Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 4.27.07

Ken Kuraragi finally falls on his sword
I have called for Ken’s resignation many times, but like a president bombarded by calls to fire a cronie, end a war, step down, or learn to read Kutaragi has ignored me entirely. That is until yesterday. Ken has finally listened to my sharp criticism and based a life altering decision on it…or has he?

“And God said unto me, ‘Make thy console large, make it powerful, but above all else hold unto this truth: Make thy console expensive.'”

The Japanese, unlike Americans, have a thing they like to call sushi. This raw fish (California rolls don’t count, hippy) is symbolic of another concept we Americans lack – honor. For you see, in ancient Japan the sushi roller guy was thought to be the embodiment of the fisherman’s god, Zeus. Zeus had a mighty trident he used for fishing. He also had many children. The most important of these children was the original emperor of Japan, known as Honor Mitsubishi.

This illustrative story should make my point for me, but if it has not I will rephrase for those averse to mythology, literature, and thought – Just like the man who designed the Virtual Boy for Nintendo was asked to leave the company then later forced in front of a moving car by Shigeru Miyamoto, it is very likely Ken has been asked to step down by Sony’s management.

Many people have already voiced concern about Ken’s replacement, Kaz Hirai. They point out he is nowhere near crazy or arrogant enough to fill Ken’s shoes. But consider this – Kaz is already pretty arrogant and, according to his wife, mildly crazy and he hasn’t even been promoted yet. With his promotion, all his stats should increase drastically. The only question remaining is did Sony promote him too early, thereby limiting the growth of his arrogance and craziness?

Nintendo says they are making a lot of games
45 Wii titles and 79 DS? Let’s get to the bottom of this by using the amazing power of math. Of those 45 Wii titles, seven will be scrapped or combined early in development. Another six will be canceled midway through development. Of the 32 remaining, 20 will make it to American shores. 17 of these will have Nintendo’s logo on it but be developed by someone else. That will leave Wii owners with three brand new Nintendo developed Wii games: Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Kart, and Wii Play 2.

39 of the 79 DS titles will remain in Japan. This is ok because 26 of them will be language learning games and the remaining 13 will be Starfy sequels. Of the 40 that reach the Western hemisphere, 20 of them will actually be Nintendo designed and not just Nintendo branded. Half of these will be Touch Generations games that offer minimal gameplay, such as “Draw a Line,” “Blow into the Mic,” “How fast can you close the screens?,” and “Draw a Line 2: Parabola’s Revenge.” The remaining ten Nintendo games will all be sequels: Animal Crossing DS 2, Mario Kart DS 2, Wario Ware Touched Again, Kirby 47, New New Super Mario Brothers, etc.

In conclusion, we never have any idea how many games a developer is working on at any given time. Had they told us exactly how many they were working on six months after the GameCube launched, we’d have some standard for comparison. As it is, who knows how far in development a game needs to be for them to consider it worth adding to an immense list? If we count every time someone jots down a few notes on a napkin as a game in progress, I’d currently be designing at least one game.

Zoë Mode is a stupid name for a company
Every time I see Gamasutra mention Zoë Mode I flinch, then ignore the article. A picture of someone’s face is not a good logo, unless you’re a Nazi or Christian. For an unknown reason (finding articles to complain about is hard), today I couldn’t just ignore Zoë as usual. So I went to their website; it was worthless and taught me absolutely nothing about the designer, but did include a different picture of the face of their mascot, who we can only assume is sleeping with someone important. With little to go on and a short news article looking immanent, I did what all journalists dread doing – I read an article.

In said article, a quote from a Zoë cofounder struck me (as dumb) —


“I think the people who want to make these sort of games are the sort of people who don’t obsessively define themselves as gamers. They see games as one of the things they like to do, usually in a social context, and spend as much time doing the things most people in Brighton do, whether live music, or other creative endeavors that appeal to people who are more broadminded about how they spend their free time.”

I’d like to bet my life that everyone who worked on Wii Sports was a gaming nerd, though it’s unlikely any Japanese man is not some sort of nerd/violinist. It makes intuitive sense that people creating casual games should be casual gamers, but it doesn’t make actual sense. How many times have people who just like movies made amazing cinema? Do you want to read books by authors who don’t obsessively think of themselves as authors? Should marketing agencies start hiring people with a casual interest in marketing in order to get a handle on the mindset of the average consumer? Will these rhetorical questions ever end? Why would you want them to? Can I go back to completely ignoring everything I see about Zoë Mode? Yes.

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