Nintendo has a ways to go…

I warned y’all on Thursday that I would start the game drilling into your minds! We’re going to start by focusing on Nintendo. Yes, my dear, beloved Nintendo. I’m a fanboy (and always will be), but even I have to admit that Nintendo is currently dealing with quite a few problems. The worst part? Most of these problems have been self-imposed over the past console generation and-a-half by Nintendo themselves. It’s only now that the “minor” annoyances gamers found with Nintendo’s strategy are starting to catch up with the company. Something has to change! And I’m here to discuss just that! This will be the first of a five-part series summarizing what Nintendo needs to change in order to stay on top. The rest of the posts will cover the following:

      • Nintendo 3DS has a ways to go...
      • Nintendo's 'Project Café' has a ways to go...
      • Nintendo's online strategy has a ways to go...
      • Nintendo's innovation has a ways to go...

    Please remember, the notes and requests will all be coming from the deepest recesses of this poor fanboy’s heart. I hope to be neither for or against Nintendo with this series. So please give heed to your fans, Nintendo! These posts will be leading up to Nintendo’s huge E3 Media Presentation on June 7 at 9 a.m. PDT, at which time we can see and discuss their newly presented plan together! So let’s start with some general ideas…

    What’s done is done. Say what you will about the Nintendo Wii, it’s graphical prowess, family-oriented approach, and it’s junkyard of third-party shovelware. The Wii was a smash success. Really, it’s incredible how well the Wii did. The Wii sold more units in the United States than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 combined in the first half of 2007. The Japanese market lead was even bigger, with the Wii outselling the PS3 6:1. When it really hit some of us fans was when it was announced that the Wii had outsold both the Gamecube and N64’s total sales combined! That’s really an incredible testament to how well Nintendo’s motion-controlled gamble paid off!

    Of course a similar statement could (and should) be said for the Nintendo DS. Nintendo moved away from the GameBoy formula with the DS, which was an incredibly risky move on their part. They realized this too, of course, and originally marketed the DS as a “third pillar” of Nintendo’s temple of gaming systems. Hence the release of the GBA Micro before the DS took over. Of course, the rest is history! As we learned last May, the Nintendo DS has outsold the Game Boy’s total 118 million units sold, making the DS the best selling handheld gaming device in history.

    I mean really, guys, these are incredible figures. Nintendo earned $3.5 billion in 2009 alone!! So what has Nintendo done with this vast wealth? Well they’ve released a new handheld, the Nintendo 3DS. And since the Wii’s sales have started slumping recently they’ve announced their new home console system (codename: Project Café).

    Of course there were problems along the way. Third-parties basically left the Wii in the dust after the first two years due to poor software sales and limited graphics capabilities. What I like to call “video game jocks” laughed at the system’s “inferior” graphics. Core-gamers choked at the sight of the family-and-fitness directed gaming. Families didn’t know the Wii did anything beyond Wii Sports. People jammed their toes on the Wii Fit Balance Board. And countless TV’s and windows were forever lost in the gruesome wave of Wii-mote spearings. Meanwhile, it sold like hotcakes, so nobody much (other than the jealous Sony/Microsoft fanboys) cared. In fact, Nintendo’s motion-control gambit was so successful that Microsoft and Sony both came out with their own versions (with notably limited success by reviewers). But what’s going on now? The game has changed. Now people are talking about “Nintendo’s domination being over“. Well, I certainly don’t think there’s call for that! The only reason the Wii isn’t boasting such astronomical figures lately is because everyone on planet Earth already owns one. 84 million sales and people are surprised there’s suddenly a slump? Blame the global population for this one, not Nintendo. And there’s only been one Wii model released. The DS, PS3, and Xbox 360 all get the major bonus sales for offering multiple upgraded models for users to buy again.

    Nintendo gained a world of “casual” gamers with the Wii, but distanced generations of existing players by offering nothing worth playing but first-party games. Of course there were a few third-party efforts at first, but most all of them didn’t receive the love they deserved (Zack & Wiki, here’s lookin’ at you, kid!). Don’t get me wrong, those first party games were usually amazing, but the third-party support needs to be upped beyond anything Nintendo has currently received if they hope to stay on top for a second go-round. The corporate heads over at Nintendo realized this, and thus announced that the Nintendo 3DS launch would focus almost entirely on third-party.

    Sadly, third-parties did not take the lead whatsoever and the 3DS has had an extremely lackluster arrival. In fact worthwhile software has been virtually absent on the system thus-far. Street Fighter IV got great reviews, but it’s not enough to hold up a system past launch day all by it’s lonesome. Sure, other people have tried to point out that “the DS had a similar start” but I, for one, have never seen my new Nintendo system so lonely. Article after article on major gaming sites have pointed to the lack of “things to do” on the system. This is pretty amazing, saying just how much content the 3DS has built in right out of the box. Face Raiders, the multiple AR Games, the Mii Plaza and puzzle challenge, Find Mii, the 3D camera and editing software, the fun 3D music tool, the list goes on! Maybe Nintendo packed all this in because they realized the launch might seem a little barren. It’s notable, though, that people have openly called the AR Games the most fun you can have on the system, including the software titles. So you have to give Nintendo a lot of credit here: they really tried, and did a great job giving third-parties the best chance in the world to flourish from the start without stepping on their toes or sales! Sadly, they completely dropped the ball. Maybe they purposefully avoided the system. Maybe they just weren’t used to Nintendo giving them so much room.

    Everywhere you look, Nintendo has quite a ways to go before they can say they’ve won a second round in a row, especially with the established gaming crowd. They’re going to need the full support of third-parties this go, and that’s something they haven’t had for generations. But now Nintendo’s rich. They hit the jackpot with the Wii/DS and certainly have the money now to purchase the rights to some exclusive first-rate third-party content. Let’s hope they take that change while they still have it. They’ve got a ways to go, but there’s plenty of hope. Let’s continue this talk with the next article in this series, Nintendo 3DS has a ways to go…

    Happy Trails,

    Chinese prison FAIL

    Liu Dali was being held in a prison in Heilongjiang province, China. After being released, he recently talked to the Guardian about how was forced nightly to play World of Warcraft in order to earn Gold (WoW’s online form of currency) for his jailers. His jailers wouldn’t even let him keep any of it! They instead sold it to people for as much as $924 a day! All this happened after spending an entire day digging holes and trenches in a coal mine. To quote Liu Dali:

    “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [£470-570] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”

    Not Liu Dali

    Of course, while sounding hilarious at first glance, the real story isn’t all that funny. The practice of “gold mining” (as it’s been termed) is a real problem around the world. At this particular prison they were forced to stare at the screen and play until they could barely see anymore. And if they didn’t get their work quota they were beaten. This may sound stupid (and it is!) but it’s also pretty serious stuff. To quote The Guardian:

    According to figures from the China Internet Centre, nearly £1.2bn of make- believe currencies were traded in China in 2008

    Fake gold

    There are currently 11.5 million WoW players around the globe, and these players pay real money for the fictional money in order to progress in the game. Blizzard has attempted to stop this practice, but there’s really not much they can do. China has even had to issue laws recently about how online currency can be traded. This hasn’t seemed to stop the practice any. Virtual sweat shops in an alternate universe inhabited by real slaves… legitimately scary.

    [Relatively] Happy Trails,

    Source: [The Guardian and The Motley Moose]

    Prepare yourselves!

    Avast! Ye pillaging personas! Prepare for an onslaught of posts about video games. I try not to post too much about them, as I don’t picture myself as the type of person who sits around on his couch all day playing them, but I do have a lot of posts coming up about them. That’s because Portal 2 came out a bit ago, I just got a Nintendo 3DS (basically for free!), I can’t wait for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, there’s a new Call of Duty trailer, some thoughts on Nvidia’s Kal-El project for Android, I have some angry/nice/at-least-serious comments about Nintendo and Sony, and E3 is coming up June 7-9. So expect a lot of info on it coming up! Also I’ve been thinking about starting a second blog relating to some more personal matters, but I’ll have to write a lot for that before I release anything. So yeah, get ready… and it’s been a slow Help Desk day so far, thus the writing has commenced. Don’t believe me? Would this face lie to you:

    Happy Trails,

    Can’t wait for this

    Ohhhh man the long-awaited film based on the long awaited band is HERE! Can’t wait to see how well they portrayed us, the constant in-band-fighting, Jimmy’s feminine wiles, and The Great Guitar Loudness Battle of 2010. All epic scenes, I’m SURE!

    Happy Trails,

    angelic beauty surrounds and penetrates…deep.

    This, for all those who have been wondering and waiting for proof, is my mohawk.

    Window to a morning world

    Window to a morning world, originally uploaded by Chasinglilly.

    Window to a morning world

    Summer 2011 has begun

    I promised myself I wouldn’t write any more blog posts during or the days before finals week in order to study. Well that week has come and gone, and so has the next. And here we are today! I did pretty well in my classes this past semester, and just transferred to “Transitional Housing” on campus because I’m staying here in Fredvegas all Summer!

    What am I doing down here, you ask? Well I got a job with the campus IT Department and have for the past week been working the Help Desk phone line. So if you called for help and got a steamy, lucrid man’s voice on the other line… it was 100% most definitely my lungs breathing hotness upon your eardrum by way of my good bud Alexander Grahmcracker Belt. I don’t know why he likes being called that, either, but he always insists when I blog about him that I use his nickname that his wife uses. And no, I don’t know where that name came from, and I probably don’t want to.

    Anyways it’s been pretty good so far, though it’s a bit daunting answering peoples calls like that. In terms of computers, I’m a software guy, not a hardware guy. I wouldn’t know a quad-core from a pelican, or even a Super AMOLED from a pelicula. But I can tell you the subtle differences from Adobe’s CS4 and CS5 packages and use all of them proficiently. There’s another group of people who got hired who are working on capturing, photoshopping, tutorialing, and blogging how-to’s about our new “social” education platform we’re replacing Blackboard with for next semester. And they keep asking me for help with photoshop, wordpress, or whatever else. Why couldn’t I be there? *Sigh* Maybe I’ll talk to mi boss ’bout it.

    In other news: as of next Sunday I’m homeless, which is pretty weird. First, it’s super weird spending my first Summer away from home. And to add, I have nowhere to live here, either. I had a housing contract to live in Eagle Landing for Summer, but I didn’t get into the class (photography) that I wanted to, so Res Life is saying I can’t live in campus housing. See, in the agreement you have to check that you will be attending classes, otherwise you’re on your own. The only exception they’ll make would be if my boss tells them the IT Dept is “sponsoring” me to live on campus, which would involve them paying for my meal plan. It’s all just such a big hassle that my parents and I finally decided it would just be better if I got my own apartment that I could keep for the Summer and then maybe room with someone next semester. Today my dad and I were out scouring the Fredscape for apartments and we found some surprisingly good places! This leads me to my next point…

    My good friend Williamson McDungheap (AKA Will) got into Mary Washington! Now I don’t know if he’s going to choose here, but that’s super cool for him. If he comes down, who knows? Maybe he’ll end up being my roommate next year. Time, patience, talking, thoughtfulness, and flatulence will only tell!

    I can’t think of anything else at the moment… they didn’t clean up Eagle Landing any before they moved us in… I found peoples’ clothes in my drawers, for instance. The third episode of Neature Walk was released from vicscrappyvideos! Woohoo! IT’S A BEAR. I THINK. I’ll post more about ideas and projects coming up soon…

    I’m thinking of getting a Canon Rebel T3i (600D), that would be the most amazing thing ever. Either a Rebel T2i or T3i… though the swively screen is neat, I’ve heard the T3i is a little better with video, which is what I really want from my first DSLR camera. Now I just need money :-( I have no doubt all of our videos would be a billion times cooler if we had anything better than the DV camcorder. Not that the hardware makes things automatically cooler, it’s just hard to find inspiration worth being reviewed by people with that thing. Bleh. We’ll see. (pictured is the T2i, of course)

    Happy Trails,

    PS – Here’s a picture of an alien colony I took:

    Alien colony