I also downloaded the PSP version of flOw, the relaxing game that previously had been a Flash game and later a downloadable PS3 game. Despite all the kvetching by the press about graphical slowdowns, this is really a very clean port. I recommend it for PSP owners, especially if you haven't played the PS3 version.
Meanwhile, I've not been blogging because my writing agreement with Next-Gen was extended from a monthly NPD column to include a weekly column. So, since late January I've been pouring my weekend free time into that work. For the curious:
- Hardware Sales in 2007
- Software Sales in 2007
- Tie Ratios
- Used Games and GameStop
- Low Wii Review Scores
- January 2007 NPD Analysis
- Death of the M-Rated Game?
- Publisher Rating Rankings
Low Wii Review Scores
"Maybe Wii games have lower review scores because we, as an industry, still don't know what makes a good Wii game."
No, I think the gaming media knows what a good game is, they certainly knew: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, Patapon, and dozens of other smaller games were good. They certainly have no problems rating arcade games and casual games that come out on other systems.
What is the issue then? I think its is very simple and has to do with mainstream casual buying habits. We all know Chef Boyardee makes horrible canned pasta and noodle products. We all know, or should that likely a freshly prepared bowl of noodles would taste better. And we also know that if your compared the sales of freshly prepared pasta to that of ConAgra Foods, Inc that it would be a landslide victory for the mega corp. People buy shit, it is called consumerism. Consumerism is blind, deaf, and dumb to levels of quality above poor/broken.
What does the above tell us? People have extremely bad taste in general and that as people start buying games their taste is unlikely to improve in that sector of the consumer market any more they their taste detects that easting Dinosaurs with Mini Meatballs is a bad idea. It is that painfully simple, people who are not gamers are not savvy buyers, and might never be savvy game buyers. I don't even think the people who bought Wii Play or Carnival Games like those games very much, at most they had very little opinion of them much like the folks shoveling Beefaroni© down their gullets won’t even think about what it taste like….sticky, sweet…mushy…they don’t honestly stop to think about it.
If you really could interview a typical buyer of Wii Play or Carnival Games they wouldn’t espouse some “noble” doctrine of the causal game revolution. No they would say, “Umm, that Wii Sports game was pretty good but I figured since I was getting bored I should pick something else up…this seemed like something I would like because the packaging was colorful…and I’m not she who this “Zelda Dude” is or what the heck a “Mete-roid” is supposed to be.
Wii games do not ‘seem’ to suck; they do suck in many cases. It is no trick of averages and the wrong “sampling technique, it is just the stark cold reality that Nintendo is really shipping low quality high profit product. The established gaming media is not out of step, then simply see no reason to lower their standards to come into line with the mythical “casual game’s perspective, and lest hope they don’t since it is highly unlikely they actually have a perspective. What people have to come to terms with is that Nintendo is the ConAgra Food, Inc of gaming now. Likely there are Nintendo fans that will shake with rage at me saying that, but it is true. Nintendo’s system is inexpensive, their games barely qualify as games expect for some marquee titles they keep the “brand” boosted. Just as ConAgra Foods likely squirts out Dijon Ketchup, Nintendo squirts out Mario from time to time to look upscale.