My thoughts on… Spin-offs.

The problem with spin-offs is that there are so many of them. It’s impossible to call them generally good/bad. If I go: “Spin-offs are ALL bad”, I’ll have 100 people complaining: “What about Mario Kart?” If I say: “All spin-offs are brilliant”, I’ll have a hundred people going: “What about Pac-man Party?” See my problem?
Nintendo has flirted with the idea of spin-offs quite a bit. Nintendo just seems to spawn series out of series. Just for example, the Super Mario games alone have given us: Paper Mario, Mario&Luigi, Mario Party, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros (though every series spawned that), Dr. Mario, the list goes on.
Admittedly, some of those are practically their own series now, Mario Kart being the obvious example. But even MK was seen as crazy. Can you imagine the conversations Nintendo had about it?
Employee 1: What shall we do with Mario now?
Employee 2: Let’s put him in a kart and make him race his friends and enemies. I can really see that catching on.
Employee 1: You’re crazy! The world’s favourite platforming hero racing?!

An example of a spin-off which became a series.

See what I mean. That’s exactly what Mario Kart is, crazy. In fact, all spin-offs are. Who would have thought 26 years ago that Mario would be playing tennis, soccer, golf, baseball, partying, karting, taking up a medical profession and beating up his fellow franchises? Not me, certainly.
Of course, not all spin-offs are as successful as Mario’s. Pac-man party is the one I mentioned above. Before, Pac-man was the unassailable yellow circle who could do nothing wrong. Now, he’s a bit of a joke, building castles to make cookies. I mean, seriously?
Of course, even the Legend of Zelda has had a spin-off (not including the CD-i games). Link’s Crossbow Training was extremely enjoyable if underrated. Taking place in the Twilight Princess universe, it’s the equivalent of TLOZ: The Mercenaries.
Which brings me on to another topic, spin-offs based on minigames. And by now, you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to say.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries was a hash of the modes from Resi 4+5 (I may have to be corrected on that one). It was an enjoyable game, but sadly felt a small bit light on content. That’s unavoidable though if you create a game out of a minigame.
Well, spin-offs have certainly waxed and waned in terms of quality over time, but we’ve certainly seen some good ones, and hopefully many more to come.

SEGA Game Gear Games now Avalible for Download

Starting today on the eShop Virtual Console, Sega Game Gear games will be available for download. Today you can get Sonic Triple Trouble, Shinobi and Dragon Crystal.

Sonic Triple Trouble

These aren’t the best Game Gear games ever, but there’s certainly more to come. Happy playing!

EB Games told to Destroy Donkey Kong 3D and Kirby 3D Displays

Well, I guess the fun’s over and the rumour turns out to be false.  Because as the title of this post suggests, EB Games has been told to destroy the displays used for three mysterious and likely non existant games; Donkey Kong 3D, Kirby 3D and Luigi’s Mansion Wii (no really).

Now unfortunately it seems the rumour mill will keep on going with a few sites (such as the source for this information itself) implying that this is down to a request by Nintendo to avoid giving away upcoming games.  But it seems more likely now that it was a mistake on EB Games part and the company is now trying to avoid misleading people.  Oh well, guess that ends this fiasco.


Nintendo Needs No More Franchises; Why the Misconception of Nintendo as not Innovating is wrong

Apologies for the lengthy title there, but the point it makes is clear.  Despite many an internet article ranting about how Nintendo never tries anything new and always relies on its old franchises, you can clearly see the opposite in action all through their history.  Nintendo hasn’t been getting stale or not trying to create the next Mario or Zelda, it’s just not what people are looking for.

For one thing, they’ve been trying all sorts of new things on the 3DS.  Seen Pushmo or Dillon’s Rolling Western yet?  Both may only be download games, but they’re both possible new franchises for Nintendo and star new characters that could possibly end up in the next Super Smash Bros game.  That’s not all. Remember a certain submarine based game that came out at the 3DS launch, Steel Diver? That was a new ‘series’ for Nintendo. More to the point, it acts as a great illustration for why video game companies don’t ‘innovate’ more; the game bombed and failed miserably.  A sequel is at least guaranteed decent sales

To say Nintendo has no new franchises right when this game comes out is plain stupid.

But it’s not just with the 3DS that Nintendo has tried new series.  What series do you think Nintendo owns? Many people would probably remember these:

  • Mario
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Metroid
  • Pokemon
  • Kirby
  • Super Smash Bros
  • F-Zero
  • Star Fox
  • Donkey Kong
  • Pikmin (which is very new I may add)
  • Earthbound/Mother
  • Fire Emblem
  • Advance Wars
  • Animal Crossing
  • Wii series (new as well)

But that’s a tiny fraction of the many different franchises Nintendo has.  You’ve also got Golden Sun, two Wario based series, Kid Icarus and Nintendogs.

Oh wait, that’s not it either.  You’ve also got Endless Ocean.  Adventures of Lolo (funny how no one remembers that one), Pilotwings and various others.

Endless Ocean is a fairly new Nintendo series and had two games on the Wii only a few years ago.

Continue Reading…

Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

Mostly magazine scans showing new screenshots and artwork, from a few lesser games.  We have some screenshots of Dragon Quest Monsters first.  Looks okay, although not exactly using the 3DS and its technology to the fullest degree possible.

There are also some Kingdom Hearts 3D related magazine scans too. Not the most indepth ones in any way, they spend a lot of the space on official art rather than game screenshots, and only one or two a page to boot. Still, you can see them below:

The game does look pretty nice though, I’ll give Square Enix credit for that.

So what do you think of these magazine scans?  Is there any interest in either of these games?