Dec 4 - Dec 9

As promised, Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS is this week's game of the week.

I saw a report last month saying the 3DS is on track to clear the original DS first year numbers, and though this is good news for a system that seemed to be flagging, I can't help but feel like the news might not be as good as it seems. For one thing I recall clearly when the DS launched. I was in the retail biz at the time, so I remember it the way you remember that one nightmare you kept having when you were a 10-year-old and which still secretly eats at the edges of your soul and sanity. I recall Nintendo being highly cautious about releasing DS systems out into the wild, so that for the better part of a year that was already sort of up and down from a sales perspective, even when people did want to buy a system they were hard to come by. The long and short is that I think there were very different reasons for the DS system's relatively slow ramp up. And, a desperate price drop to drum up interest was definitely not part of that mix.

The other thing I remember is the buzz. People were talking about the DS in a way they just don't talk about the 3DS. I could go for the low hanging mobile market argument, but I don't feel like that completely describes the struggles of this latest Big N handheld system. There's just a general malaise, a casual disinterest. If you can't even get my eight year old or his class interested in this system, then your problem is much bigger than anything Apple can throw at you.

As for the rest of this week, not much else to talk about.

PC
- The Adventures of TinTin The Game

Xbox360
- The Adventures of TinTin The Game

PS3
- The Adventures of TinTin The Game
- Just Dance 3

Wii
- The Adventures of TinTin The Game
- Fortune Street
- The Oregon Trail

DS
- The Adventures of TinTin The Game
- F1 2011

3DS
- Mario Kart 7

Comments

I have to challenge the notion that it's not possible to have great gaming experiences on an iOS device. I've spent tens of hours on my Civ Rev and on my Orion on the iPad. Civ Rev gets a bad rap from PC Civ players, but it's Civ through and through. Arguably, it's a purer vision of gameplay straight from the Civ 1 days.

Red Conquest is fantastically complex as an RTS, and I've spent more hours on Space Miner than I have in Batman AC or in Rage.

I've got my Pirates!, my Galaxy on Fire 2, Aquaria, Squids, Plants vs. Zombies, Tny Tower, Game Dev Story, and more.

I'm just waiting on a Universal or iPad version of the new Ravenmark TBS concept.

I reiterate my assertion that it's not the touch screen, and it's only peripherally the availability and the portability. It's the distribution model. If Nintendo can offer Mario levels at a dollar a pop, or Pokemon with a fun IAP model (not freemium, please), they'd kill this generation of handhelds.

I didn't say you COULDN'T make an excellent game on a touchscreen, just that it's a limitation, one which some developers do a better job of overcoming than others. Just because some devs have done a good job of working within the limits of the platform doesn't mean that it wouldn't be better if the platform had fewer limits.

I mean, Beethoven did some amazing work after going deaf, but most composers are probably still going to be better off if they can hear what they're working on.

Civ Rev and Plants vs. Zombies are awesome, but they're awesome no matter what platform you play them on. Very, very few developers have the ability craft a truly platform-agnostic experience like that.

hbi2k wrote:

Slap a d-pad and four face buttons on an iPod Touch, or a decent amount of storage and an excellent interface for media playback (instead of the afterthought its been on the PSP and the absolute non-feature on the DS line) on a gaming portable, and I think you have a winner.

IMAGE(http://mobiltelefon.ru/i/other/february11/23/sony_ericsson_play.jpg)

It's worth pointing out that that market share graph is courtesy of a company that makes and promotes mobile apps and is based at least in part on internal sales numbers and revenue estimates.

MeatMan wrote:

IMAGE(http://mobiltelefon.ru/i/other/february11/23/sony_ericsson_play.jpg)

WITHOUT saddling it with a phone, which when you factor in the cost of a data plan places it well above a mass-market price range. Sell a wi-fi model of that (or just an unlocked model not tied to a cell contract) for $200 and put a full Sony marketing push behind it so that it actually gets games, and we might be in business.

You guys and your mobile discussions. You're missing out on Fortune Street. No, I'm not clocking the game, I loooooooooooooove this series (known as Itadaki Street in Japan). It's too bad Nintendo made it a full priced release as I'm pretty sure it'll flop at that price. Hell, I've been playing the game for a number of years now in Japanese (not knowing what I'm doing much of the time) and even I scoff at the notion of $50 for it.

hbi2k wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

IMAGE(http://mobiltelefon.ru/i/other/february11/23/sony_ericsson_play.jpg)

WITHOUT saddling it with a phone, which when you factor in the cost of a data plan places it well above a mass-market price range. Sell a wi-fi model of that (or just an unlocked model not tied to a cell contract) for $200 and put a full Sony marketing push behind it so that it actually gets games, and we might be in business.

Searched my local craigslist and found someone selling it new and sealed for $200.

When I posted that image, I was sure that you were fully aware of the Xperia Play, but it's the device that most closely matched your initial description of "Slap a d-pad and four face buttons on an iPod Touch". Then I couldn't resist the urge to post the craigslist link after entering "unlocked xperia play" in the search and seeing a guy selling it for exactly the price you mentioned.

Now find it for me at that price in a store and not a shady Craigslist posting full of typos. If we're comparing prices that way, then the DS Lite is free, because everyone in America who doesn't already have one knows someone else who has one gathering dust in a closet and will give it away for the first person to ask.

Also I don't believe for a second that that whole "Playstation Suite" nonsense will actually go anywhere, making the thing's software library suspect to say the least.

Edit:

Back on the topic of the 3DS, I watched the Giant Bomb Quick Look of Mario Kart 7, and one of the GB crew says, without the slightest hint of irony, but enthusiastically, as though this were honestly the highest compliment he could possibly pay, that the 3D in Mario Kart 7 is "totally tolerable."

That's where we are with 3D in games. "It's great! It doesn't make your eyes bleed even a little!"

Wow.

I'll say, totally without irony, that I really love the 3D on my 3DS. I know I'm not part of the Giantbomb crew, but can my anecdote do battle with his?

I have learned to ignore GB when it comes to Nintendo. They're weird and antagonistic about it.

HockeyJohnston wrote:

I have learned to ignore GB when it comes to Nintendo. They're weird and antagonistic about it.

True, they're overly cynical about most things, but Nintendo tends to get more groans.

That said, they're playing Fortune Street live right now.

*shrug* They were down with the Mario Galaxy games. That makes them all right in my book.

Is there anyone who didn't like the Galaxy games? Seriously?

Not since I rounded them up and put them in those camps.

But seriously, GB treats Nintendo with kid gloves compared to their coverage of the latest round of Kinect games.

Kinect games = what they do since Game Room went away (and I love it)

garion333 wrote:

Is there anyone who didn't like the Galaxy games? Seriously?

I didn't, but I'm sort of a grump.

Played Kinect Adventures with my masters program at the end of class last night. We popped bubbles!

wordsmythe wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Is there anyone who didn't like the Galaxy games? Seriously?

I didn't, but I'm sort of a grump.

You are dead inside.

I'm a specialist clocker. I only hate fun.

Clocking specifically means hating fun. Your specialization is redundant.

The president of the tautology club is the president of the tautology club.

hbi2k wrote:

Also I don't believe for a second that that whole "Playstation Suite" nonsense will actually go anywhere, making the thing's software library suspect to say the least.

I hope it works out, I wanna make games and my own apps for my ps vita!

At any rate, I like the idea certainly. The purpose of PS Suite is to allow one to write apps that work across a wide variety of devices. There's a lot of Android devices out there and they are made by many many different manufacturers. While each generation of iOS devices means headaches for programmers, it's very difficult to imagine it being as bad a headache as developing for Android. Not an Android or iOS developer so I don't know.

If Playstation Suite allows one to mitigate such circumstances, all the other handheld makers would do well to make theirs Playstation Certified (which means apps developed using Playstation Suite can run on them).

It might work though, in the demo at GDC they had the same app (indeed, the exact same file, byte for byte) running on Vita, Xperia, and a Sony tablet. Hurray for JIT! The thought occurs to me that any device which is too constrained to perform JIT, then it isn't the sort of device that ever allows new software to be added. (Although there is a version of .net for embedded systems; but I would really hate to brick my microwave thanks to a bad update.)

Wish me luck, I'm going to apply for the Closed Beta of Playstation Suite!

Well, then for your sake I hope I'm wrong. The idea sounds wonderful on paper, I just don't trust Sony to actually follow through on it.

hbi2k wrote:

Well, then for your sake I hope I'm wrong. The idea sounds wonderful on paper, I just don't trust Sony to actually follow through on it.

Thanks.

No kidding that Sony has trouble opening up development. They removed "OtherOS" option from the PS3, and before that you couldn't use the gpu or the blu-ray drive.