Game industry has a habit of dropping support, it seems

The video game industry is fond of pushing devices and addons to the customer that they don’t really want. There are numerous borderline cases, but overall when a device is pushed to the customer, it often fails. Overall, only a handful of addon devices have become highly popular and hit through the market barrier. Some even managed to become a sort of cultural icon. Nintendo Zapper, for example, is an example of an addon that was not only desired but also sought after outside the hardcore gamers. ROB was rather popular for first for novelty reasons, but Nintendo dropped the support for it. There are exactly two games ROB supports, and neither of them are good. However, it is a great thing Nintendo didn’t continue to push ROB further. This was the NES era after all, Nintendo had very little room to mess with the customers at this point.

Just by looking SEGA’s and Nintendo’s success with addons, to some extent with their consoles, we can see that even the most successful addons seem to die out either due to lack of software or lack of overall support. SEGA promoted Mega Drive’s CD and 32X addons quite a lot, and while 32X was the Kinect of its time, both addons failed. The games for either weren’t all too good and in too small amounts to warrant a purchase. Then you got the Saturn, a console that was put on sale too soon, leaving little software at launch and was dropped outright soon after in favour of the Dreamcast. Saturn in itself was rather badly designed console, having two separate CPUs which were hard to utilise. Games it had were not all too great either, even if there are numerous gems on the system. Then again, so does pretty much any other system.

It’s worth noting that SEGA continued the Master System support in form of the Power Base Converter, a move that a lot of Master System owners liked. That meant that adding the Power Base Converter you could free space from the living room. There were some issues, like a handful of games not working properly, but overall it was a good addon. It had a very specific customer group, but it also allowed people with the Converter to collect Master System games despite not owning the original system.

That is also exactly why all the current consoles, from Steam to PlayStation 4, have extremely interesting competition going on; they’re competing against games from the whole history of the industry. I would dread the idea of competing with giants like Super Mario Bros. 3 or Castlevania III.

Nintendo had less direct console addons like SEGA, a decision that many regard a good move. Whether or not the Super Nintendo CD addon would have become a success would have depended on the games the system. However, the Super Scope was all sort of awful, even if it was pushed as the successor to the Zapper. Nintendo dropped its support just like that, and only very few games supported it. Interestingly, I remember the Hunt for Red October having a special stage that supported it. Then you have games that could have supported it, like Wild Guns, but opted for a better control scheme because the Super Scope is a shit product. I have one, bought it from sale years back.

GameBoy saw few well remembered addons, but we all know that both GameBoy Camera and Printer were released, and then effectively dropped. In about a year, the GameBoy Camera saw huge price drops. If my American friend is correct, some places sold new units for five damn dollars.

Nintendo also seemed to love the idea of connectivity between their handheld and home console systems, but only few games ever supported this. The Nintendo 64 has two games that come to people’s mind, one being sum of the Pokémon games and Perfect Dark. It’s a nice idea and could work, but goddamn this thing saw no support. You also need to remember that often the connectivity kept accessing some of the content from either portable or home console game, and this then kept the developers from including any significant connectivity. Pokémon was the only one that truly benefitted of this, but that’s simply because Pokémon Stadium games were built for the connectivity from the ground up.

It’s a similar tale with the GameBoy Advance and GameCube. I’m sure some people enjoyed playing Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles or Four Swords, but everybody I’ve known personally testify these games destroying friendships. Well, seriously speaking the connectivity with GBA and GC was plagued with the exact same causes the GB and N64 connectivity was, and ultimately Nintendo seems to have dropped pushing this with the Wii and WiiU, par Pokémon.

N64DD is another addon Nintendo just dropped. The 64DD effectively mirrored the fates of 32X and SEGA-CD, but Nintendo handled the games, the device, marketing and the whole deal so badly that pretty much all games that weren’t at the very end of the development cycle were dropped dead, or in Nintendo’s case, moved to the GameCube. The 64DD original games weren’t all too good, so perhaps it was for the best Nintendo not to push this ill fated addon.

There’s few special addons that can named, but they were doomed from the start because they simply had no other use outside one mechanic; the e-Reader for the GBA, the Kongas and Microphones for the GC.

With Wii Nintendo seemed to realize how to play the game again properly. Well, not exactly. Nintendo came with the Wii Speak, an addon that was support about three games; Animal Crossing City Folk, The Conduit and Monster Hunter Tri. There is one or two more games that had Wii Speak support, but it would be a total waste of time to even Google it up.

SONY has their own little addons, like the Move controller. Move was SONY’s way to counter the Wiimote, much like how Microsoft kept pushing the Kinect until as of late.

The reason why I am concentrating with Nintendo in this post, outside the fact they had the most addons and stinkers like Virtual Boy, is that the upcoming Super Smash Bros for a console won’t support the Circle Pad Pro, but will support the upcoming N3DS Flanders’ C-Nub. I would call this as cold business calculation if it wasn’t such a stupid move. Nintendo is dropping their support on an addon they’ve been trying to push to customers, even thou they’ve themselves or any of the devs have shown very little support for it. Now that they would be able to show some sense and add the support, they’d rather see the base 3DS and its addons dead. While on surface it makes sense to support the new device more, this isn’t the case. The Flanders is not a new device. Its status is comparable to Wii Mini or AV Famicom than to SNES or GameCube. While the Slide Pad Pro was done mainly for the Monster Hunter series, it had potential. However, much like all addons, that potential has been largely wasted. I feel bad for anyone who has the Slide Pad Pro and was expecting further amount of support.

The issue game industry doesn’t seem to realize that once you’ve released an addon you’re largely promoting, and then you essentially drop its support, the customer loses its trust. It’s no wonder there is a group of people refusing to purchase any of the 3DS iterations. At least not until the machines’ region lock is removed in a way or another.

It would great if the addons these companies keep making would be optional, but after production and release they would continue to see further support. It’s a waste of resources and time from both the companies’ and customers’ part. It appears that the companies only care for short term revenue rather than keeping up with longer plan that would also allow heightened profits.

Nintendo is like a rich brat

I’ve got no difficulties in admitting that I used to be a Nintendo fan. I liked their games and consoles and turned a blind eye to their worse decisions. At some point I began to wonder why Nintendo didn’t continue making as great products as they used to, but told myself that I had changed. The truth was that I still enjoyed the same old games they were producing, but the new ones just didn’t capture the same spirit. It was Nintendo that had made that change in themselves, and with these changes we’ve seen drop in quality and in their profits.

It all sort of came together as a whole this week, like seeing somebody into their soul and seeing how they really think.

With the DS and Wii Iwata told us that the only way for video games to survive as a business and as an industry is to expand the market, to include everyone in their user base. They succeeded in this, and Nintendo’s platforms flourished like during the NES days. Software and hardware sales were far higher than any of the competition. DS utterly devastated PSP. The Wii sold more than either of its competitors as one of Nintendo’s aim was to have a Wii in every household, at least in America. They pretty much succeeded.

The turning point in all this is hard to pinpoint. There’s two clear points to argue about; the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2 with its instructional disc, or the revelation and release of Wii Music.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was marketed at the people who bought New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nintendo clearly felt that Galaxy 2 was a superior product, but the consumers just needed to be taught how to play the game. That’s pandering, and an awful strategy. Everybody just laughed at this motion, and Galaxy 2 went to sell less and NSMB Wii. However, modern Nintendo always does whatever they want to, disregarding the customers. 2D Mario has always sold more than any 3D Mario. It’s what the consumers want, but that’s exactly what Miyamoto denies. He wants to do 3D Mario more than 2D Mario. Why? Because he wants and is allowed to whatever the wants to, and Wii Music is a prominent example of waste of resources.

Furthermore, Miyamoto has been pushing 3D Mario into 2D Mario with the 3DS to a large extent. Both Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World saw large amounts of 3D Mario elements pushed in while gaining long wanted properties, like the Tanooki Suit and multiple proper character that are not Toads, while the 2D Mario was essentially left into shadows and given very little attention, resources and effort. Latest 2D Mario games are like cheap flash games people do for practice. 2D Mario has always taken more effort to produce properly, but as mentioned, it also has produced more profits than 3D Mario. It would make more sense to give 2D Mario far more attention to maximise the potential profits, but that would mean Miyamoto would have to do something he doesn’t like and Nintendo can’t allow that.

It’s the exact same thing with Zelda. Aonuma doesn’t want to make an Action RPG, but a Puzzle Adventure games. It’s no wonder Zelda’s sales have dropped. Same thing with Metroid. Other M’s infamy is well known and everybody and their mothers knows what a Metroid game should be. Sakamoto clearly didn’t.

New Nintendo doesn’t just hate me, but it hates everybody. It’s common to see people blaming other mobile devices on the low sales of Nintendo products. Even Miyamoto does this in the Edge Magazine interview. It’s a common misconception. iPhone was released in 2007 and the whole pad boom began then, overlapping both DS and Wii. It didn’t impact the sales because the software was driving Nintendo’s profits just fine. The pad and mobile phone game market do no overlap with portable game console market. The only difference now is the quality of the products offered. It’s not the attitude of the customers of the expanded market they managed to create changed; the customer has always expected the service provider to entertain them. Nintendo was the one who changed from a healthy company to an incestuous self-back patters. The market pushed these games and consoles away because they ranged from mediocre to rubbish. This same market has no problems with games like Mario Kart, which saw high sales and for a while was a hardware seller as well.

But Miyamoto and Nintendo see their opinions worth more noting than what the market and numbers state.

That, of course, creates the question Who are the people Nintendo makes for? Sakurai has an excellent answer for this; the less vocal, not so visible group of players. Translation of that would say; our own imaginary customers. In the market there is two groups; the larger and the smaller. No matter how you hate the thought, the smaller group is the hardcore gamers, and out of these hardcores you have a smaller section of devoted Nintendo fans. This crowd is extremely loud and voices their opinion and the moment something goes online. They shout as strongly as possible in and out of the Internet. They are extremely passionate small group of users. The larger market, the ones Nintendo managed to expand to, remains largely silent and only voices their opinion on sales. With the Wii U and 3DS, Nintendo has lost most of its expanded market already because they began to cater hardcore group.

Aiming to sell only to a small, exclusive group of customers can be a valid strategy. This means that the products need to be more expensive in order to keep profits at a satisfactory level. Often these products are also have a high production value in every regard and come in limited numbers. This strategy often also sees support from products aimed at a larger market, but everything is of lower quality here. Nintendo’s strategy here is to just cater the one small customer group, the hardcore. This is not a sensible business decision as it’s not sustainable, especially in entertainment and video games. Nintendo’s aim to further diminish their market will equally diminish their profits, and seeing how mediocre products they’ve been cashing out toward the hardcore, like the few latest Zelda games and Other M, their products will see a drop in quality as well. Even more so, if Nintendo decides to cater just their core fans, it means they are able to do whatever they want. The small dedicated fanbase would probably buy anything and everything Nintendo puts out and defend it as the Second coming. I bet there’s Nintendo fans out there that defend even the Virtual Boy.

We’re seeing Nintendo’s disregard of their products even in Sakurai and Smash Bros for -console-. Sakurai has progressively put more characters from the games he has worked on for the sake of having them. Kirby is understandable and so is Pit. Then suddenly, we get King DeDeDeDe, Palutena and, for no good reason, Dark Pit. King DeDeDe is another understandable character, but Palutena and Dark Pit are slot wasters. There are more female Nintendo characters that would fit better in Palutena’s place, to promote another games series altogether too. I hope the leaks are incorrect and Dark Pit is merely just a colour change and nothing more. Sakurai pushes characters he regards as his own onwards, just as Nintendo pushes games that the expanded market doesn’t purchase. Fire Emblem, as much as fans tote the series as great, has never seen great sales in the West. It is inherently Japanese game for Japanese people to play, just like the Super Robot Wars series. Yet Nintendo pushes no less than four Fire Emblem characters to SSB for -console-. It’s surprising that Wii Fit Trainer got in, but I doubt it’s because of high software sales and more because of the infamy of Wii Fit with the hardcore crowd.

Sakurai calls other customers more interesting than others. What the hell does it matter if other customers are more interesting than others? Either group of people bring in money, and essentially are the ones funding his pay. Games won’t fade away if you don’t listen to a small group of people, it’s the complete opposite. By concentrating on a small group of people, like the hardcore crowd they’re now concentrating on, game will get monotonous, very similar and worsen in quality. There’s very little challenge in trying to make something that will appease small amount of people, but there’s incredibly challenge in producing something that will be a hit with everybody. And Nintendo has a history of doing the latter over and over during the NES era.

Then we have to talk about New Nintendo 3DS. I’m not sure if I should type it as *new*to emulate the logo. This, by all means, is further pushing the existing 3DS userbase away from the company alongside the expanded market. This is just a big middle finger from Nintendo. I almost typed CAPCOM there, I’m so used to using that sentence with them. The New 3DS, the N3DS, or as I call it; Stupid Flanders, is a dumbfounding product.

Pictured; The Customers' view at Nintendo giving a numerical value in how much they care about their customers
Pictured; The Customers’ view at Nintendo giving a numerical value in how much they care about their customers

Stupid Flanders is like the DSi, but worse. At least with the DSi, the games that supported it had no troubles running on the base DS models. While it’s typical for Nintendo to renew their handheld console design in its lifetime, never before we have seen this many; the 3DS has four different models now; the 3DS, 3DSXL, 2DS, Flanders and Flanders XL. The GameBoy had four iterations as well, if we count Colour, and that was during the span of nine years. The 3Ds has been out for three years, and now they’re making the decision to push a new hardware out that singles out previous version owners with their exclusive games. However, I honestly wish that the amount of exclusives will be small and consist only of home console ports.

The question is whether or not Stupid Flanders is worth buying? Sure, it has double the shoulder buttons and that C-Button, but those are worth crap if there’s no software behind it. It always depends on the software whether or not a console is worth purchase. Xenoblade Chronicles being announced for the Flanders is both dumbfounding and understandable. It’s stupid because it’s coming for Wii U and has been one of its hype driving forces among the hardcore, but bringing it on the Flanders seems would increase its sales. Stupid Flanders will most likely increase overall 3DS software sales as well, as they’re grown stagnant everywhere.

The stronger CPU means nothing if the developers are not up to the task. Even Nintendo’s own staff couldn’t port their own NES games properly into 3D. I’m still wondering what kind of black magic SEGA’s M2 section is using in order to make perfection 3DS ports of SEGA classics with the best possible 3D effects. Nintendo has been pushing GameCube games on the Wii U despite them never selling well on the original platform and the lousy success if Pikmin 3. I can see Stupid Flanders getting better CPU to accommodate GameCube ports of sorts. Even the included C-Button supports this.

And who the hell is heading the name department at Nintendo? NEW Nintendo 3DS? Super Smash Brother FOR WII U / 3DS?  Both of these are horrible names, just like the Wii U. But why should we care? Nintendo clearly doesn’t.

Why can’t Nintendo stop for moment and see what the market at large is wanting? Why do they keep pushing their own wants and desires over the customers? There’s only one real answer, and it is that they are selfish and in love with themselves. We’ve been seeing the slow death of Nintendo the Servant, and slow creation of Nintendo the Selfish Artist. Is this what the death of Hiroshi Yamauchi leaves? It seems like it. The sad thing is that Stupid Flanders will most likely sell decently, especially in Japan and among the hardcore Nintendo fans, but it won’t raise the quality of the products. Nintendo just isn’t in this business to make money anymore, but to make whatever they want to have fun with at the customers’ and profits’ expense.

Burning Explosion! Custom Armament Action, Gaist Crusher Demo overview

It’s an interesting thing to see CAPCOM trying to create a new dynamic franchise. As we know, the company’s in a state where it can’t even afford to port Street Fighter IV to PS4/Xbone.  They don’t even have the money to make a new fighting game. However, Gaist Crusher seems to be one of CAPCOM’s last chances to gain money. It should have everything that a kid would want; attractive and colourful designs with collectables. But the franchise won’t have much staying power if its key component, the game, would be a failure. Gaist Crusher’s demo was released on the Japanese Nintendo 3DS eShop this week, and so I cautiously jumped on it  to see whether or not it was worth anything. To my surprise, it’s not all that bad at all.

Is that Gospel? Damn, now I want Gospel or Gregar to make a cameo appearance in this
Is that Gospel? Damn, now I want Gospel or Gregar to make a cameo appearance in this

To describe Gaist Crusher’s gameplay isn’t too difficult if you have a history with games; it’s a combination of limited area third person brawler with light elements of Monster Hunter and few nodges from Mega Man. However, Gaist Crusher manages to keep its own identity just fine and doesn’t succumb under the pressure it has, as most of these elements are intentionally there. For example, the game consists of missions where the player’s goal is to reach to the end of the relatively short stage through enemies, until he faces off with boss Gaist. Upon defeat, these boss type Gaists will leave some Gaimetal behind them, and a successful destruction of the metal will yield a new armour to use. The demo has limited forms, but you can broaden the amount of forms by defeating the Gaists in it and Crushing the Gaimetal they leave behind. Or at least you can gain two of three possible forms, I’ve been unable to gain the Gaimetal from Mission 2. Still, it’s a really neat touch.

The Gaist Gears comes in two flavours of balanced and offense, the Mail Form and the Weapon Form. The best thing is that you can change between these forms on the fly, so you’re not stuck with one Form. Mail Form is where the player character goes Kenshiro and uses his fists and legs to deliver blows on enemies with variety of attacks and effects. Weapon Form on the other hand is like playing Monster Hunter Lite, where the equipped armour pops off to form a weapon, eg.  a giant sword or a hammer. These weapons are very similar to what Monster Hunter’s larger weapons are, like Broad Sword or Hammer, but attack faster and hit harder than the balanced form. To balance the newfound offense, the defense takes a hit. This is reflected also in the function of Guard and Boost, as only the Mail Form can Guard with a dome shaped burst, that dazzles lesser enemies to boot. By charging the Guard, the dome will expand farther. Weapon Form Boosts, which is a very fast directional dash that covers decent distance. Both of these are bound to a small four-step meter below the player’s health. Using Guard of Boost will expend one part of the four slots, but the meter recovers in a decent pace. Thus, you are essentially allowed to Guard or Boost four times in a row before you need to wait up. Both are equally usable depending on your playstyle.

Next to these forms, there is also the Extreme Form, which allows the player character to invoke the shape, form and power of the boss Gaists. Essentially this means that the boss you defeat, the boss you also get to be. The Extreme Form lasts for only as long as you have energy for it, and the player life meter becomes the form’s energy meter, which drains itself in a decent pace whether or not the player takes any damage. That said, all Forms and Weapons have their advantages in their own fields.

Three forms to choose from... if applicable
Three forms to choose from… if applicable

Unlike with Monster Hunter, where if you failed the hunt you were taken back to the camp, the player has indicators next to his character portrait. In the demo there’s two, and these indicators work as Lives. Upon reaching the end of your energy, the player character is revived on the spot at the cost of one indicator. Demo had two indicators, thus allowing three lives.

The weapons in Gaist Crusher are Blade, Gun, Hammer, Scythe and lance and they are strong against each other in that order. There are  elemental affinities in play as well; Fire, Ice, Earth, Lighting and Wind. They are strong against each other in that order too. The weapons is selected according to the Gaist Gear you choose to equip, as is the element. CAPCOM has promised 100 different Gaists to collect and equip, I’m pretty damn sure all different kinds of tactics, Weapon and Element combinations will be explored. Gaist selection also changes how the player character looks, and the same weapon with different Gaist doesn’t work the exact same way either. So in the end, it all falls into the player finding the weapon and element he likes the most alongside how the Gaist functions on the field.

Directly from Capcom's site
Directly from Capcom’s site

Gaist Gears also gain levels, thou the demo seemed to have this functionality locked down. All Gaist Gears were at Level 10, and I’m sure levelling your favourite one up will increase its stats, so there’s character building through grinding included. A step away from Monster Hunter fare, but I’d assume it’s possible to damage any Gaist with any level Gear.

You can also gain new Gears by attaching Gaiphone addon to your 3DS and attack a Gaimetal toy unto it, and then use the Search Mode to gain new things in-game. This kind of mixing and matching toys and games is nothing new, but it also plays with how the character in the animation series gain their armours via Gaist On, ie. putting piece of Gaimetal on top of the Gaiphone and having the standard Super Sentai transformation sequence. Using a Gaimetal that you already in-game, like Flame Fenrir’s, the Gaist Gear gets a boost of strength. However, I’ve yet to test this in action, as I lack Gaimetals themselves.

Gaist Crusher demo runs smoothly and I experienced no framedrops even when the 3D was on maximum, which is pretty important as the game is pretty fast paced. Actually, if CAPCOM was in better shape, I could see them doing an arcade game that could link up with the 3DS via WiFi. The game would have a lot of potential as a straight up coin muncher if it was possible nowadays. Nevertheless, it seems that CAPCOM is acknowledging  the similarities between the hi-speed brawler and Monster Hunter as they have announced a combining event within Gaist Crusher and Monster Hunter 4, where you are able to fight against a Gaist Rioreus (Rathalos) and gain a Gaimetal from it. Sengoku Basara 4 is also getting its fair share of Crusher action. This is an interesting tactics, as CAPCOM hopes to export players of Gaist Crusher to other CAPCOM games. The problem here is that the series and the franchised collectables need to be successful so that main target audience will want to get the games. This is essential, thou more difficult than what it was with either Pokémon or Mega Man Battle Network due to the current state of the world economy. Still, as I have mentioned previously, Gaist Crusher has all the right elements to become a success, but can it be success at this day and age? For CAPCOM, I hope that it will.

It also should be noted that Treasure worked on this game, and their flair does show up in how the game feels. The world design, and designs in general, are colourful and range from nicely flat to very busy. There are some very cool looking desings, like the Skull Barghest or Tekkou Ryujin. Of course, some Gaist designs are not really all that interesting, like the tapir based Dream Back or the aforementioned Arnmi Akamezame’s Mail Form However, in true collectable fashion, everyone is sure to find their favourite from the hundred Gaists.

Ayakashi Ninetail is my personal favourite from all the revealed Gaists
Ayakashi Ninetail is my personal favourite from all the revealed Gaists

Overall, how the game plays and feels is pretty good. It’s a standard fare in the most positive way and there’s bits that could use polish here and there. What I mean by that is that we were promised somewhat basic 3D brawler with explosive action and low-level customization with collecting, and we’re getting exactly that in a well thought way. CAPCOM has usually worked upwards with their sequels, fixing and improving elements that do not really work, like the movement sliding in Mega Man 1 & 2 and adding actual Sliding in Mega Man 3, so Gaist Crusher 2 will be better if this succeeds.

Now, the engine is a modified Mega Man Legends 3 engine, and it shows. There are movements, camera angles and overall control feeling that says that Gaist Crusher is build on what was left of Legends 3. Comparing the footage we have seen of Legends 3, I can say that Gaist Crusher manages to stand apart from what Legends 3 would have been, even if some of the attacks sound and look like the Kicks of Legends 3. It is sad to know that Legends 3 will not be made, but Gaist Crusher will most likely be the more profitable one of the two.

It’s notable that if you check the original trailer and the latest one, you can see changes in the HUD and other small details here and there.

I’ve decided to purchase the game itself, thou gaining additional Gaists will be difficult if I don’t start exporting the toys too, but I’m eager to see if the actual game will end up being just as entertaining, or will the missions end up being a drag. Seeing how I enjoyed Monster Hunter when I actively played it, I doubt that.

2DS and Music of the Month; Klendathu Assault

The 2DS is a weird thing. The announcement for it came exactly the week after I got my hands on a 2DS LL. Within this week I have managed to get some hands-on basis to see how different the LL was compared to 2DS, but it also coloured my judgment a bit, at least initially.

For a console that was sold as the glassless 3D machine and the true successor to the DS, the choice of abandoning the 3D and DS design is really strange. From business point of view this is very good. Cheaper console means more sales, and there are huge amount of people who will never give two damns about 3D function, so it’s not a loss at all. Hingeless design also drops the price point down a notch, as does the fact that there’s just one large screen there, of which the upper half is covered. It’s almost the console the main crowd has been expecting. Almost.

The 2DS is aimed at children under seven years old. However, a lot of older people who are into portable gaming have raised their voice to claim interest in the 2D. It’s not surprise that Nintendo aims 2DS’ release within the same window as the upcoming Pokémon X/Y. Parents are more inclined to buy cheaper console for kids to play it on. Personally, I’m through with Pokémon, and I’m cutting my bad game habit with them. I didn’t even like B/W/2 games, and I feel a bit dumb about having them in the first place, but that’s past and no use of crying over them now. Might as well enjoy them the best I can, just like I had to do with Red Ninja.

The 2DS model is released only in US and Europe. In Japan there’s no need to release it, as the 3DS is doing there better. This tells that Nintendo managed to design a console mostly just for Japan, and in Japan the 3DS sees so much better support and released games that it’s not even funny. It’s like the Sega Saturn of handheld consoles in this regard.

I strongly hope that this the 2DS is also showing Nintendo’s realization that the 3D is not the way to go, and their next handheld console will not follow the 3DS way, but will realize the same ideology that the GameBoy was based on, and the later parts of the DS; simple and no gadgets console with high amounts of good games. I admit that at this moment the 3DS has very small library of games that are attractive, and the only reason I bought mine was to play Sayonara Umihara Kawase. Then again, I found my machine for 150€, which is cheaper than a locally bought machine.

Well, let’s get back to the main program; the music of the Month

I wonder if anyone remembers the rules; whenever there’s a Muv-Luv reference, you take a shot

âge’s music general is like this. Some songs in their library are intentionally composed to spoof or invoke the exact same feeling as some other known piece. The above pieces are good example of this; the Klendathu Drop is very well known piece in the sci-fi circuits and how powerful piece it is. Assault Landing from Muv-Luv Alternative is very similar in scene, as Alternative is also about bugwar, âge seemed to want to invoke Klendathu Drop. The keys are a bit different and the overall composition shifts key elements here and there, but it keeps the core; heavy brass instruments combined with strings. I’d love to hear Assault Landing by real philharmonic orchestra.

The thing is, even if you don’t know the Klendathu Drop, Assault Landing still manages to hit you in the chest. It delivers both as a fanservice and as a standalone piece.

That’s one thing I really hate whenever I’m starting to write that review of Total Eclipse. Yes, I’ve had few pages written down already that I deleted, because the background information kept creeping in. The best possible review anyone can deliver is based on objective viewpoint, where none of the personal issues appear. With the Castelvania; Lord of Shadows DLC review I had no knowledge how harshly the devs were pressed to bring the DLC out, and if I had know the beforehand it would’ve coloured the review too much. This is why I insist on watching all of TE with a friend who knows nothing of Muv-Luv beforehand, as her reaction will not be coloured by prior knowledge of the universe or any behind the scenes issues I’m aware of. However, I have intentions of bringing that TE review this month. I have to save some room for the Kimi ga Nozomu Eien post later this year as well, and I already have a nice idea what I’m going to write about.

To add more meta to this post, I have to continue this one-post-per-week schedule for the following month as well. After that I hope to return to our usual business of two posts per week.

There was also beer brewed with lemon and lime in our booze shop. I hope it’s good. If you ever find Asahi’s Lemon Beer, I really recommend giving it a go. When I was in Japan with my friend, I emptied a vending machine of it in less than a week.

CAPCOM doesn’t get it #8

What have we seen lately in regards of Mega Man? A revised sourcebook is coming and a slew of toys. We’re also seeing a slew of fan made games, as well as few Mega Man added to some lists.

Y’know what wrong with all of these? These aren’t newsworthy. CAPCOM isn’t making any noise outside one post at their forums where they confirmed not getting how marketing should work.

Again, to who are these toys and statues aimed at?  People who are fan[s] of Mega Man. Who buy[s] the games? The fans. How do you get more fans? By producing more games to broaden the customerbase. Guess what CAPCOM isn’t doing. After all these years of wanting, the Western fandom finally got toys and books.  The game series just needed to die before CAPCOM decided to make money on the side products. Make the primary products.

Due to lack of any actual development with CAPCOM and their intent with Mega Man, outside making money with secondary products, the fans are grasping straws and saying the series is relevant because of the toys. Then again, we could say that G1 Transformers is relevant due to the Masterpiece toys. We all know that G1 has not been relevant in years outside the hardcore audience, and similarly Mega Man is only relevant to those people who keep buying the toys and blog about it. It’s sad that the younger audience knows Mega Man from his 9th and 10th outings, or just through emulation. Since those games Mega Man should already be known for at least three more games. Legends 3 would have elevated the situation to a better status, but the choice of players controlling someone other than Mega Man was stupid. Pokémon doesn’t get bought and played because it has Tamagotchis, nor people buy Devil May Cry to play Silent Hill.

But Legends 3 came and was cancelled in a whim. The time since that happened is a small eternity already, as macroeconomics have changed as has the console status quo, where all of the currently sold consoles are either barely floating or are slowly being pushed away. UK retailer Asda doesn’t even stock Wii U anymore. I can’t blame them, as Wii U doesn’t have any games that have lasting power. Pikmin 3 is a laughable. It was in development for a half a decade and come out and nobody cared outside the core fans of the series.

You might think that It’s enough for the companies to serve their core fans, as I myself have said that it is harder to gain new customers than keep the old ones. However, not broadening your customerbase is the road to stagnation and without taking care of your product with absolute care it will end up repeating itself and never improves, like the bulk of Finnish anime conventions or later Mega Man games. If you were to sell to a small audience, you’d have to make sure that your product is premium of the premium and as valued as its weight in gold. The smaller the audience you have, the costlier it should be in order to make profit, which then means to put more work, time and resources in said product.

However, this sort of Elite Market is nothing short of stupidity when it comes to video games. Games used to be for everybody and there existed games for all. It doesn’t help that targeting the Elites during depression isn’t your best bet in regards of long term planning. More games and a wider userbase doesn’t mean that the quality of the games would go down but just the opposite.

CAPCOM is doing itself a disservice on not actually doing anything of worth. Hell, I even said that nobody wants another Darkstalkers compilation and surprise surprise, CAPCOM just reported that it didn’t sell well enough to warrant new Darkstalkers. I’m surprised to see CAPCOM’s inability to realize that the Devroom and Darkstalkers Resurrection were extremely weak attempts at doing marketing and marketing research.

Are these toys a way for CAPCOM to wage how much demand there is for Mega Man, or are they just trying to keep the little fanbase they have left in tight lease? Most likely the latter. 

Speaking of unreleased games, CAPCOM has tentatively announced to put the Game Boy Mega Man games on the 3DS virtual store. Remember when CAPCOM wanted to release the GB games on the GameBoy Advance with upgraded colour support and all, but that never happened because they didn’t have all the source codes? I’m sure the fans haven’t forgotten. If CAPCOM would be a company that stood behind its grounds, they would release the GB games as one set named after [the] project, and then add the Xtreme games as two-in-one deal. Don’t expect to get anything special from these editions, unless CAPCOM suddenly decided[*decides] to reverse engineer the ROM images. We all know the chances of that happening. Why aren’t we hearing more news on this? Because CAPCOM isn’t doing anything for these games. As with most other VC releases of this kind, CAPCOM’ll just throw ROM images to the store and call it a day’s work. I’ll be surprised if they’ll do anything more than that. 

And they’re still doing absolutely nothing.

Music of the Month; The Invincible Iczer-2

Did I ever tell you that I really love brass instruments?

This time on Monthly Music; not much. In the following months I most likely will be a bit overworked, so the updates will most likely dwindle down a bit. Expect the pace to be cut in half at times. I hate to do this, but at the moment I’m involved in three different service design projects, one limited production design and one electric car design.  It might not sound like much, but I’m the kind of guy who likes to concentrate only on one thing at a time. Juggling between different tasks is not a problem, but you’ll see the lack of quality in there. It’s something I must get better at, I admit. It’s one step closer to being a proper professional, something we all should strife for.

But let’s get some issues out of the way.

The PS4 is a question mark. SONY’s attitude to think the machine as just a box is a good idea, but I’m not completely sold on the Internet connectivity and the Share idea. Hardcore people most likely won’t like it, so PS4 might become pretty good after all. We saw very little regarding games overall, so I’m waiting for more news. Nevertheless, I need to put up a proper overview of what we know at the moment. PS4 might be decent, but it’s not the best idea for SONY to do at the moment. The controller is an interesting idea, but overall I don’t see it as a good thing, as it prevents you from using the PS3 controller on the system. It’s also a problem that PS4 doesn’t support PS3 titles natively, which should be a standard nowadays on any platform.

The Wii U seems to be failing and I’ve seen news about publishers bailing out to some extent. It’s somewhat sad to see PSV outselling the Wii U. I hope Nintendo will be pulling the same thing they did with the DS, as in realizing that they need NES 3 and not N64 3. Hell, the PSV is the most selling console at the moment, which tells how badly everything else is selling.

However, I must admit that today I saw some bit of news that convinced me to buy a 3DS. A Japanese 3DS to be exact; Sayonara Umihara Kawase.

I really do find hoodies comfortable to wear. It's either that,or a black suit
I really do find hoodies comfortable to wear. It’s either that, or a black suit
These two are the scans floating around the Internet
These two are the scans floating around the Internet

Seems like Umihara is 20-years old in this instalment, and will be the last one in the series if the title is anything to go by. I really like the news that the original staff is working on the game, as the PSP port was an atrocious piece of garbage.  I want to buy it from somewhere just to crucify it.

Now the last game I eagerly expected was Metal Gear Rising, which I’m writing a review of at the moment, and it’s weird to think that I’ll be making a pre-order for the first time in a long, long time. Last time I pre-ordered anything was… well, Umihara Kawase Shun Second Edition Kanzenban for the DS. MGR was store-bought, I usually don’t order anything in advance. In restaurants I pay the meal before eating thou.

It’s a box that plays games, and if you’re making more boxes you’re not making games

Having a platform for your ideas is a great thing. Leaving those as an idea is stupidity as ideas serve nobody. Turning those ideas into actual products is the way to go, always. Nintendo seems to have a wish to make more platforms to work with.

This fetches a question why would Nintendo want this? Every time Nintendo pushes out a new platform the previous one is shaded and loses its first party support. The Wii lost Nintendo’s support when they started developing the 3DS, and the 3DS lost support when the WiiU was pushed forward. If Nintendo is to create a new platform or two, then WiiU will suffer from lack of support. Nintendo barely can divide its resources between its own projects and always aims for what satisfies their own interests. Even when games are outsourced they are kept as pet projects rather than proper projects to develop the best possible game. Metroid Other M is a good example of this.

“What we are saying is that we would like to integrate software development methods, operating systems, and built-in software and software assets for each platform so that we can use them across different machines,” Iwata explained to Q&A attendees. “This means that if we manage to integrate our platforms successfully, we may in fact be able to make more platforms.”

He elaborated: “At the moment, we only have our current handheld devices and home consoles because if we tried to make more platforms, our development resources would be spread too thinly. The more we can share software across different platforms, the more development resources will be left for something else.”

In essence, Nintendo really would like to make a bunch of consoles that would share the exact same software. Sounds like they would love to create some sort of analogy of desktop PCs and laptops. This is alarming, seeing that if Nintendo would allocate their resources on creating the boxes on which the games run on, then these are off from the resources from making the games. Rather than putting money on research about new tech for new consoles, they should focus the money on which makes the money; on the games.

This is pretty bad. Nintendo doesn’t think about the customers at all with this. It’s all about what they want to do, what is the easiest route for them, what serves their interests most. If they really want to develop machines this much, then they should remove themselves from making video games and just start working on technology for various businesses and other home utility use. It’s apparent that they have a sort of fetish towards new technology that they themselves have developed and do very little with it outside playing around on them and realize their own dreams, ideas and pet projects. You don’t make money with that kind of business model, and Nintendo’s starting to see the results of their misdeeds in this regard.

I want somebody at Nintendo to remove Iwata from his throne, either by force of with his willing. I really hope that Nintendo’s sales will keep plummeting, as it would mean that Iwata would have to keep his promise. Him stepping down would be the first action for a healthier corporation. The second would be to have someone like Yamauchi to take his place and understand what the hell is business and what a game console does, and would understand what customers expect from these boxes.

The only reason why I want Nintendo to go into the worst situation the company has ever been is because I care. If the threat of becoming bankrupt or developing games for other companies won’t change their mind, then good riddance. Customers do not pay for pet projects. We are not here to pay money for something that we do not want, but something that we seek for.

What WiiU and 3DS are is boxes that have nothing in them. They have potential, but inly only stupid people buy because something could have something. Wii’s potential was thrown in the trash because Nintendo didn’t deliver all the way in. It’s one of the best examples of ignoring customers, when everybody thought the best ways to create sword combat with the Wiimote and other functions that became widespread in the Internet and elsewhere, and everybody was talking how awesome different control methods are. Swords weren’t the only one, but FPS controls, strategy game controls etc. were all gone through and people expected these games eagerly.

We got nothing.
Nintendo didn’t care about what we wanted, but did whatever they wanted. Sure worked for Wii Music. 

If Nintendo will produce these new boxes to play with, it won’t change their work. It doesn’t matter if they have more universal environment for the games, because all the (possible) money they could save from unifying the environment will only go to realizing stuff like Skyward Sword, Other M and technology like 3DS’s 3D screen.

I want old Nintendo back. Back then they knew how to make good business.

All Hail the Nintendo DS

All of us knows that the DS had a bad start. We all saw that when it went from being a portable N64 to a portable SNES, it became something exceptional; it became the King of consoles. Nintendo’s wish to tap the untapped marked, ie. the Blue Ocean market and reset the userbase served them well; both DS and Wii became a steamrolling monster. No console was spared. There was something for everybody, new and old alike.

It really boggles my mind that Nintendo decided to ignore what Wii and DS were and proceed with the Wii U and 3DS.

Sales, reviews and customers

Dragon Quest X didn’t open it’s life on a very bold manner. Actually, to statistics it sold rather poorly. There has been large amounts of people already stating that Dragon Quest is dead and the game has been a failure all around.

However, DQX is a subscription based game and the costs it demands are different. Comparing a game that is sold around 5€ can’t be compared to a game that has a 60€ price tag. That’s just stupid. The monetary gain from these two sales are completely different. When I hear that smartphone game A has sold an X amount of downloads, I can’t help but think that it needs at least five times as much to reach the same sales status as game B that sold as well on a console. Of course, a smarthphone game might have fraction of the budget a console game had, so there’s a balancing factor at which point the company breaks even.

Nevertheless, DQX has inherently problems that are hard to fix, such as a need for an external USB drive and a keyboard. Reviewers, both customer and media based, have panned the game. Still, we can’t deduce much from the current situation because of the nature of the game, and we’ll have to see further in the future how much the game’s overall sales will be through the subscription.

In a large scale, Dragon Quest X isn’t really important game to follow. You should follow the new Super Mario and how miserably it’s failing. Both 3DS and PSVita are going weak, and some have already buried both consoles. I can’t really blame them.

What we can see from DQX as a whole, and in the change of the video game customers in general, is that in the past ten years there has been a change where the customers have become far more self-aware of their own opinions and knowledge at large. There was a time when people read IGN and took its word at heart. It was easy for the companies to uphold legends and tell tales through these channels. However, for some reason, be it the Internet or change in the industry, the curtain which has hold the development and business side of the games has been all but removed. The customers are far more aware how and why certain games are made, what goes on in the development and are not easily lead into believe legends any more. I find this transparency very good as then the industry has to change, and if they change the wrong way then they will fall.

To bring back the curtain that separates the customer and the service, the industry has to start producing good products again. When there’s no need to see behind the curtain, the customer is left with a content feeling with the product. Now, the customer do feel a need to see behind these curtains, because there’s a fly in their soup.

Any industry that thinks that they know better than their customers are in trouble. 3DS was supposed the a new breakthrough because Nintendo wanted to push the 3D. Customers didn’t want 3D and they’re feeling it in their skin now. Sony and Microsoft both thought that it was the machines that mattered, and ended up losing money by the truckloads. Michael Bay thought racists robots and robot testicles were funny, and nobody found them funny.

Same applies in design industry; we need to stop being dicks. We’re not creative gods. And if you think you are above your customers, please remove yourself from the gene pool.

However, there’s strange amount of customers who are nothing less than blind to the industries’ misdeeds and do continue believing the leading information they’re given. Everything has their blind fans. It’s no surprise that the industries wish to cater these fans most, as it boosts their ego and wishes, but then again concentrating on this crowd also shows in the monetary gain and in quality of the product.

Nowadays it’s natural to see bulk of the reviews on many websites to be by the customers themselves. These range from completely useless 10/10 ratings without a thought to a well thought review that put things in proper perspective. Usually the best reviews come out much later on after any product has been released, so that there has been enough time for the reviewer to spend time with the product and reflect on it overall. However, the same can also lead into sort of romancing the image if the reviewer has been biased towards the product from the start.

Sales in general are not as affected by the industry as they used to be. With DQX and the new 3DS Super Mario the customers have been able to tell themselves more than previously simply through observation. There has been more and more customers that are more educated by experience, and this is a positive thing. However, due to the current world’s nature not even the most experienced word is trusted without somebody going [citation needed] on a whim. This is both good and bad; when doing a research sources are important, but when there is someone speaking based experience and wisdom, then sources mean little.

If we the customers, and the people, can’t value voice of experience when making decisions any more, then there’s something inherently wrong.




Good Nintendo propaganda

Nintendo announced today that the Nintendo 3DS is has reached the five million sales mark. They also claim that it’s the fastest selling system, comparing it with the GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS and the Wii with the following chart.

This is some good propaganda, ignoring all other consoles in the past. I won’t start arguing against them, thou I’d like to see more comparisons with all other major consoles.

What I’m trying to say is that Nintendo’s giving out figures without proper comparison. Only other handheld consoles should be applicable to the list, but Nintendo opted to showcase their other console figures. Take a look at the other console figures and decide by yourself whether or not 3DS is a success. Just remember, Nintendo’s still selling the console at a loss.