Grand Theft Auto V claimed the prestigious title of ‘Game Of The Year’ at the 31st Golden Joystick Awards yesterday in London, beating Bioshock Infinite and The Last Of Us for the accolade.
Naughty Dog didn’t go away empty handed however as The Last Of Us picked up the awards for ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘Best Storytelling’, while the developers themselves were named ‘Studio Of The Year’. Ken Levine (founder of Irrational Games) was given a Lifetime Achievement Award, while the biggest surprise was The Witcher 3 being given the nod for ‘Most Wanted’. Hotline Miami, despite picking up six nominations, walked away with nothing.
Given its mammoth success in sales it is perhaps inevitable that GTA V would get the vote for Game Of The Year, but I personally think that maybe The Last Of Us deserves it more for being bold enough to do something new and pulling it off with such aplomb just as this generation of consoles comes to an end; I’ve yet to finish the game myself (playing through a friend’s copy on visits) but my eagerness to get to the end grows by the day.
The music genre in video games is a veritable mixing bowl of different ideas and concepts. You can dance to music (Dance Dance Revolution/Just Dance), create music (Music 2000/Mario Paint), or have a downright quirky experience with music (Vib Ribbon/Rez). In the midpoint of the last decade, Guitar Hero carved out an entirely new niche that allowed you to play music, allowing individuals (like myself) with no music talent to pretend they were rock gods.
Using a custom guitar controller, Guitar Hero gives players a setlist of songs to play through using a rhythm tap function to simulate the notes of a guitar in the actual song. With varying difficulties to play through, players can start off slow, and then advance to an even closer simulation of real life guitar playing…albeit with only five buttons in this case. An ace setlist of songs combined with a scoring system for playing better made this the new must have party game for consoles, offering something different in a market that was increasingly becoming dominated with shooting games.
Guitar Hero’s spot on this list comes because of a twofold reason. First off, it led to a renewal of interest in the music genre spawning other projects such as Rock Band which brought different instruments such as drums to the party, and also had a surprisingly unexpected impact on music culture in general, highlighting old artists and helping to boost record sales in some cases. The other reason is mainly negative though; Guitar Hero created a franchise that showed what happens when you flog a series to death. In five years, the Hero franchise of music games gave us five direct sequels, three games based purely on a single band, two spin off games and numerous portable titles – 24 games in all. Little wonder then that the music genre became oversaturated and essentially ceased to be of interest to developers about a year ago. Consumers have taken this example to look at other game series and campaign for quality over sheer quantity.
18 – WII SPORTS (2006) – NINTENDO
The best way to answer your critics is to make them eat their own words. The gaming press was by no means unified over whether or not the Nintendo Wii would attract enough players with its motion control gimmicks when it was released in 2006, but they had not anticipated the title that would be bundled in with the console – Wii Sports may be nothing more than a collection of demonstration minigames, but its hard to think of anything that could have shown off the appeal of the Wii so effortlessly.
Giving players the option of five sporting events to play through (Tennis, Bowling, Golf, Baseball and Boxing), players use the Wii remote and nunchuck attachment to simulate actions such as swinging a tennis racket or throwing a punch, which are then replicated in game by Mii’s (custom avatars created and stored on the console). The design of Wii Sports makes it so that both experienced gamers and novices can get involved straight away with ease, and it is a game that for once does not lie with it advertising; anyone from young children to grandparents can get involved.
I heavily doubt the launch of the Wii would have been as successful as it was without Wii Sports bundled in. The inclusion of software that could be easily played by the whole family straight from unwrapping the box at Christmas was a masterstroke on Nintendo’s behalf. It’s not just that it works though; Wii Sports really is good fun for the whole family. The game holds the title of the best selling video game of all time pushing the near 80 million mark, and inspired a range of in house titles utilising the Wii’s motion controls, including Wii Play, Wii Music and a direct sequel, Wii Sports Resort. Motion controls may still be in need of refinement for it to become a fully viable replacement for handheld controllers, but Wii Sports was instrumental in showing that a new way of playing games was possible.
Welcome everyone, to the first of what I hope will become an annual event on this blog – my review of the gaming industry in the year that was 2011. On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to have consistently updated this blog throughout the year, and thank you to everyone who has supported it via constructive criticism, or even things as simple as comments and views – I hope to continue in a positive form next year. But alas, the world is bigger than myself, and that is what the focus is in this article.
It wouldn’t be a massive exaggeration to claim that this has been the biggest year for games in ages, certainly since the release of the Nintendo Wii in 2006. The overall calibre of games has been on a notable rise this year, with a handful becoming instant classics, and the industry as a whole has advanced even further to consolidate its place as a genuine rival to the other great entertainment mediums such as film. That is not to say the year has been devoid of mistakes and mess-ups; amongst the success stories, there are a quite a few cock-ups that are well worth mentioning. Continue reading Dazcooke’s Video Game Land Review Of 2011→
A few more stories of note broke after I posted my roundup from the first day of GamesCom, summarised here for your reading entertainment.
The major news from Sony’s conference (for me at least), was hardware related; I commented in my news roundup from yesterday that a new PSP model was on the way, soon after this it was confirmed that the PS3 will be getting a price cut in the UK. You will be able to purchase a PS3 Slim soon for £199, putting it more in line with the Xbox 360. Good to see Sony slashing prices, but has it come perhaps a year or two too late?
Operation Rainfall, the campaign to get three Japanese RPG’s for the Wii released in America and Europe has been a great success. Xenoblade Chronicles is set for release on Friday here in the UK, and while the other two games had already been confirmed for American release, we got news today that The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower will indeed be arriving in Europe sometime in 2012. It’s a win-win situation all round; as the Japanese companies and Nintendo make some profit, gamers get three well received games (especially Mistwalker’s Last Story, which breaks from the RPG mould by introducing third person shooting and cover mechanics), and the Wii gets a good set of games to finish up with rather than dying with a whimper.
Nintendo still reckon the Wii has life left in it yet though, and announced a new streamlined Wii which is set to be released in a bundle pack in time for the Christmas rush. The new version of the Wii (which kind of resembles the Wii U in its design) will be bundled with Wii Play and Wii Sports, but for whatever stupid reason will NOT have compatibility with Nintendo Gamecube games or accessories. This makes no sense to me; if you are looking to buy a Wii this Christmas, just get a standard one that had price cuts a while back before E3, as that does have Gamecube compatibility and will be bundled with Wii Sports or Mario Kart anyway.
We finally have a release date for The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword. You can buy it from the 18th November, placing it slap bang in the middle of everything else that is being released – I’m sure Zelda fans will not be deterred by this one bit. For a full list of everything scheduled to come to Nintendo consoles soon, check this handy article courtesy of CVG.com.
Good stuff all round then, seems like gaming will be an affordable option for this Christmas.
Since 1986, Mario has been jumping around on our televisions screens, and his appeal if nothing else has grown stronger than ever. The platformers with which the franchise made its name are legendary and considered by many to be the best games of all time. At some points in his history however, Mario got bored of rescuing Princess Peach and decided to do something different with his time. The result was a impressive collection of spin off games, covering sports, education and more. These titles sometimes get unfairly forgotten given the prestige of the platformers, so this list is intended to give some exposure and display my personal favourite Mario spin-offs. The general rule of thumb for the list was this; in order to feature, you must be able to play as Mario at some point. This means games from the likes of the Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Wario series’ will not get a word on this list; I would recommend looking into those titles however. Continue reading Top Ten…Mario Games That Are Not Platformers→
A few days ago, Activision made the following statement in its financial results sheet for the first quarter of 2011:
“During the first quarter, Call of Duty: Black Ops became the best-selling game of all time in dollars across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC in the U.S. and Europe and was also the #1 game in the U.S. and Europe for the quarter.”
I am always a bit cautious when dealing with statements like this, because to claim that something is the ‘best selling thing of all time’ always sparks a debate. The important thing to note here is the use of the phrase ‘IN DOLLARS’. That would make Black Ops the highest grossing game of all time (replacing the previous Call Of Duty game, Modern Warfare 2, whose sequel is set to be announced soon), which is different from units shifted. If we look at the issue from that perspective, we would find that Wii titles such as Wii Play and Wii Sports Resorts, as well as downloadable titles such as the phenomenally successful Angry Birds, crush the opposition.
There was one response to the article in question however that made me consider another way as to how to determine the best selling game of all time: by working out how many people owned a game in relation to a specific console. The way to work this out is simple: take the sales of the game in question, divide it by the total number of consoles sold that the game could play on, and then multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage. By using some up to date figures and doing some maths, I have been able to work out the top ten selling games of all time via this method. The results are as follows:
Super Mario 64 – Nintendo 64 (35.3% of people who owned this console had this game)
Halo 2 – Microsoft Xbox (33.3%)
Super Smash Brothers Melee – Nintendo Gamecube (32.6%)
Mario Kart Double Dash – Nintendo Gamecube (32.2%)
Wii Sports Resort – Nintendo Wii (32.1%)
Wii Play – Nintendo Wii (31.8%)
Mario Kart Wii – Nintendo Wii (31.3%)
Super Mario Brothers 3 – Nintendo Entertainment System (29.1%)
Wii Fit – Nintendo Wii (26.2%)
Sonic Adventure – Sega Dreamcast (23.6%)
Breaking down these results highlights some very interesting trends.
Titles exclusive to a console are often the highest sellers
First party games are dominant on the list; out of the ten, seven of them were developed by Nintendo, and HAL Laboratory and Team Sonic are internal divisions at Nintendo and Sega respectively. This ties in with the first point, as first party games are usually exclusive.
The power of Nintendo in getting game sales. To have eight titles in this list shows if nothing else that they know what will sell, highlighted especially by the two versions of Mario Kart, two Mario platformers and three games utilising the Wii controls
The surprising lack of first person shooters. Given their rise in popularity over time, you might have expected more. Call Of Duty does not make this list on the basis that it is a multiplatform game, which splits its sales and therefore reduces the percentage per console (although MW2 would have made a respectable 13% on the Xbox 360). Halo 2 is the surprise of the list in this respect by being so high up, it backs up my idea that the original Xbox essentially was Halo.
The complete absence of Sony from the list is another surprise. Ironically, their success with the PS1 and PS2 (which were easily the highest selling consoles of their generation) means that any one game title had to sell by the shedload to make it to the list. The best selling game on a Sony platform, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, only ever made it 11.6% of PS2 consoles.
And finally, that Super Mario 64 can take home another accolade. It is often seen as the greatest game of them all; perhaps its success here only just reinforces that opinion
I certainly found this an engaging subject to investigate, and I must say that I am intrigued by some of the results. What do you all make of this?
And just as a bonus, here is my complete set of results to show that I didn’t just make these facts and figures up.
Rumours are plentiful in the games industry, but every now and again a rumour will come up that has so much momentum attached to it that it cannot possibly be ignored. In the last few days, rumours of Nintendo announcing a new console at E3, possibly a new iteration of the Wii, have been spreading like wildfire (also with the recent announcement that the Wii may be getting a significant price drop come May 15th, it implies that Nintendo are looking to move on).
Details are sketchy at the moment to say the least, but sources close to Game Informer and IGN have given differing reports, claiming that the console will be capable of running games in HD, and that it will be ‘significantly more powerful than the Playstation3’, while also offering backwards compatibility. It also seems to be the case that Nintendo is already giving details of the new console to third party producers, so they know what they can do this time around (when the Wii was announced in 2005, it came as a shock to everyone). The bottom line from all of this is that Nintendo is looking to break away from the casual market, and try to regroup the ‘hardcore’ market that Microsoft has dominated with the Xbox 360 over the past few years. Continue reading Nintendo Announce New Console To Replace The Wii→