In my new temporary home town I instinctively checked some of the electronic and entertainment stores in hopes for some decent old findings I’ve missed. Sadly, I only picked up Double Dragon Advance for nostalgic reasons and because it was almost a complete package. Too bad I don’t have a GBA with me, but that’s not a problem. I can wait. The game’s not going to suddenly change any better or worse with the time passing.
That one of the things I noticed in these electronics and games stores; the amount of same games from store to store was staggering. Even back home the stores would have the exact same games unsold, new or old. The same thing happens across the Western world in a large scale. Some of Asia is an exception because of how they treat they’re used games market there, but to say that they’re having it better there is an understatement. For example, the Nintendo 64 Expansion Pack was a common add-on because it was essential to few games and allowed other games to expand to some extent. It’s in no fashion a rare thing, but it still sells around thirty goddamn euros almost everywhere. Often more because people are stupid enough to actually bid for it. And there’s an abundance of them on eBay and on other sites and they’re barely selling any. Wouldn’t it be better to make more sales to drop the price to fifteen euros sell what you have rather than sit on them forever? The pack is selling more than its worth, more than what it was worth back in the day. Most games that need it to function can be played on other platforms too, the only exception being Donkey Kong 64, which was a disaster on its own to some extent. The thing actually didn’t work if the Expansion Pack wasn’t used for some odd reason. Well, DK64 uses an emulator to run a ZX Spectrum game, both of which Rare owns, so Nintendo doesn’t have the rights to those two things and I doubt they’ll ever want to fix the bug or basically code the game again to get around from using the ZX game, so it’ll stay one of the N64 games you’ll never see ported.
Unless they tell Retro to remake it from the ground up, which wouldn’t be too bad of an idea if the game was worth it.
It can’t be good business for these stores to have the exact same game nobody buys. These games are just sitting there with no use whatsoever and it’s such a waste of space, money and plastic. It costs for these shopkeepers to have these games sitting on their shelf, taking space from games that would have higher demand.
The problem with this thinking is that gameshops themselves are aimed for the hardcore, and the hardcore can’t really understand why video game industry is in such a dire slump. Even Eurogamer made an article stating that it is the quality of the games is what’s the trouble rather than anything else. I don’t even want to see how much flak did the writer of this article get, but all I can say is that he right in many things. However, the incubation period he mentions for younger game developers is bullshit. You either are able to do your work well enough or you’ll learn. It’s not about incubation and suddenly becoming a master artists, it’s about knowing your shit and able to craft whatever you’re doing. Nobody spoke in this manner in the 80’s or even in the 90’s about developers like Gunpei Yokoi, who still ranks up there in a very high spot in my personal gallery of People You Should Know Of. These people who made the most well known characters and franchises that still linger in the conscious of culture had no incubation period; it was do or die, and these people did. Now with them being rich people who can do whatever they want, like Miyamoto, they don’t need to do any more, and they can’t crash and burn because of the cult following they have.
Let’s face something here; good games sell. They don’t sit on the shelf and are talked about minority in the cultural scale. Good games not only become a phenomena but also cut a new piece to the cultural cloth and will be known those who know nothing of video games. The reason we’re still getting Pac-Man in modern television tells that there has been nothing that would replace these old icons. Well, Mario did replace some of the old icons very strongly, and after him there has been no other game or franchise that would have made an impact to a world wide culture. It isn’t enough that the hardcore speaks and makes fuss about a game; they don’t matter. The hardcore speaks of every single game out there. But when you suddenly hear people that are not into games at all talking about how fun the Wii and WiiSports was last night, then you know something important is happening.
You don’t see many WiiSport titles unsold in these used games and electronics stores.
How can this situation be changed? By making good games is the simple answer, and unlike what the industry wants to you think, making good game ideas is not all that hard. The research that goes into it is, as is the amount of work one must do if they want to out out a good product.
Of course, now that the price of game development has again taken a new height with the Second HD Twins, we’re going to see the same thing happening again as with the last generation. While the hardcore is out there buying the games the second they come out, reviewing it and talking it on their own little forums, then selling the game away in few weeks, I’ll be sitting back and picking up some older games I’ve missed long time ago. I don’ find it justified to get a new game for 70€ when I can buy a better game for ten.