Here’s a word cloud for the blog, generated using this tool:
Here’s a word cloud for the blog, generated using this tool:
At the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco this month, Fez creator Phil Fish made a rather controversial statement. When taking questions after a screening of Indie Game: the Movie, Fish was asked his opinion on current Japanese game development. He quickly and bluntly replied that Japanese games nowadays “just suck.” This comment has sparked an Internet firestorm over the last few days, but is he justified in dismissing the entire country’s efforts? So, we ask, do today’s Japanese games really suck?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to answer that question, and we certainly don’t have the resources to mount the kind of market research needed to get close to an answer. But we’ll look at some publicly available data and try to determine if any conclusions can be projected on this issue.
First, let’s look at research group NPD’s sales charts for the USA in 2011:
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PS3, Wii, PC)
2. Just Dance 3 (Wii, 360, PS3)
3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (360, PS3, PC)
4. Battlefield 3 (360, PS3, PC)
5. Madden NFL 12 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2)
6. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, Wii, NDS, PC)
7. Batman: Arkham City (360, PS3, PC)
8. Gears of War 3 (360)
9. Just Dance 2 (Wii)
10. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (360, PS3, PC)
Not one Japanese-developed title on the list. It seems Americans weren’t crazy about Japanese games last year. Let’s see how the Japanese chart looks:
1. Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
2. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
3. Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (PSP)
4. Monster Hunter Tri G (3DS)
5. Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360)
6. Final Fantasy Type-0 (PSP)
7. Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii)
8. Tales of Xillia (PS3)
9. Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
10. Wii Party (Wii)
Here we see the reverse of the US chart, Japanese gamers didn’t seem to care for anything not from Japan.
What’s to conclude from this data? Japanese and American gamers have vastly different ideas of what sucks, and what works in the US market may not go over so well in the Japanese market (just ask Microsoft about that).
Fighting back hard against less-than-stellar 3DS sales, Nintendo is getting ready to release the next installment in the hugely popular Mario Kart series. Set to go on sale December first in Japan and December fourth in North America, Mario Kart 7 is sticking to what made the series such a success.
The Japanese website has recently been updated with preview videos for 18 race courses, and the game should have at least 38 courses when it arrives in stores. About half the tracks are updates and remakes from previous games, going all the way back to the Super Nintendo original. Featuring at least 16 characters, with the ability to add your own Mii avatar to the line-up, the roster has all the bases covered. The karts are fully customizable this time around, with the ability to purchase upgrades, like hang-glider wings and monster-truck tires, by collecting coins on the race course. All the classic items are available, and a nod goes to Super Mario 3D Land with the inclusion of the tanooki tail. And, of course, local and online multiplayer are ready for the true test of Mario Kart skill.
If past entries in the series are anything to go by, expect Mario Kart 7 to be a strong purchase for any 3DS owner.
Top of the list? Castlevania Symphony of the Night – a truly awesome game which I missed on the PS1 and was very pleased to get the chance to try last year. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords comes in at number two. I loved this game but wasted an astonishing amount of time playing it and have had to delete it from my console to stop myself firing it up again. Third is the mighty Geometry Wars.
Looking through this list reminds me of how much the Arcade has changed the way I play games. Games like Puzzle Quest and Castlevania are things we’d have overlooked at retail, but got to enjoy thanks to the wonderful fluffy impulse pricing they get on the Marketplace.
Head past the break for the full list of games.
How many of each console are out there at the moment:
Wii – 14.25 million
Xbox 360 – 13.37 million
PS3 – 5.9 million
DS – 55.51 million
PSP – 26.52 million.
That’s a whole lot of consoles!
Mario Galaxy has overtaken Zelda: Ocarina of Time to become the highest rated game on Gamerankings.com. Zelda has been sitting in the top spot for 9 years. A mere 0.2% separates the two games, with Mario ranked at 97.8% and Zelda at 97.6%.
With Metriod Prime at number 3, Nintendo now hold the top 3 places on the list, which averages reviews from around the web.
Mario Party DS goes in at number one, with Mario Galaxy falling to number three. Shin Sangoku Musou 5 (Dynasty Warriors 6) also sold pretty well.
|Mario Party DS||DS||234,708|
|Shin Sangoku Musou 5||PS3||188,456|
|Super Mario Galaxy||Wii||74,457|
|Final Fantasy Tactics A2||DS||22,759|
|Shin Sangoku Musou 5||Xbox 360||21,837|
The PS3 manages to overtake both the Xbox 360, which outsold it last week, and the Wii, making it the lead selling non-handheld. Xbox 360 sales went back to their normal paltry levels.
The latest Japanese sales figures just came out. There’s no surprise about the biggest selling game of the week – it’s the fantastic Super Mario Galaxy. In second place, amazingly, it’s an Xbox 360 game! Ace Combat 6 flew off the shelves this week, selling over 70,000 units.
|Super Mario Galaxy||Wii||250,585|
|Ace Combat 6||Xbox 360||76,708|
|Final Fantasy Tactics A2||DS||50,514|
|Super Robo Scramble Commander||PS2||20,525|
|DS Literature Collection||DS||18,254|
Riding the success of Ace Combat 6, the Xbox 360 actually managed to outsell the PS3! Pretty good news for Microsoft, Sony will draw a little consolation from the current popularity of the PSP.
Famitsu, the Japanese game magazine leviathan has published a list of its readers all time top 100 games. The list is dominated by epic RPGs as you can imagine. Non-Japanese games barely get a look in with GTA: Vice City scraping in at number 76, and Japanese conversions of Wizardry, Sim City and Tetris hovering around the bottom.
Head past the break for the full list.
The launch for the standard PSP slim built on the sales of the first week limited edition to keep Sony well in the lead this week. The Xbox 360 sold a few extra units in anticipation of the Halo 3 launch, maybe we’ll see a bigger jump next week.
|This Week||Last Week|