January 24 - January 28

I admit that I'm tempted to criticize the Dead Space 2 marketing campaign, but I think to do so would hold it to a different standard than other media, and that way lies madness. Yes, the whole "your Mom is going to hate this game" angle is patently juvenile, but then again so are the ads for movies like Just Go With It and Hall Pass. It feels to me like EA begging for a nice big controversy that will help them sell a big old bunch of DS2 copies, but frankly I'm going to be more excited if the media doesn't take the bait.

I'm frequently disappointed by thinking the best of the media, so it could be an annoyingly bumpy week or two.

Regardless, I'm interested to see if Dead Space 2 turns out to be worth the pre-release hype it is enjoying. I've never quite settled on whether I think the first Dead Space is particularly good or not, largely because the majority of my experience with it is on the PC and this was not a very solid port. Either way, I'll be keeping a close eye on the initial feedback on the sequel this week.

Also out this week, Two Worlds II and Lords of Arcana for the PSP. That's pretty much it.

PC
- Dead Space 2

360
- Dead Space 2
- Two Worlds II

PS3
- Dead Space 2
- Two Worlds II

DS
- Paws & Claws Marine Rescue

PSP
- Lords of Arcana

Comments

I always considered Dead Space one of the best ports ... once vsync was turned off.

Anyway, I'm a bit bummed about TWII being pushed to February for the pc, but this just gives me more time to decide I don't actually want the game.

EA's problem might be that its marketing gag for DS2 isn't controversial enough compared to its past marketing and PR stunts. It just seems a bit bland. They would have been better off having necromorphs invade the EA office and dismember staff until Isaac shows up and performs a few meat cello fatalities. Where's the passion, EA?

Also possibly of note this week:
- (Via Certis' twitter) Magika (PC)
- Breach (XBLA)

garion333 wrote:

I always considered Dead Space one of the best ports ... once vsync was turned off.

Quite. I would say it's a textbook example of doing a port right. Isaac still seems to pivot from behind his back which feels weird at first, but I thought it played and ran beautifully. I don't usually use V-sync anyway so that issue never caused me problems.

I'm not buying Dead Space 2 this week, but I am looking forward to getting it sometime this year.

I think Dead Space 2's marketing is likely a result of the poor showing it had the first time around. The original Dead Space really deserved more attention than it got and I for one have absolutely no problem with companies using ridiculous (though in this case, IMO, the campaign is kind of hilarious) marketing techniques to increase awareness of good games. I like to envision thousands of people buying ME2 or DA:O because of those terrible marketing campaigns, but they end up with fantastic and unexpectedly rich RPG experiences. It's the bait and switch technique that teachers use to make learning fun

I understand why gaming enthusiasts would see "Horrify your Mother" campaigns as marginalizing gaming as a hobby, but that sort of reaction reeks of unnecessary defensiveness of the media. It's like saying "Freddy Got Fingered" besmirches all of cinema and gives movie-goers a bad name.

$20 says Mirror's Edge 2 gets a marketing campaign similar to Dead Space 2. Dead Space and Mirror's Edge were both under-performers for EA, but neither of them deserved the inattention they received.

No love for Monday Night Combat on PC?

Grubber788 wrote:

I think Dead Space 2's marketing is likely a result of the poor showing it had the first time around. The original Dead Space really deserved more attention than it got and I for one have absolutely no problem with companies using ridiculous (though in this case, IMO, the campaign is kind of hilarious) marketing techniques to increase awareness of good games. I like to envision thousands of people buying ME2 or DA:O because of those terrible marketing campaigns, but they end up with fantastic and unexpectedly rich RPG experiences. It's the bait and switch technique that teachers use to make learning fun

I understand why gaming enthusiasts would see "Horrify your Mother" campaigns as marginalizing gaming as a hobby, but that sort of reaction reeks of unnecessary defensiveness of the media. It's like saying "Freddy Got Fingered" besmirches all of cinema and gives movie-goers a bad name.

$20 says Mirror's Edge 2 gets a marketing campaign similar to Dead Space 2. Dead Space and Mirror's Edge were both under-performers for EA, but neither of them deserved the inattention they received.

Yeah, a lot of good games in the last couple of years have suffered from insufficient marketing. I'd rather see games get tacky marketing than disappear into obscurity a la Blur and get talented studios shut down.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
garion333 wrote:

I always considered Dead Space one of the best ports ... once vsync was turned off.

Quite. I would say it's a textbook example of doing a port right. Isaac still seems to pivot from behind his back which feels weird at first, but I thought it played and ran beautifully. I don't usually use V-sync anyway so that issue never caused me problems.

I'll third that - I played it through for the first time on PC in the last week or so (originally played through on 360) to catch up before 2 was released and it ran perfectly for me with zero problems. Knowing the Vsynch thing in advance helped of course.

Grubber788 wrote:

I understand why gaming enthusiasts would see "Horrify your Mother" campaigns as marginalizing gaming as a hobby, but that sort of reaction reeks of unnecessary defensiveness of the media. It's like saying "Freddy Got Fingered" besmirches all of cinema and gives movie-goers a bad name.

I don't think that's a good analogy. It only works if we live in a world where the majority of people already believe that gaming is as accepted as cinema is. Freddy Got Fingered was irrelevant because cinema is accepted as an adult form of entertainment, marketing like Dead Space 2's is harmful because gaming is not.

Dysplastic wrote:

Freddy Got Fingered was irrelevant because cinema is accepted as an adult form of entertainment, marketing like Dead Space 2's is harmful because gaming is not.

I have to chime in on this one. I think when it comes to acceptance of VGs as a form of entertainment, we are "just not there, yet". I remember what outrage we currently have in the german mass media, everytime a new CoD gets released.

I think the main problem is, that the common media rarely reports about games, not even about the really really great ones. VGs currently only get the attention for a broader audience, when there is something "bad" to report about. Controversial Ads will just further fixate this.

I am 100% sure, they will just report about how violent the game is, because of the cut-off-the-limbs core mechanic. But telling that you get dense atmosphere and (hopefully) a great story? Naaah, that's not worthy of mentioning.

After seeing today's post on RPS, I think Magicka may beat all comers for the *actual* game of the week.

Also for PC:

Monday Night Combat
Magicka

Edit: now with links

Grubber788 wrote:

$20 says Mirror's Edge 2 gets a marketing campaign similar to Dead Space 2. Dead Space and Mirror's Edge were both under-performers for EA, but neither of them deserved the inattention they received.

Mirror's Edge didn't have anything inflammatory to latch on to though. It's a pretty restrained and mature game. ME2 couldn't go in a controversial direction without irreparably jettisoning what the first game was about. Unless the campaign is "Your Mom Can't Play Mirror's Edge 2", and it's a bunch of mothers vomiting.

Whenever I think about getting a sequel like Two Worlds II, I remember how quickly the price of the first one dropped. Maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot, but quick discounts have taught many gamers to hold off on day 1 purchases.

Gravey wrote:
Grubber788 wrote:

$20 says Mirror's Edge 2 gets a marketing campaign similar to Dead Space 2. Dead Space and Mirror's Edge were both under-performers for EA, but neither of them deserved the inattention they received.

Mirror's Edge didn't have anything inflammatory to latch on to though. It's a pretty restrained and mature game. ME2 couldn't go in a controversial direction without irreparably jettisoning what the first game was about. Unless the campaign is "Your Mom Can't Play Mirror's Edge 2", and it's a bunch of mothers vomiting.

I would love to see Mirror's Edge 2 ads about how bros think Faith is totally unattractive and, potentially, "weaksauce."

Hypatian wrote:

After seeing today's post on RPS, I think Magicka may beat all comers for the *actual* game of the week.

After reading that, and reading/viewing the content here, I agree. I will actually be buying a game this week, and it will be Magicka.

Plus, it's only $10! (according to one of the videos on the page I linked to)

I picked up the first Dead Space on PC recently through a Steam sale. It becomes obvious very quickly that the game is NOT designed for mouse and keyboard. With a 360 controller plugged in and Vsync turned off, it becomes a serviceable port, although it strikes me as strange to say the least that an option which (if the results of my Google Fu are to be believed; it was certainly the case for me) makes the game nigh-unplayable for a majority of people is turned on by default. I like that the game automatically adjusts the menus to reflect the 360 buttons if you have a gamepad plugged in, but I couldn't find any place in the menus to tell you what the gamepad controls are if you've already moved past the tutorial stage of the game, which is annoying. It took a bit more Google Fu just to figure out what the damn run button is.

Still, it performs well on my machine and I like the fact that what would otherwise be HUD elements such as your life bar and ammo count are integrated into the game's fiction, cutting down on screen clutter. Too soon to say if the gameplay and story hold up.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

EA's problem might be that its marketing gag for DS2 isn't controversial enough compared to its past marketing and PR stunts. It just seems a bit bland. They would have been better off having necromorphs invade the EA office and dismember staff until Isaac shows up and performs a few meat cello fatalities. Where's the passion, EA?

It feels like this is very true, and EA knows it.

Basically, EA desperately wants to be edgy, in the same way that Rockstar is edgy. People like Jack Thompson are free advertising for developers. They want the anti-game crusaders on CNN telling people things that may or may not be true about their games. Look what the Jack Thompsons and Tipper Gore made Rockstar into. Does anyone think GTA San Adreas would have done half as well in sales if Rockstar had "remembered" to remove the Hot Coffee code? You seriously think that was an accident?

The problem is EA can't swing that kind of controversy. Even Rockstar can't really swing it anymore, because they've pushed the envelope too far. To get a rise out of people now they'd have to do a port/remake of one of the japanese satutory rape sims on J-llist, and I don't think they're ready for that just yet.

So they just tell their marketing department "We've decided this game is edgy and controversial. Make it look like that in the commercials." And you get this ad campaign. And you get their Dante's Inferno ad campaign.

We made people who make controversial games rich. We shouldn't be surprised when people who aren't good at making controversial games try to cash in on that.

Here's something: Horror isn't controversial any more. It used to be a few decades ago, in film, but now it's just a genre of film. It seems if EA want something controversial (in the US) they need to involve sex, as pretty much every big media panic has involved it including the Hot Coffee incident.

In fact, I'm surprised they didn't show their necromorph babies, that would have stirred up the media more.

(as a sidenote I'm still surprised that hot coffee was as big as it was, seeing as you needed a hacked console or game to see it. I wonder what will get dug up with the hacked ps3)

Frankly, I'm a little amused that "Your Mom wouldn't like it," is being marketed as an "edgy" spin on a game for tweeny young men. I mean, my impression is that that's schoolyard talk. The thrill of getting nude photos and illicit liquor (and other "adult banned") products solely because they were banned was a middle school thing in my time. By the time I was in high school, such things were passe.