Sunday, March 30, 2014

4 Ways The Gaming Industry Has Lost Its Mind

 DS Games Are Coming To the Wii U's Virtual Console

Gamers are partly to blame for the major decisions the game industry makes. If we buy every FPS consisting of rainbow candy bullets and quantum breast physics then you can bet the marketing gods that we would get a sequel to that game every year until the universe implodes within itself. Though granted, the gaming market has the most power in what games we play, and possibly has less knowledge of what the heck gamers actually like, which is why sometimes a developer might say "Hey, you know that Shaq Fu/Final Fantasy game that no one liked the first time? Let's do it right this time." and more often say "Hey, you know that F-Zero game that everyone liked the first time? Well f*** them we cater to a niche group of gamers (Also please buy a Wii U)." The gaming industry isn't always cut and dry, and we occasionally get a real nice surprising treat once and while, which is why when we get something like the following it brings up the question if the gaming market even understands its audience anymore.

4. Nintendo Assumes Gamers Like Playing Portable Games on a Home Console. 

I've tried looking at this from every angle, and every time I came back to the same conclusion that the only time playing portable games on a bigger screen was hip was when the GameBoy Player was relevant and actually allowed you to take your Game Boy cartridges out of it if you wanted to play them on your GBA. GBA VR on the Wii U takes that concept and eliminates the need for cartridges, while also eliminating the hassle of taking games with you where ever you go...apparently. Nintendo believing that putting GBA games on a home console would encourage people to buy a Wii U is like saying a zoo could encourage more visitors if it enclosed the petting zoo by a 18 ft. fence (it's more exciting if you pretend all the goats are bears).  

And because the lovely folks at Nintendo are apparently throwing darts blind-folded at a dart board filled with the worst ideas ever (they still haven't hit "offer rights for a Mario's Time Machine sequel"), we will soon be able to download DS games right to our Wii U's as well. What do 3DS gamers get out of this in exchange? 3-D SEGA Genesis titles...that are just SEGA Genesis titles if you're playing them on the 2DS. Because Gamecube VR on either system would be a ridiculous idea, apparently.  

It's not like people actually play games on this system or anything.  

And not to mention the countless mobile game ports of games like Angry Birds, Tank! Tank! Tank!, and Tetris leaching unto the Wii U as if the first thing people want to do when they get home after playing nothing but time-wasting idle games on their phone is to sit down and play more time-wasting idle game.

3. Everyone is Making a Gaming Console 
How the heck will this even fit in a pocket?  

Hey, remember the days when there was only three game consoles and each had it's own set of niche exclusives? Now amplify that to ten times and you have today's issue: every software developer literally took a glance at the gaming market and said, with cartoon dollar signs in their eyes "yep, we're doing THAT now". Not only is Valve making their own gaming console, Amazon has been rumored to be working on their own as well, and it has been reported that the next Apple TV will have a built-in game console. It's just a matter of time before Google rears in its ugly face and produces their own video game console that will most likely convert every electonic in your house into a default Google + password system of despair. Granted, we can't have great games without some third-party competition, but it's all both too much and nothing has really broken the mold yet. Does anyone even know what an Ouya is? 
Pillsbury Ouya Boy?

If a $99 USB port hub can't change gaming, then a $350 Nvidia Shield, which would pretty much be obsolete before it leaves the box, certainly is not going to turn any heads, especially to the PC purists it's supposed to attract. Plus, these systems don't really offer anything exceptionally new that you can't find elsewhere. That Angry Birds game you're playing on the Android powered GameStick? Yeah, you can play that already on any smartphone ever birthed from the anals of time, or you can play it for free on-line anytime. That Mass Effect 3 game you're playing on the Ouya? You can buy the whole trilogy on a different console.  

I'm not saying third-parties should never make a new console, I'm just saying there's reasons why some people only buy one console every new generation; and it's more about lack of time, money, and space to put all that s*** than just being a software fanboy.

2. Game Releases Are Becoming An Annual Thing
Once upon a time, waiting for a game's release date was practically a religious art. Not only did you have to wait years for the next Kingdom Hearts or Zelda game, but you also had to dodge the innumerable spoilers and rumors like they were eye raping facehuggers. Sure, the build-up of hype for Smash Bros. Brawl was tremendous and exhausting, but at least the game worked and didn't spontaneously exploded when you inserted it into your system. Now enter 2014 and the term "waiting" has lost meaning for both developers and gamers. Remember when there was a new Assassins Creed roughly every other year? Well forget that, because now we're getting an AC every year- not counting spin-offs and the fact that we're getting at least two AC this year. Ubi-Soft's excuse to it all? “We are able to offer people a new Assassin’s Creed every year because they want Assassin’s Creed every year”, which is like a 400 Ib. binge eater defending his mid-night snackathon simply because the food was in the fridge. 
WB Games/Rocksteady's excuse for three Batman titles in two years? They thought the 3 year wait period after Arkham City for another Batman would be too long for the fans, so they hired WB Montreal to make Origins, which was also released with a 3DS sequel that is now getting its own port this year along with Arkham Knight. Tetsuya Nomura, creator of Kingdom Hearts, has even commented years ago that his vision for the series is to make a new (or remake of a previous) Kingdom Hearts game to be released every flippin' year, and so far it has happened. That's right: a series that's held tight by a very cult niche group of fans is increasingly becoming another annual sports 20XX game.

FIFA14: More or Less Edition
Please STOP. You're ruining the quality of your games by releasing a re-skin of the previous game every year. Take more time to develop your games: improve them, give enough time to incorporate new ideas. If the final product sucks after a 3 year development, learn from your mistakes and improve upon it for the sequel. Somethings don't need to be fixed, but if something becomes stale after overuse - break it, fix it, and make it better.  
And if nothing else don't make a movie out of it... 
1. More Video Game Are Getting Film Adaptions Then Ever Before
On a scale from 1 to 10 to rank how bad of an idea adapting a video game to movie is, the premise would deserve a full 10.5 on the awful scale and a good twenty minute beating with a folding chair (depending on lunch break hours). The Super Mario Brothers proved two things: 1) Hollywood is either Satan or Michael Bay when it comes to movie adaptions of our fond childhood memories and must be exorcised with Holy Water and silver bullets to the head, and 2) Video games make terrible movies, because you can't just cram an expansive interactive experience into 2 hours - that's why movies and video games have always been separate media.

As if no one learned anything from the movie adaption atrocities that were Doom, Mortal Kombat, and the hundred campy Resident Evil flicks, Disney went and greenlit the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time movie, which was released in 2010 and earned over $90M in ticket sales despite being a subpar campy film that uses time travel as an excuse to reuse set pieces. 
"Guys, look! I see something in the horizon...nope never mind it's just more sand."   

5 years ago no one gave a tapir's behind about video game adaptions, yet it is as if Hollywood looked at The Sands of Time's so-so box office success, slapped their foreheads and exclaimed "NEW FAD BUY ALL THE RIGHTS BEFORE IT GETS OLD!!!!" Now we have game developers lining up to get their games adapting into movies, because this is what happens when a majority of your income is dependent on whether your game's DLC sells. The crappy Need for Speed movie is just the tip of the turdberg:  Assassin's Creed, Angry Birds, Ratchet and Clank, and Sly Cooper are all getting film adaptions as early as 2015 . Not to mention a Last of Us movie (no mention if Ellen Page is going to reprise the role of Ellie), a flippin' live-action Minecraft movie, a World of Warcraft movie, and a Mass Effect movie are to be in the works - the latter probably becoming three movies, because Hollywood can't stop touching itself at night. 

And I haven't even named the worst of the proposed screen adaptions: a Rollercoaster Tycoon movie by the writers that gave us The Smurfs, the Dead Island movie that was inspired from a freakin' teaser trailer of a bloody zombie game, and a proposed Shadow of the Colossus movie...yes, that's still in production. Either that's going to be a 3 hour snorefest consisting of a guy killing a Colossi 16 times, or the movie will be abridged to the point of it resembling nothing like the original game. I'm going to say they'll pick either the latter, or make a trilogy.

 And if it's anything like the video game, expect frequent suspenseful scenes of the hero falling off the Colossi, then climbing back up again only to fall back down...

Well, Gaming Industry - that's my rant. You'll probably never read this and if you did you'd probably disagree with #2 the most, but before you go and make future decisions at least know who your audience is. It's all I'm asking. We don't need history repeating itself... 
Well, at least the tagline was honest.

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