The Fall of the PSP, No German Violent Games Ban & Nintendo doesn’t make games for kids? – Welcome to the column that was two hundred columns in the making known as Dare to Play the Game.
I’m back from vacation, thanks for noticing. Thank you even if you didn’t notice, now quick you have 199 columns to read before you can enjoy this one (I have to get my hits somehow). This last week was spent in Bossier City, LA, not exactly a hot vacation spot but we had a lot of fun regardless. We also didn’t do any gambling there unless you count some horse racing which to me isn’t really gambling, it’s more like educated guesses.
Oddly enough, what most people would consider mundane experiences my wife and I consider a good time. For example, we went to two gaming stores while in Louisiana. I ended up purchasing 5 Xbox originals including the Tom Clancy Trilogy Pack and Myst III. We spent over an hour in a random book store and had a blast. But the obvious question would be why spend money on a hotel and rental car when we could do this stuff at home?
The simple answer to that would be for rest and relaxation. See in a hotel, I don’t have to worry about cleaning the dishes, mowing the lawn or paying the bills. I get to enjoy the vacation even if some of the activities might be considered mundane by the general public. Besides, if I hear the word staycation one more time, I might just shoot somebody. It’s a ridiculous word created by the media to capitalize on the financial strain of many families. No matter how they dress it up, a staycation is a poor excuse for the real thing.
Above and below this paragraph are pictures of the new French Blur Girls. Out this week is the new Blur racing game and apparently the French are swayed by women with tight clothing. Oh, who am I kidding, so is any heterosexual man who plays video games regularly. In fact, I wonder where I can get a playable demo of this fine game. Enjoy the four for one special this week my friends.
“Unless you’re careful, there’s a tendency for games like Mario that can be played by children to gradually become childish,” warns Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. “Those making the game tend to unconsciously make them that way.”
According to the famed game designer, the line “Where’d my mommy go?” was proposed for a Nintendo game. “When someone in their fifties like me hears their player-character speak childishly like that, it doesn’t quite sit right,” Miyamoto explains. “After all, Mario wasn’t a game only for children in the first place. As I make a game, I try to keep in mind that guys in their fifties will play it, too.”
Generally speaking, Nintendo and Miyamoto have historically been good at balancing kid and adult appeal. You could say it is the Pixar of the video game world — better yet, you could say Pixar is the Nintendo of the animation world.
Nintendo basically has a habit of creating games that are not aimed at kids or fifty year olds. They like to create games that people of all ages can enjoy. Look at any Mario Game, Wii Sports, etc, there is something that on basest of levels that anybody can relate to. The problem is more often than not that does mean skewing it towards the younger demographic.
It’s one of those caveats with the business. In order to make a product that is accessible for everybody you have to appeal to the lowest common denominator. So no, they aren’t making games for children. However, their systems (Wii and DS) attracts the best and worst games for children on the planet. Nintendo has always projected a family image and family game developers will gravitate accordingly, especially in the case of DS where any piece of kiddie shovelware can sell a couple of hundred thousand copies.
I’m all for family games, but this is one step away from grandma picking up a plastic drum set. Just say no.
Last summer, as Germany grappled with a shooting spree linked to video games, state officials demanded the German government enact a comprehensive ban on violent games. A year later the government has refused, choosing to implement ratings education measures instead.
Apparently, a petition that gathered more than 70,000 signatures helped influence the federal government’s decision. The signatures were enough to get the matter in front of Germany’s Committee on Petitions, and when allowed to address the body, the petitioner asked for more education on the PEGI rating system, which covers games distributed in
Herman Kues, a Parliament State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Home Affairs, subsequently announced that no changes to Germany’s current code were coming, and that the country would instead follow the public education recommendation.
A senior executive for Electronic Arts in Germany hailed the decision, telling GamesIndustry.biz that it was “a very welcome step as we encourage policy makers to better understand the reality of today’s video game market and give games the same respect as books, films or music.”
The power of the people, congratulations Germany for not choosing to go with a system that would possibly set you back twenty years. The choice to ban violent games would have alienated a good portion of your country and 70,000 people spoke up about it. Education and ratings system is the best way for people to make informed choices about the games they play rather than banning them outright.
It would be nice if countries including the United States would give gamers the same respect as books, films or music. As I sit here listening to Prince (pre and post-Jehovah), the other entertainment medias get a lot of leniency with mature content. The same leniency should be extended to video games where some education and a rating system can let the informed consumer choose their product correctly. Of course, this implies free speech and that barely exists here.
So now that violent games ban is out of the way, maybe we can talk about Wolfenstein? *whack* Too Soon?
The PSP may rule the roost in Japan, but in the U.S. of A., it’s enjoying a less comfortable last place spot, selling but a fraction of its direct competitor. Why the drop off and what’s Sony doing about it?
Sony’s Rob Dyer tells Gamasutra that rampant piracy of PlayStation Portable games is the system’s “biggest problem, no question about it.” Dyer says that the PSP maker has a plan to combat that, that it “will be able to, not stop, but slow down the piracy in the first 30 to 60 days from a tech perspective.” “There’s some code that you can embed that we’ve been helping developers implement in order to get people at least to see a 60-day shelf life before it gets hacked and it shows up on BitTorrent,” Dyer tells Gamasutra.
He’s also “not going to bullshit you” that the PSP hasn’t had the greatest line-up recently, but that “huge titles” are in the works and will be on hand for E3. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Resident Evil Portable and Toy Story 3 are just a few of the bigger games hinted at in the in-depth, worth-a-read interview.
I love companies when they use the convenient hook of piracy as something to blame their inadequate sales on. It makes them such an easy target. “Hi, I make the PSP and we are doing absolutely terrible in sales. We blame this phenomenon on people who steal our games.” Oh really? I understand that piracy is a concern with the system, but folks it could just be that the majority of your games suck.
I know, I know. It’s a harsh thing to say. I spent many nights awake trying to think of the best word to describe your games. Many an oreo cookie and glasses of low-fat strawberry flavored milk were used in this decision. Seriously, if you can name a dozen good psp games, I’d have to slap you silly. Furthermore, announcing such blockbuster games as portable games of popular regular console games (which rarely work) and a game based on a children’s movie aren’t going to help your stance any bit either.
Also, since when has PSP been ruling the roost in Japan? Did I miss the memo or did somebody completely forget the DS, DSI, DSI XL, DSI Super Size Me and the DSI Teenie Meenie Weenie? Japan has shipped over 30 million units of the DS (or some variation thereof). PSP…maybe half of that. Hardly ruling the roost. There are some good things about the PSP, but the game support simply hasn’t been there and outside of a miracle and more Kevin Butler, don’t expect this to change anytime soon.
Roll the dice and try to solve the puzzles in this unique game. There are enigmas to figure out and everything is solved by where the dice falls. There are plenty of enemies to fight in the 3-d worlds that include Jungle and the Castle. Plenty of play modes and sixty first person levels might make his a pretty worthwhile game. That or I could just be reading the promo information and still have very little clue what the game is about. Hey, I’m being honest.
Doom is back, and this time it is Hell on Earth. The game is still the same as the original, but there are some new levels and creatures to blast through. They also had the nasty habit of using bosses from the first game as ordinary monsters here. However, Doom II includes one of the most awesome weapons known to man in the double barrel shotgun. I certainly plan to get this one at some point, 800 points seems like a small price to pay for more Doom action.
Familiar with Ben 10 Alien Force? It’s a pretty decent cartoon series, and this is the first time a downloadable title has existed for the toon. Ben can harness the powers of the Omnitrix which enables him to transform into a wealth of creatures including Big Chill, Echo and Echo and now Lodestar (that supposed to mean something I guess). You’ll be facing Hex and his minions as you try to make sure that they don’t gain control of the Earth.
Whether you like them or hate them, the Art Style list of games do have a following. In Light Trax (known to some as Dotstream), players control a beam of light which you race with other light beams. The tracks have obstacles full of ordinary shapes like squares, rectangles and circles. Races are about 2 laps long and the game will feature three different modes. It’s simple good hearted fun on the cheap.
You are a monkey and you like to create mayhem. You’ll be doing so with up to seven other monkeys as you do battle across eight different worlds. It is the world’s first TMS. Third monkey shooter. Okay, wait that doesn’t even make sense. Chances are the game doesn’t either. But you’ll be going bananas as you try to make other monkeys leave their platforms in your way to victory. I really got to cut down on the puns.
This is supposed to be some sort of action escape game where you control a DNA Unit that is trying to dodge various enemy viral units. It honestly looks like worst use of yellow ever on a video game. You’re on your own, I can’t even finish the description for this one.
UFC Undisputed 2010
UFC Undisputed 2010
Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Kid Adventures: Sky Captain
Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
Club Penguin-Elite Penguin Force: Herbert’s Revenge
Dawn of Heroes
River City Soccer Hooligans
Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
Well, it is pretty easy to pick out the standout title of the week which would of course go to Super Mario Galaxy 2. The planets are smaller this time around meaning more jumps from planet to planet. Yoshi will also be available which was a logical direction for the title. It’s the same engine essentially, just more of what you love. Personally, I traded away my copy of the first title to get New Super Mario Bros but there will be plenty of picking up this one.
The new UFC game is also coming out with more fighters and an improved grappling system. You will also be able to use cage walls as well as use different fighting styles that weren’t available before. If I can ever stop playing wrestling games for 5 minutes, an UFC game might be the perfect diversion. I probably try to find a way to get the demo in my hands before too long.
Outside of that, we have Modnation Racers (which we can add to the list of PS3 titles I would be legitimately interested in if I owned a PS3) which will have heavy emphasis on user created content. This will include characters, vehicles and race tracks. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention River City Soccer Hooligans for the DS. Yes, a soccer title featuring the River City Ransom gang. If only we could get a remake of the actual fighting game and throw it on the Wii or XBLA. I’d be so happy.
I haven’t played too much lately. I’ve been messing with WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010 again and playing of course World of Warcraft. Hey, my dwarf priest only has 1 1/2 more levels until 80. But truth be told, I have been itching for a new game for quite sometime and I would venture that in the next month I will have made up my mind on what that will be. Or I could just go play Fable II again since I snagged the Platinum Hits on the really really cheap at Target recently.
Anyhow, I wanted to take a few minutes and express some gratitude on behalf of myself and this column. It’s been about four years of writing this column. Those who have been here from the beginning have seen a slew of changes in format. It used to be Morgan Webb and a bunch of retrogame reviews. Slowly, it morphed as I tried to make it more mainstream accessible in hopes of greater reader viewership.
Thank you to everybody who has read even a single column, whether forced or out of genuine interest. I’ve always wanted to write whether it would be reviews, columns, short stories or someday novels and have other people read and enjoy my work. Heck, someday maybe somebody will be foolish enough to even pay me for such a task. But even when that time comes, I will do my best to not forget those who knew me from the beginning and have appreciated my work.
Here is hoping that this column lasts for a good long time and that the ranting and comedy stays fresh and mostly relevant. Enjoy your week kiddoes and I hope you do come back next week.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)