Farmville Addicts, Xbox Indie Game Sales, & Mass Effect 2 will make you swap discs? – Welcome to the column that gets freaky with the geeks and wipes up afterwards known as Dare to Play the Game.
For a few months now, I have been playing WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010. Honestly, when I first got the game I didn’t think I was going to get anywhere close to 1000 achievement points. Then a funny thing happened. I kept with it. A lot longer than I kept up with 2007, mainly because the best thing about 2010 achievement points is that there are no online achievements. This means I can mess up as many times as I would like and not feel 12 waves of stupid for it.
So, I started off with Road to Wrestlemania (which is where I am currently) and moved around from Career mode to just downloading some created wrestlers and have them go at it to watch how the computer reacts in certain matches. Then this weekend, I tried going for some of the harder achievements. Ones that involve Championship Scramble, Legend difficulty setting and/or the Royal Rumble.
Much to my surprise, I started to get the achievements. In fact, the best moment was when I played Championship Scramble to perfection and received both the tentative champion from start to end (50 gs) and defending the championship in championship scramble on Legend difficulty (100 gs) in the same match (I used Chris Jericho and the WCW Championship of all things). I now stand at 810 gs for the whole game with only 4 achievements remaining. It certainly seems like 1000 could be in my grasp.
Here is one I probably should have done a long time ago, Felicia Day. Some might know her from eight episodes of Buffy or more importantly the famous web series; the Guild. This past week, she got to 80 on her priest in World of Warcraft (found via twitter). But it happened when she had to poke some gorilla babies with a stick. Not sure exactly which quest she is referring to, I’m sure Sarah can probably tell me. But Felicia should realize that every quest can’t be about saving murlocs. Though I’m sure most wish it could be.
Xbox Live Community Games
Major Nelson released a list of the top 20 Xbox Live Indie Games more than three weeks ago, but self-reported sales data from the creator community puts the first full year of the service in greater focus.
While full numbers for sales, trial downloads and revenue are not available for all titles, the developers of some of the top 20 titles report (in posts to this forum thread) making between $21,000 and $129,500, and seeing trial downloads converted to full sales at rates ranging between 11 percent and 26 percent. Top seller MAED A GAME W1TH ZOMB1ES!!!1 reported 160,000 downloads, which translates to about $112,000 after Microsoft’s cut of the $1 price.
On the other hand, Avatar Drop, a $1 amusement that finished a strong second, only converted 117,000 of 433,000 downloads. On the Indie channel, trials are limited to 8 minutes before a player must pay to unlock the full version.
Avatar Golf, the Sports Indie Game of the Year, reported 259,000 trials but no sales figures. Other notable games profiled by Kotaku, like Inside Lacrosse College Lacrosse 2010 and Rumble Massage, didn’t divulge any data in the community thread. Developers of games outside the Top 20 reported making between $500 and $17,500 on games priced between $1 and $5.
GamerBytes did a full collation of the reported data, with its own analysis, available at the link below.
One of the most interesting things about the Xbox Live service is Community games. At first, it was just a few random games where most of the titles looked like something a third-grader put out. (And no, for the record I couldn’t do better, I can’t even draw inside the lines). Then, they took the Indie label off the service and renamed it to Community. The service really seemed to take off from there.
So, time passes and we finally have some data we can mull through. The quality has improved and there is some really interesting stuff out there. Furthermore, they are actually making money with these games. Over $100,000 for a $1 game is amazing. Even the low end of the spectrum at $20,000 is still nothing to sneeze at especially if the developer is doing this as a second job or while they go to school in their off-hours.
To be honest, I wish I had art and/or programming skill. I’d be on this in a heartbeat. The only thing I could offer would be design work and a passion for details honestly, but it would be nice to see a game show up with my name on it. (Even it was just for voice work) Anyhow, good luck to every developer out there who is willing to try this avenue to produce their games. There is certainly a market for it and lots of people including me support it.
I just think it is ten waves of awesome (regardless of the game content) when you can be a top seller and have questionable spelling in the title of your game. Which makes it all the more ridiculous and awesome at the same time.
I don’t completely disagree with everything Dr. Phil says for once. Confronting a Farmville-obsessed mom in danger of neglecting her kids, he said, “You have a ridiculous addiction to a ridiculous computer game.” He got that last part right.
The mom, named Teresa, evidently unplugged her home’s wireless router to boot everyone from the family computer, then sneaked back online to tend her virtual crops. Bad mom! Bad mom! Dr. Phil held that factoid under her nose for a little bit, and Teresa tried to pin the extreme measures on her daughter’s “attitude” when she’s asked to get off the computer.
“No, it’s not,” Dr. Phil fired back. “You unplugged it because you have a ridiculous addiction to a ridiculous computer game that’s interfering with your ability to be a mother. You needed a fix, and she wouldn’t get off, so you had to create the opportunity.”
Dr. Phil, who’s taken on gaming addiction before, prescribed her a dose of “start a garden for real.” Sounds like good medicine to me.
My future wife Sarah plays Farmville, so do many of her friends. I do the typical male thing and snicker every time I see it. To be honest, I don’t care for the game or most Facebook apps (unless it involves a variation of Bejeweled it seems). I like my gaming either on World of Warcraft or in front of a television. But that isn’t the issue here. The real issue isn’t the fact that they make Farmville very maintenance oriented (as they do a lot of those apps), it’s to do with addiction.
Whether you are addicted to Farmville, Call of Duty, Wii Fit, or Japanese date simulators; there is real cause for concern when you neglect the outside world. One of the things that I juggled constantly in my life immediately after college was working out gaming time versus work and dating time. I knew gaming was always going to be around but I couldn’t let myself get addicted to it.
So, after much work, I am at the point where I can consider myself responsible. Am I perfect? Nah, far from it. To this day, I still have lapses where I will play a game for more than a couple of hours at a time. Warcraft is famous for that crap. But I keep focus and never neglect the world around me either. To do so would leave jobless, loveless and homeless. If you suffer from gaming addiction, perhaps growing a garden (regardless of title) wouldn’t be a bad idea.
This is a sheep that is named Dr. Phil. Rather than telling you to grow a garden, he’ll probably just tell you to go eat one.
Mass Effect 2
Like many sprawling role-playing games, Mass Effect 2 is coming on two discs. Unlike other two-disc affairs, however, it’s taking a different approach when it comes to swapping said discs.
Normally (this of course only applies to the 360 version of the game), you swap a disc halfway through a game. Or, if there’s four discs – like there was in Lost Odyssey – you swap a disc roughly every quarter of the way through.
Mass Effect 2 will instead ask you to swap from disc 1 to disc 2 around 1/3 of the way in. You then play the “middle” section of the game using disc 2, before swapping back to disc 1 for the game’s concluding stages.
“The decision was made due to the nature of having to go to two discs for what is a non-linear game and fitting the right amount of content onto each of the discs,” BioWare’s Jessie Houston told IGN. “This way players won’t have to swap their discs multiple times during the middle of the game.”
Oddly, we’ve found with our review copy that even players electing to install the game to their HDD will have to perform the above disc-swap routine.
UPDATE – BioWare tells us that the need to swap discs even after installing the game to your HDD was a requirement that came from Microsoft.
As most of you probably already know, Mass Effect 2 comes out to audiences this week. This game will actually be two discs which hopefully mean a more open ended and longer game than the first. But as we know, this means the all dreaded disc swapping routine. Please insert disc one, please insert disc two and so forth. Bioware actually did us a favor by trying to cram the discs full of material. If they didn’t, we would have had probably a 3 or even 4 disc game which would be even more of a nightmare.
However, the real problem with all of this is Microsoft. They have this great “invention” called installing to your HDD. Then what do they do? They still make you use your own discs to play the game. That in itself is okay, I understand, curb piracy, etc etc etc. But what I don’t understand is the logic behind installing a game to the hard drive and then still having to disc swap.
This came at the request of Microsoft. If I read the article correctly, Bioware could have made it so you didn’t have to disc swap if you choose the Install to HDD option. I mean really, what’s the worst could happen if you removed that requirement and only required disc one to be in at all times? I’m waiting…still waiting…hand from the audience. Yes? Because somebody could take disc two and play the game and thus have two people play at the same time.
/facepalm. To be honest, there are two problems with this logic. Yes, this could occur I guess since the install routine in Xbox Live probably doesn’t take into account which disc you are loading under. However, if I am understanding enough; doesn’t each disc have its own separate unique algorithm? It’s the same game sure, but different data…ala unique identifier. Just require the install to only look for disc one; problem solved.
Furthermore, even if I supported piracy (which I don’t), I wouldn’t dare loan out the second disc to somebody just so they could play. Even with best buds, the potential of never seeing that second disc again is simply too great to take the chance. Personal preference, sure but the whole we chip in each 30 bucks and you have disc one and I get disc two jazz doesn’t work, period. Hopefully, Microsoft rethinks some of this chicanery and at least we can get rid of this silly swap disc idea with HDD’s.
Another one of those releases where I barely have any information about the game. This is a collection of word games from Wordsworth the Owl. Players will go through an endless amount of puzzles and unjumble over 3,500 words that will test trivia and spelling skills. I would guess they give you clues and you have to unscramble words to progress through the various levels.
Most people know of the success behind Uno and Xbox Live. It’s easy to wonder why Wii, or more importantly WiiWare hasn’t had the game until now. This faithful reproduction from the guys at Gameloft will have you and up to 3 friends offline (or 5 online) trying to leave each other with cards so that you can pick up enough points and win. New rules have been added (probably to accommodate the offline multiplayer mode) and this should be an easy purchase for those who enjoy the game.
It’s another puzzler! Don’t act so surprised. You are placing pieces on a gameboard to make squares, or even better; squares within squares. Apparently the whole family can join in and there is lots of challenge and replay value to keep bringing them back. There are plenty of environments, modes and everybody can choose to play it different and still succeed. In Game Awards and High Score boards are also included.
Didn’t we have a game like this last week? Anyhow, it’s hidden object game where they give you a scene and you have to go find 12 items among it. This one will allow you to play with friends and family as long as you have additional Wiimotes. There are 10 stages and 277 different items. The items will also change position every time you play so that you get more replay out of the same level.
This game marks the return of Zeke and Julie from Zombies Ate My Neighbors . This time they are traveling through five different worlds to save their town from a horror exhibit come to life. There are plenty of monsters (including ones coming out of trash cans) and weapons (including plunger arrows and squirt guns). This can classify as a sequel but the characters were licensed out to a third party to make this game, so it might not be classified as a sequel in the true sense.
Shadow of Destiny
TNA: Cross the Line
Mass Effect 2
Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Marines Modern Urban Combat
Fast Food Panic
Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans
Imagine: Party Planner
Personal Fitness Women
Personal Fitness Men
Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans
Actually, this week kinda surprised me. This is a very strong week, especially in the way of system exclusives. The three big systems each have at least one exclusive this week. Obviously, the giant hoopla is centered around Mass Effect 2 which still at this point is supposed to be a trilogy. It boasts two discs of content, a more open storyline and importation from the first Mass Effect meaning carryover! Sorry for the excitement, it’s about time somebody out there made a game like that for the console. Could this be a first? Anybody know?
MAG comes to the PS3. MAG stands for Massive Action Game and will support up to 256 players with users divided into 8 player squads, 4 squads make a platoon and 4 platoons make a company (128 vs 128 for those who can’t multiply). To be honest, this looks mighty impressive and again I don’t know if there has been any game on console that can boast 256 players at once.
On the Wii side, we get a couple of exclusives in the form of Tatsunoko vs Capcom and No More Heroes 2. Tatsunoko is a collection of Japanese animation. They boast an impressive list of characters which make it ripe for a fighting game. This includes characters from Tekkaman, Yatterman, and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Stay tuned for next year’s title: IGotAMan YouGotaWhat IGotAMan WellHowLongYou HadThatProblem. Jokes aside, the Capcom side is a little more distinctive with Street Fighter, Mega Man (here we go again), Rival Schools, Darkstalkers, and even Dead Rising (Frank West assisted by zombies) making an appearance.
No More Heroes 2 is mostly the result of the first one doing so well on the Wii. According to reports, this will be the last No More Heroes title for the Wii as the developers want to move to 360 and/or PS3 because there is simply nothing more they can do with the platform. Ouch.
Blood Bowl is the final exclusive worth mentioning as it is the closest we will get to Mutant League Football on a current console. Originally believed to be a XBLA title, this full release will feature plenty of bone crushing fun while maintaining a high level of strategy.
This Saturday, I venture into the world of marriage for the second time. As most of you who read this column know, I am very close to my future wife Sarah. I mention her all the time and we are deeply in love. Marriage was inevitable and there is nobody on this planet I would rather spend every waking moment with. In fact, most days I simply think about finishing work so I can come home and be with her. Sickening ain’t it?
Seriously, it has been coming a long time and I am glad I can finally make it so. To find somebody who shares my interest in games and actually likes to listen to me talk or read my work has been refreshing and done wonders for my creativity. Honestly, if she had not walked into my life, this column probably would not continue to be produced. I’d be sitting on a couch wondering where my next game was coming from and not giving a care in the world to my writing.
I hope that this marriage lasts until the end of our lifetimes and whatever is beyond us. We are united in spirit and she makes me smile. So my message this week is that regardless of your current state in life or who you are with, try to find something that you really connect with. Whether it is a person or hobby or a lifelong dream, you should strive to find it. Once you get there, hold onto that force as tight as you can and only happiness will be in your heart from then on. I certainly found mine. Take care kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)