Target Says No to Minigames, Kids Taught thru Video Games, & What the heck is DLC again? – Welcome to the column that is working on world domination one red-ringed Xbox at a time (if only it were that simple) known as Dare to Play the Game.
This week, I can safely say I didn’t game all that much. I did continue to play some on the Wii and muddled around with my Xbox 360 as well. On the Wii, I actually bowled my first 200+ (210) game on Wii Sports Resort. I still wonder if that translates to any improvement in a real bowling game. The last time I really bowled I was somewhere in the 170’s. I’m guessing I’m probably in the same place.
I did also play some Super Mario Galaxy, I only have a lowly 8 stars at this point. I’m sure a 5 year old could have a better total. The last star I got was received courtesy of some Ray surfing which should have been renamed major pain in the rear. However, I actually figured it out after a while which I haven’t with the other two galaxies that are available. One is Flipswitch galaxy in which the only thing you have to do is make all of the blue squares into yellow ones. The problem is that there are nasty obstacles and enemies in the way which do their best to drive you off the edge.
The other galaxy is the one you unlock when you give one of the hungry stars 400 star bits, like Sugary Sweet Galaxy or something. The problem here is that you are jumping and moving along this belt that has various shaped holes you can fall into. It wouldn’t be hard except the belt is constantly moving and there are also little shockers along the way. Is it wrong that I keep wishing for a classic controller setup? The analog stick on the nun chuck is so wonky sometimes.
A Milla Jovovich picture for this week. Resident Evil 4 the movie finally has a date that maybe this time we can hold onto this time and that date is September 10th, 2010. This picture will also be going 3d (I hope it is an option, not the only way to see it), so the delays were in part to get those ready. All Resident Evil movies are released in September, so that’s probably a convenient idea. Look for the return of Claire Redfield and the introduction of Chris Redfield from Resident Evil & Resident Evil 5 the games. I’m on board.
A survey conducted by media firm Frank N. Magid Associates has found that only 15% of active video gamers purchase downloadable content.
Of the 800 people polled, 15% said they bought DLC, 41% said they were aware of it but hadn’t bought any, and 43% said they’d never even heard of it.
That last stat isn’t as alarming as you’d think, as Frank N. Magid say the bulk of those people were using “consoles that don’t actively promote DLC, such as the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii”.
But the first two? The people who do know what downloadable content is? It shows only a bit over one third of them are buying DLC, which must be sad news for publishers, especially those breaking their backs (and betting the farm) on supporting games post-release.
Okay, now I could easily tout my horn of retail disc versus downloadable content but even I have trouble believing these numbers. If this was a poll of 800 people who own a video game system, I might actually believe it. But the whole active video gamers part throws me. What necessitates an active gamer? Somebody says, I own a Wii and play Wii Sports twice a year. Is that active?
Let’s say those numbers aren’t realistic for a second. The 43% that has never heard of it, let’s split that three ways. Say about 15% have never heard of it, 30% have bought DLC and 55% are aware but never bought any. That’s still an unwelcome idea to all of those who are pushing digital downloads. The average person either doesn’t have any intention of buying it or has never heard of it.
I admit, I’m in the 15% who has bought DLC because I think it is a good supporting idea. However, that does not mean I support the movement towards all digital distribution (which is still a far fetched joke). I think that premise is a huge mistake and you have the potential to alienate a good segment of your audience.
Xbox Live Arcade, great idea. Virtual Console, great idea. Xbox Games on Demand, terrible idea. PSP Go, the developer should have been shot. I’m sure I will say it a million times, but DLC is meant to be an alternative or a way to enhance the product not the only choice. This survey further cements that idea and software developers need to realize that the consumer makes the ultimate choice for distribution, not them.
If this was one of the 800 from the survey, no wonder only 15% knew what DLC was. Heck, the guy is wearing rabbit ears for pete’s sake.
A Gamasutra article published late last week carries an interesting rumor; namely, that two of America’s biggest retailers have told publishers they won’t be stocking any more Wii mini game compilations.
Gama’s Paul Hyman writes “Stores like Target and Best Buy have reportedly told game publishers not to even bother approaching them with collections of mini games, which they will no longer pick up.”
If true, it’s a welcome move, though probably far too late to have any impact on the Wii’s image as a haven for cheap shovelware.
Also makes you wonder where they’ll draw the line, as some of those “collections of mini games” – like T2’s Carnival Games series – have actually sold well. Real well.
Excellent. If only Walmart would follow suit. But then they would never have any games at $19.82 for the Wii. Let’s face facts, Wii is king of shovelware. There is no other explanation when there have been games about Jelly Belly jelly beans and Coldstone Ice Cream. Some of them are cute I suppose, but the majority of it is a big mess. Stores after a while, at least Target and Best Buy, can only take so much.
Could this move developers to stop producing crap for the Wii? Well maybe a little bit, but only like I said if Walmart picked up the torch as well. Walmart still has the habit of selling everything under the sun including coffins and fishing lures. Well except fabric, because apparently rednecks don’t buy fabric like they used to. They do however buy copies of Calvin Tucker’s Redneck Jamboree for the Wii. I wish I was kidding. Please stop the madness.
A screenshot from Redneck Jamboree. Some people really should be stripped of their video game license immediately.
Video Game Schooling
Last September, the Quest to Learn school opened in New York. It’s aim? To educate kids almost entirely though the use of video games.
There are 72 students at the school, which uses games, game design and game programming to teach children almost everything they’d traditionally have learnt from books.
“Games are exceptionally good at engaging kids,” Quests’ Katie Salen says. “They drop kids into complex problems where they fail and fail, but they try again and again.” Which apparently gives them one over regular school problems, where many kids try, fail, then don’t try again.
It’s hoped that the current crop of students can continue to be educated via games throughout high school, though they will still have to take New York’s mandatory, standardized tests, same as everyone else.
Quest is the culmination of almost three years worth of work, which first began in 2007 when Salen and the Institute of Play were awarded $1.1 million in funding from the MacArthur Foundation.
An ex-NBA star recently asked a group of children where playing Xbox will get them. He was promoting fitness, so he probably expected a negative answer. And he got one.
Here’s the Deseret News reporting on the noble effort of former Utah Jazz player Mark Eaton promoting fitness through an National Basketball Association program called NBA Fit:
Eaton asked the group where playing Xbox would take them in their lives. One young boy replied, “A minimum-wage nowhere job.” Eaton laughed and told the boys and girls to envision where they wanted to go in their lives.
“Start thinking about what you’re going to be great at, because that’s the only way to get there,” he said. “You have to be the one in charge of that change.”
Compare that to last week’s talk here at Kotaku about what parents hope kids can get from gaming. All in moderation, right?
Best of luck to those who have found a way to get work by playing Xbox. May your wages not be minimum.
We have two ends of the spectrum here. On one hand, we have a school that is using video games as a learning tool. On the other hand, we have a former NBA player whose only gift was shot blocking and a kid who has been brainwashed to say games are bad and will leave you working at a position where you have to wear a name tag. I wonder which one I will side with…don’t think too hard about this one, or did you not make it past the Redneck Jamboree game and decide to go to Walmart?
Sure, if you spend your whole life playing video games and neglect responsibility, you can easily fall into the minimum wage trap. But video games can be used as an important learning tool. I actually learned through my first video game: Oregon Trail. I learned three things: 1) Always be sure to have food and medical supplies or you’ll die. 2) Shooting a buffalo is easy as hitting a space bar and 3) I really suck at navigating rapids so hopefully I never visit water.
I think that the Quest to Learn school is very ambitious even if I do worry about the social aspect of the 72 students. This is a teaching mechanism that could last through high school for them if successful. I don’t think passing the standardized tests would be that difficult for students picked through this program but I wonder how about communication between other students. That’s why I actually propose a solution in moderation.
I love video games. But I also work forty hours a week in a computer-related position. When I come home, I spend time with my significant other (who also plays games) and then if I get some time, I play games either alone or with my loved one. Everything in moderation. I don’t neglect my responsibilities and I don’t neglect my fun. I learn through games and I feel I have succeeded in large part due to them. Gaming is a wonderful thing and it doesn’t mean you’ll be a slacker for the rest of your life as long as you know your limits and responsibilities.
Last week we had Matt Hazard and now Serious Sam. If this is a sign of things to come for 2010 in XBLA, I think I’m on board. Maybe Duke Nukem Forever can exist…okay maybe not. In the first encounter, Mental and his forces have come to earth to eradicate humankind. From the past, Serious Sam is sent to be the only help to save the human race. The humor is top notch and the improved graphics as well 4 player co-op is available from this Xbox updated release.
Many of you will recognize this as a DS release and it is basically the same game under the WiiWare service. You will be using the Wiimote to investigate the crime scenes and present the evidence to the court. The only difference between this and the DS version is obviously a little bit better graphics and the WiiWare will only have four cases. The fifth case will be presented as DLC later on.
Another one of those games where I don’t really know much about it, even from the screenshots. From the bumper text I got, this one mixes action, platforming, adventure & puzzles. Tell me if you have heard this one before. In this dual gameplay system, you control Nec in two temporal scenarios at the same time. So there you have it, ie don’t waste your 1000 points.
I honestly wonder sometimes who writes the text put out by Nintendo on these games. From DeepFried Entertainment (blocking the game arteries of the world?) comes this diddy. Light meets day when you use everyday objects to create fascinating shadows. Make a monster out of a pineapple, a dolphin out of a banana in over a 100 different unique puzzles. That part was paraphrase by me, but this is a direct quote. “You will never look at a slice of pizza the same way again.” Oh really, cause I tend to look at my pizza slice and think, wow that looks like, I don’t know, a freaking triangle with gooey cheese and a pleasing sauce. 800 points will score you this one.
The last game this week comes from the Sega Genesis system and is named Shanghai II, the Dragon’s Eye. It is essentially mahjong solitaire. When you win a game, at least in the original the tiles would reveal a 3d blinking eye of a dragon. Hence the name. I don’t believe there has been another Mahjong game to come to VC or WiiWare which would explain the release of this one. If that type of game pleases you, you probably won’t find much better.
Army of Two: The 40th Day
Vancouver 2010 – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Winter Games
Army of Two: The 40th Day
Army of Two: The 40th Day
Vancouver 2010 – The Official Video Game of the Olympic Winter Games
Walk It Out
The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces
Crazy Chicken Tales
Sands of Destruction
Escape the Museum
Commander: Europe at War
Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis
Army of Two makes a strong entry into the sequel department with this release where Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem with help from Alice Murray must defeat forces that have blazed Shanghai and left it scathed. Co-op play has been redefined by allowed co-op moves at any time unlike the original where they were pre-determined events. Decisions on morals also play a factor in what is sure to be an exciting sequel.
In other gaming releases, we don’t really have much. We have another Winter Games package (destined for the bargain bin), a Wii walking game (walking to the bargain bin?) and several DS releases. But also…we have Sleepover Party for the Wii which 60 mini-games which will make your next sleepover a smash hit! I’m pretty sure this is what Target and BestBuy had in mind not to sell. The only sleepover party I want to see is Mickie James, Christy Hemme, Velvet Sky and a camera to record the events.
So this week, I put together another spinner case (like the ones I used to store my dvds) but this time for Sarah and me’s cds. Once we finished putting it together, I transported the cds over to their new home. The spinner sat in an area where I had to move a contraption (that’s the best name for it) that held my Playstation 1 cds. About 100-150 of them. I gave the old cd storage home to the Playstation 1 cds and the contraption now stores books in a corner of our bedroom.
Along with the Playstation 1 disks, I also put with it my old Turbo Duo/Graphix 16 stuff that was in cases (I have a bunch of hucards that are loose in baggies). They had been hidden for quite a while and it was good to put them up there. I showed Sarah some of the games, and told her the sad tale of Dracula X which I once owned and tell here to finish up the week.
A long time ago, I was given a copy of Dracula X as a present by a girl I knew. She was into anime and import video games. We had a fling for a very short while and then we split apart. Many months later, she actually asked for it back due to money problems. In the end, I gave it back to her even though I was given it as a gift and the sad thing was it is the best Castlevania game I’ve ever played.
Truth be told, I miss that game. I would like to own a copy of it again, but I would probably too afraid to play it since it fetches around $125 last time I checked. But maybe somebody out there in video game land can help me with this request. I want another copy. And no, I don’t want the SNES version (it sucked and its still $75), and I don’t want the PSP Chronicles port. (No PSP nor desire to get one). I want a VC port.
I know VC ports of import games are hard to come by. But Dracula X: Rondo Of Blood was special. I know Konami wants to bring this version of Dracula X to our shores. There is actually a VC port for the Japanese Wii and it was released in 2008. Sure, it will be 900 or 1000 points here (Turbo Duo cd games are 800, and then imports they add 100-200 points), but when our choices are so costly and limited for other avenues, I think they will see this as a wise business and consumer decision. This is the type of game the VC concept flourishes under, please bring it to the US. Have fun kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)