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Total Digital Distribution Can Wait January 27, 2010

Posted by maxfreund in General, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360.
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I recently played through the delightful Pixle Junk Shooter, a downloadable title on PlayStation Network, and it got me thinking about digital distribution.

Most people agree that eventually all our digital content, be it movies, music, television, or video games, will be streamed via the internet to whatever device we are using. We already see this in some forms such as Netflix Instant Watch, Xbox Live, Play Station Network, Itunes, and many more. And I no qualms about downloading the latest blockbuster title rather than walking to a store and buying a disk, as long as the small games do not suffer.

Currently, the PSN and Xbox Live Arcade are filled with great small games. Quirky sidescrollers like Castle Crashers, deep and vibrant puzzle adventures like Braid, and enjoyable old-school-style shooters like Pixle Junk Shooter are given a place of prominence, and I fear if they were going up against the God of War IIIs of the world, they would be overshadowed.

Sure, the smaller price tag would allow them to get some traffic, but I fear it would be hard for the average consumer to sign onto Xbox Live, go searching for a game, and not help but overlook the smaller titles in favor of the latest blockbuster release.

This is why I enjoy the current setup of having major releases relegated to disk form, and the downloadable scene reserved for the indie titles. It gives both types of games a space of their own to shine, and I hope it remains that way for at least alittle while longer.

New Article December 17, 2009

Posted by maxfreund in General, Wii.
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Check out my latest article. In Iowa City, there is a development company Budcat Creations, and they recently released a game for the Nintendo Wii, Our House: Party! I wrote an article outlining the game, how it has been received, and the process that went into creating the game. Special thanks to everyone at Budcat, as well as all others who let me interview them, check it out here.

Home Shopping Network Leaves Me Conflicted December 6, 2009

Posted by maxfreund in Wii.
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One of my hobbies other than videogames is watching infomercials. I love seeing the crazy products and over the top pitchmen. And recently, with holiday shopping in full swing, I have been seeing videogame bundles being touted on HSN.

For anyone who is not familiar with the HSN channel format. They have a product, be it cookware, or coats, or in this case the Nintendo Wii bundle, and for a full half hour they talk about the product, and take phone calls from customers.

And when I saw the Nintendo Wii was being highlighted, my gamer sense started tingling, and I was forced to see what the fuss was about.

I never thought a half hour HSN show could leave me with such mixed feelings.

On one hand I was happy, because video games were being shown to people that may not have thought about them as an option for their home. HSN is mostly watched by the 40 + middle America demographic, and those people tend not to be thought of as gamers. While the Wii has its faults, I have no problem with it being a mass market introduction to gaming, I think that was lacking, and I applaud Nintendo for filling that void.

On the other hand, the bundle really pissed me off. The fault for this goes to HSN. They were offering the Olympic Sports Bundle for a whopping $329.95. That is a whole $129.95 over the purchase price of a Wii. So what are the extras in this bundle to make it worth the hike in price?

  • Pikmin video game
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games video game
  • 15-in-1 Player’s Kit

That’s right ladies and gentleman, you get an eight year old game with plastered on waggle controls, a crappy mini game collection of thrilling Olympic sports such as Curling… and a pack of 15 useless plastic Wiimote add-ons such as the pool cue attachment and two wrist straps!

I was really sad when I saw this, because dupes who know no better will spend an extra $130 bucks for junk they do not need. It is in HSN’s best interest to make money off of people, I understand that, but the gamer in me was furious.

These buyers are trying to get into a medium of entertainment that they most likely never paid any attention to. But instead, they are getting useless plastic and crappy or old games thrown at them, and they do not know any better.

So for all those recent purchasers of the Nintendo Wii, welcome to the gaming world, we are glad to have you, but shame on you HSN for adding on useless crap, and taking advantage of the naive.