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Remarks on recent gaming news

posted on November 29th, 2006 by christian

It has been a while since I’ve peeped my head around here, hasn’t it? Now that Thanksgiving break is over, it’s time to start back up, beginning with a few comments on some recent gaming news items.

1) People are breaking their expensive toys thanks to flying Wiimotes, and if the internet is any indication, it seems to be an epidemic. The reason behind it is malfunctioning wrist straps, but in this case I can’t at all blame Nintendo for the stupidity of gamers. The only way the strap can break is due to extensive force during the remote’s forward motion, meaning someone is letting go. The only way this can happen is either a) sweaty hands or b) people purposefully throwing it. In either case, the solution is simple; calm the hell down.

Yes the Wii encourages interactivity and participation, but Wii Sports does not require you to pitch like a Major Leaguer or swing a club like Tiger. In fact, you’ll get better results in both cases with a gentler, smoother motion (or in the case of pitching, a quick short shake of the remote). I know none of you want to look like a toolbox, but that doesn’t mean you have to risk throwing your arm out. Slow down a bit and both you and your stuff will stay intact.

2) Kotaku reports on some Famitsu scores. Big deal I guess, except for the DOAX 2 scores of 9, 9, 8 and 9. These contrast sharply with Western scores for the game, and since we all know Famitsu is god, there’s no way the game can possibly be as bad as us fat gaijins think it is [/sarcasm].

Here’s a protip for everyone; don’t ever use Famitsu in any discussion about a game. It has been shown time and again that the magazine works for the game companies and that its scores are unashamedly altered, yet for some reason people out there still see them as the end all judgement on a game. Would someone please dispel this myth for good?

3) How do you promote the new Tenacious D movie? By making a sweet Flash game version of Guitar Hero featuring music from the film! I’m surprised that more people haven’t tried to capitalize on the success of GH with games like this, though I’m kind of glad, because I don’t think many of them would be as well made as this one.

5 Comments

  1. Matt said on November 29, 2006:

    That wrist strap does seem a little weak though. I want to test the strength of it, but it seems too flimsy for me even to try. I do get pretty heated in baseball, but I have never lost control of the thing. Pretty funny that these things started happening. It was inevitable with some people.

  2. staticneuron said on December 1, 2006:

    Famitsu represents the likes and distastes of japanese gamers. I assure you, we are talking about drastically different mindsets here. It became apparent when talking about games like Ongakukan, (train simulator) or  seperate hearts (A love game) and a more recen tcase of gundam for the PS3. When speaking about the difference between american and japanese taste it is very important to realize why they like certain genres and base those ideas from there. Take for instance gundam, many websites stateside reviewed the game as being slow (as in the mechs moved slow) and lacking a storyline. These were most likely non  issues in japan because the gundams are supposed to move slow (this isn’t the wing series or Z.O.E. here) the ideology behind the tech is different and the majority of japanese gamers should be familiar with the 20+years of gundam fandom….. just the mission description alone should clue them in to what time period. Even Gundam Side Story: 0079 for the dreamcast had higher ratings and that didn’t have much of a storyline either it had immersion in the gundam universe as a goal. AS far as the train simulator and love games I doub’t they would get rated high here in the states because they might be viewed as boring and a waste of time. I am pretty sure there are more cases of this cultural gap if you care to look it up but I highly doubt that famitsu is in any game companies pocket because for years they have accurately reflected the taste and sensibilities of japanese gamers.

  3. pat said on December 1, 2006:

    following christian’s links eventually leads to this (which may or may not be true, but is at least suspicious) on the neogaf boards:

    "Finally found it. This text is written by Greg (former Joypad/Gaming,
    now freelance in France). He also worked for Famitsu Xbox and some
    other japanese publications.

    "The scores of famitsu, how it works :

    1) Famitsu is a weekly magazine. Thus there are 4 teams making one magazine per month, with one chief editor each.

    2) Before starting testing a game, the chief editor and the reviewers
    have a meeting and discuss about the game. If the chief editor got
    special orders from the publisher (don’t be to harsh or so) he tells
    them there.

    3) The 4 reviewers play the game.

    4) They go back to the chief editor the day the magazine is finished
    and discuss again. They each agree on the score they will give to the
    game.

    5) The chief editor sends the scores to the publishers so they can comment about them.

    6) If the publicher is not happy with the scores, he negotiates. For
    example : "All right, you are harsh on that one, but the next one you
    give me a free ad, ok ?"

    There it is, it’s not that difficult. I say "Famitsu" because I know it
    from the inside, but in Japan it works like that everywhere. The
    magazine get the images and infos MONTHS before the official press
    release, but wait for the publishers before doing anything with them.
    There is absolutely no research from them.

    All the pages about a game are sent and verified by each publisher. If
    they do a feature about Devil May Cry, it will be checked by Capcom who
    will send back the page saying them to change a title or some texts…

    I hope I did not destroy a myth"

    End of the lousy translation ;)"

  4. Christian said on December 4, 2006:

    Aside from what Pat found, I’ve heard from far too many English folk living in Japan that if you take the actual text of a famitsu review and do a good translation, it reads like silly fluff. There’s no critical critique of any game, they just write some wishy washy stuff about a few features they might have liked and leave it at that.  There’s been an air of mystery about the mag, but when push comes to shove its not any sort of hard journalism.  Also, even if they represent the tastes of Japanese gamers, that doesn’t necessarily mean its an accurate review.  This is the same group of gamers that would buy a Dragon Quest game just because of its name, and were praising Final Fantasy at every stop, and only paused to grumble when 12, the most radical one in ages, came about.   Insert other wild conjecture here about how Japanese companies protect each other, revisionist Japanese history etc.  They don’t have any shame about patting each other on the back 

  5. jay said on December 4, 2006:

    I have also heard the Famitsu reviews are short and vague. Additionally, why is being the voice of gamers a worthwhile cause? If anything, that concept should be mocked and is frequently at videolamer. A critic should use their judgment to come to conclusions, not assign a number based on how they think other people will like it. We have too many people who try to speak for everyone. Reviewers should speak for themselves.

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