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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 1.29.14: Candy Crush Saga, Steam Sales, Just Dance, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 01.29.2014

Todd Vote has joined the game.
Dan Watson has joined the game.
Robert Cooper has joined the game.
Sean Walker has joined the game.

Quizmaster Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op, where we've brought back the old banner in a half-assed attempt to make this more "retro". Also because I hit my bandwidth limit on my Photobucket account. That'll teach me to post so many gifs of Bad News Barrett.

No it won't, he's awesome.

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: Okay, so I'm sure you've heard of Candy Crush Saga, because frankly, who hasn't. Turns out, the company who made that game is attempting to trademark the terms "Candy" and "Saga" and is also going after companies that are using either term for the titles of their video games. Hey, I'm all for defending your property, but I'm pretty sure Viking-exploration game The Banner Saga isn't exactly creating a market confusion. And is more of a saga than Candy Crush as well. Anyway, thoughts on this decision by the makers of this game that is basically a modified version of Bejeweled?

Todd Vote - You know, I am all for protecting your intellectual property, but this is just a bit ridiculous. I can see getting a patent on the terms "candy" and "saga", and I can see going after a company who was trying to infringe upon your copyrights. So by all means, if someone tries to create a game called "Hard Candy Cracking Saga" release the hounds. But to go after any company that tries to use the word saga in a video game? That is a little bit ridiculous, as pointed out by our esteemed Quiz Master. Especially when your game, that you have the patent on is nothing but a variation on hundreds of other puzzle games, like Bejeweled, or Dr. Mario. Nobody is going to look at The Banner Saga and think: Hey, this is exactly like Candy Crush, how is it not made by the same company?" Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go trademark the word "The" when it comes to video games.

Dan Watson - The word Saga seems pretty odd to chase after. However, something tells me this power house game, Candy Crush, is about to have its bubble popped. People get bored with games quickly and this game is just like past Facebook games that get real popular and then fall off quickly. Is anyone still playing Mafia Wars? When was the last time someone did anything with their farm. This will go away very quickly and the company knows it so they throw out these nonsense trademark stories to stay relevant just a little longer.

Robert Cooper - Apparently they have a whole line of games that are "insert bullshit here" Saga, and that is the problem I think they have with The (Bruce) Banner Saga (though on tv we'll call it the David Banner Saga). I mean, shit, damn Candy Crush is neither a Saga nor is it a fresh game, it's a damn clone, just like the Ben Reilly Spider-Man! They have all of the right to try and protect their product and name, but I feel like trying to block the trademark of something that has nothing to do with your game is a bit of a cheap shot.

Sean Walker - It seems that King is going patent crazy. My question is, who allowed the patent of one of the most common terms "candy"? Saga may also be one of the most common words used in video games. This is true irony considering Candy Crush isn't the first game to use the match 3 concept. Anyone else remember playing Jewel Quest, Bejeweled, or even Chuzzle? I have a feeling that the ruling will be overturned and candy/saga will be owned by no one.

Quizmaster - I sincerely doubt King will actually end up with either trademark, since they're way too general, but they sure are throwing their weight around like they think differently. Anyway, Coop goes nuts with comic references, and in the early rounds, that's good enough for 348 points.

QUESTION TWO: In shocking news, it turns out that companies like EA and Microsoft have been paying YouTube personalities to say good things about their games and systems, because it's a cheap and effective marketing strategy! Honestly, is anyone really surprised at this news?

Todd Vote - Not in the least bit at all. To be honest, I'd be extremely surprised if these are the only two companies on the planet that are doing this. I don't see any problem with paying YouTube personalities to point out the good things about your products. The only problem I see with this was the fact that there is apparently language in these contracts that is designed to stop the personality from making any reference to it being a paid endorsement. That is where things get a bit shady. I would think it violates some sort of fair trade laws, right? Paid endorsements, not a problem. trying to hide the fact that they are paid endorsements, big problem. It's very misleading to the marketplace.

Dan Watson - Not surprised at all. This happens in all forms of media. I'm positive that if we dig around we would find movie studios do the same thing.

Robert Cooper - I'm not really surprised, but it does make me sad. While I don't know which reviewers participate in this, I have to question some of the integrity of those who do. While it is cheap and effective, I feel like it's not honest. If every paper I turned in for a class got good marks because I paid the teacher off to tell the class that I wrote the most amazing paper, ignoring all of my flaws, I'd be quickly called a fraud. I don't want to hit too hard on the reviewers, though, because $10 for some of them can be fucking awesome. Hell, if I got $10 for a positive review of an album, I'd do it, but only under the condition that it deserved the review. While I try my best to word things carefully as to not offend anyone reading who may have had a hand in the album I'd be reviewing (I'm a music writer), if it's bad, I will certainly state that and not skate around the bad aspects of an album. Trying your best to eliminate the people who will say bad things about your game, your album, your movie, or what have you is dirty and while that is how the world works, it's not right.

Sean Walker - Pffft, Of course not! When you have a select few people saying good things about EA, the worst company in America, they were bribed. Microsoft's marketing has been a PR's nightmare ever since E3 2013. It was obvious that they were attempting to get good press somehow.

Quizmaster - If any game companies want me to say good things about their products, I offer reasonable rates. Or you could put out something worth playing, but I understand that paying me would take less effort.

QUESTION THREE: A games developer recently came out against events such as Steam Sales, claiming they create a "culture of waiting" in which nobody buys games and instead waits and waits to see if the price will go down, which can hurt sales and thus hurt development companies like his. To counter this, he plans to release his game in alpha for $8, at $12 when it hits full Steam release, and then raise the price to $16 a week after release, which will become the permanent price. Anyone see this idea catching on?

Todd Vote - o his idea to counter the people waiting for a cheaper price, is to offer a cheaper price before the game is finished? I'm not sure I see how this is going to help much of anything. I mean, is the idea here not to make them wait for the cheaper price? See, if I am a developer, what I am learning from this "culture of waiting" is that maybe... just maybe the consumer thinks the price points are too high. I mean, they are willing to wait for great games to be cheaper. Clearly the problem here is the Steam Sales, and not at all the high price of games.

Dan Watson - Nope not at all. Let's be honest when this guy's game doesn't sell at a peak anymore he will drop the price to get the next set of gamers that were waiting. Look there are people who do midnight releases in October knowing already that the game will be at least $20 cheaper come late November. Does that stop them from buying at full price? No because some people want to play a solid game right away. Price drops and sales are great for gamers and companies alike.

Robert Cooper - Eh, I don't think so. While the guy is right, Steam does make me wait on games, if a game is good enough, I will go out and buy it new (see Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2). if I have the money and feel like it is that damn good and I HAVE to play it. While I can respect not dropping your game price, and even raising it after the first week, I feel like that will hurt your sales, unless it is a big title OR just that damn good. Because as a cheap ass who raids pawn shops, ebay, and goodwills in an attempt to stretch his meager amount of cash for the maximum amount, a game never dropping in price means I probably WONT be buying it. While my buy wont be that important, there are others like me, and we all add up.

Sean Walker - Although I don't agree with the idea that a "culture of waiting" has emerged because of game sales, I like the idea of a lower priced game in the first couple of weeks. It is certainly an interesting way in attempting more people to purchase new games on day one. What prevents Steam from putting the game on sale though? Can they put the game back at $8 for a sale, which would prove the method ineffective?

Quizmaster - Dan is the most correct, for 2391 points, because I'dd say all those launch numbers for games like Call of Duty might put the lie to this theory, but I could see it affecting smaller development companies more. On the other hand, I think it was Gone Home that showed skyrocketing numbers when it went on Steam Sale during December, and the creators of that seemed thrilled just to get the attention.

On a separate note, Castle Doctrine, which is the game that is being released under this escalating price plan, actually looks like a really good game, so I'd encourage you to check it out.

QUESTION FOUR: And in our latest "I don't think you have enough to do" scientific study, it turns out that dance or exercise games such as Just Dance or Wii Fit may actually decrease urinary incontinence and increase bladder control in women. Quick, name a bigger video game-related waste of time that these people could have studied instead.

Todd Vote - They could have devoted all that money to find out whether or not two games that have one word in them that is the same is confusing the marketplace. I don't know... for example a puzzle game using the word saga... Would there ever be a way that someone who was looking for a Viking style questing game could be confused if they stumbled across a puzzle game about candy?

On the other side of the coin, urinary incontinence, and bladder control can become a problem for women after giving birth. So by doing this study, they have found a way that may help women get back in control of that sort of situation, while also adding the potential of growing the market share of female gamers. Maybe it isn't such a bad study after all.

Dan Watson - Another scientific study done at Watson's school of bullshit studies found that playing RTS games decreases the total weight of feces that come out of a person per bowel movement. This study was done very carefully and was done with extreme detail. Those involved in the study were asked to not eat corn as it threw off the test results.

Robert Cooper - Bigger gaming waste of time? They could have studied the appearance rate of legendary shinies in Pokemon or even do a study on the different variations of Dracula in gaming and which one is closest to both the original iteration of Dracula as told by Bram Stoker. Or the amount of yaoi fanfics you can find based off of a select Final Fantasy game (DO NOT GOOGLE IT). Anything is more important than this.

Sean Walker - Does Saints Row cause more men to slap the piss out of bystanders with purple dildos?

Quizmaster - Todd actually brings the science for 3715 points, and my pregnant wife approves. Although I don't think she's interested in playing Just Dance, like any right-thinking person. On the bright side, I suppose it's a new way for Microsoft to justify the Kinect.

BONUS QUESTION: Well, I picked up a new computer this weekend, so can someone help me figure out Windows 8? I mean, I've got it running, but can someone tell me why it's such a piece of crap?

Todd Vote - Man, my computer is still running on Windows XP. Don't ask me.

Dan Watson - Simple Answer: So when Microsoft releases windows 9, everyone will rush out and buy a new PC to get away from Windows 8.

Robert Cooper - Well it's a piece of crap because they decided to be lazy fucks and build an OS that is for tablets, and since they are lazy fucks, they decided to put it on their desktops and laptops because fuck you, you should still be using Vista. As for fixes for your computer...have you tried turning it off and on? Maybe blowing on the cartridge? Washing it off? Making it listen to the Co-Operative (it spells Coop!) Multiplayer Podcast midnight on Saturday nights EST?

Sean Walker - I can answer this. Microsoft wanted an unified operating system between its products. Windows 8 would work perfectly for those who have a touchscreen laptop/desktop, a Microsoft tablet, or a Windows phone. It will be a pain for those without one. You have two options. Wait for Windows 9, which will be released next year, or mash that ESC button until you get results.



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