Tag Archives: xbox

The Wii fad, 2 years later

Video game console sales numbers for November are in. Two years after the Nintendo Wii was introduced — you know, the console that was derided as a gimmick, a fad, just a faster GameCube — the little white console still outsells the Xbox 360 over 2 to 1. It outsells the PS3 over 4 to 1. (“Here’s a 4cr post”:http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2008/12/12/wii-buries-the-competition-in-november/ with official numbers.)

The doubters were so wrong about this one. The fans and industry experts who were quick to sell Nintendo short kept waiting for a fail that never happened. If you go into a Best Buy right now the video game section is completely owned by the Wii and DS.

Not everyone can take a risk and have it pay off so well, but it’s at least important to acknowledge that conventional wisdom and focus groups (what “everyone” knows) would have doomed Nintendo. The trick is being able to tell when you’ve got an idea that is truly special, and not just something you are clinging on to out of a stubbornness to be different.

In related news, I imported a “Nintendo DSi”:http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/series/dsi/index.html from Japan last month and it’s a great rev to the portable system. It would be even better if I could read Japanese.

More gaming, year 2

At the beginning of last year “I wrote about my new Game Boy Advance”:http://www.manton.org/2005/01/new_year_gaming.html and how it was finally the system that pulled me back into gaming, something that consoles and computer games could not do. A year later, the PSP is out, the DS is selling well (I own one), and the Xbox 360 is off to a solid start. So what happened with the questions I raised, in particular in regards to 2d games and Game Boy Advance games?

Sadly, earlier this year Nintendo hinted that there may never be a successor to the Game Boy Advance. Their “three pillar” strategy sounded good last year, but the DS turned out much better than anyone had hoped. With the DS Lite fixing all the major design problems with the original DS, it now seems more likely that Nintendo will focus on the Wii and let great DS games drive the handheld market until a next-gen DS becomes needed.

2d games, on the other hand, have seen something of a resurgence. Sonic Rush for the DS has the same feel as the Genesis games. New Super Mario Bros is also fantastic. The PSP has a beautiful if quirky 2d game coming soon in the form of “RocoLoco”:http://locoroco.com/index.html. Even the Xbox 360 has its share of 2d games on Xbox Live, and at E3 Nintendo announced a “2d GameCube game set in the Paper Mario universe”:http://www.n-sider.com/articleview.php?articleid=515. Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection has breathed new life into that original Game Boy game, Tetris; 4-player internet play with “items” is a completely new Tetris and more fun than I would have imagined.

Peterb’s essay “Design of Everyday Games”:http://www.tleaves.com/weblog/archives/000637.html has some great insight into game design complexity, using Advance Wars and other 2d games in several examples.

From the October 2005 Nintendo Power, Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi says:

bq. “2-D gaming can provide such a great game design–games with definite and solid gameplay. From a presentation standpoint, it may lack what 3-D can do, but let me yell once again, what games need are fun and exciting elements! 2-D games offer these things.”

No question, 2d is here to stay, and it’s only getting better. The Game Boy Advance had a good run, but now it’s time to say goodbye. See Modojo’s “The GBA’s Last Stand”:http://www.modojo.com/features/20060524/77/.