Posted by murraychu on 7th August 2009
One of the biggest complaints about the Nintendo Wii, for core players at least, is the software. Specifically, the amount of “shovelware”, which is basically games that required little to no development time and is released onto the market with quiet fanfare. The vast majority of these shovelware games have been mini-game compilations. Ever since the Wii came out, with its free copy of Wii Sports and motion technology, it has been the target of games that are nothing but a small collection of mini-games.
Core gamers complain because these games lack substance, there is no story, nothing ground-breaking, and no endurance. It is hard to pick up a mini-game compilation and do a marathon gaming session. It is like eating a bag of nuts when you are craving steak.
That said, mini-games do fairly well. They are cheap to make, especially in comparison to the multi-million development cost of anticipated titles, and they sell relatively well to casual gamers. Casual gamers greatly outnumber the core gamers on the market, and mini-game compilations, which sell at a relatively cheap price, tend to make profit. This encourages developers to continue pushing out more of these games. Hence, shovelware.
This week I reviewed Go Play! Lumberjacks. I also had a copy of Go Play! Circus Stars. Like almost all mini-game compilations on the Wii, these two games focused on making the most of the motion sensing technology available to them. This worked relatively well for Lumberjacks as it simply used the swinging motion of the controller as a binary input. Either you are swinging the Wiimote or you are not. In this way, the swing acts just like a regular button push, but the controller gets a bit more interaction and immersion from it. It also featured control setting for the Balance Board, but that got a bit complicated and I definitely do not recommend using it for the game.
Circus Stars, on the other hand, used motion controllers that the Wiimote is notoriously poor at detecting. Tilt, thrust, and other movements simply are not picked up consistently with the Nintendo controller and, as a result, the game earns poor marks in my book.
I also grabbed Wii Sport Resort this week, but someone else reviewed it for KidzWorld. The Wii Motion Plus accessories, which is included with the game, greatly improves the motion detection. The swordplay game is essentially 1:1 and is my favourite game. I’ve been grinding it out on only a handful of games in Wii Sport Resort this week, I still haven’t touched most of the others yet, meaning this game has some staying power and replayability. I am interested in seeing what mini-games third party shovelware developers will push out for this new accessory.
Tags: 1:1 movement ratio, Circus Star, compilations, family games, Go Play, kids games, Lumberjacks, mini games, motion control, Nintendo Wii, Wii Sport Resort
Posted in Games | 5 Comments »
Posted by Kidzworld on 18th June 2009
Although Nintendo faired significantly better at this year’s E3 press conference. The memory of last year’s terrible showing will never fade from the collective minds of gamers. Since the release of the Wii, fans have been quite outspoken about how Nintendo had forsaken them in their pursuit of bluer oceans. But there is a good reason for this.
There seems to be a descrepancy between the number of games sold and the latest game reviews scoring. Many games that should not even be looked at on store shelves are outselling all but the first party Nintendo games. Reviewers are gamers, the people buying Wii games are not. In fact, most of them are the casual crowd: soccer moms and seniors.
The head creative director of Nintendo is Shigeru Miyamoto and he is the man who oversees almost everything at the Big N. He is the creator of Mario, Zelda, Nintendogs, Wii Fit and Wii Music. While it is hard not to find the jolly guy loveable, it is interesting to see the direction that he has taken gaming.
At the beginning, when Shiggy first joined Nintendo, he brought life back into the industry with his Donkey Kong arcade game and the NES. The funny thing is, Miyamoto was around the age of 25 at that time, and was no doubt a gamer of the right mindset himself.
At present time, he is easily a senior citizen himself and admits that he does not play much video games anymore and rather relax with his dog and banjo. While the games he produced at the start of his career were considered hardcore and amazing, the games he is at the helm for now are significantly less challenging and almost seemingly practical in some sense.
Perhaps it is a sign of his age and he isn’t that concerned with kids issues. Most Nintendo fans of the past are now around the age that Miyamoto was at when he had a vested interest in core gaming. As fans, perhaps we have not grown up and matured enough to fully appreciate Miyamoto’s new brainchilds like our grandparents can.
Luckily for us, there are still other developers that Nintendo are partnering with to bring us games that we still like to play, like Metroid: Other M and other video games previewed at E3 2009. Read the summary of this year’s E3 and other gaming news on our safe kids website.
Tags: arcade, E3, e3 2009, Games, kids games, miyamoto, wii
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Posted by Kidzworld on 18th June 2009
E3 2009 was a resounding success in everyone’s mind. While previously downsized for various reasons, it has now fully returned to its former glory, much to the excitement of gamers everywhere.
However, it is important to calm down and sit away from the edge of your seat. After all, the vast majority of the really cool stuff shown at E3 this year won’t be released before the new year. And that’s not including the delays and other complications that games are heir to.
During the Nintendo press conference, many games were announced, but of the video games previewed, those that we can expect this year are: Super Mario Bros Wii, Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Wii Fit Plus, and Mario and Luigi DS. These are the only upcoming games that we can hope for before Christmas. (Gift ideas guide: lots of great games come out around Christmas, so keep a close eye on them if there is a gamer on your list!)
Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, Golden Sun, and the mysterious Zelda Wii game are far off in the distant future and will probably get a reprised role at E3 2010. Remember that Nintendo is nefarious for delaying game releases, so curb your enthusiasm even more regarding Big N first party games.
As for the motion capturing trend that was demoed this year, Sony is hoping to bring it to store shelves by next year while Microsoft has yet to even release a projected date (but it can be assumed to be sooner than Sony as their presentation featured a nearer-to-completion demo). At the very least, as far as hardware goes, we can expect to see the PSP Go this year.
While all the announcements are very exciting, it is important to not burn yourself out and become desensitized to the hype surrounding these products. After all, you will want to save some of that giddiness for when you actually have the product in your hand.
Be sure to check our safe kids website for our video games guide to third party games shown at E3 2009.
Tags: E3, e3 2009, kids games, microsoft, nintendo, sony, video games, wii
Posted in Entertainment | 1 Comment »