales from the true Tales team will be big. Dragon Quest X will be HUGE of course. The Conduit... maybe? I think House of the Dead Overkill is going to be bigger than some expect. Still though, developers are scared of change, and the Wii is a risk of sorts right now. Until a few jump in and prove it works, others are sitting on the sidelines.

Well, there may be a ton of new gamers coming to the Wii, but I still think a large portion have played games in the past. Possibly on PS2, all those 150 million plus owners had to go SOMEWHERE once the PS3 tanked. And I think Nintendo can also see big success with the "bridge" games that appeal to both, as Mario Kart is showing. Last generation Smash and Mario Kart were about even in sales, this generation Mario Kart is selling way better. Why? Because Smash is more "hardcore," Mario Kart is a game anyone can get. Hell, my boss bought it, and he only owns Wii Sports, Play, Fit, Mario Kart, and Rock Band (mostly because I talked him into it since he wanted a game for parties.) And Wii Music is probably next on his list. If that doesn't show the power of Mario Kart as a bridge game, I'm not sure what else will.

What I meant with the Gamecube is that Nintendo, for the most part, stuck to their already established franchises. PS2 had a lot of new, big franchises... Devil May Cry, Ico/SOTC, Ratchet, Jak, Sly Cooper, and eventually God of War, etc. I doubt Nintendo could have done too much to make Gamecube big, but I think if they had come out with that one big must have new franchise... maybe? I guess the return of Metroid was the biggest "new" thing going on with the Gamecube, and Resident Evil 4 of course, but both of those were already established franchises. And it didn't help that a lot of people saw the Gamecube iterations as inferior... Wind Waker < Ocarina of Time, Sunshine < 64, Double Dash < 64.

Nintendo does seem to do a lot of experimenting on the handhelds. I hope to see more of it on consoles. The Art Style games may be the place, for now. Though the 2nd party (most probably not making it out of Japan) lineup looks pretty experimental.

Jungle Beat did show a path Donkey Kong could take, but was it really a sustainable path? I don't think it sold too well. And you can only make so many platformers with the bongos. But for awhile it looked like he was just retreading Mario a bit... Donkey Kong Country had enough of its own stuff going on, but was still kind of a Mario clone. Donkey Kong 64 was VERY much a Mario 64 clone. I wonder what Nintendo is doing with Kirby on the Wii. The old Gamecube game looked pretty traditional, but I'd prefer they go experimental, like with Canvas Curse.


So... anyone else care to get involved in the conversation? Jump right in! Short replies, long replies, whatever.

Posted by 
 on: 12/15/08, 20:55:12
Wow that wasn't a long conversation. In response to the first part for Left 4 Dead. That game rocks. I do have the advantage of being in college and living with 3000 people in a square block but co-op is so fun and there's always someone to play with. Admittedly the 4 scenarios are a little light in number but still fun nonetheless. I'm actually gonna jump the playstation bandwagon and get a 360 specifically for this game. Granted I would have gotten one eventually but now especially do I want one. I've probably played through each scenario about 20-30 times. Does it seem a little repetitive? Yes but I've also logged about 80 hours in COD4. Granted there's more maps and play types but still tons of fun. I can't wait to get my zombie killing on whenever I want

Posted by 
 on: 12/16/08, 02:08:56
Well I think part of Left 4 Dead is it is really built for 4 players. And I've only played it 2 player co-op, where well... it's fun, but it's no Gears of War or anything. I can definitely see where 4 players would be a lot more fun, especially at the end of the stages where you generally get thrown in a small area and have to defend yourselves. My cousin and I were trying to work out strategies like... you guard the stairs, I'll get your back, and then... WHERE THE HELL DID THE OTHER 2 GO? WHY ARE THEY DOWNSTAIRS?! ARGH AND MNOW THEY'RE DEAD, GREAT. So eventually we would just find somewhere with only one way to approach and shoot anything that tried to come in.

Posted by 
 on: 12/16/08, 19:11:57
Yeah four players is a definite must. The computer can be just too much of a variable at times. The friendly AI is definitely decent but you just can't strategize like you can with four humans. If your cousin is planning on selling it on ebay I would be interested in buying it before it can even make it to ebay

Posted by 
 on: 12/16/08, 21:36:22
Hmm, how much would you offer?

I pretty much handle all his Ebay sales anyway, actually I sold his Uncharted to Frankie so there is precedent for selling my cousin's games to Napitek employees, ha ha.

Posted by 
 on: 12/16/08, 21:55:16
I could change the title, I guess. But I can't think of anything better, offhand. "Long, unfocused discussion", maybe?

So Left 4 Dead masters Halo's "15 seconds of fun" philosophy? I'm not sure if I really agree with that philosophy. It seems to engender repetitiveness. On the other hand, I'm not really sure if I don't, since it sounds like an NES mentality. I'd have to think about it more. I would just get it to play online, anyway. Co-op games are pretty fun online. Competitive games, not so much, since I've discovered while playing online that I (apparently) suck at everything.

Guitar Hero World Tour only charted on the Wii. Harmonix is going to suffer for treating the Wii like sloppy seconds. But they still have a very good business model, with all the DLC, so whatever. I like 'longtime' or 'traditional' gamer, rather than 'hardcore'. It's a good thing I didn't see that Amazon deal. I might've taken it. It's a good thing the rest of their '15 days' deals have been so shitty. I actually feel relieved when I see, like, High School Musical, or whatever, being highlighted.

I just can't believe people are happy paying for DLC. They apparently don't realize that they're being ripped off. Or maybe they're just too impatient to wait for a sequel.

Animal Crossing is probably still better than Home, if impressions are to be believed. It may be a disappointing sequel, but it's still the best version of a great franchise (except for the greatest carrot in all of gaming, the hidden NES games!!).

I guess reviews shouldn't send a message. It's unfair to the product, like all of those Wii GAME reviews that carp about the limitations of the SYSTEM. But I can see why people use their bully pulpits to try to influence the industry in the direction they want it to go. That's probably why most journalists bitch about the Wii at every opportunity. Fat lot of good it's doing them.

People mostly bashed Wii Fit before it released. I haven't seen so much hatred lately. Wii Music is the current whipping boy/lightning rod.

I had the same thoughts about Rare, that Microsoft has been cracking the whip. But, you know, their latest games don't really seem rushed. Maybe MS is *gasp* managing them more efficiently than Nintendo? MS can push their family image all they want, but wishing for something won't make it happen. The 360 IS hella cheap right now, though, and there's always a sale somewhere...

I'm so glad that I thought better of my Eternal Darkness purchase and rented it instead. Especially after the incredibly overblown IGN review. I just can't believe that people still say it's one of the best Gamecube games of all time.

Nintendo probably WILL own December, since the other systems don't have any big releases, and Nintendo's games are the only ones that actually stay on the charts past the initial month. (In the case of Wii Music, sales actually accelerated after the initial month. What's the last PS3/360 game you can say that about? (Maybe good casual word-of-mouth is starting to overwhelm the powerful anti-hype machine. Or maybe it's just a Christmas game.)

I'll be interested to see the continued sales of Animal Crossing. It really is perfect for that new, low-impact audience. Even though it's well-suited to portable play, for some reason, I prefer playing the series at home. I'll probably get it when I see the bundle for cheap. Patience is a virtue.

People keep saying these days that they aren't surprised by the littlebigplanet sales, that it was always going to be niche, but I think they're full of shit. If MGS4 was the PS3's Halo, this game was supposed to be its Gears. Or something. How many levels have you created?

I feel like it's sort of Retro's job to bring more straight-forward, American-style games to Nintendo's lineup. The other systems have a handful of quirky retail titles (and a bunch of quirky downloadable titles), but for the Wii, it's sort of more the rule, rather than the exception. And the PS2 has always had a shitload of quirk, as a benefit of being the market leader in all territories (in a time period where Japanese developers weren't just deer in the HD headlights).

Did ToS2 outsell ToV? How did they do, overall? It may be too late for the Wii, but maybe not. 2009 looks pretty strong. I think Japanese developers will come around to the Wii (except perhaps for the one we most want to - Capcom) after their HD spanking. American developers are another issue. They seem pretty happy on the 360/PS3/PC. Well, on the 360, anyway. The other platforms seem to be just ballast. EA took a beating on their noble initiative to do more original, high-quality games, though. It's sort of sad.

I don't know if I'd be so bullish on HotD: Overkill. Has a post-Duck Hunt shooting game EVER sold that well? GOD, I WANT A FOUR-PLAYER WII POINT BLANK. Namco is so stupid for not jumping on it!!

I don't know if the main PS2 crowd really migrated to the Wii. The numbers would seem to indicated it, but look at the franchises that were popular on that console: Madden, GTA. Those kinds of games haven't really been lighting up the Wii charts. (I wonder what launching with Wii Sports did for the sports game userbase. Maybe nothing, since it's more of a party game than a sim.) But maybe the Wii picked up the 'other' PS2 casual gamers, who were spread out among smaller franchises? I dunno.

I think Mario Kart always sells better. Melee just came out at launch and established a huge fanbase on the system because of it. Still, Mario Kart Wii could just as easily be selling to the new audience as the PS2 audience. Especially with the wheel.

Anyway, I think most of Nintendo's games have ALWAYS been bridge games, with a handful of exceptions. The subjects may not APPEAL to everyone, but they could be enjoyed by everyone. I would even count Wii Sports and Wii Fit and Wii Music as bridge games, if 'hardcore' gamers weren't so closed-minded.

Gamecube didn't have that many big new IPs, true. Possibly because Nintendo was trying to release surefire crowd-pleasers, to have better ammunition for the bloody war with the other two systems on the market with almost exactly the same specs. But they had some. Animal Crossing was a pretty landmark release, I think. New for the west. And Pikmin was great, if not a very mainstream concept. Later in the system's life, they had some interesting smaller games. I hope the Wii also gets some freaky late-gen games. Next year seems to be indicating that it will, at least in Japan.

Experimentation is probably a lot harder on a home console retail release, with all of the production value that they entail. The Downloadable realm seem to be the home of most of today's innovative, quirky home console games.

And, like you said, handhelds also produce a lot of new IP. It really is heartening to see some ambitious, awesome experimental titles, like Rhythm Tengoku Gold and Band Brothers DX, get some traction in the Japanese market, in a time when almost no new IP does. Of course, those games are still sequels. Maybe Japanese people really need to see that resume.

I didn't mean that Donkey Kong should always use bongos. (That was a product of the whole Kirby, Donkey Kong => EXPERIMENTAL movement.) I meant that that sort of 2D, combo-based platforming could be Donkey Kong's domain. I agree that DKC and DK64 were fairly derivative of Nintendo's work (probably since they were Rare games), but Jungle Beat blazed a new path, nothing like Sunshine, Galaxy, or, really, any other platformer on the market. In Nintendo's hands, DK can keep evolving the 2D platformer genre with logical innovations and extensions like the combo system, beautiful graphics, etc., bongos or no bongos.

Kirby Wii is Kirby GCN, right? The 3D Kirby platformer where he rides around on stack of enemies, or whatever? I think the Kirby games always take so long to develop because they never start with a solid game plan. It seems like every HAL Kirby game radically changes three times before it releases, takes four years, and then still only has four hours of gameplay. It's hard to see how that could be profitable, but Kirby games do pretty well, especially in Japan. Kaabii!!

Jesus, that was long. I need to replenish my fluids.

Posted by 
 on: 12/18/08, 01:57:41
Hmm, now that I think about it the title probably won't matter so much if we actually keep this up longterm, because everyone will get curious about the thread that NEVER DIES.

I've never even heard of this 15 seconds of fun philosophy? But you know, Wario Ware mastered the 3-5 seconds of fun philosophy, so anything is possible. I wonder how different Left 4 Dead would feel if I played through it a couple more times, may have to test that out with Akisaka. Who is, by the way, another local (albeit often down south for school) and so is Gamblor so we might all get together sometime. Wow, my Chicago gamers site is somehow coming together even though I never got around to building it!

Yeah Guitar Hero World Tour only charted for the Wii, though the 360 and PS2 versions made the top 20. PS2 mind you, not PS3. Man PS3 is really suffering lately. I honestly think World Tour is doing worse than it could because of Guitar Hero 3... I not only still see GH3 bundles everywhere, they are still ADVERTISED a lot. So parents shopping see what is essentially the same thing only one is cheaper... some will go that route. Not enough to make Guitar Hero 3 outsell WT or anything, but enough to affect its sales. Activision can't care too much though, either way they're selling. I bet EA/MTV are kicking themselves for first ignoring the Wii with Rock Band, and now, even AFTER Guitar Hero 3 did so well on Wii, being 2 months behind with Rock Band 2. It's going to miss a lot of holiday shopping. Albeit Rock Band 1 on Wii actually made the top 20 sales of November. And it is apparently fully featured, and they committed to releasing side by side next time. Seems like they are finally learning.

I think DLC just milks that consumer attitude of always wanting more. But as for me, I just want more... for my buck. I'll probably buy the Mega Man 9 extra stage which I think is only $1, which isn't too bad consider the game was $10 and only had 12 stages. I'm NOT paying to play as Proto Man, and I'm definitely not paying for hard mode though. Hmm. Or am I? Hard mode Mega Man 9 is very tempting. Should have shipped with the product though.

I think Home's only real salvation at this point is the fact that it CAN change over time. Will it? Regardless some will probably enjoy it as is, and some will even make new gamer buddies through it, so it's tough to be too down on it.

You're right that the game media tries to push their agendas way too much. It sort of cracks me up when Nintendo just straight up ignores them and laughs on their way to the bank, and then they get up in arms like HOW COULD MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR NINTENDO IGNORE THIS LOWLY WEB EDITOR'S VIEWS ON WHAT THEY SHOULD DO WITH THEIR BUSINESS?! Of course, half the time I'm wanting what the media wants, but still, it's funny.

Wii Fit did get bashed before it released, but I think when it did release it got mostly good reviews and was considered a great product for what it was, with no real alternatives. Wii Music, not so much. Some of it may have been reviewers who wanted to hate it so much they never gave it a chance, but I kind of have to think there can't be too much to it. After all, the media CAN admit when they are wrong sometimes, such as Wii Fit's generally solid scores.

Rare's latest games may not seem RUSHED but they do mostly seem underwhelming. Nintendo probably had Miyamoto come in and upend the tea table on them all the time, and force them to get up to near Nintendo quality. I get the feeling Microsoft is more like sure, do whatever you want, just have it ready.

I sort of feel like I can't fully comment on Eternal Darkness because I played it at the end of the Gamecube. When it actually released there probably wasn't too much comparable to it on a Nintendo console. I can't recall many quality action/adventure games on N64 that didn't have Mario or Zelda in the title.

Nintendo will certainly own December. And I think Wii Music will make the top 10 sales again this time around, perhaps Animal Crossing as well. Hell I'll even say that I would put my money on the Wii owning 6 or 7 of the top 10 selling games of December (can't be a worse bet than some of my stocks lately.) Gears 2 and Call of Duty 360 will both stick around, Call of Duty PS3 may, but goodbye Left 4 Dead and Resistance 2.

Hmm, well I went on record on the PS3 board before launch saying I think LittleBigPlanet will do 1-2 million worldwide. Which will probably turn out true, though at this rate it will be the low end of that scale. I absolutely never thought it would be a Gears or even MGS type seller. It's just too much of a mismatch of the market. The thing that made me go as high as I did was I thought more people would be interested in making their own stages regardless of style and genre, just because nothing else like this exists on consoles (There is Blast Works on Wii, but that's a lesser scale product.) I'm guilty of what the gaming media does, projecting my own tastes onto the general public! But at least I don't write huge, angry articles using these projections.

God, I hope it's NOT Retro's job to bring straight-forward Western games to the market. There's nothing more boring than straight-forward Western games. I hope they continue more along the lines of Prime... "technically" a Western-centric genre but not at all like anything else out there. Though I suspect their next big project will be a more straight forward FPS.

There are no totally accurate numbers, but VGchartz has Vesperia at about 270k and TOS 2 at 340k. Neither really lit up the charts, but suffice to say it shows once again that big budget productions on the other consoles aren't automatically going to outsell similar smaller budget Wii projects. Albeit I think a lot of TOS 2 sales came because it was TOS... part 2. If it were Tales of something else it may not have performed quite as well.

The only reason I'm thinking House of Dead Overkill may do better than expected is Umbrella Chronicles sold over a million and apparently House of Dead 2/3 Returns is surprisingly putting up big numbers as well... 800kish at the moment. That's a huge 3rd party success. Even though I like it, I really want to see that Umbrella Chronicles only sold so well because it has the Resident Evil name, and that a full on Resident Evil would destroy it in sales... but the Wii may just be the first home console with a real light gun type game market. So yeah, I think Overkill can definitely break a million. Does this mean there is truly a huge light gun market on the Wii? Or that people just love killing zombies? That'd be kind of odd.

I think you nailed it. The Madden/GTA/etc. market went elsewhere... 360 maybe? It is outselling the original Xbox, if ever so slightly. But the Japanese/niche market moved to the Wii, as well as the uber casuals who buy licensed games, yada yada.

Mario Kart usually sells better, albeit last generation it was very, very close. I think it is definitely selling to the new audience in ways Smash never will though, which is why it is going to vastly outsell Smash this gen.

I think bridge game means get gamers from point A to point B though. At point A I'd put Wii Sports / Play / Fit... the "new" market. At point B I'd put stuff like Metroid, Fire Emblem and F-Zero. Naturally despite having what we would consider large appeal, it's tough to get the Wii *something* crowd to just jump into Fire Emblem. That is where games like Mario Kart and Animal Crossing come in. A bit more traditional "gamer" game than the Wii series, but more approachable than Fire Emblem. It's sort of a proven concept in other industries, and I think it *can* work for Nintendo longterm. Though I would probably question whether Nintendo cares THAT much about getting that crowd to go more "hardcore." It's a great idea longterm, but right now they're doing well enough just selling what they are selling. Then again, the more diehard buy 50 games a generation fans you create, the better.

Yeah experimentation on consoles is definitely tougher now. But I think if anyone can do it, Nintendo can. They have a fanbase who knows to trust them and doesn't NEED AAA graphics/presentation + hollywood voice acting etc. to buy their games. But it does seem the DS is the place Nintendo launches their experimental concepts nowadays, for the most part. Which is slightly frustrating, as the Wii screams EXPERIMENT!

Jungle Beat did blaze a new path, but I wonder how much of that was due to the input? It's going to be interesting seeing if it translates to the Wii controls well, I'm kind of expecting a lot of people to hate the Wii controls for it. The bongos made sense because you were doing what you do to bongos... and it worked. Just waggling the remotes though? Or maybe they try to add analog control, but then it feels way too weird?

Kirby Wii is theortically Kirby GCN, but if it was straight up the same game it'd be out by now, right? So I think it has seen some changes, if indeed it still exists. Then again Nintendo may have a finished Kirby game just sitting around waiting for a Wii sales slump. Could be a long wait.

Posted by 
 on: 12/18/08, 21:15:26
Yeah, it could go for a while, unless my laziness keeps increasing at the same exponential rate and my posting velocity approaches zero.

Ha, Gamblor. The 15 seconds of fun thing was something like, focus on making the tightest, most fun 15 seconds of gameplay that you can, and then repeat that a billion times to make a fun game. Something like that. It's weird. Wario Ware is pretty brilliant. I wish more games were inspired by it. It would be really fun to have a Wario Ware-esque Nintendo compilation that would make you play 30 second bits of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Excitebike, etc., and then score your performance. Like those old Championship Edition carts.

I think MTV and Harmonix are too late to the Wii party. GH has already established a huge foothold. And consumers can probably tell that ActiVicariousVizzard has put more TLC into the Wii version of GH.

Anyway, I could never believe that GH and RB sold so much at their ridiculous price levels. The economy has to be hurting them.

I don't know if Mega Man should've shipped with that stuff. They put a lot of game in the initial package, right? And the DLC is cheap. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you think that what they're offering is worth your money? The problem with a lot of DLC purchases is that people really DON'T seem to think about that question.

Home could be interesting, I guess. Sony is really taking a bassackward approach to it, though, as they have with so many things this generation. I mean, they want to nickel and dime their users for shirts to put on their soulless husks? Do they actually WANT to build a community and compete with Live? I'm sure it could be fun, though. If the rest of humanity wasn't so repellent. I would put on impromptu concerts.

This gen has really shown the divide between the media and the average gamer. Possibly even between the hardcore gamer and the average gamer. It's fine if someone in the media says where they wish gaming would go, but it's hilarious when they continually make their grim 'predictions', only to be proven dreadfully wrong again and again. The longer a journalist stayed on that bandwagon, the stupider they looked.

I really think people did want to hate Wii Music. I don't think it's the best game ever, or anything, but it's a bold, ambitious, interesting piece of software. Wii Music is sadly misunderstood. It's Kirby Air Ride all over again. (Automatic acceleration should be an option for every arcade racer.)

I do think Rare's deadlines are probably shorter, and their leash is probably a lot longer, but I think they've been turning out some interesting stuff after their last-gen nadir. They're not necessarily games that I'm dying to play, but Banjo and Viva are neat ideas. (What did they sell, like 2 copies?)

Yeah, ED didn't have much competition, but that still doesn't mean it should get a bye. It had good presentation, but the gameplay just didn't live up to Nintendo's standards.

Nintendo will definitely dominate December software, since only their software seems to be evergreen these days. It should be interesting to chart Animal Crossing's sales over the coming months.

How come you haven't taken your money out of the stock market yet?

I don't know if the general public is as excited about things like level creation as we are. Especially if it's as complicated and time-consuming as lbp is rumored to be. I think level creation and sharing is pretty exciting, but it could also be seen as a way for the developer to put the onus for creativity and longevity on the consumer. That might not cool with everyone.

I don't really think Retro would be the best choice for a Halo- or Call of Duty-killer, but that might be their next thing. I can't really think of too many traditional genres that they're really suited for, with their detail-oriented, but slightly odd design aesthetics. Maybe they should resurrect Raven Blade? My expectations are honestly pretty low, though. Prime is an impressive franchise in a lot of ways, but it's not really my thing. Ooo, they should do a first-person platformer!! That could be cool.

Those JRPG devs have to be kicking themselves for their Faustian 360 deals. It may be a better thing in the short term to take moneyhats from MS and thrown their beloved products down a well, but it'll just hurt their brands in the long run. Didn't they learn from Sega last gen? I guess the power of money compelled them. Oh, well. I don't really care about JRPGs, anyway (although I am kind of enjoying the Tales of the Abyss anime).

How huge is the light-gun market EVER? The Wii probably has the biggest one, and I'm sure those kinds of games could be profitable, but that's not saying much. HotD: Overkill definitely has potential, if it retails at a discounted price. It's a little worrisome that they didn't make it a proper numbered entry in the series, though, like Fatal Frame (and Silent Hill). I'm excited for it, though. Light-gun shooters have SO MUCH unfulfilled potential. I want to make one.

Maybe all of the Madden/GTA guys DID migrate to the 360, and their numbers have just been dwarfed by the Wii's expanded(+traditional) audience. How are the 360 Madden numbers, compared to the PS2's? I wonder what MotionPlus will do for sports game sales.

Yeah, Smash is actually pretty daunting for newcomers. That Mario Kart Wheel really is inviting. People are always picking it up at the Wii kiosk at Best Buy. Everyone from grandmas to gangbangers.

I wasn't saying that grandma will start playing Fire Emblem. She won't (although my mom tried Mario Kart, which was shocking). I was saying that Wii Fit/Sports/etc. SHOULD also be bridge games, because there is nothing stopping hardcore gamers from playing and enjoying them. Besides their own inhibitions and hang-ups. Which are actually quite significant.

I really think Nintendo is going to start getting nutty, as third-parties increase their support and they deliver all of their main franchises. If Wii Music underperforms, though, they might be a little gunshy about thinking too outside the box. All of their previous Wii experimentation has been received very well.

I think, even with standard controls, Jungle Beat would be an accomplished and innovative game. Combo-based platforming is a brilliant concept. It's a hardcore version of something besides fighting and shooting. I thought it would be horrible if they replaced bongos with waggle, but they aren't doing that. It has a more traditional control scheme. Now I'm worried that it'll be totally unbalanced, but I'm sure it'll still be fun. I wonder if I should unload my Gamecube copies of Pikmin 1/2 and Mario Power Tennis before the Wiimakes come out. I'm not sure if those will lose anything, though. Whatever.

I don't think that Nintendo is sitting on Kirby. They seem to have changed their strategy from "space out all releases strategically" to "release games whenever the hell they are completed", at least if this year's releases are anything to go by. I mean, even I might've delayed Mario Kart Wii to the holidays. (Maybe something else slipped, though.)

My hand hurts.

Posted by 
 on: 12/24/08, 23:31:49
Man, what with a week off work and a week at work sick I totally forgot this thread existed. Don't worry though, I WILL get back to it!

Posted by 
 on: 01/11/09, 09:49:50
Ok, now it is time.

I'd never actually heard that 15 seconds of fun thing. I wonder if it means... a core solid 15 seconds of gameplay that keeps repeating, or NEW stuff that is short and sweet though? Anyway, I'm not sure that I feel Wario Ware quite applies. For one, it is more like 3-5 seconds for the micro mini-games, but I honestly don't think of it as a mini-game collection. It's more like the micro mini-games come together to make something... greater? Like VOLTRON. Or the Constructicons. You can still recognize the parts individually, but they no longer exist on their own, they are part of something more. Then again, that might be the point of the 15 seconds of fun after all. But still, I think FPS and the likes are still about the specific gameplay whereas Wario Ware IS about the pacing more than anything else. What micro mini-game pops up next is almost a non-issue. They have to be fun and not get too repetitive, sure, but they're still just sort of there as a means to this super fast paced, insane game.

Had I ever told you about my idea before?! Because it's very close to your Wario Ware-esque idea, but my idea was something I thought of before Wario Ware even existed and it wasn't about mini-games. It was more about having a disk game that has say... 15 or 20 or so stages/levels/tracks/etc. from various games. New stuff though, and built for high score. Then there would be web rankings and such but the kicker is whoever has the overall highest score gets to declare him/herself ULTIMATE NINTENDO GAMER OF ALL TIME. I think that'd be hugely popular.

Well Rock Band 1 did chart so late to the game so maybe they're not too late, but yeah, they definitely need to get the next Rock Band out ON TIME. Sometimes I think these games would do even better than the already awesome they are doing on the Wii if there was a real storage solution. I think Activision worked out their own by letting you play songs straight from SD, but since it isn't the official storage solution it's still difficult to put that against the PS3 or 360 hard drives. Then again, I'm not sure how much of the Wii market outside the hardest of the hardcore would actually want to download new songs.

Well, I think Mega Man 9 should at least have shipped with a hard mode. That seems silly to make people pay for a difficulty level, especially considering they probably didn't rework AI or anything they just... make enemy hits take off more and maybe make energy drops less often. And charge for it. Boo. I do think there is a risk with making too much downloadable and not in the game from the start. In the Space Invaders WiiWare review IGN just put up they essentially say it is a fun game hampered by the fact that they chopped it up into pieces and you end up spending $20 to get all of it.

Apparently someone is stating that Home has already sold over 1 million dollars of downloadables. Not sure if this is accurate though, but if so... I hate the Sony gamer population. I guess a million dollars isn't too much though, that's like... 100k people spending 10 bucks each.

Yeah in the latest IGN podcast some guy was saying something about going home to his family for the holidays and they ALL have Wiis and ALL have "crappy" games and how surprised he was. It's like some people really don't understand that there is this whole other market out there. I'm not a big fan of Michael Pachter but he is starting to grow on me, I've seen him in some Gametrailers TV round tables and he is a pretty big champion of the Wii, basically he keeps bringing up (while the other "hardcore" guests ignore it) that the Wii fully deserves its success because it actually offers games to a demographic other than males 13-30.

I'm not sure what to say about Wii Music. I feel like I need to try it out eventually, but I really don't want to buy it.

I guess Banjo and Viva Pinata are neat ideas, but they seem like neat ideas without the execution. Banjo, anyhow, though I guess Viva couldn't really be much more than it is.

I guess the gameplay in ED was a bit weak, but I think for its time it wasn't too bad. I can't think of many pre-ED non-Nintendo games that really excelled in 3rd person action/adventure gameplay. And story and presentation do mean SOMETHING, though they can't really carry a game too far without gameplay to back them up.

Nintendo will dominate... we find out tomorrow, right? It'd be epic except it's so predictable at this point.

Taken my money out of the stock market?! Or do you mean put more into it?! Right now is when you're supposed to buy buy buy. Buy low, sell high. Doesn't get much lower. Of course, it is very scary still and everyone said doesn't get much lower a year ago and they were wrong. But yeah, I'm just waiting it out and I'm even putting more in here and there and a few years from now hopefully it pays off.

I was just thinking today that LBP made a huge mistake with their level creator. They should have had a "basic" creator and an advanced one. The basic one would be on the grid automatically, only one plane, and placing objects you already have. Maybe a simple object creator, but a VERY simple one. You would be able to, if you want, take your basic creations and move them to the advanced one, but other than that the basic one would be well... simple. Because as it stands, you need to do way too many tutorials to even begin creating, and no casuals will ever do that. Still though, I hear it has some legs for a PS3 game. And I think you may have a point with putting the onus on the users, especially since LBP is certainly more a B-level platformer on its own... which is why it got so much backlash. People read the reviews, bought it, and were like WTF this isn't a AAA platformer! They didn't realize the reviews were for the overall experience.

I think if I think too much about what Retro "should" do then I'm going to end up disappointed when they announce their next project. I guess just wait and see, wait and see. The Nintendo fan mantra.

I wish the JRPG devs were kicking themselves for going with the 360, but many seem to keep doing it still. However, it does seem the momentum is shifting towards the Wii a bit there. DQ X was huge, but the next "real" Tales came before that.

Well, I'm not sure light gun games have ever seen a huge market on home consoles (maybe Duck Hunt,) especially since they generally need light guns to sell with them. But the market seems to have hit on the Wii. Resident Evil UC was big, Link's Crossbow Training was big, and If House of the Dead 2/3 really sold over a million that is HUGE, it was basically an underadvertised port selling like a big budget AAA game. I think with Overkill they aren't numbering it because they want to make it clear that this is a new thing... a console game with more depth than typical arcade light gun games. And I really doubt we have to worry about the "real" 4 going elsewhere considering that the genre has no real market elsewhere.

360 is selling nothing next to the PS2, but that isn't saying too much, since PS2 is huge. It's a pretty strange generation, it's tough to figure out where all those PS2 owners ended up. Maybe the numbers were a tad bit inflated after all? I know it had hardware problems. I wouldn't expect sports game numbers to suddenly jump on the Wii with WiiMotion+...not Madden anyhow, though sports mini-game comps are doing well and Tiger supposedly sells best on the Wii. I question how big of an impact WiiMotion+ will have on the casual market... how many of them actually realize that the Wii can't already do that?! It's a subtle addition.

I get what you're saying, I just think we are thinking of the concept of bridge differently. I think of a bridge as a means (though in the case of video games the means can be an end as well) between two other places. In order for bridge games to exist, there has to be casual games and there has to be hardcore games. Of course one can make the argument that secure gamers can pretty much play any games, but for the sake of defining bridge games, especially on the Wii, I think of it more as... ok someone bought a Wii with Wii Sports / Play / Fit / maybe Music. Now how do you get them |(eventually) playing all kinds of big Nintendo franchises? Mario Kart. A nice in-betweener. I don't think Wii Sports / Play / Fit / Music can help in that respect because they are the reason the non-gamer grandma whoever bought the Wii to begin with. You need to get them a more gamelike game, but one with ease of access. Mario Kart is for sure that game. I'm not really sure what else would be to be honest... I'd almost say Boom Blox but that's still a bit on the casual side. I guess Capcom was trying to make Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles a bridge game... simple point and shoot, but a more "core" theme and all that... maybe it worked? Though it was probably all pre-existing RE fans who bought it.

I hope Nintendo starts getting nutty, but I really do want to see them get more nutty with their game games. The Wii *insert game here* games are necessary and a great idea, but they don't really do too much for me outside Sports, which is pretty much more a game game that gets hated on just because it spurred on the non-game craze (it's not like it's the first sports mini-game comp ever.) Even something like Super Paper Mario... I know it's a love or hate (or love and hate) game nowadays, but when it came out I thought it was so fresh and awesome, and I'd still recommend it. I was watching my sister's husband play it the other day, he happened to be at 3-4... man, THAT is the kind of Nintendo insanity I want to see. I wonder what Intelligent Systems is up to... I wonder what ALL of Nintendo is up to for that matter.

I guess we will see how Jungle Beat fares with typical controls, but I'm not sure I like the idea. I'd almost say it is one of the few games where waggle COULD work, since all they need to do is replicate a few very basic actions, and you were basically "waggling" your hands constantly on the bongos as it is. I'm very interested in seeing how Pikmin 1/2 control, if only for the upcoming (I hope) Pikmin 3. Doubt I'll buy them again though. Mario Tennis however... that might be worth a rebuy if they nail the controls.

I'm not sure they thought release games whenever possible as much as they really just didn't expect the "core" fallout with their game lineup. I wonder if they really thought Animal Crossing (rehash) was going to be enough? And of course they were banking on Wii Music being the next big thing. I wouldn't be surprised if Kirby is mostly done... but I also think he is probably getting a whole new envisioning. Speaking of which I played a bit of Canvas Curse again today (niece and nephew love it because its one of the few games they "get" and one of them left it on so I started playing) and I still love it... I wouldn't even mind seeing Nintendo basically rehash the line drawing idea but adding more Wii specific controls to it (all new levels though, enough wiimakes!) On a side note my niece tried out Boom Blox today and though it takes her forever to actually point at what she wants to point at, she gets the general mechanics and gets VERY happy when she knocks a huge tower over. Looks like Spielberg knew what he was doing after all!

So... to introduce a new topic... what upcoming Wii and DS games are you looking forward to most, and why? I'm interested to see your response, I think I *kind of* know your tastes, but not quite. For instance you're not big on JRPGs, which is like half of the big upcoming DS games right there.

Posted by 
 on: 01/13/09, 08:17:04
Hey, your site somehow got bumped from the first listing on Google for "negative world nintendo" to the bottom of the first page. You'd better publicize. Work it!

I don't have time to respond to everything right now, but your last question intrigued me, and I do have time to respond to that.

I didn't even realize it until you asked that question, but I guess I've been in a bit of a gaming malaise. These days, I almost always elect to read a good comic or listen to music or play a song or write a song (although that starts to feel like work really fast) or watch a movie or TV show or even DISCUSS VIDEO GAMES ON A MESSAGE BOARD, instead of playing a (single-player) game. The current gaming scene seems really boring to me. I don't know if that's a function of the games themselves or just of me, personally. Or both. I'm not sure. Nevertheless, very little on today's scene excites me. (Although I'm still teetering on the precipice of getting a 360 (Arcade 'Jaspers' are, like, $158 at Dell right now!).) I like fast, intense, arcadey action games, and those seem harder to come by these days (except in the form of another goddamn shooter). I also like weird, novel, quirky (and still arcadey) games, but it seems like many of those are being relegated to import-only status.

Anyway, let's see. Upcoming Wii and DS games that I'm anticipating, off the top of my head (actually, IGN's probably woefully underpopulated release list): MadWorld, House of the Dead Overkill, Muramasa, Wii Sports Resort, Punch Out!, Sin & Punishment 2, Dynamic Slash, Let's Tap, Tiger Woods with WM+, Mario Tennis Redux (I'll check it out, at least, for the controls), Rhythm Tengoku Gold, Band Bros. DX, Infinite Space (although I'll probably buy it and never play it), Fire Emblem DS, Made In Ore, Ututsu Made in Wario, maybe GTA: CW, FFCC: Echoes of Time, maybe Trackmania, and maybe Retro Game Challenge. There are many more games that I'll check out (and probably buy), but those are the ones that really interest me.

Certainly, if I was big on JRPGs, I'd be loving the DS right now. In the recent Nintendo Power, they had some previews, and some of them seemed interesting, even just on a story level, particularly Valkyrie Profile (SRPG), Sands of Destruction, and My World, My Way.

On the HD consoles, much of what interests me is the downloadable stuff. Retail things I can think of... Bayonetta, RE5, Bionic Commando (if it turns out well), that Beatles game, maybe Dark Void, maaaybe SF4...

Pretty dry, across the board, for my tastes, although I'm always open to pleasant surprises. And, of course, I'll always buy 1000% more games than I'll actually play, unless I somehow grow a brain during the next year. Towards the end of last-gen, I had the epiphany that gaming was beginning to bore the hell out of me. I thought the Wii and DS would reignite that sense of newness, and, in a certain sense, they did, but the industry still seems pretty ho-hum these days.

I can tell you that if we lived in an HD world, where the Wii wasn't in the picture, like 'hardcore gamers' seem to want, and every game aspired to be a (stupid, B-Grade Hollywood) movie, gaming would be truly, truly boring for me right now.


How about you guys? Which games are you anticipating in the coming year?

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/09, 22:43:10
Hmm, it's at the top when I search! And also #4 when searching "negative world" alone.

And... woah, and our GOTY awards are linked as a news story on IGN's Smash Brothers site, I wonder who did that?! "Puffteam?" Are you a member here?! Or is the Negative World being linked to on the IGN forums enough that people just started assuming it is some site everyone should have heard of? I love how he words it...

'Negative World has finally posted up the results of the Game of the Year awards'

As if everyone out on the web has been eagerly anticipating our awards and wondering where they were, LOL. Sadly he got the link to here wrong and it just goes back to the article.

I've noticed on IGN that you did get a 360, has that helped with the malaise any? I'd suggest Dead Rising, not much depth but it's basically a zombie-killing playground, and there are TONS of weapons (well, objects that can be used as weapons) to check out. I like the pool umbrella and the lawnmower. Soccer ball is fun as well, though a bit cheesy, since it seems to have magic powers.

The Beatles game hmm. Am I the only person on the planet who never got into their music? OH NOES, I SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO CALL MYSELF A MUSICIAN, I DON'T LIKE THE BEATLES! Still though, should be interesting seeing what they do with the game. Is it just going to, essentially, be Rock Band with Beatles songs? Or an action/adventure game? Not sure.

Right now I'm just trying to finish up my LBP stage because it's seriously been sucking away way too much of my free time, and I have a backlog forming. Getting from 99% to 100% complete on a project seems like the toughest 1%. I think I've figured out why as well. When a project is in the works and nothing is official, you don't have to worry about how it turns out, only how it seems to be coming along. But once you get to the end, and you have to officially finish it, THAT becomes what you spent 40, 50, whatever hours on. So you get paranoid that you will finish it and publish it then realize a few minor things you hate about it that you didn't notice while building it that ruin it for you, so you keep putting off finishing it...

Hmm, I already posted all my most anticipated games in the recent thread about it. Oops!

Maybe it'll be easier to keep this thread going by limiting it a bit, to a few topics at a time. I'm thinking of stickying it as well, once I figure out a neat and clean way to make it very obvious when threads get new posts, so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

Ok game design philosophy 101 time. I'd assume many have seen the SUPPOSED trademark specs for the new gameplay mechanic (assumed to be used in Zelda as that is the game shown in the specs) that allow for instant puzzle solving with the click of a button, as well as just plain skipping entire areas, etc. The assumed reasoning is that casual players (non-gamers?) don't want to get stuck, they want to be able to progress and this new mechanic will put in game stuff that us hardcore gamers usually need to go look up on Gamefaqs or something, not to mention the whole just plain skipping parts thing.

What do you guys think about this? It's difficult to argue against as an option, since those of us who like doing things ourselves can ignore it, but I dunno. I'm kind of worried that with it being RIGHT THERE, ALWAYS I would get tempted to click it a bit premature when I get frustrated, therefore missing out on the satisfaction that comes from sticking to something and figuring it out myself. And I think if every game started doing this, "difficulty" would become a more and more meaningless word, everyone would just kind of get into the habit of doing what they felt comfortable with and skipping anything they got stuck on, lazy that we are.

And as a broader question, should developers try to make sure all content in a game is accessible by all, or should some be reserved for those willing to work at it? (unlockables, etc.) Smash Brothers is a good example, would it have been as interesting if all content was instantly accessible? Or easily accessible with instant unlock buttons? Personally I don't think so. In that case I say yeah, withhold content, make me work at it... and it will keep me more interested over the next few weeks, unlocking more and more characters and stages and items. On the flip side though, is this fair to those who aren't as hardcore about playing it? My cousins love Brawl but haven't unlocked a ton of stuff in it and seem a bit confused/disappointed in what they are lacking next to mine.

Posted by 
 on: 01/26/09, 23:17:00
I'm not gonna attempt to read all of these posts and comment on everything, I'll just add my bit to the last thing you posted.

I share your concern about the "cheat button" Nintendo patented, as I took advantage of the cheat system in Professor Layton anytime I could instead of figuring it out, despite all my best intentions going in. That said, a cheat button seems by far preferable to me than the current approach by some developers, which is to just make their games stupid easy (Prince of Persia or Shaun White Snowboarding, for instance).

Posted by 
 on: 01/26/09, 23:39:15
Damn, I sure am a deadbeat these days. I was also fairly busy at work, but I don't consider that an acceptable excuse. You should always set some time at work aside for yourself.

It's back on top on Google now. Maybe it was just a temporary anomaly.

You know what you could do with this thread (or another)? Have a weekly roundtable, or something. Different topics, everyone chimes in... I haven't really thought out the logistics.

I did get a 360. It's cool, but bringing my arcade up to spec has been something of a nightmare. I still haven't received my HDD yet, so I can't download anything or play any original Xbox games. Did it cure my malaise? Hmm... I dunno. I didn't actually even play it for the first three days I had it. That's an answer, of sorts. I've also been reading more (youth-oriented literature) and watching more (old) movies. When the 1Upocalypse happened, I thought I'd finally be cured of my podcast addiction, but now it seems like there are twice as many!!

In fact, all I've really played is Crackdown. Which rules. So addictive and satisfying, on a primal level. I did get Dead Rising, even though it never really resonated with me. Also Lost Planet, Earth Defense Force, Halo 1-3, Ninja Gaiden Black, Tales of Vesperia, PGR4, Burnout Paradise, Mass Effect, Sega Rally Revo, Condemned 2, Dead Space, and a bunch of others I can't remember offhand. FYE had a sale on last-gen games, so I also picked up a ton of original Xbox and PS2 games. Because, you know, I really need more games. I was shocked at how few of them were compatible. Oh, well. I can make a pretty bitching mobile, at least.

I've also been getting the most of my Netflix trial. Streaming movies and shows to the 360 is pretty cool. Which reminds me, I have to cancel that trial...

I don't care what form the Beatles game takes, to be honest. Because I am a true Beatles whore. It could be a text summary of each of their recording sessions, and I would gobble it up like... a text summary of each of their recording sessions. But I see it being a much more specific variant of Rock Band. Some thing much closer to synaesthesia. Each song will probably have an elaborate artistic presentation. Or be some type of historical record. But, again, I don't care. I want it.

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with not being into their music (in theory - personally, THERE IS), but have you given it much of a chance? Do you like melodic, psychedelic music, in general? That might explain it.

How many levels are you working on in LBP? Just the one? What's the theme? Are you intimidated by the user-created stuff already available? I think it would be interesting to design a really robust multiplayer level. Like a four-player co-op level or a race.

As far as Nintendo's new win button, I think it's a great idea. It will, ironically, allow them to design their games a little more sadistically (although I think the Zelda puzzles are a fair challenge). I think, once developers were able to track people's time with a game (with achievements, and such), they were shocked at how many people just got stuck/frustrated and stopped playing forever. Back in the old days, we were lucky to experience HALF of the designer's efforts. If a level is designed in a forest, but you're stuck on the swamp, does that level even exist? This helps alleviate that.

There is the temptation to abuse the system, but what stops you from doing that with GameFAQs? The slight inconvenience of turning walking over to your computer? Maybe they could do something like Layton and make you earn cheat tokens.

As far as unlockables, those are a different issue, I think. My gut tells me that unlockables are a cheap trick to make gameplay seem more appealing, but I can't deny that I played Meteos much longer since I wanted to unlock all of the planets. It's a tricky issue. A very fine balance. In your Smash example, perhaps your cousins could have cheated to unlock the main content (characters and stages), but doing it the honest way would have netted you a few exclusive music tracks. Seems kind of cruel, but they probably wouldn't care, anyway.

Still, my gut tells me that a game's replay value should come from its addictive gameplay mechanics. I was going to use River City Ransom as an example, but that game actually heavily prioritizes unlockable skills and abilities, in addition to leveling. I guess the best example is an old arcade game, like Ms. Pac-Man or Tetris. But can that addictive quality be preserved in full length game experiences?

Posted by 
 on: 02/05/09, 01:24:11
Alrighty, here's my long-awaited (ha ha) retroactive response.

In Halo's case, it meant a core solid 15 seconds of gameplay that kept repeating. Wario Ware is something like the opposite. That's more like an ever-changing 3 seconds of gameplay. I am amazed at how they make the ultimate experience seem like a cohesive whole, though. That's brilliant. I used to love Voltron. And, in my youth, I was forever searching for the last Constructicon, Hook. I saw it in a store and finally bought it about a year ago. Then I was like, "Why the hell did I buy this?" Oh, well. It's just money. Filthy lucre.

I don't know if we've discussed that particular idea before. But I think Nintendo has already done something similar, for Championship purposes. I definitely think that kind of thing would work well on WiiWare. Maybe even just have the assets on a disc, and have new downloadable marathons of bite-sized Nintendo challenges. I originally wanted something similar when the e-Card was not yet an abortion. A cart that held all of Nintendo's 2D assets that allowed you to buy a pack of cards that had Mario levels, Zelda dungeons, Metroid segments, Excitebike levels, etc. I still think Nintendo is leaving money on the table by not making their own version of LittleBigPlanet, with all of their classic 2D franchises. Or at least Mario. That could be a killer app for DSi.

It seems like both Rock Band and Guitar Hero are selling better on the Wii. This is especially surprising for Rock Band, since it's so DLC-focused. Maybe all of those tracks they sold were to a very small portion of their userbase. I don't know if DLC would appreciably boost the sales on Wii, but it could never function to the same extent that it does on hard-drive-based systems, anyway. I kind of want to get Rock Band, just for the Karaoke potential, but it seems like that aspect of the experience is definitely not a focus.

That somehow puts me in mind of how Burnout 2 on GCN outsold Burnout 2: The ultrasupermega-Special-Edition on Xbox 1, and then Criterion decided to snub the GCN for Burnout 3. Or how they keep crowing about how Paradise is better on PS3 and focusing on the platform, even though the game has sold more on 360 (I think). Soul Calibur III, yada yada...

I think Hard Mode has different enemy placement. It's more of a remix. Mega Man 9 Gaiden. Just buy it, you cheap bastard. Space Invaders seems to take things too far, though. I think it was for space reasons, which is even worse. Having every level would probably fill up your internal memory. Strongbad syndrome. Just release it on a damned disc. Conversely, I also wish individual games in disc compilations (like SNK Arcade Collection or the XBLA Compilation Pack) could install to the hard drive. That would be really handy. So I guess it'll never happen.

Those home numbers are kind of disgusting. I thought I would hate the avatar system on 360, but I actually kind of like it. I was able to make a much more accurate representation of myself. Except it looks like he's wearing lipstick. Actually, it's 100% accurate! I guess I could see casual gamers buying clothes. Not the kind of people that buy PS3s, though.

Pachter is a crazy cat. You know what's funny about analysts/decision makers? You will rarely be fired for making the same mistakes that everyone else makes. That's why there's such a disincentive to say (or make) something out of the box. It's why the Wii has been struggling to get real games.

You should rent Wii Music. Love it or hate it, it's an interesting piece of software. Just look at its effect on the gaming 'community'.

A lot of people really like Banjo, actually (and a lot of people really don't). That game seems to have Crackdown-esque potential, actually. Even if the structure of the game is kind of iffy, the core gameplay still seems enjoyable and addictive. I'm going to download the demo as soon as my FUCKING HARD DRIVE gets here.

Nintendo used to really own the Adventure genre. Maybe they still do. But Eternal Darkness... I mean, compared to the early Resident Evils, you could say Eternal Darkness had more flexible gameplay systems. But it wasn't balanced/designed nearly as well. It sacrificed almost everything that made Resident Evil compelling, and it certainly didn't have the chops to stand next to the best 3D action games of the time. It was in limbo. Maybe SK doesn't pay enough attention to gameplay balance. People also had problems with the balance of MGS: TS.

I guess it was pretty predictable. On to January!!

Thing is, I don't think the market has hit bottom yet. We'll see, I guess. I want to find out which investments are actually holding their value. Gold is usually pretty reliable.

Why WASN'T LBP a AAA platformer, though? Would it have been so hard to rip off Mario physics, at least for the main character? It'll be interesting to see if LBP is ultimately considered a footnote or a landmark piece of software. Hell, user-generated content, in general.

Are you getting the Prime 1 & 2 Wiimakes? Most accounts say that the Mario Power Tennis remake is pretty crappy. That's surprising. I wonder if it still has options for Gamecube controls. I wonder if they all do. The 360 controller's D-Pad is pure ass, by the way. Pac-Man: CE is nigh-unplayable. Just thought I'd throw that out there...

I think JRPGs will mostly start abandoning the HD scene, in general. The DS is seeing something of a renaissance, and the Wii is getting some interesting stuff, as well.

God, I wish arcades still existed in a usable form. What a great pasttime. Anyway, I've said it once and I'll say it again. A four-player Point Blank would make every other Wii shooter obsolete. Every other Wii party game, even.

Not really, but it would be fun.

I think both PS2 AND 360 numbers are inflated by shitty hardware. In that respect, the 360 is definitely the successor to the PS2. It always astounds me how happily people hand over money to a company that has just screwed them or made them prematurely obsolete (Apple, MS).

I wonder if there's room for a Wario Ware-esque take on Wii Sports? That might be kind of fun, taking on mini-challenges in quick succession.

Yeah, I mean, we're defining the words differently. Maybe your definition is the one Nintendo was thinking of. But most of Nintendo's games are pretty accessible. It's third-parties who need to come up with a better solution than having those loading screens that show 50 different button mappings.

I'm all for crazy, in everything. Crazy is good. At least it's never boring. Super Paper Mario is a very divisive game. I like the overall gameplay, and it's very charming, and has some classic bits of humor. I also like how it fucks with the player, like Lenny Bruce, in videogame form. I don't regret purchasing the game. But I can't deny that I frequently fell asleep while playing through it. I think it was, ulimately, poorly balanced. It had action mechanics, but the game wasn't difficult enough to make their mastery important. You know what I really enjoyed, though? The Pit of 100 Trials. That was so much fun. After I finished that section, I wished the whole game could have had that level of physical challenge (in addition to its charming presentation). That would have been chocolate and peanut butter. I would have absolutely loved it.

I'm glad they didn't replace the drumming with waggling. It would've just been a shitty, watered-down, inaccurate version of the original. Like Barrel Blast, apparently. Pikmin has seemingly turned out well. Mario Tennis seemingly hasn't. I was wondering if they could pull that retrofit off. What's up, Camelot?? (Although maybe Nintendo handled the controls themselves?)

It seems that Animal Crossing was always meant for people who were new to the franchise (although, given rumors, I can't help feeling that they killed a much more ambitious version). And Wii Music, I don't know how they predicted the reception for that game to be. I read somewhere that they were counting on Man Icarus for Holiday 2008. That's interesting. I'd enjoy a Wii-specific Canvas Curse-esque game. It's odd that they never even hinted at a DS sequel for Canvas Curse. I guess it just didn't sell 'Kirby numbers'.

Why DOES Kirby sell so much?

I liked CC, but, Of course, I prefer Yoshi's Touch and Go. But I know that I will never get the blown out sequel that I crave.

I really wonder how much Spielberg had to do with Boom Blox. I guess it ultimately doesn't matter, though.

My 2-year-old nephew really likes Mario Kart. It's his second favorite game on the Wii, the first being the "Eject Disc and Then Put a Different One In" game.

I'm going to take this opportunity to yet again reiterate that every arcade racing game should have an option for automatic acceleration. Especially Mario Kart, with Wheel controls.

Posted by 
 on: 02/05/09, 02:30:51  - Edited by 
 on: 05/19/13, 18:00:18
Roundtable is an interesting idea. Not sure enough people post regularly enough for that to completely work out though. Seems like it'd mostly be a roundtable of two.

Dang two monster posts at once. I guess I'll worry about the first first.

I think your 360 experience is close to my PS3 experience... bought it, enjoy it, don't regret it at all... but it was a slow burn. It wasn't until Valkyria Chronicles and LittleBigPlanet hit that I was like ok, yeah, THIS is why I paid $400 (with free $100 gift card) for this puppy. Metal Gear Solid 4 was great and all, but I would definitely say my PS3 was the console I was excited for least when I bought it. Then again I didn't buy my PS2 until it had Ace Combat 4, Ico, and Maximo out, among others. Say what you want about Nintendo, they always give me a reason to buy their consoles at launch. Ok, except DS, but man that little sucker has made up for its weak launch tenfold.

You have a serious game buying addiction. I feel bad right now because I have both Persona 4 and Bioshock sitting around and I haven't touched either. TWO WHOLE GAMES in my backlog and it drives me insane (gotta finish my LBP stage and Dead Space soon so I have time to crack into them!) Wait, I also have Jeanne D'Arc on PSP and I haven't touched that... damnit... 3 game backlog!

I can't say I'm into psychedelic music at all. Most of what I'm into is either punk / rock or has punk somewhere at its core (hardcore, metal, etc.) I have a few calmer bands I listen to nowadays, like Radiohead and the newer Thrice, and I'm slowlyyyy getting into electronic (though I think I enjoy making it more than listening to it, at least what I've heard so far, though I love game music remixes and stuff that actually sounds like game music) (as opposed to electronic bands that think its clever to use game effects but the songs still have no actual game *feel* to them.) Actually, I know this means I lose my right to even touch a guitar, but I can't really get into much before the 90s. I'm looking at my collection by album release date right now and the only albums I have pre-90s are an old Bad Religion album (like their early/mid 90s stuff better though) and a Pixies album (don't really listen to it.) Ah well. I do like some classic rock, but not enough to seek out any of the bands albums.

I just have the one stage. The theme is um... theme, hmm. Well, everything is on fire and there are spikes everywhere and you need to ride on floaties a lot. Is that a theme? Ha ha. I kind of focused on the gameplay first and foremost, and then I mostly ran out of space so it was tough to do much with the graphics. I want to do a multiplayer stage as well, eventually, not sure I will ever get to it though. If nothing else it should be more limited than my vast single player stage. But there are other games I want to jump into after I finish this LBP stage. I'm not really intimidated by what is out there right now, but to be honest that is probably because I have no Internet connection to my PS3 so I don't KNOW what is out there. Probably a good thing, I'd likely play a few super awesome stages and get disgusted by mine.

TO Pandareus: I was actually pretty good at trying not to use the hints in Layton if I didn't have to, which led to, at times, staring at the screen for a half hour or more. But yeah, in the end I still cheated a bit more than I'd have liked. But I think Layton had a good system (I actually sort of "borrowed" it for a new feature soon to be brought back, old school Neg Worlders know what I'm talking about) so I wouldn't mind seeing something like that. And yeah, it definitely beats being way too easy... Layton had some pretty tough puzzles!

Back to Anand: I agree that it would allow for Nintendo to make more difficult games, but I wonder if they will? It'd be a shame, in my eyes, to implement this system in the new Zelda but still have it as easy as Twilight Princess. Then again TPs ease mostly came from the lack of getting hurt much by enemies, I had no problems with the puzzles themselves per se. Wouldn't mind an uber hard secret dungeon full of mind-blowing puzzles though.

Yes, the slight inconvenience DOES stop me from cheating too much with Gamefaqs. But I live in a house with 56k and many people who use it, so it's more than just a slight inconvenience for me. Either way, a "push here" button right in the game would be way more tempting than going out of my way for a hint, even with the ease of Gamefaqs. Reminds me of a sci fi story I read. Mankind meets an alien race who has solved most of their problems. How? They started, from birth, hooking their children up to a mechanism where they could instantly kill themselves with the press of a button. A few generations of craziness and suicide on a massive level, but the ones who actually made it to child bearing age were stable and non-destructive so a few generations later almost no one was suiciding anymore and everyone was living in harmony. Unrealistic, perhaps, but one of the main points was that suicide, easy enough as it was, wouldn't be done on the level needed to erm... purge... the species unless it was INSTANTLY ACCESSIBLE with a simple press of a button. But as said above, I love Layton's format.

Unlockables ARE just an artificial way to extend game length, but they work. As for full games that stay addictive like Mrs. Pacman I think that is tough. Half the reason I think arcade games are addictive is there IS nowhere else to go. You get in a maze, eat dots, etc. When they try to turn mechanics into a full game, it adds in a sense of progression, and the inevitable end of progression is well... an end. I think once people hit the credits its tough to go back. I think CS Lewis hit on this a few times as well, explaining why he hated when he would be seeing a live symphony and at the encore people would call for a part already played. I forget how he words it, but it was along the lines of... even though it is good enough to stand on its own, taking it out of context of the overall progression just to hear it again ruins the feel. Once you add a sense of progression into something, taking it without feels like it is missing something. But if it never had the progression to begin with, then it's easier to want it over and over and over? So many games are so based on story nowadays too that once you take out the story progression, they barely have legs to stand on.

But on the other hand, I doubt I'd sit around playing Mrs. Pacman obsessively, to me that is more a "wow a Mrs. Pacman machine, I have a buck and an hour to waste!"

Posted by 
 on: 02/05/09, 20:52:23
A roundtable of two? It could just be point-counterpoint, I guess. But I think people would post in it every week if they committed to doing so.

DS launch was certainly pretty shitty. Odd, because the Japanese launch was kind of decent. I don't know where I'll max out on 360 games. I waited until there were a bunch of games on the system that I liked, but the 360 library doesn't really speak directly to me. I like the more left-of-center entries. XBLA is really cool, though. I'm trying to decide on a proper controller for that stuff. Unfortunately, all third-party solutions have to be wired. Thanks, MS!

I have only been playing the 360 lately, but that's natural, since it's my new console.

I do have a game buying addiction. At least I broke my DVD buying addiction and comic buying addiction (somewhat). But, you know, I like to think that I don't buy stuff just to buy it. I only buy the stuff I honestly want to play, but the fact of the matter is that I don't spend that much time playing games, overall. There is NO WAY that I can finish off my backlog. It's not even possible. But at least that stops me from having to buy games for full price.

You know, if I'm really honest about it, I DON'T just buy stuff that I really want to play. I also buy stuff that is critically acclaimed or hard-to-find or even seems like it will be hard-to-find, even when I know that I'll probably never even crack it open. So, yes, I have an illness. Admitting the problem is the first step.

Only post-90s music, eh? You're, like, my complete opposite. I think the '90s on are pretty much a cultural wasteland (music, movies), and I love old shit. I recently discovered that the radio channels on DirecTV satellite are now taken from the Sirius satellite radio network. Pretty cool. I've been alarmed at how much I enjoy the '40s and '50s stations. It's also alarming how many of the songs I recognize. The Bluegrass station is also like crack. After listening for a while, I can't understand why anyone makes any other kind of music.

Anyway, enough of this old timer's ramblings... You should listen to Daft Punk - Homework. It's, like, the only electronica album that I find listenable. Well, that and that one Prodigy album.

Is space very limited in LBP? I would've thought they gave you a ton of space. What's your motivation to make that level? Is it that you want others to praise you or just have fun with it? Or is it just the satisfaction of having made the level? In creative stuff, I subscribe to the 'throw a bunch of shit at the wall and see what sticks' philosophy, rather than the 'painstakingly labor over each work' philosophy. Painstaking. That's a funny word.

I also liked the puzzle difficulty of TP. It was rewarding, but never overly frustrating. I thought they really nailed that balance. People rag on that game all the time, but it was actually very elegantly designed. The puzzles were original and clever (much more so than in Wind Waker) and the fundamentals were quite strong, but everyone ignores that and says, like, "But you have to find EIGHT things again!!" Who cares? Then again, story means almost nothing to me.

My biggest problem with the game is the same as yours - combat difficulty. The combat is actually fun, but those elements are balanced to be so easy that they become window dressing, rather than an integral part of the gameplay. So the game essentially becomes a physical puzzle game. Adventures of Lolo 3D. But, you know, I really liked the Adventures of Lolo. And I really liked Twilight Princess.

I do miss the tense combat of Zelda II, though. I'm hoping that a three heart run will bring the game's elements back into balance. (Nintendo must have made post-boss Heart Containers optional with advanced players in mind, right?) But I've got a looot of games to finish before I get to that.

Anyway, back to your actual point. I don't think the system is just for puzzles. You can essentially put the game on 'Autoplay', right? Why wouldn't that be applicable to combat situations? (They could either have Link fight automatically or just enable God Mode during battles.)

That's an interesting sci-fi idea, but it would just eliminate truly suicidal people, right? Not evil people, necessarily. I don't see why that would lead to people living in harmony. Actually, suicide seems like very logical behavior to me. If someone's life is absolute misery, if they have far more to dread than to look forward to each day, if living is painful for them, then why would they want to be alive? Why is it wrong for them to end their miserable existence?

Similarly, with jail, if someone is serving a (real) life-sentence, and he's going to spend the rest of his life eating cafeteria food and pissing in his bedroom, then what's the purpose of keeping him alive on the taxpayer's dollar? I mean, nobody's trying to rehabilitate him, right?

That was a dark little tangent.Your CS Lewis example reminds me of my sister. We sometimes watch TV shows on DVD together, and whenever we get to a really funny part, she rewinds it again and again until it isn't funny anymore. Anyway, what you described about games being linear journeys from Point A to Point B is something that bugs me. Why are so few developers trying to create the perfect three-minute pop song, in game form? There's obviously an audience for it, or at least, there used to be. I love that super-tough, but infinitely rewarding feel of a classic arcade game. Man, I really need a good D-Pad or Stick for my 360...

Anyway, you have brought Achievements to my mind. I really hate the base idea of Achievements. I hate how they're cumulative, and the type of behavior that that encourages. People play terrible games that they don't even like just to get points. That's horrible. But, you know, if I'm having tons of fun in a game world, I can see how having a few little extra goals to shoot for to extend my time in that world would be fun. I guess they aren't too bad. It's not like I have to pick a side.

On a side note, I wonder how much Achievements have to do with the 360's dominance over the PS3 in America.

Posted by 
 on: 02/13/09, 18:06:14
Well... this thread in its current form is definitely a good idea, but I think if we were to do a weekly roundtable or whatever it would have to be named WEEKLY ROUNDTABLE and have some sort of official format. For instance, would people really want to scroll down to the new question? It'd have to be right on top, right away. Might make more sense to make each one its own thread, but then I think they would get ignored a lot. Or have one big thread but I edit the new questions into the first post or something. I dunno. And probably only one or two questions so as to not overwhelm anyone who would like to participate.

That is really my major problem with 360, so many "great" games but how many are really that original? If you love shooters, realistic sports, and realistic racers... go buy a 360, right now. Otherwise though, it's a tougher sell. Speaking of which, outside Bioshock, I can't remember the last time I bought a shooter, realistic sports, or realistic racing game. Well wait, I did buy Pro Evo Soccer last year just to check out the Wii controls everyone was going nuts over, and they WERE cool, but it had no co-op so I sold it. Weird that, a sports game with no co-op. But yeah, 360 doesn't have much that appeals to me. Back when the PS3 library had even less I was thinking about getting a 360, but now I'm very happy I went PS3 instead.

I think one of the problems, and how I get into my mini-backlogs as well, is that if I want a game, I will buy it, regardless of if I actually have time for it. Not right away mind you, but eventually. I've been better at putting off some games long enough that I no longer want them though. It's weird how it sometimes becomes a relief when I realize I no longer want to buy certain games I was planning on getting. Back man, DS will never run out of games I want to buy, so I kind of HAVE to be selective there. And that is considering that between my brother and I we already have about 50 DS games.

I love how you wrote a nice sized paragraph about your buying habits and then admitted you lied right away in the next paragraph, ha ha.

There is a part of me that realizes the music I listen to will never be considered like... musically enlightened, often not even within its own genre. But I like it, so whatever. It's weird, just yesterday on another forum some guy tried to call me out on saying I like punk rock because (apparently) to him punk died in the 90s and none of it counts. I really had no reponse beyond "whatever, fine, I listen to what SOME PEOPLE MAYBE MISTAKENLY call punk rock." It's weird though, he called Bad Religion a Hot Topic band, I'm sure they probably do have Bad Religion stuff at Hot Topic (though oddly enough he seemed to know more about what is and isn't at Hot Topic than I did, despite me supposedly being the one who shops there... except I don't shop there, and don't really have any idea what is there) and I always thought Bad Religion was generally a very well respected punk rock band. Oh well. I think with music and movies its tough for me to go much earlier than the 80s or 90s, but with books I can't go much later than the 60s or 70s. I've read very few modern books that I actually enjoyed, and most the ones I have were written by people who started writing long ago (like Ray Bradbury, I can't believe he is STILL writing.)

Daft Punk is pretty nice. They kept coming up on my Pandora when I put in some random video game sounding electronic group that I sort of like (Crystal Castles) to start with. Recognized a few of their songs of course.

Hmm, I wouldn't say space is limited in LittleBigPlanet per se, but since you can essentially create your own very complicated objects, you can run out of space fast. If you just used the stuff they give you, you could put a billion things on screen I guess. But once you start drawing shapes and piecing stuff together it starts counting for a lot more of the "temperature" (the gauge that once full you cannot add anything more.) My stage doesn't have a whole lot of complicated shapes but it does have a ton of spikes pasted onto stuff, which takes up a bit of temperature. Plus it's just BIG, a lot bigger than stages I've played online. And yet... probably 1% of players will even get 25% into it, cause I made it pretty tough. It's getting tough to actually finish my stage now that the gameplay is finished and I'm just trying to polish up the background graphics and get rid of some weird buggy stuff though. I'm not as interested in graphics and bug testing as I am game design, sigh. I'm not sure what my motivation is to make this stuff. It's fun designing of course, and I'd LOVE if people actually played it and enjoyed it, but whatever. It's not the same as music where I really feel like I've created something though, music seems more serious and this seems more like... playing around. But maybe that's only because I still think I want to try to do something real with music someday, whereas I've pretty much given up my dreams of game design.

Yeah I don't really mind the whole structure of Zelda games being reused, I just wish they wouldn't keep reusing the actual races/environments. Nintendo really needs to move the next game outside Hyrule again, or have a very, very different Hyrule. Go to Fire area and meet Gorons, go to Water area and meet Zorans... blah. I actually liked Twilight Princess a lot though, and I'd say about 2/3 through I liked it a LOT a lot, as in one of the best 3D games I have played (Snow "dungeon" = so good.) The problem is the dungeons never quite pick up after that, and the difficulty not only never picks up, but actually gets easier since you keep getting more and more hearts if you're doing all the side quests. I was beating some later bosses 1st try without even losing half my health, let alone cracking into potions and the likes. I still love the game overall, but I ended a tad disappointed, if only because I really thought it was going to take its place up with Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4 in my eyes. Didn't quite make it. I suppose you have a point, maybe that is what they are doing? I do remember it sounded something like players could just skip around, but it'd be weird to skip huge chunks, maybe it just meant skip a particular boss fight or something. I could totally see Nintendo implementing a system to skip all of this stuff and then STILL making it way too easy though. Either way, I hope we see the new Zelda at E3, and I hope its awesome.

I think the point behind the story is it eliminated "unstable" people, and for awhile it was like... almost everyone. So the few truly stable people made it through. I'd somewhat agree that evil people could be non-suicidal, and obviously all suicidal people are not evil at all. But there might be something to it. I don't think most people who do "bad" things are evil so much as just frustrated with life for one reason or another... don't have enough money, aren't happy in their jobs, don't get enough love from others, etc. So I'd probably say they'd be more likely to commit suicide? I can't imagine too many completely happy and stable people out there doing tons of evil deeds. Even when the media tries to pass off some crazy axe murderer as the nice guy next door who helped the old people down the street, I always wonder if it is more people closing their eyes to something obvious. Either way, most axe murderers seem to have pretty insane pasts and probably would self destruct early on, if indeed they had a button to do so instantly. I kind of see your point on suicide maybe not being the worst answer, but I think the problem is it is so final. In their mind it is... life of misery, or end it now. But in reality there MIGHT be another option, which is pull together and get out of the rut and turn life into something that isn't constant misery. Not easy, maybe it takes half their life to figure it out, but eventually they might end up glad that they didn't go through with it. Who knows.

I guess you could say Guitar Hero is a good 3 minute pop song, considering you can play 3 minute pop songs on it. Have you played Space Invaders Extreme on DS? You would probably love that, you can "beat" the game in under an hour if you're good but it has a ton of replayability including branching paths based on objectives (I haven't figured out WHAT objectives though, always seems random to me.) It's tough for me to get into those kinds of games nowadays, but then again, maybe they're not meant to "get into?" I haven't had any long play sessions with Space Invaders Extreme, but when I have a half hour or so to blow it makes its way into my DS more than most games. Still though, in the past I would spend hours at a time just doing Mario Kart time trials or something, nowadays I only spend hours with a game that keeps bringing new stuff to the table.

Achievements are... to me theyr'e done so wrong. They really don't add much in their current state. What games need to do is more like Mega Man 9... have some well defined achievements that are actually about gameplay. Get through a stage without getting hit once, etc. Even Mega Man 9's I didn't like though since some were too vague, you'd sit around trying to figure out which stage would be the best to try to pull it off on. Anyway, if I'm getting trophies and not even trying to get trophies (as often happens in PS3 games,) that's not interesting to me. What's more interesting is like ok you finished the game, now can you do it better? Like World of Goo's OCDs, I actually went back and spent an hour or so after beating it just trying to get OCDs. That's fun stuff because it's about perfecting gameplay. Not "you rode in the Warhog for 2+ hours! Achievement!" And yeah, for me to care at all there would have to be less of a focus on overall gamer score, and more on like... a few very difficult GAMEPLAY focused achievements. I dunno. I see people on the PS3 board saying, in all seriousness, "no trophies = no buy." That's a freaking retarded viewpoint. I seriously cannot comprehend it. It'd be like not buying your favorite movie because the DVD/Blueray/whatever didn't have bloopers or something. Some people say Wii casuals are not "real" gamers, I say people who don't buy games that they're interested in because they can't get some artificial, meaningless gamer score for it are not real gamers.

I don't think achievements really affect the 360s dominance too much. It's one of those things only the most hardcore care about. Though I do know multiconsole owners who buy the 360 version for achievements, but I doubt that affects TOO much in the end. Besides, there are only so many people with enough money to go PS360, and there isn't enough difference between the two, so I don't see it that often outside the people who buy EVERY console. Also I think PS3 was actually beating 360 in sales a bit until the 360 price drop. I'd bet PS3 could take on 360 head to head if it had a price to match it.

Posted by 
 on: 02/13/09, 23:46:48
I accidentally hit back and lost my entire post. Fuuuuuuck. All those beautiful words. I will try to piece them back together, but don't blame me if my spirit sounds broken.

Yeah, the Roundtable would need to have its own thread(s). This one has too much baggage...

The Sony exclusives last gen appealed to me more. It seems like they're mostly catering to the same shooterrific audience as the 360 now. At least with their retail product. I would say I'm about equally interested in Sony and MS's exclusives now (maybe a bit more towards the MS side), but MS has the added de facto exclusives that it got from being earliest to market. And PSN seems pretty cool, but XBLA has some kickass stuff. Plus, the 360 doesn't have the stench of death around it...

Except, you know, literally.

Do people still make sports sims? I had no idea.

I'm also relieved when I find a reason NOT to buy something or have the strength to put something back on the shelf. It's the only satisfaction I can still get as a consumer. I'm become completely numb to the thrill of the buy.

I did contradict myself. Hey, I'm an honest guy (when I feel like it)! I can recognize my irrational behavior. For every ONE game that becomes hard to find that you have to pay $10 extra dollars for, there are TEN games that you can pick up for a fourth of the original price.

By the way, did you know that all DS games $29.99 and under are currently $9.99 at FYE with a rebate? And did you further know that Fire Emblem comes out within the deal period? I'm a sick, sick man...

You are to books as I am to music. Pretty much the only new music I buy is from bands who started their careers at least a decade ago. I really hate musical elitists, though. Especially elitist punk fans. They're such fucking idiots and posers. Do they actually still believe that they're being counterculture when they live their whole lives by a rigid code that somebody else came up with and acting authoritarian to people who don't get in line with the 'punk ethos'? By the way, Hot Topic has some pretty sweet video game-related stuff. Like T-Shirts and Sweatbands!! I like loitering about the entrance of Hot Topic. I'm fascinated by the clientele.

So you made a Mega Man-esque LBP level?

I definitely wouldn't mind an all-new world in the next Zelda. I'm always up for something fresh. Especially in 3D Zelda, since I don't have as much nostalgic attachment to the franchise as other do. Actually, I'm always up for a new setting in general. But good, fresh gameplay is more important to me. I thought Twilight Princess had that. And Wind Waker didn't, even though I LOVED the aesthetics of it. Even the first trailer, the one everyone hated. I wish the game had ended up more like that, a living, interactive Warner Bros. cartoon. That would have been the kind of change that I could have gotten behind.

I thought about that aspect of suicide. Someone can always turn their life around. But, really, if they haven't done that for the 20-30 years that they've been alive, how much chance is there of them eventually figuring it out? I agree that psycho killers and bullies in general often have a tragic childhood. But I think sociopathy and suicidal tendencies aren't always related. Sociopaths might not be happy, but they could still have that innate drive to survive. A lot of them are suicidal, but those seem to be the new brand of young, emo criminals, like the Columbine guys or that crazy Akihabara bus guy.

Guitar Hero...I dunno. As someone with rudimentary musical skills, I'd rather just play a real three-minute pop song with a real guitar. Or even a bass!! The drumming is interesting, though, since I don't have a set. And the singing is pretty good practice. I do have Space Invaders Extreme. Anticipated it, bought it, never played it. Story of my life.

But the way you only dedicate time to games with fresh content brings to mind a problem of mine with the modern gaming scene. Too many games. We don't have time to truly appreciate any of the titles because we're on a grim death march through a near endless sea of content. (Death swim?) And it obviously isn't a healthy environment for the publishers and developers.

Many games have crappy, grindy, tedious achievements, but some games have really fun achievements, like Crackdown. You get an achievements for repeatedly juggling a car or corpse in the air with rockets, which I didn't even realize until I had already done it. Crackdown is awesome. Have I already mentioned that? I think there's also an achievement for stapling someone to a vehicle with the harpoon gun.

I used to only buy DVDs with special features, and then never watch the movie OR the special features. On the other hand, when I rent a movie and only have it for a limited period of time, I often DO dip into the special features. Similarly, when I buy manga or comic books, I put them on the shelf immediately and watch as they acquire a fine layer of dust. But if I spot a series that I'm interested in (but not interested enough to collect) at Borders, I sit down and read the whole volume in its entirety. I own some runs of comics that are YEARS long that I've never read a single issue of. *sigh*

Going PS360 seems needlessly decadent, like eating chocolate off of a naked woman's body. Sure, you COULD do it, but do you REALLY have to?

When MS started crowing about the 360 overtaking the PS3 again in sales, I do remember thinking, "No shit. You dropped your console to $200." That's a phantom price, though. The cost of turning your arcade into a useful, fully functional machine is fairly prohibitive. Anyway, I wasn't talking about hardware sales. Third-parties only care about software sales. Not 'attach rate', but overall software sales, and, in that department, Microsoft is eating Sony's lunch. It's difficult to reverse such a strong trend. Especially with Live in the picture.

You know, that Netflix streaming is also kind of a compelling feature, I'm ashamed to admit. I miss my Free Trial. I'm going to have to piggyback my 360 on my sister's account...

Posted by 
 on: 02/14/09, 02:07:31
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