05 October 2007

Why MySims Might be the Most Important Game for the Wii for 2007

MySims is fun. That's the best way to summarize this game, you can spend hours just fucking around and having a blast while doing it. It isn't at all like the rest of the Sims series where you spend hours cleaning your virtual house (yawn). Somehow, building houses for your incredibly friendly and adorable neighbors made this game from the Sims series fun. I also like how they completely side-step the annoying economy of the other Sims games and approach this as a sort of utopian post-scarcity situation, if you're willing to put that much depth into a game where blowing bubbles with your neighbors is critical. If you want a full review, I don't think there is a better review than the one by Games Radar found here. This review has some different observations no other reviewer has covered as of yet.

Like I said, the game is adorable, cute and fun for a broad audience--not your Game Spy variety of gamers who spend most of their time raiding or in clan battles. This is a game for any demographic that just carries itself marvelously on the Wii.

So, why does everybody think it's only mediocre? Look at MetaCritic, they gave it a 71. Basically a C- when you figure it that way; just average-Joe video game. Granted, MetaCritic is usually hard on games since there is such a wide-variety of places they get reviews from, and most game sites cater to the expectations of the hard core gaming crowd that gets bored with Nintendo's usual fare.

But... that's not what is shocking. This review is what threw me out of my chair:
My final analysis is this: if you love creating things and have lots of patience, MySims is worth a look, but if you're hoping for a cute virtual neighborhood to inhabit, "Animal Crossing: Wild World" is a better place to settle. [Nov 2007, p.100]
That excerpt is from Nintendo Power. That's right, Nintendo's propaganda mill that shits out positive reviews of otherwise cruddy games and gives over the top reviews for games that are good, but not orgasmic (i.e. Metroid Prime: Corruptions).

This normally wouldn't add up, but the last sentence says it all. Nintendo's in-house Sim game, Animal Crossing, is their recommended alternative. Frankly, after playing Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, I thought they were acceptable time wasters, but the Sims makes me laugh when I spend time playing it. Note the fact I am spending not wasting time.

What's this mean? That is what I don't fully understand. But I think that Nintendo has not been as accommodating to third-party developers as they could have been. Call of Duty 3, Splinter Cell 4, Alien Syndrome; these were all marvelous games on other consoles but are absolute crap on the Wii. Meanwhile, Zelda, Metroid and Super Paper Mario were all very good and also scored almost perfectly in Nintendo Power, as one should predict.

Another example of this is Nintendo made sure they had the first online games for their console, to get their hands on a captive market of Wii owners wanting to play online. So far, the only online title in the works from a third-party is Medal of Honor while Nintendo has already released many and plans to release many more.

MySims is the first third-party title that has surpassed anything Nintendo has in that genre and is simply marvelous. It is so awesome that it could easily be the biggest Nintendo game of the holiday season, and I have a feeling that is a big problem for Nintendo. Now that everybody and their dog wants a Wii, they seem to be trying to own the market for themselves to increase sale of in-house development.

If this is the case, Nintendo has already lost the console war. This new console war is not about over-the-top productions like Gears of War or Metal Gear Solid 4--those games will be in the twenty-dollar bin after a while. No, it is independent developers that will carry the systems this time around. Xbox Arcade is building in popularity and there are some awesome games going up. Microsoft knows this and has no problem with it, which will make the 360 a success. Nintendo and Sony are playing the market the way they did in the nineties.

I'm really sad that Nintendo isn't seeing the potential for Indy developers. Their SDKs are being offered up dirt cheap and they have a competent digital delivery system based off of Opera. Everything is there to let indy games and third-party, bigger developers like EA, Ubisoft and many others take off on the system, but Nintendo is just being a bastard about this whole thing.

I really hope Nintendo does a 180 after the holiday season.

1 comment:

Sassifrass said...

I concur. While the load time required for MySims is a bit cumbersome, the game play is excellent and well worth your time. I have not finished the game yet, but I am crossing my fingers for a gun wielding maniac to move in.