Found this Super Mario 64 Bowser battle Theme on YouTube–and love it. Wouldn’t it be great if these got approved? I’d pay money for all of the Mario 64 tunes.
Tag Archives: Nintendo
This past Saturday I had the chance to moderate the keynote panel at Play: The Berkeley Digital Media Conference, an annual Haas Business School conference that covers a variety of tech, media, and business issues. It was a gorgeous day to be back at Cal where I graduated, and in a nice added touch, Cal stomped UCLA down in LA.
The keynote panel was entitled “The Monetization Game,” and the panelists included Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, Neil Young, president of ngmoco, and Kai Hwuang, co-founder of RedOctane, plus little ol’ me. The topic was as broad as they come: How is the video game industry changing the way it’s monetizing the sales of games?
I brought an outline that ranged from discussing the emergence of social games, smart phone games, retail versus digital distribution, next generation consoles, the recession, death of the music genre, and more. we had one hour to discuss it all, and we covered almost everything in front of a 90% packed auditorium. IGN, Games Radar, and Kotaku covered it.
Here are their stories:
GamesRadar’s page was broken tonight. I’ll update their link when it’s back up.
There should be video of the conference available in a few days, too. I’ll post the link when it’s ready.
Everyone loves original games. But few developers take the risk of making them in the video game industry.
Enter Jeremiah Slaczka, the creative director at game developer 5th Cell, dropped out of high school in his junior year. Working with his partner Joseph Tringali, he made a string of licensed cell phone games to get their company off the ground. Then they decided to risk everything they had to make an original video game called Drawn to Life, and they did it again with another game, Scribblenauts.
In 2006, while living with his parents in Bellevue, Wash., Slaczka successfully pitched the game Drawn to Life to THQ, one of the biggest makers of video games. The drawing game was an original Nintendo DS handheld game that went on to sell more than a million units. Drawn to Life spawned a sequel and a spin-off, rewarding the studio with success and empowering Slaczka to proclaim 5th Cell would never work on a licensed game again.
In the video game industry, Slaczka’s proclamation is bold. For many developers, it’s just a pipe dream to work on their own original titles. The hit-driven video game industry, like the movie business, regularly relies on sequels and licensed properties to generate sales. This year, after a slew of recession-leery publishers have pushed their games out of the competitive fall lineup, only a few original games remain.
One of those original titles belongs to 5th Cell. Scribblenauts, the company’s fifth DS game, is an innovative puzzle-action title enabling players to use tens of thousands of words, which turn into objects to solve puzzles. The inventive Scribblenauts won best original and best handheld game at the E3 game trade show this year by the Game Critics Awards. The game shipped Sept. 15 to mostly positive reviews, scoring an above-average 81 on the review aggregator, Metacritic. Here’s the story of how the company survived, first by making crappy mobile games just to get its foot in the door, and then eventually investing everything it could in making games that nobody else was doing.
See the full story at VentureBeat.com.
I got an email from an associate the other day about a mini video documentary called “Digital Trends Presents Players Only with Scott Steinberg: Video Games are Dead.” The headline irked me because to say that ‘video games are dead” is a shock-jock journalistic trick to get attention, and instead of watching, I ignored it.
A half dozen months back when Wired wrote that blogs are dead, I felt the same way (ugh, more gimmicky headlines), but I work in the video game industry and from all accounts, the industry is far from dead. So I went back to playing Resident Evil 5 with my son.
But while reading VentureBeat.com over coffee this morning I watched the whole piece, and the content of the story has real meat to it. Its author asks good questions and gets a surprising wealth of responses from industry designers, businessmen, and presidents, and analysts including Chris Taylor, Michael Pachter, the good doctors from Bioware, David Perry (yes, he’s my long-lost Irish brother), and more.
What’s it all about? The video game market isn’t dying, it’s changing. From the popularization of online casual games to the iPhone to the immense cost of production, the video game industry is still in its teenager years and still sprouting. How exactly is the gangly, pimpled kid turning out? I recommend watching the video; it might surprise you.
In 2008, Visual Concepts found itself in the unenviable position of picking up the 2K hockey series in mid-development, with only five months to build and complete NHL 2K9. The critics assailed the game with an average Metacritic rating of 6.8.
In response, the company took the beating, focused its new team and built a deep, impressive-looking follow-up that packs a massive array of visual upgrades, customizable options and online features. NHL 2K10 looks like the developer’s most feature-rich game in years.
To begin with, Visual Concepts wanted to lock in distinct offensive and defensive moves so that gamers could feel like they had more control. On defense, using the Y button on the Xbox 360 (triangle on PS3), you can lift your opponent’s stick in to get into the other player’s space and flick the ball away from him.
The NPD’s sales report for the month of June doesn’t bode well for the highly publicized Sega shooter, the Conduit, a “hardcore” first-person shooter for the Nintendo Wii.
According to NPD, sales of The Conduit reached a mild 72,000 units during June. The NPD analyzed sales numbers from May 31 to July 4.
Does this send a message to Sega’s executive team, which is trying to crack the top-selling console’s large but casual base of gamers?
“In terms of top SKUs, The Conduit placed at number 25,” an NPD spokesperson told Edge-Online. He also noted the game didn’t break into the top five selling Wii titles in June.
It’s doubtful. Sega is still betting on Wii’s mature audience to broaden. Starting with House of the Dead: Overkill, which sold 45,000 units in the US after its release February, and following with the ultra-violent MadWorld, which debuted with 66,000 units this spring, was June’s The Conduit (72,000 units). The sales numbers of each game has slightly increased, but even by combining sales of all three, the sum total sales don’t add up to blockbuster status.
Sega appears undeterred. It announced at E3 09 development of No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle, a sequel, and while we’re speculating here, you can bet there will be a MadWorld sequel.
Meanwhile, other publishers are following Sega’s lead by producing mature games on the Wii. EA is building a Wii-specific Dead Space version, Dead Space: Extraction, and Bethesda has stated publicly it plans making games for the Wii, whose estimated mature base is only 5%. Nintendo debuted its own attempt at mature games at E3 09 this year with Metroid: Other M, in development by renowned hardcore developer Team Ninja at Tecmo.