Save Point

Money can buy everything except “love”, “friendship” and “exp points”.

The Price Of Keeping Up October 22, 2008

Filed under: Consoles,Metagaming,The gaming industry — haounomiko @ 10:47 am
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Comments on my prior blog entry about the price of games have me thinking. There are at least two upcoming PS3 games that I would love to purchase (The Last Remnant and Heavy Rain), and various others that I’d love to give a spin. It’s gotten to the point where, if the PS3 were the price of the average console, I would say it’s time to buy one. But– ouch. The price difference takes it from a range where I’d easily choose to purchase it, into a range where it’s not as easy of a decision for me. If Sony didn’t charge an exorbitant price for their console, I would shell out for it right now. Would they rather risk that I not do so? This is the direct impact of their decision, which they may have thought wouldn’t matter that much. Right here, right now, it is mattering: I definitely want one, but I won’t just run out and buy one now.

I suspect that because the Playstation caters more towards the older sector of the gaming crowd than the kids, Sony thought they could set a high price since it is a “mature” console. A high price for a working adult is more than a high price for a child, it’s true– but what they may have overlooked is that the price is simply a lot. Even without the downturn in today’s economy, the average American would have to be serious about gaming to buy a PS3.

Would Super Mario Bros. 3 alone be worth $100? I believe so, given what it delivers– but perhaps not to someone, even a serious gamer, who hasn’t played it. When buying a new console, gamers take the risk that there might not be any games on the console that captivate them enough to make it worth the price; perhaps they’ll neglect it and play mostly on some other console. It’s a lot of money down, betting that the reward will be worth the price. Even though there’s a good chance that the bet will pay off, how much money does the average gamer want to stake on that risk? There’s a certain price that gamers are used to staking; when that abruptly rises with no more guarantee of payoff than their usual price, it asks them to put more down for the same quality difference as they always get.

Maybe I’m biased because I’m so used to handheld games right now, so I’ve been buying less expensive games, but I feel like I’m getting just as much bang for fewer bucks that way. On the other hand, I’m going through DS games so much because it’s my only current-generation console, and it’s getting more releases than my old systems right now. The galling thing is that I don’t care a whit about graphical superiority– I just want to be able to play lots of fun new games, and it won’t be long before my TV consoles are obsolete.


Konami Makes Obvious Move; Fans Pleased In Predictable Manner May 9, 2008

Filed under: Consoles,Metagaming,Retro games,Specific games — haounomiko @ 3:55 pm
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I said this wasn’t a news blog, right? But I have to say that Suikoden’s re-release leaves me excited. I know far too many people who’ve had trouble getting a copy of this game, people who’ve borrowed it but would have bought it if only it weren’t so rare and expensive. I’ve been saying for ages that Konami would make so much money if they’d just re-release this game (and the second one, which is even rarer)– simply put, it may even have reached a point where there are more people who want it than there are copies in existence.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m certainly glad when game companies are busy making new titles instead of trying to ride on the success and popularity of their old ones. But when it comes to rare games that’re selling for high prices and can’t be found on any console for a lower price, re-releasing seems like a no-brainer, a win for everyone. It wouldn’t even need to be changed to be re-released, since everyone can still play PS1 games on their current Sony consoles, so it’s not obsolete (except, I suppose, to those who find old graphics to be unpalatable no matter how good the game is– in which case, I pity their never being able to experience SMB3.)

In short, yay. Now, I just need to be able to find a copy of Silent Hill 1…


Little black (folding) box May 1, 2008

Filed under: Consoles — haounomiko @ 11:09 pm

Another thing that I was thinking recently is that it seems like the best games are all coming out for the DS. I’ve never been a handheld console fan before, partly because I couldn’t see what I was doing before the era of backlit consoles, but also partly because the games just never grabbed me. It feels like nowadays the DS is getting all the interesting, fun stuff that I want to buy. I have a list of DS games as long as my arm that I plan to get, and my serious wishlist for other consoles is about… three games long. I’ve always felt like TV consoles were “the main event”, so I’m surprised to be gravitating to a handheld so strongly all of a sudden.

Of course there’s the whole innovative interactions thing, and it’s Nintendo, but then Nintendo has had some lackluster eras IMO as well– I was completely uninterested in the N64, never felt a twinge of regret from having jumped ship to Sony, because the PS1 was the system with all the great games back then.

I think it may be in part because there’s no pressure to have the most amazing graphics on the block– if you want graphics, you don’t go for a handheld game. So the software corporations are okaying games that have simple art but great concepts, instead of okaying games that have boring/ripoff concepts but fancy art. And now that handhelds have gotten to the point where they can do decent 3-D graphics even if they’re not omgphotorealistic, enough that people find the graphics pretty reasonable, they’re starting to attract more attention, I guess. So they’re Serious Platforms enough to be getting games with really big ideas nowadays.

And I suppose when I look at that, the future of gaming looks a lot brighter than otherwise for someone like me who would much rather play something fun and creative than something pretty but insubstantial. However, it does make me worry about what’ll happen when handhelds start going for awesome fancy art… hopefully they will always realise that they just aren’t made to reach for that target, and reach for that of fun instead.