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Member Since 15 Jun 2011
Offline Last Active May 30 2012 09:36 AM

Topics I've Started

Indie Games and Nintendo

24 April 2012 - 07:19 AM

So... has anyone else been really stoked recently to follow the Kickstarterphenomenon, and watch developers get to make some fairly big-budget games without even involving publishers?  I mean... a cool $3.5millionUSD for DoubleFine's point-and-click adventure is really an astounding budget... and all fan supported!

This got me thinking, however... most of the bigger games on the site are planning to release (eventually, anyways) on pretty much every platform known to man (even the Vita)... except for a Nintendo platform.  This is a real letdown...

I know that people on these forums have said that Nintendo makes it unusually difficult on indie developers... and not ever having tried to become a Nintendo dev, I'm not sure if this is true.  What i do know is that there seems to be a slow-tide movement in games, polarizing the industry between enormous, hollywood-esque AAA titles and small, homespun indie games (many of which have great merit).

Given this mounting trend (as well as the general awesome potential of giving developers a platform for making their off-the-wall ideas become reality), doesn't it behove Nintendo to make the process as easy as possible for indie devs?

Should Nintendo Be Interested in Making Phones?

20 April 2012 - 12:55 PM

So... Nintendo is pretty clear regarding how they feel about smartphones as gaming devices.  Iwata says that phones, as non-dedicated gaming devices, can't offer the rich, deep experiences that are ultimately satisfying to their fans.  Reggie has said that the company is not - and probably never will be -  interested in making a phone.

But... and I'm not just parroting the silly doom-and-gloom-consoles-are-out analysts here... SHOULD they be?

The thing with phones is that - unlike a gaming device - you kind of have to have one (or at least it's becoming increasingly expected in our society that we will have one).  We (speaking as the representative consumer, here) feel that it is essential for us to have a phone... and as long as we have to have one, we feel that it would be silly for us NOT to choose a phone that also has so many other things we want (like access to social networks, streaming video, email, web access, books, utilities for performing everyday tasks, and yes, GAMES).  Once in the possession of such a device - one that seems to offer so many genuine opportunities for rich media - we feel that it is cumbersome and unnecessary (or at least annoying) to bother with DVD players, separate music players, laptop computers, or even to carry around a second device for gaming...

I get Iwata's argument... and I agree that smartphones, such as they are, will never replace the experience of gaming with sticks and buttons.  But why not simply make a gaming phone with sticks and buttons, then (like Sony's phone, but much, much better)?  The iPhone has some games of very broad scope and very deep value (few, I grant it, but they are there).  It can be done, and done well... and iPhone sales are exponentially greater than iPod sales (which can do everything the iPhone does except for make calls), simply because it is also a phone.

So... why is Nintendo uninterested?  And should they be?

Nintendo's Online Service

19 April 2012 - 08:59 AM

Ok... So I know there have been many threads focusing on different aspects of this topic.  Still, I want to know what you guys actually want most from the online service.  Does it matter if the Miis get customizable clothes?  Do you care about DLC, or even about digital distribution of any kind?  Do you like the idea of achievments/trophies adding up to a "gamerscore", or is it ruining gaming?  Are you a hardcore competitive multiplayer junkie - one who wants to be notified mid-game if friends of yours start playing another game so you can jump in - or do you mostly game solo anyway?

I think the pulse of the average Nintendo gamer might be significantly different from that of the average PS/360 gamer in regard to online functionality... but I don't know for sure... so let me know what you think!!!

Personally, I am dying for a strong friend/profile system.  The first thing I check when I turn on my 360 is what my friends are playing, and I almost always jump in to their game (whether cooperative or competitive).  I didn't include a "multiplayer gaming" option, because it seems like the variables of what people might mean by this are too complex.  I would assume, for instance, that the system would allow players to play games online (duh)... but as for the options regarding connectivity, dedicated servers, centralized billing, etc.... well, I'll leave that up to your comments.

To Capture the Gaming Enthusiast, Nintendo Needs Games that...

13 April 2012 - 12:50 PM

... What?

I just don't think that amazing tech specs would do it... you couldn't make an affordable console that could approach what PCs are doing atm, even if you wanted to.

Like the recently made statement says, it's got to be the games... but what kind of games?  Certainly 3rd party ports with marginally better graphics won't do it (why buy a whole new system so you can play the new Battlefield with a few more particle/lighting effects?).

Is it the HD versions of beloved franchises like Metroid and Zelda?  Will that bring people to the big N (or bring them back)?

Is it a new 1st party IP?  Some good 1st/2nd party exclusives?

I wonder this in all sincerity, as I often waver in my own resolve to pick the system up at launch.  What kind of game would it take to put me in line on day one, happy to fork over my $400 for hardware + game?

At the moment, I think that in the absense of a serious reboot (i.e. full reimagining) of Zelda/Metroid/StarFox, it would take a rather epic new adventure game to capture me hook-line-and-sinker.  I really want a fresh and compelling universe (no matter who it comes from) - one that I could only get on Nintendo's console; something as captivating as Uncharted, as addicting as Halo, but as polished and solid as Mario.  Ninty has taken the risk before with games like Eternal Darkness... and I think it will take that kind of boldness to attract the gaming enthusiast.

What does everyone else think?

What Makes a Game Great?

30 June 2011 - 06:03 AM

Ok, so... does anyone feel up to explaining what, exactly, made the original Mario so great?  I mean, it is GREAT.  I played it into the ground when it came out, and I love it to this day.  But why?  It's not like the jumping is just that much fun, or that everyone identifies with a fat plumber, or that the environments and challenges were all that awe-inspiring.  WHAT IS IT?

Looking over the true classics, it's pretty universally difficult to explain the appeal.  In plenty of ways, there have been more "interesting" block games than Tetris... but Tetris is still the best.  There have been more varied, nuanced, and deep experiences than the old text-based dungeon adventures, but I would go and replay those (or even King's Quest) long before I would replay, say, Fable III.

Recently I downloaded Superbrothers:Sword&SworceryEP for my iPhone, and it reminded me about the awesomeness of those 8-bit days... and reminded me that we've been pretty much stuck in a gaming box for many, many years, still playing by the rules that Miyamoto and others like him helped to write back in the 80s.  It wasn't the particular presentations that made those games great... it was something else.

It seems that we're still trying to make games either more like movies or more like carnival games or more like a very interesting pop-up book... but is there something else we could be doing with them (and isn't it something else that those early creators were tapping into, albeit unconsciously)?  Couldn't we be messing, somehow, with interactivity itself - with the fact that we are both manipulating and being manipulated by our environment in electronic media?  Couldn't we make a game that lived in the tension between narrative (what the story is doing to you) and personal responsibility (what you are doing to the story and the characters), and asked us to find a real equilibrium with that dynamic through our in-game actions?

Maybe this is just too "heady" or esoteric for the average gamer... but if we aren't asking ourselves what makes games great, then don't we simply run the risk of games hitting the same cultural arc as film (basically peaking early as art, then becoming a special effects arms race, then devolving into formulaic blockbuster attempts in the interest of making money)?  If NO ONE cares about this question, then I'm afraid that, like the film industry, the games industry will soon be left with nothing but the polar opposites of Call of Duty blockbusters and tiny indie offerings like World of Goo... and I, for one, find that a depressing prospect.

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