- jvm: "That would have been the Jaguar, I think, with the last pack-in [game]."
Wrong, wrong, wrong. At least the Sega Saturn was later, with Virtua Fighter in the box. I think, other than specially branded console packages (like the Gran Turismo-branded PlayStation 2 package) that might well have been the last pack-in console game, certainly at the launch.
I'll happily accept further correction if someone knows of a more recent pack-in game, especially at a console's launch.
- Gary Whitta: "We'd all like to see more sex in games. I know I would."
Ok, I'll say it. No, I wouldn't. I mean, if we're talking about more Playboy Game or Riana Rouge, then I can do without, thanks. If we're talking sexy, that's another thing entirely. Lara almost had it right, and Eva in Metal Gear Solid 3 was really quite fun.
But we all want to see more sex in games? I'm not sold yet.
- Colin Campbell: "That's the nature of content nowadays. That publishers and consumers to a certain extent assume that it has a limited life [...] and that the music that I'm listening to now I may well not be listening to in five years time and it doesn't matter that I don't have such and such album in a hard form. I personally have no respect for the boxes, the discs, and all that stuff that I have to buy at retail. I'll be perfectly happy for everything to be downloadable over the internet." (my emphasis, obviously)
Man, where to start? First of all, I have a peculiar attachment to the boxes and manuals and catalogs and all the ephemera packed with each game. So Colin and I couldn't be starting further apart. But as a consumer, I am not thinking of the games I buy as limited lifetime anything. I hope, as long as possible, to be playing Atari 2600 games right alongside my PlayStation 3 games.
And if everything were available on the internet, that'd be one thing, but it isn't. And things that were online are gone. Someday Amazon may not provide you with a download of those items in your Digital Library or whatever it is they call the electronic items that come with some purchases. Or StarROMs may not still be around to provide you with updated, licensed copies of the ROMs you already bought from them when MAME changes the format. (Hint: They aren't around anymore, and some of the ROMs they sold initially need to be in a different format.)
It is true that once online, many things appear to live forever, but it's not a sure thing. I can think of a couple of things that I haven't been able to find that used to exist.
I totally agree with you on the digital distribution issue. There are way too many unanswered questions as to what will happen to these games as console and pc life cycles go on. If a company can assure me that my downloaded games will be fully playable twenty years down the line, as I currently can with say Super Mario Brothers on my NES, then I *might* be sold. Even then, as with audio cds, I consider the box and packaging a part of the experience and almost a validation of my ownership.
Nintendo did a couple of bundles during the GameCube's life.
I bought the Super Mario Sunshine bundle that came with a Purple (!) 'cube, Memory Card and Super Mario Sunshine in the box. If I remember correctly, it was something like $199 or maybe $229 (it was cheaper than all of the items separately). They also did a Mario Kart, Pokémon and at least 1 more bundle offer.
I too still play my 2600/5200/7800, Intellivision, Odyssey 2 alon side my 'Cube and PS2, and love all of the pamphlets that come along wth hard copies.
I'm going to try and limit "console with pack-in" to "console that, at any point in its first-party commercial lifetime (so not used sales) would have had the vast majority (wiggle room here; I'm thinking between 75-90%) of its units sold with a game up until that point, and at all points previous." So if a console originally didn't have a pack-in for the vast majority of its sales, you're already out of the game. I *believe* that's how the Gamecube worked, for example.
The Atari, at first, *was* Combat. Then it was, inexplicably, Pac-Man. NES was SMB, I think. What came with the Intellivision?
Then there are games that made the platform, which is another interesting discussion, imo, but obviously unrelated except by the most tenuous of tangents. Space Invaders and/or Pitfall on 2600, Goldeneye on N64, Sonic and/or EA Sports on Genesis, Fight for Life on Jaguar, you know, the uncontroversial ones. ;^)
In Canada, the launch Saturn sysmtems did not have a full pack-in game. I bought a launch-day unit in May 1998 on clearance and it had playable demo disks for Bug and Panzer Dragoon, but the big Virtua Fighter Included graphic was stickered over to say Coming Soon instead.
I just listened to the podcast a little while ago. I think digital distribution is better for the environment since we don't need all the packaging materials.
Other than that, I agree with you. Now that we have so many ways to store cultural texts, individuals need to be able to safeguard the ones they experience. The idea that these texts are "limited" gives way too much power to companies over someone's life.
I think something else to keep in mind is that you're curmudgeon gamer and they are Next-gen.biz. Next-gen represents, or at least focuses on, these companies perspective and you come from a gamers perspective. It became apparent early on, that division created much of the disagreement.
They should notify their guests of the website’s focus and the perspective Next-gen.biz holds.
Mordrak: I was pretty well aware of the next-gen.biz focus, and I actually thought having the consumer (advocate) in the conversation was more interesting. (Obviously, I'm biased.) We'll know, I guess, whether it was something they liked by whether I ever get asked back. ;^)
I agree, it was more interesting with a consumer advocate than not. I just felt bad listening to it. Every time you'd bring something up, they didn't seem to get what your point was. That was until Colin Campbell kinda spoke up and laid out your points.
The next-gen.biz podcast could be one of the better ones. I don't know if gamasutra has one or gameindustry.biz, but its not often I get to peer into the business person's mind relatively unfiltered.
It scares me as much as it intrigues me. I guess that goes for all good horror. Heh. But seriously, it's informative hearing about how these business use/manipulate brands and how that informs their decisions.
Anyway, I miss press start. Know of any other good podcasts?
Xbox had several bundles at various points.
In September of this year, they released an Xbox/Forza Motorsport Bundle.
For holiday 2004, they had an Xbox/NCAA Football 2005/Top Spin bundle.
For holiday 2003, they had an Xbox/Star Wars Clone Wars bundle.
There was also the Xbox/JSRF/SEGA GT 2002 bundle (I think for 2002...)
I don't think there was a bundle for 2005 (Xbox 360, remember), but I would anticipate that there might be an Xbox 360 bundle announced VERY SOON for this year, based on their past history.