Bridging the great divide

By a happy coincidence, everyone who writes for 1UP has his or her own beat, so to speak — that is, particular types of games they know well and tend to cover at events. Considering we’re down to a skeleton crew (thanks, housing bubble!), that works out pretty well for us. You’ve probably noticed that (when I’m not just writing about old stuff) my beat tends to center around Nintendo and Square Enix, which is why I spent 90% of my E3 time either in those companies’ booths or talking to their people. And why that infectious New Super Mario Bros. Wii theme was stuck in my head for a week.

Being so immersed in those specifics, I was only able to take a cursory glance at what everyone else had on display for the show. I saw just enough to assure me that I needn’t feel as disenfranchised by the medium as I have for the past year, because even amidst all the massively hyped, adolescent pandering of the industry’s God of War IIIs and Bayonettas are tons of interesting, creative, inventive, appealing works. You have the obvious selections like critical darling Scribblenauts, but also a sequel to the merely-pretty-good New Super Mario Bros. that somehow looks a lot more fun than the sequel to the sublime Super Mario Galaxy, a Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game I’m actually looking forward to playing, and the first-ever survival horror game I can’t wait to experience.

Most gratifying, though, was the realization that Nintendo deserves a “Most Improved” ribbon for their showing this year. The company’s releases tend to be pretty divisive of late, with long-time fans feeling abandoned amidst shouts of “non-games” and “casual nonsense” and other such epithets. There’s a real us-or-them mindset about Nintendo, at least from fans, but at E3 I feel the company proved that those distinctions are arbitrary at best, completely erroneous at worst. Listening to executives and designers speak made it clear that they recognize the different needs of different groups, but don’t necessarily find them mutually exclusive. NSMB Wii is the embodiment of this concept, taking a game (Super Mario Bros.) that everyone knows and everyone loves, regardless of demographic, and creating an expression of that series that can be played, simultaneously, by the full array of its fans. They tried for something like that with Mario Kart Wii, I think, but that was a frigging mess. NSMB Wii, on the other hand, totally nails it.

Wii Sports Resort nails it, too. You know, I’ve never even played Wii Sports — nothing about it interested me, and for some inexplicable reason people are willing to pay $40 for a free pack-in title on eBay, so I sold my copy last year. But the sequel looks excellent, from what little I’ve played: the archery event is phenomenal, and the kendo portions are great. (The 100-man standoff, which I’m calling “O-Mii-Chanbara,” looks like the realization of something Bushido Blade attempted but did poorly.) Sure, I can’t help but wish I were doing the archery in a Zelda game — which will happen in due time — but even here, in the context of standalone athletic events, it’s incredibly addictive.

Between those two games, you have the whole of Nintendo’s strategy, which is transcending boundaries and groups and demographics with games that appeal to everyone. Mario reaches out to the casual player from the company’s history of traditional games, while Wii Sports Resort beckons the long-time fan from the shores of pleasant, lightweight, universal gaming diversions. They may be coming from different places, but the end result should be the same: a good time to be had by all.

The fact of the matter is that Nintendo’s been doing this all along. When it “abandons” gamers to create things like Wii Fit, it’s not as though the company’s developers have suddenly forgotten that they have a long, storied tradition of making videogames. On the contrary, they incorporate that legacy into works that their fans dismiss. I’ve put in quite a bit of time with Wii Fit this year, and I’m constantly impressed by how much it draws upon 30 years of Nintendo’s game development heritage. Wii Fit may not be everyone’s idea of a videogame, but it makes use of gaming’s vocabulary and the underlying Nintendo philosophy. No one else could have made Wii Fit, because no one else approaches games in quite the same way.

I’m not even talking about all the balance games, which blatantly are videogames (and pretty fun ones, at that). No, I mean that Wii Fit itself is fundamentally structured like a traditional videogame. You have a goal to aim for — 22.0 BMI and perfect left-right body balance — and both positive and negative interactive feedback to chart your progress. You can designate interim goals on the way to that final elusive victory, progressive weight-loss milestones undertaken against a timer, which really isn’t so different from trying to complete a level of Mario before time runs out. There’s plenty of repetition, but surprising little variances constantly appear within the routine to keep you on your toes. Even the startup theme at the Wii Menu — the six-note motif when you select the Wii Fit disc channel — calls back to Nintendo’s classic games. It’s the opening bar of the town theme from Zelda II, you see.

I can’t really take issue with what Nintendo’s doing with things like Wii Fit. Sure, not everything they do these days interests me, but the contention that a game or product doesn’t have the right to exist because it doesn’t cater to you is the worst kind of egocentrism. It’s a mistake I make sometimes, too, though being at E3 reminded me how myopic it is. I may not have much use for the big, massively-hyped games, but they have an audience, and people are still making plenty of things that do interest me. For their part, Nintendo’s simply using a finely-honed sense of game design in new ways, and even when their efforts don’t pan out, at least they’re still putting that experience to use. And sometimes, those new applications do come in handy; Wii Fit has been a big part of my losing 40-plus pounds over the past year and getting back into the physical shape I was in back in college. And through all of this, I haven’t made much use of the core software — I got sick of the actual exercises after about a month and decided to use that workout time for walking down the hill to the beach instead — yet I still boot up a few times a week to check my overall progress, which keeps me mindful of how I’m eating and exercising. This was, in fact, Shigeru Miyamoto’s stated goal with Wii Fit when I interviewed him last year before the product launched; he didn’t presume the game itself would make people healthy, but that it would become a tool for anyone interested in having a healthier lifestyle. And it uses gaming language to do it, with its goals and fanfares and Zelda music and minigames and talking Balance Boards.

I feel so bad when I let the Balance Board down. He only wants what’s best for me.

So yeah, maybe I’m just at a different point in my life than most people who follow Nintendo closely — I’m fine with non-game applications and works designed for people who aren’t me even though I like the old-fashioned “hardcore” games a lot too — but I looked around the company’s E3 booth this year and I was really impressed. Their efforts to bridge the great divide between two different audiences have been hit or miss, but this year it felt like they really had it down. And, you know, they still had Sin and Punishment II and Metroid Other M for the people who cry about abandonment and loneliness on message forums.

Best pacifier ever.

45 thoughts on “Bridging the great divide

  1. I think people who are instantly dismissive of the Wii and its software library no matter what are just not paying attention. With recent software releases EA Sports Active, Excite Bots, and Punch Out!!, I’ve been using my Wii more than ever.

    Two of those are even video games!

  2. One thing that surprises me is how much I’ve realized I’ve matured as a gamer from the beginning of this generation to where we are now (And no, “maturing as a gamer” is not oxymoronic!) I remember being very disappointed with the direction the Wii was taking shortly after the launch, and only really cared about the flashy stuff coming out for 360, while older games that I grew up on couldn’t keep my attention for more than 5 minutes at a time. I was even barely playing my DS during this dark period!

    I don’t know what happened, but somewhere around discovering this site a year ago and becoming serious about the whole “game journalist/developer” thing, I find that I get a lot more enjoyment out of old games, play my DS and Wii a lot more, play a lot of genres that never appealed to me before such as dungeon crawlers and rougelikes, and don’t even have any intention of replacing my (third) broken 360 for some time. This isn’t to say I won’t be picking up God of War III (Could care less about Bayonetta though), but I’ve certainly been disillusioned by the supposed ‘core gaming’ culture now more than ever.

    And honestly? seeing that ‘core gaming culture’, I think I’m very thankful for that.

  3. Really, Kat, I thought you were above the “Someone criticized a game I like so it clearly must be an attack on me by proxy” trap.

  4. I feel like most pieces of commercial media are useless wastes of time and money, but there’s always enough gems out there to make it all worthwhile. That’s true of hardcore games, and it’s true of casual games, and as much as I like both, I’ll never begrudge anyone for writing either of them off because they’re have no desire to wade through all the crap to find something they might like.

  5. Aw crap. I edited half of one of my sentences in the previous post, but neglected to change one of the words in the other half, and I can’t go back and change it.

  6. I don’t really agree with you Mr. Parish. Wii Fit may have game-like elements, and I’m all for keeping an open mind, but if Wii Fit is a traditional game then the definition of “game” is meaningless.

    You may say, “Hey, that’s great! Exactly. Games should break definitions, not be confined by them.” That’s a nice sentiment. But it ignores the fact that there are things people *like* about certain game conventions, to a certain level of abstraction. But making those conventions abstract dulls the specific contours of a concept. There are limits to how abstract one can make a game convention before it really isn’t recognizable at all. “Work towards a goal,” which is basically as abstract as a game convention must be made to include your BMI Wii Fit game argument, is too abstract to be a recognizable game convention.

    Conversely, if you consider the conventions of “bosses” or “power ups” or anything like that, there’s still considerable room to be creative while still staying true to the convention. That is, you accept a limited framework and the benefit is a more focused experience. It’s the same reason why it takes so much more work to make a properly focused 3D game than a 2D game.

    From your perspective, I’m being close-minded. But the “core gamer,” whoever that is, knows a game when they see it. They recognize game conventions at whatever individual level of abstraction they accept. There may be different levels of game convention abstraction for every different gamer, but there’s probably a mean, median, and average somewhere that Nintendo is just not meeting. And I don’t think what Nintendo is doing now is anywhere near those statistical marks. They’re appealing to non-gamers with non-games.

    And this wouldn’t matter, if they did indeed produce “core” games. But to Nintendo, “core” just means another Mario, Zelda and Metroid, at this point. They’re fun, but they’re rehashes any way you spin it. Where is the original content? Where’s the actual GAMES that take advantage of the Wii, from Nintendo? It seems like all of the original, creative staff of Nintendo are working on either non-games or rehashes. The point, the desire of “core” gamers is ORIGINAL, CREATIVE games. That’s why I, at least, was standing in line at 6 AM in NYC on launch day.

  7. Aside from the people who were naysaying from the offset, I think most of the backlash to Nintendo stemmed from either not announcing heavier, non-casual titles, or failing to release here those they had the rights to anyway, notably Disaster and Fatal Frame IV. Missing those two doesn’t bug me so much anymore though since it doesn’t sound like Disaster was all that great (not a huge surprise admittedly), while Fatal Frame IV was plagued with bugs and imbecilic Wii Remote use.

    It looks like we’re missing the new Trace Memory though, and after Layton I kind of wonder if they could’ve successfully sold that here with a strong ad campaign.

  8. Great article, I couldn’t agree with you more.

    You do realize though, that you’re the only game journalist who has this senitment, do you?

  9. Oh, no I’m not. Lots of people feel the same way, they just don’t vocalize it in public forums very often.

    “But it ignores the fact that there are things people *like* about certain game conventions, to a certain level of abstraction.”

    That presupposes that “game” has to fit a narrow definition, which is of course nonsense. Film, music, literature, and other mature media don’t adhere to those restrictions, and this medium shouldn’t be hobbled, either.

  10. “because even amidst all the terrible, massively hyped, adolescent pandering of the industry’s God of War IIIs and Bayonettas are tons of interesting, creative, inventive, appealing works.”


    Oooooh, look at me, I’m Jeremy Parish, the super cool mature white dude in his 30s (who thinks he’s old, but he’s really not) who doesn’t like to play the 100 million dollar high definition Playstation 3/Xbox 360 videogames. I don’t play such childish things anymore. I’m too good for those kinds of videogames. Fuck you Parish!

    *Mr. Parish takes a sip of his green tea, while reading the newspaper with his legs crossed on a Sunday afternoon*

  11. The only thing Wii Fit has going for it is the fact that it’s a video game on a popular system. Early on, I would defend Wii Fit on various forums by saying “Sure, you can work out for free, but do you?” It’s like buying a new piece of workout equipment; you feel compelled to use it a lot right away, but Wii Fit is an even easier investment to make than say a Bowflex.

    The problem with Wii Fit, though, is that its execution is horribly flawed. Wii Fit Plus looks like it’ll remedy one of the main problems by allowing you to string together exercises into a routine, but I can’t see how that feature didn’t make it into the original if Nintendo was actually concerned about the player’s health.

    Other than that, Wii Fit’s biggest problem is a lack of context. Aside from telling you which muscle groups are being worked, the game doesn’t explain much of anything to you. How should I warm up, what should I be eating, when should I do which exercises? If using Wii Fit as a stepping stone to better fitness was Miyamoto’s plan, he didn’t do a very good job because the game doesn’t show you where to step next.

    If it works for you to log in every now and then, that’s fine, but for my money, I would have preferred to buy a detailed bathroom scale.

    @ New Super Mario Bros. Wii:

    I’m sure the game is a blast to play, but I don’t get how the theme of Nintendo’s presentation was “Everyone’s Game” yet I won’t be able to play New Super Mario Bros. Wii the way it was intended. My friends would rather play UFC 2009 Undisputed (a good game in its own right) than 80 levels of Mario with me.

    The lack of online support is pretty ridiculous for a game built entirely around four-player co-op in 2009.

  12. Someone seems to have a real axe to grind about Jeremy being a white dude in his 30’s, which is like being annoyed at a Japanese salaryman for being a 30-50 year-old asian guy.

  13. Bushido Blade done right sounds like Sword of the Samurai/Kengo 2. And yeah, as someone with no interest in Wii Sports at all, Wii Sports Resort did look like a whole lot of fun. So if the Kendo’s as fun as you say, consider me looking forward to it!

    Also Li Liu Fujiwara needs to realise that if he really only wanted to read stuff that agreed with his love of blockbuster titles, GameSpite should not have been the first port of call.

  14. Well, it’s true that I do like green tea. I guess he has me dead to rights!

    I really assumed the frothing at the mouth would show up in the comments at the other posting of this article, though. You jes’ full o’ surprises.

  15. @Chas

    Somebody suggested that the deal might be that recognizes that the lag would interfere with and undermine the game play to an unacceptable degree, as opposed to Nintendo just being inscrutable (I think it was remarked that this is a big problem with Little Big World?)

  16. As someone who considers himself a gamer, but most of the time can’t stand the “core”, I couldn’t agree with you more, Parish.

    The attitude so many people have toward ‘casual’ and ‘non’ games is truly frustrating. As far as I can tell, the logic works like this: “We (hardcore gamers) are real gamers. We made this industry. Now publishers have the unmitigated gall to make games that aren’t targeted toward us!?” Dissertations could be written on the arrogance and sense of entitlement implicit in the hardcore game community. While I was following E3 coverage, I heard Dan Hsu use some variation on feeling like his “balls were cut off” at least three times when referring to seeing presentations of games not targeted toward him. This is the attitude of a petulant child.

    (But “O-Mii-Chanbara”? That’s just awful.)

  17. It’s amazing how fired up some people get when someone actually writes something good about Wii Fit or Nintendo. God forbid people have opinions these days.

    Jeremy, great write up. I have been feeling this way about Nintendo’s whole philosophy for a long while now and was starting to think I was alone. I’ll tell you one thing though, you should have kept Wii Sports for Bowling alone. When I think of the past two Thanksgivings with my family, Wii Sports Bowling is the first thing I think of. It’s really great stuff.

  18. I got tired of the exercises in Wii Fit ages ago, but I have the feeling that’s supposed to happen. Even the Wii Fit board, bless his little alkaline hearts, mentions that you should move on to other activities once Wii Fit makes you more aware of what you’re capable of. That’s a big reason why I signed up for karate.

  19. “And this wouldn’t matter, if they did indeed produce “core” games. But to Nintendo, “core” just means another Mario, Zelda and Metroid, at this point. They’re fun, but they’re rehashes any way you spin it. Where is the original content?”

    Could have ended the sentence at “They’re fun.” If they’re fun, what’s the all the complaining about?

    Innovation and “original concepts” are not necessarily positive, by the way. If innovation leads to trash gaming, I’ll take a Mario rehash any day of the week and twice on your birthday.

    The idea of “core gamer” and “casual gamer” needs to go the way of the dodo. I’m a gamer. Period. No modifier required.

  20. Wow. Just wow at the comments.

    I already commented on the 1up hosted copy of this entry, but I will say here that Parish’s idea is more in line with what gaming is, rather than the so called core that seemingly emphasizes aesthetics over actual gameplay mechanics. And this isn’t a function of the level of technology used. That much is merely incidental. (Except of course when it affects the developers of the games themselves in terms of costs and development difficulties.)

  21. @Parish: Nobody’s saying games have to be hobbled. Take film. There are things that make a film good (and coincidentally, also often make a game good) that include plot, character development, story. Those are elements, but they are often also conventions. Now, there are abstract film pieces, sure. I enjoy them, as a novelty. But you are a rare breed if you are willing to commit your movie studio to making abstract one-off novelty concept pieces as your signature fare (compare to, e.g., Wii Fit, Wii Vitality Sensor).

    Instead, the best films, the classic films, find a way to work within certain conventions and, perhaps, turn them on their heads. But never completely abandon them, unless there really is something better, not just something “different.” The world is gripped with Wii novelty fever, but none of this seems very lasting or permanent to me. Wii Fit is not a work of art, as I see games progressing towards. It’s a tool, to be used and discarded, and it sounds like, as you use it less and less, you’re fitting that usage pattern, no matter how Nintendo dresses it up with the barest and most abstract token “game” elements.

    @han_shot_first: The video game industry has become about as conservative as the music and movie industries. It’s sequelitis, and better people than I have talked about it already. But if you are satisfied with just playing different iterations of the same game, I wish you’d raise your standards a bit. You can innovate a lot on that basis, but never produce something really revolutionary. What was Wii’s codename again? Oh, right…”Revolution.”

    A game that is just “fun” is a cop out. I started playing Zelda: Twilight Princess, for instance, and just got about 1 hour in and gave up. It was “fun,” but there was something else at work too. It was “tedious.” Because I had played the same game already. It was the same damn Zelda game I played 3 times already, ever since Ocarina. And every time they rehash gameplay mechanics, etc, the tedium weighs heavier and heavier against the “fun.” It already outweighs the “fun” for me for most sequels.

    @both: It almost sounds as if I’m contradicting myself. I want originality and convention! I want something new and old! I agree that it’s a hard line to walk. But the trick is always to combine them. (It’s the same in music and film.) Just giving me both extremes via both “core” franchise rehashes and novelty lifestyle throwaway games just ends up giving me nothing. at. all.

  22. @han_shot_first: I just thought of a good example. Last night I saw Drag Me to Hell. [SPOILER ALERT] It was undeniably a horror movie, filled with horror movie conventions. But even within that, it was original. A lamia! It had personality and moral conundrums. To save your life, would you sacrifice…the cat! Your best friend! Your worst enemy! The settings and plot were both novel and familiar, and contained contemporary social commentary. A bank employee is the central character–spot the credit crisis wish fulfillment asides!

    But after all this, it was undeniably a genre movie. How did it innovate while staying true to the things people loved about stereotypical, generic horror movies? That requires effort, and maybe a little genius, but it’s certainly not impossible. I just wish Nintendo would put a little more effort into actually trying to walk that line with some original games.

  23. “Wow. Just wow at the comments.”

    Comments? You mean comment. There’s only one idiotic personal attack that I see here; the rest looks like measured discussion (both disagreeing and concurring). You want to wow at comments, go read what my positive remarks about FFVII begat. You’d think I crapped on someone’s mom or something.

    Jeff Lim: See, your comments on film are exactly what I mean when I talk about myopia — no offense intended. You look at film as being some sort of narrative by necessity, but there are many other kinds of video. Wii Fit has nothing to do with Rushmore and everything to do with a yoga video. I’m not saying Wii Fit is perfect, but it has a function that exists outside of the traditional definition of videogame. That doesn’t make it invalid; it just makes it different.

  24. Sorry there, I came down with a case of tl;dr, where I thought there were about 2-4 incendiary comments instead of just 1. And yes, I witnessed the FF7 comments fiasco.

  25. @Parish: Ok, it makes them different. I wasn’t saying that was bad–I accounted for that by describing abstract film. But here’s what I was responding to in your article:

    “…Mario reaches out to the casual player from the company’s history of traditional games, while Wii Sports Resort beckons the long-time fan from the shores of pleasant, lightweight, universal gaming diversions. They may be coming from different places, but the end result should be the same: a good time to be had by all.

    The fact of the matter is that Nintendo’s been doing this all along. When it “abandons” gamers to create things like Wii Fit, it’s not as though the company’s developers have suddenly forgotten that they have a long, storied tradition of making videogames. On the contrary, they incorporate that legacy into works that their fans dismiss…”

    Your article sounds like you’re saying Wii Fit is just another side of “gaming.” I’m saying that it’s not really a game at all, no matter how you dress it up, and I think your analogy may admit as much.

    To explain: It sounds in your article like you were saying a yoga video and Rushmore are both “films.” I think it’s a stretch to call a yoga video a “film,” just like it’s a stretch to call Wii Fit a “game.” And surely a yoga video is not art (at least not any I’ve ever seen), but Rushmore very arguably is.

  26. Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking for a while. When I check out news on someplace like Kotaku, I find it unbelievable how much venom people have when describing the supposed ‘hardcore’. And then they make a few sequels, which should please the hardcore since it’s the sort of game they might expect, yet then they switch to bitching about that. Just can’t please some people.

  27. @Jeff Lim – This is getting pointlessly, intractably semantic. All’s I’m saying is that Wii Fit is an effective use of the videogame medium — not necessarily a “game” per se — that wraps itself in the traditional vocabulary of gaming in order to accomplish something wholly different.

  28. “Core” and “casual” are gamer paradigms. The terms are thrown around in more places than just Internet forums and gaming journalism circles. They are considerations for game developers and publishers as to how to market consoles, games, and accessories. The paradigms won’t go away until they shift to a another level such as “motion-control gamer” and “non-motion control gamer”.

    The power of the Wii to attract a casual audience has hit home for me. My girlfriend and I went “halves” on a Wii and she has bought more games for the system in the month than I have in three. It’s not a flash in the pan thing either. She’ll use EA Active to get some exercise or play CSI on her own. When I come over, Wii Sports and Trauma Center come out for play. The Wii fits her habits as a person who loves playing Mahjong and CSI games on her PC, but hasn’t played a console game since Sonic.

  29. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this while at work today, and looking at the new slew of comments, it’s still topical! So that’s good.

    I’ve been thinking that the majority of ire toward the “casual” market isn’t really because of Nintendo itself, it’s to the quick cash-in casual titles that flood both the Wii and the DS. Nintendo just takes a lot of the heat because those titles happen to be on their system. I honestly wonder if Nintendo’s own casual efforts such as Wii Fit would be met with the same resentment if there were less “Carnival Games” and more “No More Heroes” to balance things out.

    I’m not saying third party casual games shouldn’t be made at all, of course. One of the things me and my development team thought about when going into making “Hands On! Tangrams” (This is not intended to be a shameless plug. Seriously, I have no idea when this game is even coming out at this point to plug it), one of the key concerns was making sure it was as tight as we could possibly make it and that it had the features that would keep people coming back. Unfortunately, most developers who make these sort of games for the current Nintendo demographic don’t put the same kind of care into their products, and ‘core’ gamers only see that over saturation of crap.

    It’s unfair to Nintendo, but I guess we never said the masses made much sense. It’s just unfortunate, because I think that kind of reputation hurts anyone associated with Nintendo all around, whether they make good core titles, or just good casual titles that appeal to the masses.

  30. Nintendo has made so many mistakes this generation that I can’t all of a sudden give them a pass. No 720p, no HDD, broken online play, etc. is inexcusable, especially considering how Sony and Microsoft are constantly adding more features with every firmware update. Yet, despite all of this, Sony and M$ are disparately trying to catch up to NINTENDO, not the other way around. This E3 proves that more than anything.

    As a gamer, though? Nintendo is second to the other two. Not Nintendo as a developer mind you (they still make the best games around), but the company is far removed from what traditional gamers desire compared to the other two. Galaxy and Brawl and Zelda, for instance) are great in spite of the limitations, but they could be so much more.

    Nintendo can give us amusing little toys like Wii Fit, and that’s cool. But it’s not why I game. And really, It’s funny how some gaming journalists say that I’m the one that refuses to evolve, as if I’m doing something wrong by not caring for shallow gaming experiences disguised as casual titles.

  31. @Parish: Well, sorry to frustrate you. Thanks for an interesting discussion, in any case.

  32. Wii Fit and God of War III can co-exist.

    The funniest part about the the God of War defenders I’ve seen on the internet is that they like to claim that people who don’t like GoW only have that opinion because GoW is popular and people who don’t like it are obviously posers who are trying to be iconoclasts just for the sake of it.

    The funny part of that as it relates to this conversation is that Wii Fit is way more popular and culturally relevant than the God of War franchise, which only the “core” gaming niche cares about. Wii Fit has been out for over a year at this point and still shows up in the monthly NPDs. God of War will be lucky if it is in the top ten for more than one month. By the time GoW 3 is released, Wii Fit Plus will have been on shelves for months, and will still chart higher.

    I have very little interest in God of War III, as I didn’t much care for God of War the first time around and this looks like a higher res version of what I’ve already played. *yawn*

    Bayonetta, on the other hand, is a day one purchase for me. It looks deliriously over-the-top (as contrasted with the way-too-serious God of War) and I’ve always preferred the game mechanics in the Devil May Cry series over the other major character action games such as God of War and Ninja Gaiden.

  33. @Hero: Not offering all of those things is certainly annoying, but be careful not to put High Definition gaming in the same category as the HDD and the online arena. That’s not a misstep on Nintendo’s part, and in some ways it’s definitely a plus. You already HAVE two other (expensive, I might add) consoles that are doing just fine in that space and though I would like to see Zelda in high definition one day, those games have never been about that for me. I’d rather Nintendo focus on making those games timeless and GOOD.

    Also, to whoever else was talking about it – just b/c a game is a sequel doesn’t mean it can’t expand upon the boundaries and do something NEW. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that because the core gameplay is the same that innovation isn’t being made.

    Take NSMBWii, for example – 4 players at the same time will be a big deal for many, and it’s really the first time it’s being done so well on a platformer game like this (Littlebigplanet is another one, but unfortunately won’t have as much of an impact because of the current install base of the PS3).

    Anyway, my point is that innovation still happens with sequels, so don’t count them out, foo.

  34. “Metroid Other M for the people who cry about abandonment and loneliness on message forums.”

    Funny you talk about abandonment and loneliness, given that Other M looks like it will be big on the former and probably low on the latter.

  35. Dude, I knew the startup theme to Wii Fit sounded vaguely familiar, I never realized it was from Zelda II! Awesome!

    Jeremy pretty much summed up how I feel about this whole “debate”; I don’t see how we can’t have it both ways. Yes, I play “casual” games like Wii Fit (lost 20 lbs using it), but I also enjoy “core” games Smash Bros and Klonoa. Can’t we just go back to calling them ALL games?

  36. The thing I learned from this year’s E3, is that I don’t have to worry about E3. To echo a sentiment that Parish has had on this blog before, there are a lot of bad games, but there are also a lot of good games that come out these days. Enough good games to please me. So I don’t worry anymore about what is coming and when something is releasing. I’ve got a huge backlog to destroy, and every so often something new pops up for me to enjoy. It is a good feeling to have.

  37. I’m unbelievably happy to finally live in this age where you don’t have to play every goddamn game that’s been called “important” by somebody somewhere to be considered a TRUE GAMERZORZ.

  38. @Hero: The start of this generation was the wrong time to go HD. Too much of an increase in power for such a small demographic. Not to mention that the increased opportunity costs have really hurt, if not outright slaughtered, a few of the smaller developers.

    No matter how “hardcore” the Wii gets, it won’t matter to most of the core audience, since they’re mostly after the big, noisy, cinematic titles a la the God of Wars of the other two systems. They’re not going to give much of a second glance to stuff like Klonoa and Muramasa, sadly. Not to say the flashier titles won’t play as well, it’s sadly something that boils down to aesthetic preferences.

  39. I just followed that link to the new Silent Hill game (Shattered Memories?) and given everything you wrote about it, Parish, well, I WANT IT. Badly.

    I doubt the “dynamic difficulty” aspect will live up to many people’s expectations since the developers can’t exactly think of everything that a player might try doing, but if it can hit the more salient points of the playing experience then I can’t wait to play it.

  40. @ cartman: “Not to mention that the increased opportunity costs have really hurt, if not outright slaughtered, a few of the smaller developers.” Look, technology progresses at an incredible rate. Developers didn’t die off when they went from the SNES to the N64. In fact, I’d argue that digital distribution has given developers an outlet to create games that would NEVER otherwise see the light of day.

    Where do you see the majority of 3rd party games? Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo is making it difficult by being the odd man of the group. Developing a good game with completely new input devices is more challenging than upgrading the tech. Not to mention the inability to port anything…

  41. Yeah, I have to say that insofar as “core gamers” are interested in increasingly gritty FPS and increasingly gritty, increasingly long, consistently boring cut scenes, I’m glad when the core gamers are disappointed. New play mechanics are quite a bit more interesting than new storytelling concepts if you ask me, but I’m pretty old.

  42. @Hero: That mostly applies to the bigger Japanese developers that can afford the costs of HD development and use it as part of the vision for their games, and Western developers in general, who tend to be of the “bigger is better” mentality, and/or also more PC centric, to which XBox 360 is very similar, encouraging a lot of portability between the two platforms. (Just ask Valve.)

    Really though, HD games not only cost more time and manpower to develop, but have been responsible for an even greater increase in those departments than former generations. The result: more games than ever need to sell more copies in order to break even. We’ve been seeing quite possibly the most mergers and developer fallouts in any generation as a result. And it’s because of the Wii that various developers/publishers have been able to afford to fund their big budget 360/PS3 blockbusters due to the higher profitability of the former. I know you’re going to argue that they’ve relied on pushing out casual shovelware for the Wii to do this, and I won’t disagree, but it is what it is.

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