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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 10.24.12: Wii U, Kevin Butler, Sega CD, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.24.2012

Daniel Anderson has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.
Robert Cooper has joined the game.

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op, the game that's more fun to play than Settlers of Catan. Mostly because it's easier to find people who actually know the rules to this game. If you aren't one of those people, it's quite simple, really: I ask the questions, you answer them. Then, something about points.

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: Terrible news, everyone! Kevin Butler is dead!

Well, okay, the actor portraying him is still alive. But Sony got mad about him being in a Bridgestone tire commercial, lawsuits are pending, and it looks like we won't be seeing the VP In Charge Of Everything…ever again. Should Sony be worried that they just lost the one advertising gimmick that pretty much everyone loved and which probably did a lot to help stimulate PS3 sales after a dreadful start (which featured equally dreadful commercials)?

Daniel Anderson
I think part of the success of the Kevin Butler ads had to do with the PS3 getting a price drop around the same time, but yeah, they should be worried. They are having a new console come out sometime soon (as in before 2020…probably) and they could have used the ad campaign to hype the new console. Instead, we now have to deal with the "artsy" ads Sony likes to use in other markets. Joy.

Todd Vote
Does this mean we are going back to the commercials featuring that creepy little baby?

Poor Kevin Butler. This is a shame, considering how much he potentially helped Sony get the PS3 on the right track. So he did a commercial for a Tire company where he happened to be playing a video game. Outside of hardcore gamers, how many people do you suppose even recognized Mr. Butler from that commercial? Hell, I like to consider myself as somewhat of a gamer, and I never would have noticed it was Kevin unless someone pointed it out to me. I understand that Sony is doing what they think they have to but I wish they would reconsider.

Dan Watson
I wouldn't be worried. Advertising was only part of why the PS3 started to sell. The Wii's popularity had died out and gamers wanted to see what all the fuss was about with Uncharted, God of War, etc. I hate to give advertising credit. Sure that was a credit advertisement but I wouldn't say it was the sole reason that PS3 was selling. It isn't even my favorite ad. The best thing Sony did with advertising was the commercial with all of their characters in it.

Robert Cooper
I think they should be worried, because the Kevin Butler character was one that made Sony's commercials entertaining, and I think without him, their advertisements will be just as generic as they used to be. I do think that it gives them plenty of room to be creative and try to get more people to buy their consoles in the twilight of the life of the PS3, at least I think it is. I do think that one of their commercials that I liked was the one that they had with all of their characters in a bar and making a toast to the players, I thought that was cool and kind of different. There are plenty of other ways they could go, hell, I'd like to see them do the old PS1 style of commercials, where their game characters are just randomly in the real world, it'd be more interesting than what we usually see of just pure gameplay footage and a big sign that says, "BUY ME!"

I have seen the Bridgestone commercials in question, and he's literally in them for roughly .5 seconds, although that is just enough to say "Hey, Kevin Butler!". Anyway, Robert gets 523 points for being the most worried on Sony's behalf, and they should be, because as Salms pointed out a couple of weeks ago, without Kevin Butler, we could be under assault by Sony commercials involving guys masturbating to soccer. Are Sony's marketing department hiring practises similar to WWE Creative? "Soap opera or other TV writing, absolutely no gaming experience strongly preferred."

Long Live Kevin Butler!

QUESTION TWO: Is there something about voice chat that makes it really hard to implement? Nintendo is the latest company that appears to think so, as their upcoming voice chat option for the Wii U is, to put it mildly, complex. First, it requires a licensed third-party headset. Secondly, the headset is not wireless, and plugs in to the WiiPad (which has a built-in mic that can't be used for voice chat). Also, voice chat will not be standard across games or even the system, since the Pro Controller doesn't have a headphone jack. Did you get all that? What do you think?

Daniel Anderson
I had a big long answer all ready for how Nintendo made a mistake about not including voice chat, but then I remembered something. Nintendo isn't trying to make a system for hardcore gamers. They are trying to make a system that parents will want to buy for their little kids. As anyone who has played on Xbox Live knows, voice chat can only serve to get small kids in trouble when they play online. Who hasn't heard a 10 or 11 year old start cussing while playing Call of Duty or some other intense game? Anyone else thought about what would happen if the kid's microphone came unplugged and a parent could hear the conversation on Xbox Live? Nintendo will point this out and parents will think about getting this for a child so they won't be exposed to the evil of swearing.

Todd Vote
It must be fairly difficult to do, hasn't Sony had issues with this on the PS3 also? Why is it that Microsoft can pull this off, but the other two seem to have major issues with it? This new problem for Nintendo sounds almost as bothersome as the friend codes for the Wii. I'm not a tech whiz, so I can't say for sure, but it seems as if this would be a fairly easy thing to implement. How can it be easy to connect gamers to one another, but not to let them speak to each other? Just another reason to take a wait and see approach with the next gen of consoles.

Dan Watson
This is the main reason that Microsoft has been played so much by me. Nothing is worse than not being able to talk with the people you are playing with. It takes a whole element out of the multiplayer experience. Xbox 360 has perfected this in my opinion. Now, I can chat with just friends in a party chat, a single person in a private chat, or talk trash to my opponents in general game chat without doing anything differently. Nintendo and Sony need to get on board with this or it could cost them big in the future.

Robert Cooper
I think I got all of that, I think that it kind of does take a bit of a poo on what Nintendo do best, I think they do simplicity very well. This isn't something incredibly huge that will tank the system, but I do think that it will make some people a bit less hot on the system. It's especially headache inducing when you have to think about how to run a headset with a pro controller, but I think that people will manage. Things like headsets might affect some people, especially the people who are addicted to CoD, but I think if you're going to buy the Wii U, you'll buy it without worrying about headsets. Though I think a major selling point would be Virtual Boy compatibility!

Geez, who knew that headphones and VOIP was so complicated? Daniel gets 1432 points for making a good point that even though the Wii U will have Call of Duty and such, selling to "teh hardcorez", aka the people who need voice chat so they can be "1337", has never been Nintendo's focus, and until it stops working I guess we'll have to keep reminding ourselves that they might know what they're doing. Hell, wasn't there a version of the GBA that didn't even have a headphone jack and still sold millions of units?

QUESTION THREE: An interesting development on the X-Box 360, the latest software update currently being rolled out removes both the Facebook and Twitter apps from the Dashboard. I'm given to understand that both these apps are still pretty darned popular, so has Microsoft lost their mind? Actually, it's more likely they've just seen an opportunity to direct people to their Internet Explorer 9 app that is also, conveniently included in this update. A savvy move by Microsoft, or a transparent marketing move that will incur the wrath of people with too much time on their hands?

Daniel Anderson
Is all of the above an option? Yeah Microsoft is trying to get people to use the IE app, and some people will complain, but is it really a surprise? Microsoft is out to make money, and this is a way to increase market share of IE9. Microsoft could give out free food to homeless people, and some people would complain about the way they did it. Anything Microsoft does earns the wraith of a certain group of people. I never used the Facebook or Twitter app and won't miss it (of course I never use the IE app either…I have a computer for when I want to go to a website).

Todd Vote
I got in on the new dashboard with the beta, I actually haven't used the Facebook app since the update that includes IE9. You can do more on Facebook through IE9 than you ever could on the app. The app was only good for looking through statuses and updating one of your own. So this is really no big loss at all if you ask me. Now if they could just get a flash player so I can watch porn, interesting videos on the internet, all will be right.

Dan Watson
Who is using their Xbox for Twitter and Facebook? I hate that games are even implementing options to upload results to either of these. This is great in my opinion. Get it off my screen and allow those that want to use it to use it during the internet browsing they do on their Xbox. Do these people not have a laptop, computer, smart phone, tablet, etc. to check Facebook and Twitter? Does that much even update in someone's life that you have to check it while playing games? "Stop using your Xbox as a dating service #NoMoreFacebook."

Robert Cooper
I don't think that it's all that stupid, if people want to post a status update, or tweet from their XBox, they'll use that IE 9 app. It's smart marketing by them, because people will more than likely use that app rather than flipping out and going into a nerd rage because Facebook and Twitter are no longer on their XBox dashboard. It might work out for the better anyways, I don't have XBox live anyways, so it won't affect me, and kind of like every time some website changes something, people bitch, but eventually they get used to it.

Dan gets 2375 points for his increasingly unstable rant about Facebook and Twitter, which I can totally get behind, having used Facebook and Twitter for roughly three minutes this month. Oh, but totally follow my Twitter account at the bottom of the page! Sometimes I remember I have it and even post on it!

QUESTION FOUR: Well, this past week was a largely unobserved anniversary, as it was twenty years ago that Sega revealed the Sega CD, one in a long line of Sega hardware that was heavily hyped, sold badly (although the CD didn't do all that bad in the scheme of things), and became much maligned in history once Sega bowed out of the console market. Do you remember anything at all about the Sega CD, or even anyone who bought one?

Daniel Anderson
My closest experience to the Sega CD was reading about it in the video game magazines I would get a subscription to for my birthday when growing up. It always seemed like an interesting idea but it failed. I don't think it was really Sega's fault the system failed, but more a fact that people just didn't see the need to buy stuff to add onto their console.

Todd Vote
I remember Night Trap, and a few other titles. Sadly, I never owned one of these, as they were way fuckin expensive, even for that time. I know the system had a few gems with it, Sonic CD was pretty good from what I remember hearing. Not much else I can add about that.

Dan Watson
Sadly, I do not. I was Nintendo all the way growing up until Dreamcast and Playstation came along and then finally switched soon to Xbox. Sorry Sega fans.

Robert Cooper
I don't remember much about the Sega CD, considering that in a few months, it'll be the 21st Anniversary of me. The best memories I have of the Sega CD are watching the Angry Video Game Nerd rip some of the games apart. Granted, the system wasn't all bad, it had a pretty cool version of Sonic the Hedgehog, and some games even got better, like Earthworm Jim getting extra levels and things of the sort. I certainly don't know anyone who owns the system, because if I wanted to buy an add-on that did nothing for me as a child, I'd go and buy another Gameboy printer.

21? Damn, I'm old…

Gee, I can't imagine why Sega's hardware sales were always so bad. Does anyone out there know somebody who might have actually played a Sega CD? Or a 32X? Or a Nomad? Or a Dreamcast?

Wait, I did actually do that last one. Never mind.

BONUS QUESTION: All right, time to see how much you really want to win. Who wants to buy me one of these?

Daniel Anderson
Sorry, if I buy one of those it would be to decorate my new office at my new job. I just got to pay to move to a new city and state though so I won't be buying anything like that anytime soon. How about I just get you a utility infielder and you can send me a manager in return? That is a good deal right?

Todd Vote
I found it on Amazon, then I saw how much it would cost me to ship it to Canada... So I will order it for you, but you have to come to Iowa to pick it up.

Dan Watson
It's funny you brought this up Boss. My birthday is Friday and with as much as you make in Canadian money, I am sure you could get me one of these for my birthday. Come on, how much are they paying you here to run this show, it has to be in the six figures.

Robert Cooper
I'm a little strapped for cash, but I do have a few random Japanese things out back, I have some old robot toys, megazords, and other stuff. Maybe I can give you one of my Japanese robots instead...

How does this one sound?

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