Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 5.4.07

Sony markets to teens
Sony decided this was a smart business move after analyzing the figures:
Selling games to 10 year olds = totally lame (Nintendo sux LOL)
Selling games to 14 year olds = awesome to the max (we rulz)

The All I want for Christmas is a PSP, Sony’s first attempt to market to teens, went over slightly better than September 11th. Most failed ads don’t bring in more customers, this failed ad led to current customers donating their PSPs to their walls at 15 MPH.

EA noticing Wii and DS appeal to kids, plans bad mini-game game to cash in
EA Playground appeals to “the kid in everyone.” How exactly did EA deduce this? There are the obvious things that appeal to kids but not adults, like finding the opposite sex disgusting and eating chalk. Then there are the childish things that appeal to some adults, like sliding down banisters, pouting when things don’t go your way, and calling someone a “crapface”.

Finally, playing with toys and driving fast probably appeals to most people, but if tapping into these led to game sales the market would already be saturated with adult gamers — almost every game out today gives you a woman in underwear to dress up in battle armor before sending her into a race that makes Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift look tame.

Ernest Adams thinks action games are too hard
From the article —
“Boohoo, I suck at video games and want to write an article about it. Designer’s shouldn’t creatively mix genres; if the box says turn based RPG they owe it to that box to never stray from that genre. I don’t care that the classics are all real time and skill based, video games should be what I want them to be today. And what about all those blind kids, shouldn’t they be able to play video games with us? Where are all the braille games, you fascists?”

“Dude, this would, like, totally make an awesome game!”

How often do we forget that a video game is ultimately (and obviously) a game. Experiencing the story, seeing the sights and listening to the soundtrack may be nice, but the actual game bit is prime. I’ve seen a few designer’s complain about games being difficult recently. People will stop playing if they lose, they’ll get frustrated, blah blah blah. But if a game is about the game portion of it, which it is, I don’t buy the argument that everyone should be able to experience the games. By “experience the game”, people are referring to watching the crappy cut scenes, listening to the terrible voice acting, and seeing the pretty pictures. That is not the game.

Losing 20 times only to win is an awesome thing to gamers. If you want to play or make the romance novel equivalent of a game, easy to get through and fluffy, go ahead. There is a huge market for romance novels. But please don’t crap on literature. I agree that all games should include the option to set the difficulty level, but if Ninja Gaiden on easy is still too hard for you then that’s just how life is. Not everyone is equipped to read philosophy. Damn, I’m a pretentious prick.

Dennis Dyack says people don’t want long games
1up snidely retorts, “Tell that to the kids playing Final Fantasy.”
Videolamer hilariously replies, “I don’t want long games so go fuck yourself, 1up.”

As gamers grow up they find it harder to make time for epic titles. I’ve felt the squeeze of real life and you probably have, too. Personal preferences for short games aside, Nintendo seems to be making ins with other markets, namely old people. And old people stick with short games because they’re going to die soon.

If things pan out for Nintendo we may see a significant shift in the industry away from FFXII style games. Developers will realize it takes too long and too much money to make them and that they’d sell just as many with a short mass appeal title. And for the RPG fan, look to Panzer Dragoon Saga if you’re convinced a good RPG needs to be at least 49,000 hours long.

Yesterday they were relevant. Today they are gamers. Tomorrow they die.

The drama of Jaffe
In what’s old news by now, God of War/Calling All Cars/Twisted Metal 2 (his best game) designer David Jaffe has been engaged in a web quarrel with Joystiq.com. It begun with Jaffe blogging about how one of the reviews of his new game, Calling All Cars, was unfair. The idea that the artist can comment publicly on reviews terrifies me, by the way. Critics should have the power to say whatever they want and go entirely unchallenged, lest we be forced to ground what we say in reality.

Anyway, Joystiq then called Jaffe a little girl because he delayed Calling All Cars. Jaffe decided the mature way to handle the British blog was to curse at them a lot. He actually had a point, which was that a designer choosing to fix a game is probably a good thing, but he expressed it in his usual over the top style. Joystiq then issued a semi-apology and Jaffe declared he’d be taking a break from blogging because it’s hard to type with a Sony executive’s foot in his ass.

What strikes me is how phony the whole thing was. If Jaffe had a problem with Joystiq, he could’ve spoken directly to them about it. If Joystiq actually wanted to apologize or clear the air, they could’ve contacted him to do so. Instead, a website and a designer fought like school girls in a public forum. You know how fighting in a web forum is hugely entertaining but if you move that fight to IM it just isn’t? It’s all about performing for the audience, and both Jaffe and Joystiq put on a good show.

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