GWJ Conference Call Episode 132

Conference Call

Demigod, theHunter, Uniwar, Endgames, The Nefarious Digirati, Your Emails and more!

This week it's all hands on deck for a special conversation about how games end and what some of the best and worst are. We also spend some time listening to Cory and Julian tell us how they're absolutely not elitist. They were kind of snobs about it, though. If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Alpha" - (Workbench) - www.workbench-music.com - 0:46:26
"Cosmos" - (Workbench) - www.workbench-music.com - 1:13:04

Comments

I agree with all of this, actually. After hearing from a multitude of sources (including some discussions in the forums here) about how Demigod was a trumped-up version of DotA, I was very surprised that it never entered the discussion at all. Considering that DotA is a free mod for Warcraft III, there's got to be some kind of comparison or justification for paying the extra money for a retail rendering of (mostly) the same game, right?

Wrong. That's like saying an FPS mod from five years ago renders a new, original game today worthless because it's already been done. Unless it's a re-skinned DotA with the same maps and creatures, I don't think that's the right angle to look at it.

Frankly, none of us have played DotA, so bringing it up would probably just end up with emails saying we don't know what we're talking about instead of emails saying we didn't mention it

Certis wrote:
I agree with all of this, actually. After hearing from a multitude of sources (including some discussions in the forums here) about how Demigod was a trumped-up version of DotA, I was very surprised that it never entered the discussion at all. Considering that DotA is a free mod for Warcraft III, there's got to be some kind of comparison or justification for paying the extra money for a retail rendering of (mostly) the same game, right?

Wrong. That's like saying an FPS mod from five years ago renders a new, original game today worthless because it's already been done. Unless it's a re-skinned DotA with the same maps and creatures, I don't think that's the right angle to look at it.

Frankly, none of us have played DotA, so bringing it up would probably just end up with emails saying we don't know what we're talking about instead of emails saying we didn't mention it ;)

Well, and to be fair, last week you guys in describing Demigod did mention that it is similar to DotA. You just didn't happen to mention it this week.

Certis wrote:
I agree with all of this, actually. After hearing from a multitude of sources (including some discussions in the forums here) about how Demigod was a trumped-up version of DotA, I was very surprised that it never entered the discussion at all. Considering that DotA is a free mod for Warcraft III, there's got to be some kind of comparison or justification for paying the extra money for a retail rendering of (mostly) the same game, right?

Wrong. That's like saying an FPS mod from five years ago renders a new, original game today worthless because it's already been done. Unless it's a re-skinned DotA with the same maps and creatures, I don't think that's the right angle to look at it.

Frankly, none of us have played DotA, so bringing it up would probably just end up with emails saying we don't know what we're talking about instead of emails saying we didn't mention it ;)

I appreciate that you guys aren't making things up about games you haven't experienced.
That said, (I don't feel especially contrarian today...) I think there's a lot of validity to the quoted point. Demigod is very much a clone of DotA. Ignoring that would be the equivalent of not drawing the comparison between Diablo and Titan Quest.
I don't think it was implied anywhere that having an older (free mod) version of the same game concept renders the new one worthless. But the new version has to prove why it's an improvement over the old. Part of that is simply getting the mechanics, balance, and maps right. I think you guys covered that pretty well on the podcast, and Demigod seems to do those things pretty well so far. We'll see though - for a game that exists solely as a multiplayer game they're going to have to make sure the balance is very finely tuned.

To take it from another angle - we didn't hold back about the problems with Gears 2 multiplayer compared to Gears 1 multiplayer, nor should we have. It's an apt comparison with Gears, and it is for Demigod as well.

Certis wrote:

Frankly, none of us have played DotA, so bringing it up would probably just end up with emails saying we don't know what we're talking about instead of emails saying we didn't mention it ;)

Here's a 4 minute crash course for ya

Certis wrote:
I agree with all of this, actually. After hearing from a multitude of sources (including some discussions in the forums here) about how Demigod was a trumped-up version of DotA, I was very surprised that it never entered the discussion at all. Considering that DotA is a free mod for Warcraft III, there's got to be some kind of comparison or justification for paying the extra money for a retail rendering of (mostly) the same game, right?

Wrong. That's like saying an FPS mod from five years ago renders a new, original game today worthless because it's already been done. Unless it's a re-skinned DotA with the same maps and creatures, I don't think that's the right angle to look at it.

Well, for starters, the influence is strong enough that Chris Taylor himself has almost flatly admitted it in interviews. Since I realize that the link points to an Insipid Gaming News interview, I'll spare everybody with a quick quote:

IGN interview wrote:

IGN: We really haven't heard much yet about this game -- what is Demigod?

Chris Taylor: Demigod is a strategic fighting game. The easiest way to describe it would be, and especially if you've read some of the press that came out last week, it's easily described as Defense of the Ancients, the Warcraft 3 mod. That's the easiest way to describe it to someone in an elevator.

Even beyond that immediate context for Demigod, though, I think I still disagree with your point, so long as the mod is popular enough to warrant consideration. It doesn't require an immediate blanket assertion that the new game is entirely worthless in comparison but, if there's a notable game that exists in the same space, shouldn't it at least factor into the discussion? If somebody releases a $10 tower defense game on Steam, isn't somebody that's interested in (or even playing) the game going to inevitably consider the number of freely available Flash entries in the genre?

Certis wrote:

Frankly, none of us have played DotA, so bringing it up would probably just end up with emails saying we don't know what we're talking about instead of emails saying we didn't mention it ;)

Well, yeah.

If nobody on the podcast has played it, then it's a little silly to expect you guys to talk at length about a game you haven't played, of course. And I don't want to belabor any possible "obligation" or whatever that you have with the podcast because, as it's been talked about elsewhere, it's just you guys talking about games and the relaxed nature of that discussion is what makes the podcast great. I'm just saying that, considering that that DotA seems to be one of the most popular online game variants in recent years, it seemed like a bit of an elephant in the room during that discussion, that's all.

Demiurge wrote:

iPod. Touch.

Seriously, it's okay if you don't think the iPhone is a viable gaming platform, but stop bringing up subscription plans as a reason for its illegitimacy.

The iPod Touch still costs more than an Xbox 360 Arcade and all the current portable systems, including the newly launched DSi. It doesn't have a subscription but cost is still a significant factor when talking about it from the point of view of a gaming device. And while the iPhone itself is significantly cheaper than it once was, that's only when you factor in the 3 year contract you have to lock yourself to. The PS3 gets slammed (rightfully) for its price all the time and its a perfectly valid point to bring up with the iPhone.

I don't have an opinion on the iPhone discussions - I'm glad there are good games for it, and I'm happy to hear them discussed - but it still rankles me every. single. time one of you guys says there are no good games coming out for the DS these days just because none of you are playing them. That's a bunch of crap.

2008 was a pretty stellar year for DS releases - actual games, not things that end in Z (Castlevania: OoE, Contra 4, Call of Duty WaW, Disgaea, Bangai-O Spirits, Advance Wars Days of Ruin, great FFIV and Chrono Trigger remakes, Lock's Quest, Metal Slug 7, Ninja Gaiden, Shiren the Wanderer, Trackmania, Civ: Rev... I mean there was something for everyone), and Chinatown Wars and Henry Hatsworth alone are enough to make the first few months of 2009 pretty good ones even if you're not into the more esoteric releases like Rhythm Heaven or Retro Game Challenge, or have just had enough of Peggle. (And if you think Wolfenstein on the iPhone is impressive for a handheld FPS, Gamefly a copy of Moon. Good control, solid 60FPS framerate, very nice graphics, great atmosphere).

You guys love your iPhones and aren't playing your DS's. Believe me, we get it - this is not subtle. But I also think it's pretty hard to defend the stance that somehow the audience that DOES love their DS is being under-served (or just "aren't serious gamers", and are part of "that other group of people") when we're sitting here with a huge library of really good, recent-if-not-brand-spanking-new stuff to play. I found your concerns about Demigod - that you'll lose interest in playing it in just a couple more weeks - somewhat telling, honestly. Even within this community, I don't think it's representative of the whole to suggest that if more money isn't leaving our pockets for a new game (or in the iPhone's case, apparently, 4 new games) every week or two, we become unsatisfied. I have felt several times over the last year that the release schedule could stand to slow down and I'd be just fine, because there is way more stuff between the PC, Wii, DS and 360 that is worth playing than I have money to buy or time to experience.

Anyhow. Final note regarding your comments / questions about Wii Motion Plus at the end; I know that at the least it will be packed in with Tiger Woods 2010 and Grand Slam Tennis from EA, two of the earliest games to support it, as well as with Wii Sports Resort. So there should be no shortage of places to get one, if you want one. The good news is, the more things they pack it in with, the more justification other developers will have to assume their audience has one, and integrate the functionality with their games going forward. I'm still waiting for my tournament fencing game in the vein of Rockstar's Table Tennis.

It's funny, I correct Cory in the show about the DS library not being that bad, but all the comments fixate on his saying there's no games and referring to us as a collective. Le sigh.

"All the comments"? As far as I can see it's just me and one other guy in the course of three pages here mentioning it.

Spoken like someone who doesn't get all the emails

"All the comments"? As far as I can see it's just me and one other guy in the course of three pages here mentioning it. I did notice and appreciate your correction, Certis, but it appeared that the position of most of the crew was that the DS is no longer of interest (and don't get me wrong, it's totally fine for it to no longer be interesting to you guys, that's a matter of preference), and from that a faulty extrapolation seemed to be made that the DS has become a platform made only for "the expanded audience", whose primary interest in the DSi is, I guess, to draw funny moustaches on people.

I just think that's at odds with what I see as a very strong attempt from DS devs - far more than from Wii devs, in general - to appeal to as many diverse and serious gaming audiences as they can. Action, strategy, RPG, FPS, puzzle, racing games, cross-genre mixes of the aforementioned, they've all had solid recent releases on the system. I guess I don't really know what the naysayers would want to see coming out for it.

Then again, if the honest preference for handheld gaming is games that cost $1-$5 and can be safely discarded without guilt after a week of play in favor of "the next thing", then yes, the iPhone probably satisfies that need better than the DS or the PSP. But I suspect that's a rather unique need, shared by people who need to write and talk about new games every week, and not necessarily shared by the folks that listen to and read those discussions.

EDIT: I recognize that I'm starting to sound like a "console warrior" here, and that's not what I want. I'm absolutely sure that the iPhone is great as a gaming platform and I wish I could try one out, I just don't have the $$. I think my interest in the shift of preference stems more from the perceived nature of the justification - "over here there's always new stuff and it's cheap!" seems to be such a compelling argument, but I'm not sure I see that as a universally good thing - than from the respective strengths of the devices as gaming platforms.

Touche. See my edit to the previous comment, though, since I think I may have started by talking about the wrong thing.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

The PS3 gets slammed (rightfully) for its price all the time and its a perfectly valid point to bring up with the iPhone.

I still don't see why this is a legitimate reason to ignore iPhone games. The PS3 may be expensive but that didn't stop people on this forum, including a portion of the podcast members, from buying one and then discussing its content. To me, it sounds like the argument is that iPhone/iPod Touch games shouldn't be discussed because it's an illegitimate gaming device. From what I've heard, these games are more than the typical cell phone game and I believe they should be given some attention once in a while.

Ravenlock wrote:

I don't have an opinion on the iPhone discussions - I'm glad there are good games for it, and I'm happy to hear them discussed - but it still rankles me every. single. time one of you guys says there are no good games coming out for the DS these days just because none of you are playing them. That's a bunch of crap.

This right here. It's odd to listen to a gaming discussion about DSs that aren't being used and games that suck because they all end in the letter Z. And it doesn't help that I'm listening to the conference call and using my DS at the same time! How am I expected to climb the Tower while listening to all of this negativity?

OzymandiasAV wrote:

I mean, sure, I'd personally love to see more old school console discussion; my eyes lit up like a christmas tree when Cory namedropped Simon's Quest during the conversation about game endings. But I also understand that's not exactly a topic that is at the forefront of what's new and exciting in the "mature" gaming space right now (especially given how much of the community here is rooted in the PC side of that culture), so it doesn't really irk me at all. I just think it's a matter of being realistic about the audience for the podcast.

Having just beaten Simon's Quest for the first time ever in the last month, I, too was quite estactic to hear a mention of the game. On that note, are there any good retro game podcasts out there?

Mystic Violet wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

The PS3 gets slammed (rightfully) for its price all the time and its a perfectly valid point to bring up with the iPhone.

I still don't see why this is a legitimate reason to ignore iPhone games. The PS3 may be expensive but that didn't stop people on this forum, including a portion of the podcast members, from buying one and then discussing its content.

The point is "the cost of an iphone and its contract is a real barrier to entry, despite the low cost of the games themselves." It is not: "Let's ignore iphone games because the cost is too high."

No one ever said "You shouldn't play (e.g.) Drake's Fortune because the PS3 costs too much." That would be an absurd argument. We can lament the fact that a game like Drake's Fortune didn't get the exposure/audience it deserved because of the system it was on.

We ding the PS3 for its high cost, and we defend Xbox live for its yearly cost. We can make similar points about handheld platforms without resorting to absolutist statements.

Mystic Violet wrote:

I still don't see why this is a legitimate reason to ignore iPhone games. The PS3 may be expensive but that didn't stop people on this forum, including a portion of the podcast members, from buying one and then discussing its content. To me, it sounds like the argument is that iPhone/iPod Touch games shouldn't be discussed because it's an illegitimate gaming device. From what I've heard, these games are more than the typical cell phone game and I believe they should be given some attention once in a while.

On Page 1, I wrote:

I agree completely that the iPhone is a viable gaming platform that should be discussed and I don't believe it was suggested anywhere that it should never be talked about. It has very quickly cemented its position and an overnight industry has sprung up around it and the impact of that cannot be denied. I do however find that it tends to dominate too many discussions (and I don't necessarily mean on the Conference Call specifically but in general) for a device that not only has a very small market but also is completely inaccessible to a large portion of the planet's population. And I did find the argument about it not being as mainstream because of the price point (and that of the iPod Touch) to be completely reasonable which is something that was shot back at sternly. I do think that when you factor in how much cheaper iPhone games are as a whole, that ultimately the cost of ownership might be better or at least at par with something like a PSP where the device is cheaper but the games are more expensive.

I've just found that in general of late, the iPhone has a stronger version of the "cult of Steve" around it where people who point out any of its flaws (of which it has a number) in addition to the multitude of awesome things it does get smacked back and treated as if they "don't get it." I think it is a great and ingenious device, the likes of which only Apple could create but it does tend to get disproportionate representation at times is all.

Ravenlock wrote:

Then again, if the honest preference for handheld gaming is games that cost $1-$5 and can be safely discarded without guilt after a week of play in favor of "the next thing", then yes, the iPhone probably satisfies that need better than the DS or the PSP.

That actually strikes a pretty strong cord with me and is about the only thing I see going for the iphone/pod. I just don't think my portable games should cost $35 or $40 (for Squenix games only, I think) and it really does make me stay away from even considering getting a lot of games. Granted, I think a lot of 3rd party games are $30 or less, but Nintendo and Squenix just keep demanding their premiums and keep missing even the potential for a sale with me. Thankfully I was given Phantom Hourglass.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:
Demiurge wrote:

iPod. Touch.

Seriously, it's okay if you don't think the iPhone is a viable gaming platform, but stop bringing up subscription plans as a reason for its illegitimacy.

The iPod Touch still costs more than an Xbox 360 Arcade and all the current portable systems, including the newly launched DSi. It doesn't have a subscription but cost is still a significant factor when talking about it from the point of view of a gaming device. And while the iPhone itself is significantly cheaper than it once was, that's only when you factor in the 3 year contract you have to lock yourself to. The PS3 gets slammed (rightfully) for its price all the time and its a perfectly valid point to bring up with the iPhone.

You can totally talk about price when it comes to the iPhone and iPod Touch. I'm down for that. That sh*t's expensive.

Just stop bringing up cell phone subscriptions. You don't need the iPhone and a contract with AT&T (or whoever) to play these games. You need an iPod Touch. If that's too rich for your blood, then you can call me an asshat. I'm okay with that.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

The PS3 gets slammed (rightfully) for its price all the time and its a perfectly valid point to bring up with the iPhone.

Actually, I'm not sure if that's the case, due to customer expectation. The PS3 had very specific expectations for its gaming capabilities because it carried the Playstation brand: that it has stubbornly held at a very expensive price point and struggled to deliver that expected quality of gaming for many fans has fed into much of the slamming.

By contrast, "Apple gaming" (not just iPhone, but iPod Touch as well) entered into this discussion with little or no expectations at all, as I think many people would have classified mobile games as dalliances at best, complete ripoffs and wastes of time at worst.

By delivering playable and occasionally decent experiences at a low price point for the games (not the devices themselves), the Apple gaming platform has managed to put itself in the discussion with the DS and the PSP for mobile gaming and, by virtue of the other benefits of the hardware (cell phone capability, industry-standard portable audio and video playback) as well as the lower expectations, the context of the discussions surrounding it are much different, much more positive.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:

I mean, sure, I'd personally love to see more old school console discussion; my eyes lit up like a christmas tree when Cory namedropped Simon's Quest during the conversation about game endings. But I also understand that's not exactly a topic that is at the forefront of what's new and exciting in the "mature" gaming space right now (especially given how much of the community here is rooted in the PC side of that culture), so it doesn't really irk me at all. I just think it's a matter of being realistic about the audience for the podcast.

Having just beaten Simon's Quest for the first time ever in the last month, I, too was quite estactic to hear a mention of the game. On that note, are there any good retro game podcasts out there?

If it hadn't have petered out over its last few episodes before descending into a month and a half of silence, I probably would have recommended Retronauts, but it's hard to say where that one is going in the future; they're released a new episode today with a new format for the show going forward, but it kind of seemed like the UGO buyout took a little bit of the zip off their fastball anyway, so to speak. Hopefully, the time away and the new format will help them recharge.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

If it hadn't have petered out over its last few episodes before descending into a month and a half of silence, I probably would have recommended Retronauts, but it's hard to say where that one is going in the future; they're released a new episode today with a new format for the show going forward, but it kind of seemed like the UGO buyout took a little bit of the zip off their fastball anyway, so to speak. Hopefully, the time away and the new format will help them recharge.

Well, conisdering it's a RETRO games podcast, there shouldn't be any reason (other than their format / delivery was unbearable) to not recommend old episodes, right?

mrtomaytohead wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:

If it hadn't have petered out over its last few episodes before descending into a month and a half of silence, I probably would have recommended Retronauts, but it's hard to say where that one is going in the future; they're released a new episode today with a new format for the show going forward, but it kind of seemed like the UGO buyout took a little bit of the zip off their fastball anyway, so to speak. Hopefully, the time away and the new format will help them recharge.

Well, conisdering it's a RETRO games podcast, there shouldn't be any reason (other than their format / delivery was unbearable) to not recommend old episodes, right?

Oh, yeah, of course not - I was just opining on the recent state of the show, just in case you were interested in checking it out going forward.

Demiurge wrote:

Just stop bringing up cell phone subscriptions. You don't need the iPhone and a contract with AT&T (or whoever) to play these games. You need an iPod Touch. If that's too rich for your blood, then you can call me an asshat. I'm okay with that.

My first sentences dealt with the iPod Touch. My only problem was that in the Conference Call, it was intimated that bringing up price as to why the iPhone/iPod Touch isn't a mainstream gaming device was dismissed as unreasonable and invalid. If you're saying that's not what you meant, that's fine. As I've said multiple times, I think the i* devices are valid gaming platforms but I find it frustrating when people bang on the PS3's price but those same people dismiss price as a valid point against Apple devices. Let's face facts here: The iPhone and iPod Touch were not designed first and foremost to be gaming devices and while they do well on that front, that's not how they were priced. That's a very similar point that can be made in reference to the PS3 because it has a number of non-gaming functions that made its price greater. So why is its price a valid point of discussion but it isn't with Apple devices?

OzymandiasAV wrote:

If it hadn't have petered out over its last few episodes before descending into a month and a half of silence, I probably would have recommended Retronauts, but it's hard to say where that one is going in the future; they're released a new episode today with a new format for the show going forward, but it kind of seemed like the UGO buyout took a little bit of the zip off their fastball anyway, so to speak. Hopefully, the time away and the new format will help them recharge.

New episode up to day with a new format ... that I really find boring and dry (even with Jenn Frank, who was always one of my favored writers). I fast-fowarded through a bunch of it. I think they've made kind of an error and decided that Retronauts really is just about old games when I always found the appeal to be more about how we relate to older games and what those games signify to us.

But maybe they'll come back around. In the meantime, check out episode 2 (I think) of "A Life Well-Wasted" which is sort of about retro gaming but not really. I found it to be a much more satisfying examination of what old games mean to us.

Does Retronauts need Shane? I haven't listened in forever, but I was always sporadic about it based on topic.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

The iPhone and iPod Touch were not designed first and foremost to be gaming devices and while they do well on that front, that's not how they were priced. That's a very similar point that can be made in reference to the PS3 because it has a number of non-gaming functions that made its price greater. So why is its price a valid point of discussion but it isn't with Apple devices?

As I said in my post above, it's differences in context; for the most part, consumers are approaching a Playstation device as a gaming device - that it provides Blu-Ray and other media capabilities doesn't really enhance or add value to its perceived primary purpose as a gaming platform.

The iPhone/iPod, on the other hand, is not being marketed as a gaming solution, even though it offers some games that end up being kind of compelling on the price/value curve. The possibility for actual gaming on the go, integrated into the same device that you're carrying around anyway, does add value to its primary purpose as a portable media device because it's one more piece of momentary entertainment you can enjoy.

And, again, I think a lot of the iPhone/iPod backlash in the gaming circles is probably fueled by some of the more vocal iPhone/iPod proponents that keep pushing the device as this major disruptive force in gaming, when many of its "impacts" may be more accurately applied (in my opinion) to the increased exposure for digital distribution, rather than any kind of revolutionary capability in the iPhone.

EDIT:

garion333 wrote:

Does Retronauts need Shane? I haven't listened in forever, but I was always sporadic about it based on topic.

I don't know if it needs Shane, but there seemed to be a definite lack of personality without Shane and Kohler and Sharkey chipping into the discussion. I think there may be some more personal stuff going on as well - from reading up on ToastyFrog/GameSpite, it looks like Parish is preparing for a wedding, which might explain why he was a little more somnambulent/distracted than usual.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

As I mentioned earlier, I think a lot of the iPhone/iPod backlash in the gaming circles is probably fueled by some of the more vocal iPhone/iPod proponents that keep pushing the device as this major disruptive force in gaming, when many of its "impacts" may be more accurately applied (in my opinion) to the increased exposure for digital distribution, rather than any kind of revolutionary capability in the iPhone.

That may be some of the backlash, but I tend to think that most of the backlash comes from the fact that iPhone/iPod Touch gaming is new and different. Gamers, for all the pretense at being cutting edge, tend to be pretty stuck in there ways when it comes to gaming conventions. Anything that is outside of the accepted norms, especially if it finds success, gets hated on until it becomes accepted.

Also there is just a certain sub-segment that will hate on Apple because they are Apple. Being smart and beautiful tends to be hard these days. sigh

OzymandiasAV wrote:

EDIT:

garion333 wrote:

Does Retronauts need Shane? I haven't listened in forever, but I was always sporadic about it based on topic.

I don't know if it needs Shane, but there seemed to be a definite lack of personality without Shane and Kohler and Sharkey chipping into the discussion.

I think Retronauts needs Sharkey moreso than Shane. He's a great as the foul mouthed bomb thrower against Parish's overly serious straight-man. But, I think really, most everyone at 1Up that survived the Night of the Long Ugo is biding time until the economy turns around and then they are gone too, so no one really cares anymore.

Demiurge wrote:

Just stop bringing up cell phone subscriptions. You don't need the iPhone and a contract with AT&T (or whoever) to play these games. You need an iPod Touch. If that's too rich for your blood, then you can call me an asshat. I'm okay with that.

Most of us who want an MP3 player have an MP3 player, so buying a touch if you don't have one is going to be somewhat pricey.

You're asking me to spend $230 so I can play $1 or $5 games on it? If cash were no issue, I almost certainly would, but everyone I know is being more tight with their money these days. It's like asking me to spend a couple hundred dollars on a vending machine so I can buy bubble gum or doritos from it. At least that's how it's being framed right now.

You can call me an asshat, or clueless, but not everyone has an itouch or iphone. The segment of the population that does is growing, but hardly ubiquitous.

You could probably make a compelling case for someone with a $300 budget and limited gaming time/budget. One on hand, an itouch with a growing array of sampler dishes, and on the other, a DS/PSP or even a home console and a games rental service.

A basic DSLite ($130) + Gamefly ($15/month for one game at a time) would give you 11.33 months of Gamefly for $300.
An itouch ($230) would leave you $70, enough to buy 14 $5 games.

So there you go, there's your price argument - except many of us already own our consoles/handhelds already, whereas the itouch is an additional expense at this point. If you already own one, you'd have to be pretty stingy to not even try out some of the games.

Re: The World Ends With You
Elysium, I have a feeling that you're as overwhelmed by all the systems in the game as I was. Here's a really short battling primer:

1. Ignore the top screen at the beginning completely and set it on Auto. It will do its thing. Concentrate on the touch screen. Don't press any buttons, just use stylus.
2. You activate pins by doing the right movements with stylus, you don't have to touch the pins themselves (took me a while to realize that). Read the pin descriptions, it tells you what you should do in order to activate it (slash target, touch target, slash ground, later even scream in the microphone etc.)
3. Find two or three pins that you can activate easily and use them ad nauseam. All the other equipped pins will be evolving as well. The sooner your favorite pins evolve, the sooner you will be battling through the game with ease.

I hated the setting at the beginning as well. The story will become more meta, making fun of its seriousness and you will encounter characters that you will genuinely care for. Really, from the second week onwards you will enjoy it I believe - the story picks up and you will feel more competent in battles.

I'm just going to jump in and say this:

I think you guys totally missed the point of the iphone question. I think the main gist of the question was "Is the iphone capable of becoming the market leader for handhelds or has it priced itself out of that market, and only available for those that can afford it? or Is the iphone pricing itself into a niche market?"

I think in this case, a comparison between the iphone and the PS3 is not unfair, in terms of price point, because how many gamers are going to get a handheld machine that is as prohibitively expensive as the iphone strictly for gaming?

The other thing you guys didn't touch on while comparing the handhelds is while the DSi and PSP have nearly comparable purchase price rates to the iphone, you're not paying nearly $100 (in Canada at least, I'm not sure about the States) a month for a subscription bill on top of buying games for it.

The DS and PSP are a one point purchase price (barring games obviously), and I think that was kind of the point of the question.

Just wanted to throw my two cents in before everyone got two riled up about the "Digerati", but I think I'm too late..... :/

Scaphism wrote:

You could probably make a compelling case for someone with a $300 budget and limited gaming time/budget. One on hand, an itouch with a growing array of sampler dishes, and on the other, a DS/PSP or even a home console and a games rental service.

People aren't not buying an iPhone or an iPod Touch to just play games on though. People are buying one because you want an Music player, a media player, a smartphone, and maybe something that plays games. Hell, I'd say most people still are buying iPods mainly because they are kick-ass music players and the rest is all bonus. So your argument is built on a pretty giant fallacy.

It's like if Demiurge went out and bought a Minivan for $15K with a video game console built in, then you came along and said, "Well that's nice, but if I'm a gamer with a limited budget I could spend 15,000 for a Mini-van with a video game console, or I could buy a Nintendo DS! See! Nintendo Pwns!"

Well, no you don't see, because no one buys a minivan just to play video games in, and no one (well, maybe a few but not the majority) is buying a iPod Touch or iPhone just to play games on.