there's kerosene around...SET ME ON FIRE!!! (colicub) wrote in videogame_bitch,
there's kerosene around...SET ME ON FIRE!!!

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The State Of Play

For the past few years, there has been little to shout about in terms of original videogames. All we've had are the same crappy EA sequels and faceless movie tie-ins that seem to be the same game underneath. There have been a few truly original games (Katamari Damacy, Wario Ware) and a few new variations on old themes (Gradius V, Alien Hominid, Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time) but a lot of the games coming out were generic crap. However, of late there seems to have been a change in perspective. Good games are coming out and actually selling well. In my retail experience, for example, the 3 games I've been asked about the most lately have been Black, We Love Katamari, and Shadow Of The Colossus. While Black may be another FPS, and WLK and SOTC are technically sequels, they are also highly rated, enjoyable games. It seems consumers have been paying attention and demonstrating with their wallets what they want. Sure, 50 Cent Bulletproof may have sold well before Christmas, but now it sits unloved, traded in at game stores across the land for a copy of Guitar Hero (which isn't out in the UK yet, I know!) or Lumines. The tide is turning. People are actually starting to care about gameplay again. So what if the graphics are amazingly wonderful? If the game plays like a dead mackerel it's not going to be a success (see Marvel Nemesis for example), whereas original ideas are now starting to matter again. The Nintendo DS is selling strongly, Nintendo's masterstroke being to market the system to girls as well as boys, and providing games with all-round appeal as opposed to the racing and sport games for the PSP.

With the new generation of hardware upon us soon, this really is the make-or-break time for the industry. The XBOX 360 is slowing down in sales, with the slow trickle of mediocre games slowly hammering more nails into its coffin. The PS3 and Nintendo Revolution are likely to be the main heavyweights in the next round, with PS3 offering the brand recognition and status symbolism associated with its products and Nintendo offering a genuinely innovative control system and a potential to change the face of the gaming industry again. This may well be Nintendo's last shout at an international home success, as the N64 and Gamecube, whilst both being technically superior to their counterparts, were not as successful as they could (and should) have been, due in part to bad marketing. After seeing what became of SEGA, Nintendo should be more wary of the damage a lack of decent advertising can cause.

But looking towards the future, I can see one thing. The videogame industry is about to become a lot more interesting again...

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