Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Re-Emergence of PC Single Player RPGs

A few years from now, the story of 2009 and 2010 may not be 'The Death and Rebirth of Duke Nukem (again)', or the 'Collapse of Midway', or even 'World of Warcraft Breaks Still More Records'. Even 'The Rise of the Wii' and 'Sony Strikes Back' will probably be foot-noted as mere market shifts. And unless Microsoft can show some use for Natal that isn't rigged or riddled with lag, EyeToy-style “controllerless gaming” will find its place in the graveyard beside Virtual Boy, barely missed.

No, the real story in 2009 is that the PC single player RPG began to re-emerge from being long dominated by the MMO variety. For years, good RPGs required internet connections and a willingness to go multiplayer; the single player RPG was a dying breed. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against MMORPGs. But I am also a major fan of the single player, stand alone style game. And, finally, it appears to be making a strong come back.

No matter how amazing or successful online RPGs get, it is important for developers to keep in mind that there some things a MMO simply will never do as well as a title designed for the single player experience. And at the top of the list is storytelling. With a single player game, there is no question (from the developers point of view) of how to present important moments and progress the story further. MMOs have to deal conundrums of single- vs multi-player content, changing the world for some and not for all, and how to add difficulty with locking key story elements away from the many. Solo focused games can do just about anything they want. The player can safely be allowed to face the baddest of bad guys, save the world, destroy the world, be made king, marry the king, or just about anything else necessary to the telling of the story. None of the MMO issues appear. A single player RPG can stick the story exactly where it should be for any great RPG, secondly only to gameplay experience on the list of developer priorities.

This past weekend I visited a good PC gaming aisle and counted about half a dozen single player RPGs that had been released or had updates released within the past year. Granted, not all the titles featured in this solo resurgence are high quality acquisitions. Some of them may just suck. That's ok. They exist, and existence is the important thing. The PC needs its single player RPGs just as much as it needs its MMOs, strategy titles, or mice.

Hopefully, one of these days, some smart developer destined to make a mint will find a way to seamlessly meld the offline solo experience with the online social experience in The One RPG To Rule Them All. Until that day comes, I'm content to celebrate the return of the single player RPG to the PC game aisle. With any luck, it will never become so scarce again.

- GameGavel.com Writer - L.T. Blaize

MMO Currency Farmers: Give em a Break

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->
Think for a minute if you had two choices to provide for your family and that paid equally as well: Play an MMO for hours, or become a coal miner? If you’re on this website I’m pretty sure playing an MMO is definitely the more viable option, unless you think it’s cool to look like Ben Stiller in the mine scene from Zoolander every single day.
Movie references aside, there are some people in Eastern Europe and in Asia that do have to make this choice. From what I’ve seen, the MMO farmers get a hell of a better deal than the coal miners and how can anyone really blame them? The farmers get to work in a clean, dorm style hall where everyone is sitting down playing video games while the coal miners are getting down and dirty and risking their health.
Just like you and I, these farmers are real people. The difference is that they happened to be born in a country that doesn’t always have very promising economic prospects. Skilled labor, such as engineers, are as affordable as McDonald’s workers are in the US. What are the options for the uneducated, then? That’s where the MMO farms come in. It gives these people a chance at life and gives them an opportunity to work in a safe and clean environment. It’s much better deal than being a coal miner or factory worker.
Everyone loves to hate MMO currency farmers, mostly because it’s easy group-think. “They ruined the economy of the game,” “Damn Chinese farmers taking my mobs,” or, my favorite, “He’s probably a farmer!”, always unleashed on the party member that doesn’t respond to chat.
Personally, I don’t think that the farmers ruin the economy of the games. Things get more expensive because players get higher levels and there’s more money going around. On top of that no one aside from the hardcore faithful wants to go to a low level zone just to farm things they need to level a craft. For those Warcraft players out there, you know how much it sucks to level blacksmithing or jewelcrafting if you had to go out and mine every single ore. How much would you spend in gold to do the same? Probably a lot, and the farmers could save you time if you’re willing to part with a little cash.
They offer a service and if you’re like myself and don’t have many hours to play a game, what they have is pretty compelling. I don’t have the time or will to sit down for hours and hours just to get some gold to buy the things I want. My downtime is better spent having fun, not grinding out something so I can have fun later. Buying currency is no different than going to a movie or a bar. If I go to a bar I can drop $50 easily in one night and only enjoy it for a few hours. On the other hand if I spent $50 to buy some World of Warcraft gold I’d have days of fun rather than just a few hours. It makes economic sense to me to buy the gold if you don’t have the time to play as others do.
Now don’t get me wrong, if a farmer cheats, that’s not condonable. Those people should be banned because their money is not earned legitimately. However, the ones that do farm it just like you and I do deserve to be treated with some respect because let’s face it; it’s either they do this or work at a crappy job.
The next time you see a farmer, respect them as a fellow human being. All their trying to do is provide for themselves or their family. If you still feel strongly against the farmers, gank them. There’s nothing that says you can’t and it might even add a little fun to their day. Either way their getting paid the same but let them have some dignity.

GameGavel.com Writer - Smiling Cobra

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Retro Gaming Multiplayer Heaven !

What can I say? I am in heaven. Why, you ask? Because the stars have aligned and given us one of the best, retro multiplayer games in history. And it’s free! Yes, Free! What game could I be talking about? What game could be considered one of the best multiplayer games of all time? Mario Bros? Double Dragon? Goldeneye? Are you kidding?

Four words, “Multiple Use Labor Equipment”. Or what is better known as M.U.L.E. Now if you are of the younger generation of gamers these initials probably don’t mean squat to you. But if you happen to have grown up at the dawn of gaming, then you will more than likely know MULE as one of the best, if not the best, multiplayer video games of all freakin’ time.

MULE was created in 1983 by Ozark Softscape and published through EA. Ya, that EA. MULE was an epic adventure where you and three of your friends each chose a competing alien race. The alien races ranged from Pac Man like creatures, to a long necked E.T. looking creature and everything in between. Once everyone chose their alien race you were then dropped on a new, barren undeveloped Martian landscape with the goal of out producing your alien “friends” while at the same time contributing to the “whole” of your new society and surviving. Games take place over twelve “turns” and usually took two to three hours to complete.

Once the game starts a swift moving land marker moves across the alien landscape, which is a randomly generated screen with flatlands, rivers & mountains. Players would “click” on the land square they want to inhabit and develop. Once all players picked their land plot the real fun begins. Now each player, while timed, has to pick a MULE, outfit it for one of three duties: farming, mining or energy and quickly lead their MULE to their plot of land where they let it go so it can start producing. After the MULE is placed in the plot a quick return to the pub is needed to score some cool cash. Generally the faster you outfit and place your MULE on your plot and return to the pub, the more money you will win.

Generally, to be successful at MULE you need to diversify your MULES and produce equal amounts of energy & food, while also amassing some mining wealth. If you neglect any of these you will pay for it in the end. After all four players take their “turn” by outfitting and placing their MULES the game takes over and randomly generates crops (needed to fuel the MULES), energy (needed to fuel the MULES), and either Smithore and/or Crystite. Food and Energy are required to keep your MULES top producers. Fall short of either of these and you plots stop producing and you fall behind in the game. Smithore and Crystite can be sold to the “store” for big money. After this “development” stage is over there is yet another new aspect to this game – a live “auction”.

The auction is where you get the chance to buy or sell food, energy, Smithore and Crystite from your competitors. The auction is handled ingeniously by each player choosing if they want to buy or sell each of the individual commodities. If you choose to sell, you simple move your player to the top of the screen. Players that want to buy stay at the bottom of the screen. Once the auction starts a timer starts and then players move up or down trying to set a price for said commodities. This is now a game of supply and demand at its essence. If you need energy and two of the other players have a surplus of energy they will compete to sell to you. They can drive the price up or sell to you for less. If there is more than one seller you can expect to buy cheaper than if there is one seller asking enormous prices for the valuable energy or food. Players go back and forth through the four auctions (food, energy, smithore & crystite). After the auction phase is over the screen goes to a tabulation screen and the four players emerge in order of their wealth, one x one to the top of the screen. Then the cycle starts over again by players choosing another plot of land. Choosing plots of land adjacent to each other is recommended. The games sees this as better than dividing your attention among scattered plots. Rivers are better for farming. Flatlands are good for energy and mountains obviously good for mining. So picking correct plots is important to exceeding in MULE.

To mix things up even more the developers throw in random events prior to each players “turn” that can either add to your wealth (your MULE won first place in the colonies talent contest and you won $200) or take from your wealth (your MULES require fixing and will cost you $100/MULE). The randomness of each game insures that no two games will ever be the same.

So where can you find this great game? And should you play it if you have never heard of it or played it before? To answer the second part of this question, “Yes!”. You need to play this game at least once to appreciate one of the best multiplayer games of all time. And thanks to the team at http://www.planetmule.com you can now play this game free of charge. And best of all there are always people in the lobby so you can experience this game as it was intended, with others.

MULE originated on the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit computers but was later released for the Nitnendo NES. Whether you hunt down an original game or play it through the newly released version so graciously served up on PlanetMule, do yourself a favor and log some time with one of the greatest multiplayer games of all freakin’ time.

Will your race win out and will your colony survive? Play and find out now.
- GameGavel.com Writer – So Cal Mike

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Death of Japanese RPGs

With huge franchises such as Final Fantasy, is the Japanese role playing game (JRPG) going the way of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy? Sadly, it seems so.

While there were plenty of incredible hits earlier in the 2000s and 1990s, JRPGS are slowly declining in popularity. Think about it, which RPG are you excited for in 2010 that’s Japanese other than Final Fantasy XIII? As far as I know, other than FFXIII, there’s nothing too thrilling about the JRPG genre coming out this year.

First, let’s take an in-depth look at why JRPGs are doing so poorly right now. Ever since FFVII every JRPG has been pretty much the same. Somewhat spiky haircut? Check. Character is wielding some sort of over-the-top blade? Check. Everyone else has guns? You got it. How about an annoying little girl for your party? It’s there (even in FFXIII).

And the storylines? Don’t get me started. While some are genuinely well done all we’re getting is more of the same. In fact it’s so easy you’ll see a new one born right in front of you eyes:

Pick a character name, perhaps the name of a geological feature or an animal. For instance, we’ll name the protagonist, Suchi Rukara (literally robot in Japanese) and name her two sidekicks. One will be Mikazuki (a Japanese female name) and the other will be James (we can’t forget our token European name in the game).
The story is set in a futuristic medieval-ish world that includes transforming aircraft that shoot lasers and perhaps a group of peasants that still mine with pick axes instead of super awesome futuristic precision razors.

The peasants aren’t too thrilled about how these transformer planes treat them and Rukara, Mikazuki and James are all peasants. Their enraged and want to fight back the airplanes. Throughout the game you’ll be fighting endless battles because you took a wrong turn or happened to be on the world map, and they happened to be there as well for no apparent reason.

Once you’re done fighting thousands of random battles you may encounter a glimpse of the story line in a cutscene that’ll last for an hour. During the scene it reveals that Mikazuki is actually an airplane in disguise of a little girl and she betrays you. She turns into a massive pink airplane with thousands of razors and you’re forced to fight her with your token European named member and an animal (we’ll call him Bear).

After that fight there’s so many different plot twists that you’re so insanely lost and you’ll have no clue about what the hell is going on. Then finally the player gets an ending finding out that their character was actually half-human, half-airplane (surprise!) and that she is in an identity crisis.

So there you have it, a JRPG written in about 15 minutes.

A quick storyline aside however, that’s how most JRPGs go; plot twists that make no sense, some really annoying characters and a predictable ending.

What’s really been gaining some ground is American RPGs. In the 2000’s and starting this year we’re really getting a sweet deal. We had Knights of the Old Republic, KOTOR 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect, ME 2 and loads of others. Most (key word most not all) of them have just been fantastic.

Am I saying JRPGs suck? Not always. But are they getting a little bit more, generic? Absolutely, and the trend seems to be continuing. Hopefully Japanese developers learn that the whole world isn’t Japanese. It’s fine to have their culture and their own tidbits in the game, just don’t make them so damn generic.

We have orcs, trolls, gnomes and elves and most stories containing those creatures turns out different, the Japanese can certainly do the same.

Otakus? Unite and flame me, I’m ready for it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Top-10 Controller Throwing Moments. ARGGGGGGGGGG!

10. Final Fantasy X – Getting the Venus Sigil


“Just got the Venus Sigil! Gonna go post a rant on Craiglist about it! LOL! Oh, btw, please kill me.”

This comes in at number ten because in theory, you can simply forget about it and move on with the game, avoiding any broken controllers and strokes… but if you are a complete hardcore gamer YOU ABSOLUTLEY NEED TO DO THIS FOR THE VENUS SIGIL because all the rest of your life depends on it. For those who need reminding, the Thunder Plains are a place in the game where you must dodge lightning strikes by quickly pressing the X button. The more you dodge, the better your reward. At 200 dodges, you get the Venus Sigil which enables you to brag to your online friends that you did, indeed, somehow, waste the time to dodge lightening 200 times. Good job. You win.

 9. Everquest – Dying


Brunette: “did you HAVE to aggro you dumass?!” Blonde: “brb leeroy jenkins”

This is more of a ‘kick your keyboard and then go to the bathroom to care for your bedsores and weep about wasted hours’ kind of moment. We all know it’s frustrating to die in your MMORPG, but for you WoW players who never grew up playing EQ, maybe you should try to imagine what it feels like to have your brain whipped with a cat o’ nine tails. After accidently aggro-ing one creature that follows you FOREVER and then KILLS you, you lose a crap load of experience you’ve spent days or even weeks earning. If that wasn’t enough, you then have to go back to your corpse to retrieve your equipment, and if you don’t do it in the allotted time, you lose all the equipment you’ve probably spent months getting. Playing Everquest was very similar to putting sea urchins in your pants.

8. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out – Mike Tyson


Mike Tyson: f*cking scary even in 8-bit pixels

Sure, most of us could figure out the patterns of all the other boxers and get to Tyson (or we just used the infamous 007-373-5963 code, because we loved to cheat), but then when we actually got to him we realized just how ‘little’ Little Mac really was. How many times did you try this fight before ol’ Mike knocked you out one too many times or you ended up throwing your boxy NES controller against the wall and went for the Game Genie? I think I tried once… because I am a real champ.

7. Ninja Gaiden – Act 6 


Five seconds later, they were killed by an eagle.

Ah, if the game wasn’t sadistic enough, when you finally reach the last level, you not only have to battle through four or five stages (I don’t recall, so don’t kill me), but you have to defeat three bosses… the kicker… you have to do it all without dying or you start over again from the very beginning of Act 6. At the age of ten I actually started balding because of this game.

6. License Tests– any Gran Turismo


Just another day of working on those damn Gran Turismo licenses.

Ah, who didn’t love spending hours and hours of their time trying to complete a course in a set amount of time, or drive really, really fast and slam the breaks to stop your car between certain distances? Some of you may have liked this, but I sure didn’t. I just wanted new cars… and a new Playstation controller after I whipped the sucker against the wall using the cord in pure video gaming rage. Hey man, getting that A license was vital to my existence.

5. GTA: San Andreas – Final mission

Why couldn’t this have been the final mission of GTA:SA? Dear God.

If the R.C. missions weren’t enough to destroy your brain and boil your blood, the last mission will serious cause some controller breaking reactions. After about twenty minutes you’ll remember you’re playing a GTA game and you’ll just throw in some cheat codes (as if you weren’t using them already, you cheater)

4. Super Metriod – Wall Jumping


Screw you hot-shot monkey things that can wall jump perfectly.

See if I save you when Zebes friggin’ explodes. Some of you may have mastered this, but I never did, and I am still pissed off to this day… and I am sure there are others who feel the same way… yep… that’s all I gotta say… stupid wall jump… so much easier to do in real life (see below).

3. Mega Man 9 – All of it


“Kiss my ass, fish! Load State! Oh wai-“

Not that I assume playing any Mega Man game would be a walk in the park, but geez! I have never felt like such an epic failure of a video gamer after playing a few levels of Mega Man 9. It is possible I just suck at video games… too many RPGs have softened my reflexes up? Too many save states? Maybe Mega Man 9 is just real freakin’ hard. And it’s such a great game, I just… sometimes I crawl under my bed and cry… because it won’t play nice… and I want it to.

2. Getting your character muddled or confused in any RPG


Cloud would later claim he was suffering from Confuse status at the time.

There you are…. floors past the last save state, maybe even several bosses after the last save crystal… you get into some ultimate ridiculous epic fight, and it’s going YOUR WAY. Way to go partner! You are about to kill the ultimate beast… the ultimate enemy that if defeated, will get you the boyfriend or girlfriend you’ve always wanted (what?) and then you realize you forgot to recast your protection spell.. Or forgot to equip your most powerful character with some kind of relic… and suddenly… your own hero is killing your entire party with one swing of his sword. OMFG WHAT THE HELL ARGRGRGHGHGEdjewdkwkfhekfrhejhhrrr….. Pardon me… I think I just saw my chest hair go gray from thinking about this. That’s right… I’m a hairy guy… so what? Chicks love it. Shut up.

1. T.M.N.T. - Defusing bombs underwater

Urge. To kill. Rising.

This comes in at #1 because if I ever think back to one moment that just utterly chapped my ass for years on end, it was this. Your goal was to diffuse a certain amount of bombs while swimming around killer seaweed and do it in a certain amount of time. Sound easy? Give it a shot and report back to me. After ten minutes you will be back to your world of God-modes and save states.

Runner up for #1:

Losing to your mom at Wii It happens. We don’t know how. You’ve been playing video games all your life, every hour you can, and well, your mom hasn’t. In fact, she didn’t even glance at a video game until Wii became the staple of family hipness. Still, you should be able to win… no matter what… and yet… maybe it was a bad day… maybe you burned yourself out on L4D2… either way… your mom beat you… and that should never happen. Go throw your controller at the wall. It’s okay. I won’t tell anybody.

I will end this blogging with my two favorite classic lines of a frustrated gamer:

“This game cheats.”


“This would be easier in real life.”

- Gamegavel.com writer - Tinydinosaurs

GameGavel.com Blogs - Subscribe, you will.

Related GameGavel.com Auctions:

Final Fantasy II - SNES - Factory Sealed - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247451

Final Fantasy Tactics - PSP - War of the Lions - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247914

Everquest Ruins of Kunark - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247970

Mike Tyson's Punchout NES - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000248422

Ninja Gaiden 2 - NES Complete in box - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247348

Ninja Gaiden 3 - NES - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247276

Metroid - NES Complete in box - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000245807

Mega Man Anniversary Collection - Xbox - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000246623

Mega Man X - SNES - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247099

Mega Man 5 - NES Complete box - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247718

Mega Man 4 - NES Complete in box - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247717

Mega Man 3 - NES Complete in box - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247716

Mega Man 2 - NES Complete in box - http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=0000247715


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Ten Video Game Pets That Would Be Awesome to Own (and what I would use them for)

10. Cerberus from Resident Evil

Take this sucker to the vet, see what happens.

Sure, he’s not much to look at and he might end up tearing you to shreds. But as far as a guard dog for your yard, used car lot, junkyard, daycare, or whatever, he will never falter, except against a well placed shotgun round.
Good Uses: Protecting beer supplies, fighting terrorism, doggie kisses.
Evil Uses: Sending out into shopping malls, Lady Gaga concerts, marching band events or other large crowds to destroy.

9. Yoshi from Super Mario Bros.

You’d never know this guy could eat you, then fart you out as a egg.

He’s a dinosaur you can ride on and he won’t try to kill you. You also don’t need to take the time to train him and modify with thousands of dollars worth of armor. He also wears boots. I mean, isn’t that enough? Sure he has a lot of strange fanboys/girls out there, but if they get in your way, you can command Yoshi to eat them. Amirite?
Good Uses: Charity parades, educational petting zoos, beer delivery runs.
Evil Uses: Eating just about anybody or anything upon command.

8. Chocobo from Final Fantasy

Take a wild guess what he tastes like.

There isn’t much to say about a chocobo other than after years of playing Final Fantasy, you just gotta have one. Sure, he may not do much but run really fast (unless you find a rare flying one), but who wouldn’t want to mount up on a giant two-legged bird and run circles around their friends?
Good Uses: Delivering messages in a timely matter, saving people from floods (if flying), finding and reporting news about good deals on beer across town before it sells out.
Evil Uses: Commanding it to kick people in the face, putting it in fights for gambling purposes

7. Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog

It’s ok Tails, there’s always gonzo porn.

Tails? Seriously? The little whiney twerp from Sonic? Yeah… because, if you are a guy, you can train him to shut up and not talk and then put him on a leash and the ladies will DIG it. A two tailed fox? OMG KAWAII !!!! Oh yeah, the furries will dig it to, if you’re into that kinda thing.
Good Uses: uh….
Evil Uses: Impressing ladies, tormenting furries.

6. Donkey Kong

Hi kids. This is what’s called a “shit-eating grin”.

Let’s face it, having an intelligent ape who won’t punch you to death is pretty damn awesome. This is all about strength and intelligence.
Good Uses: Lifting kegs of beer, defending the helpless, chasing down bad guys and punching them to death, opening up stuck jars
Evil Uses: punching people to death.

5. Spyro the Dragon

Spyro obviously knows that purple = pimp.

He’s cute and he’s deadly. Best of all, he’s compact so you can take him on airplanes and into little snooty cafes in Beverly Hills.
Good Uses: heating up food, melting ice so children can go to school (debatable whether this is good or evil), warming up your hands with a gentle flame after you have dranken too many cold beers
Evil Uses: Burn! BURN MY PRETTY!! MWHAHAHAAA *cough*

4. Dragon from Panzer Dragoon

RARRR! That’s it, just “rarr!”.

Another mount pet… many of us born in the early 80s might have dreamed of riding that freaky Luck Dragon from Never Ending Story. Those of you born past 1995 have no idea WTF I am talking about. Needless to say, having a dragon that can breathe fire, is loyal to you, and can fly, is pretty damn sweet.
Good Uses: Anti-terrorism operations, burning poppy fields, flying you home safety after beers with your friends.
Evil Uses: More burning, more evil.

3. Ecco the Dolphin

That’s not really Ecco, but I bet you couldn’t tell the difference anyway.

Of course Ecco had to make our list because he is like… a super dolphin... Not only does he have some kind of weird super sonar that will kill just about anything, but he can swim REALLY fast. Hitch a ride on this guys fin and he can take you anywhere. Okay, maybe he doesn’t belong at number three, but he is just so classic!
Good Uses: Bringing imported beer across foreign waters, destroying poachers with sonar, saving manatees and other marine life.
Evil Uses: Destroying intercontinental underwater internet cables so people can’t download porn or twitter anymore (evil?)

2. Amaterasu from Okami

Yep, rad as hell.

She’s a wolf God. She can fight like it’s nobody’s business. And she looks rad as hell. She also can command the celestial brush to make shit happen. I’m talking, like, anything.
Good Uses: drawing up more beer when it runs out, keeping your feet warm on a cold winters night, bring to schools to educate children about demi-gods.
Evil Uses: drawing doors on people’s houses so you can sneak in, the ability to destroy anything with a metaphysical paintbrush actually brings a lot of things to mind.

1. Rush

Can your dog turn into a submarine? No, so shut up.

Rush, simply put, is a kick-ass dog. Let’s start with the fact that other than some (probably expensive) maintenance, you don’t have to feed him or walk him. Hell, you might not even have to pretend to love him since he is pretty much idiotically loyal. But let’s look at what he can do: he can turn into a flying jet sled, a trampoline, a pogo-stick thing, a submarine, some kind of super strength armor, a jet pack, a motorcycle, and who knows what else… I mean, if that isn’t rad, I don’t know what is.
Good Uses: Thousands of uses, in fact, Rush could probably turn into a micro-brewery too.
Evil Uses: Don’t get me started. I’m the kind of guy who would take The One Ring and use it for evil, imagine if I had Rush.

GameGavel.com Writer - TinyDinosaurs

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nintendo's Third Party Disasters

“Nintendo’s Third Party Disasters”

Ever wonder why Sony dived into the gaming industry suddenly in the 1990s? The major reason: Nintendo’s third party licensing sucks.

Ironically, Nintendo came into the spot light by developing games as a third party publisher party to begin with. In the early 1980s, Shigeru Miyamoto, created Nintendo’s two stars, Donkey Kong and Mario, and began porting their classic arcade games to home systems at the time, which profited the company enormously.

Eventually this led to the creation of the NES later in the decade and the rise of video game fascism would begin. According to David Sheff, author of “Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars, and Enslaved Your Children,” Nintendo had strict guidelines for its third party publishers, such as:

· Licensees were not permitted to release the same game for a competing console until two years had passed.
· Nintendo would decide how many cartridges would be supplied to the licensee.
· Nintendo would decide how much space would be dedicated for articles, advertising, etc. in Nintendo Power.
· There was a minimum number of cartridges which had to be ordered by the licensee from Nintendo.
· There was a yearly limit of five games that a licensee may produce for a Nintendo console. This rule was made due to caution of over saturation which caused the North American video game crash of 1983.
Simply put: If you didn’t salute the f├╝hrer of video games of the 1980s and early 1990s your company was out of luck.

Companies such as Konami formed two companies, Ultra and Palcom to get around Nintendo’s rules so that they could publish more games. To me this is ludicrous because if a company can consistently produce quality games why limit them? That’s just outrageous.

Think of the possibilities that could have happened if Square-Enix or Konami wasn’t limited at the time. How many more games would we have to remember? How much more profit would they have made? It just doesn’t make sense to me to put in so many rules and regulations on third party developers.

Earlier in the 1990’s, Sony tried to reach a deal with Nintendo trying to add a CD drive to the SNES that would be attached to the bottom of it. If you don’t believe me, check the bottom of your SNES. See that port on the bottom? That’s where Sony’s CD drive would have gone had Nintendo had their way.

Thankfully, Sony stood up to them and created the Playstation, which many of us have fond memories of.

With increased competition from Sony in the 1990’s to the present Nintendo still hasn’t learned its lessons after being pummeled by Sony and Microsoft over the years. It still has strict rules about what can and can’t be published. In fact, it’s the main reason why Final Fantasy 7 was published on the Playstation rather than the Nintendo 64. Square-Enix was tired of all the red tape and decided to move on.

Fast-forward today and take a look at Nintendo’s Wii. Is there a Final Fantasy on it? Nope. A Metal Gear on the Wii? Won’t happen. Third party publishers are tired of Nintendo’s unflinching desire to just let go of the rules. As a result, the Wii is just a novelity to most serious gamers. It’s something you play when you have your grandma over and that’s pretty much it (excluding a solid game that comes out once a year which is rare).

Nintendo: Either loosen up your third party rules or join the graveyard along with Sega. This isn’t the 1990’s or 1980’s anymore. People are so over Donkey Kong and Mario (including myself, who grew up with them). Get rid of the garbage rules or Microsoft will dominate yet another aspect of our lives.

- Smiling Cobra