New Super Mario Bros 2 – The Review

There’s a certain formula that almost all Mario games follow. Eight levels. Specific ‘Mario Bros’ music. A boss battle. Coins. Mushrooms. Flowers. A kidnapped Princess. Ghosts. Bowser.  We’ve seen this basic formula since 1985, and Nintendo hasn’t really deviated from it. Rather, they embrace it. They refine it. Continue reading

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Nintendo Stockholders Express Growing Concerns (with poll)

At the 74th annual general meeting of shareholders on July 3rd, 2014,  the Nintendo Board of Trustees faced a wide range of difficult questions from from shareholders. Two questions in particular stand out, in light of a recent three month earnings report release on July 30th, 2014. The report showed that Nintendo recorded a -$96 million dollar net income (Nintendo lost $96 million dollars). Also, Nintendo’s net sales dropped by 8.4% in comparison to last year’s sales. Continue reading

The Future of Console Gaming – Competition

The Future of Video Games is a series that takes a look at the past of video games in order to examine certain pieces of technology to figure out the direction the industry is taking.  

The second part tales a look at competition and its role in shaping technology.

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Life Cycles of Consoles

John Koller speculated that the PlayStation 3 will be supported for up to four more years. Is this true? Do video game companies continue to support previous generation consoles? This article looks at past trends to see if that is the case. Continue reading

The Perils of Purchasing New Consoles

There are strange well known facts among the marketing circles that never seems to get out into the general public. I learned about these when I took a few marketing classes at College of Lake County that was taught by a former marketing professional. Did you know that in a blind taste test that RC has consistently been chosen as the best tasting pop (cola/soda) out there? That’s crazy. Billions of dollars were spent over the decades convincing us that the best tasting was either Coke or Pepsi. But the marketing people knew that was a lie.

Coke-vs-Pepsi

Also, did you know that it’s a bad idea to purchase brand new technology. New tech is filled with glitches and design flaws. The developers release it in order to make up the costs for research and development. If they can recoup the costs, then they can move forward with the product and fix the bugs for newer versions of the tech.

This is especially true with video games.

What? You don’t remember the PS1? That sucker had a huge overheating problem. The PS2’s and Xbox’s laser kept on being knocked out of alignment somehow and had to be manually adjusted. The Xbox’s original controller was too damn large to be usable as a video game controller! Or heck, the first generation of PS2 consoles cannot read a dual laser disc. Or…. the red ring of death with the Xbox 360’s original console release.

rrod

We can look farther back to the NES with the screen blinking when it couldn’t read a cartridge. Or the Sega Saturn’s hardware being too complex. That design flaw led to a lot of third-party developers to abandon the system.. now THAT’S a huge flaw. Speaking of flaws and controllers, you can’t get any worse that the controller for the Atari Jaguar. Look at it for yourself! For whatever reason, Atari thought people wanted to go back to the Intellivision style of controllers with having a calculator pad along with their controller.

jaguar_controller

The Jaguar Controller

That’s just a short list. I’m positive you read through that and said “you idiot, you missed xxxxxxxx!” I think every system had something wrong with it at launch.  And that’s the point.

Yes, it sucks when a console doesn’t work perfectly. Yes, it sucks when you purchase that console and find out that there’s something wrong with it. But, this is what happens with new technology. It’s a risk when you purchase it. Chances are, it’ll work very well, as advertised. But all the same, you have to accept the possibility that it won’t.

It’s weird for me to say that, since I’m all about consumer rights. Heck, I often argued that when a person purchases a product, they have a right to that product and expect that product to deliver what is promised. But in this case, it’s difficult for me to understand why anyone would purchase a brand new console on the day of its release and be surprised if it isn’t working. There’s a pretty well established pattern of bugs, glitches, and flat out bad designs.

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I want to conclude with a simple observation.

We should expect there to be bugs and glitches with releases. There’s no point to the focus of the ‘blue light of death.’ The damn light’s nothing more than a diagnostic tool. Sony sold over a million console systems within 24 hours.  I think that’s pretty impressive.