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Ask 411 Games 03.17.14: Hard Games, Making Money and Apologizing
Posted by Stewart Lange on 03.17.2014



Hello and welcome to another edition of Ask 411 Games! Sorry about last week's rant, but this gig is pretty hard without contribution and last week it got on top of me. I apologise, I've had a few tough weeks but it's not really fair of me to turn in what I did last week. I'll address my issues sensibly a bit later on.

This week I played Stick of Truth and boy, was it fun. It's maybe the shortest RPG I've ever played, with my run through lasting about 12 hours without full collectibles, but it's worth it for how damned funny it is. That's all I've really played and now I don't know what else to play. Maybe I'll just go back to Black Flag since I'm not finished with it on the One yet and it does look amazing........

While I figure that out, you enjoy the banner!



CORRECTIONS

Last week, I discussed good, non-Arkham Batman games. Not so many corrections, just a couple of additions to the list.

countofincognito- Batman for the NES was also a pretty solid game. Somewhat reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden.

Ervgotti85- When talking about good batman games before the Arkham series, Batman Rise of Sin Tzu was pretty good at the time.

The NES Batman game was awesome, agree with you there. Can't say I ever played Sin Tzu, but it was based on the Animated Series, I believe? Was never a fan of that universe as far as Batman goes.

Also last week, I was asked about the hardest achievement. Again, no corrections, just additions to the list. Feel free to add any more that you can think of!

Mega Man 10- Beat the game without being hit.
War of the Worlds- Beat the game without dying once.
Dead Rising- 7 Day Survivor, basically meant you'd be staring a RROD in the eye just for an achievement!

NAME THAT GAME



It was up for two weeks and nobody was able to guess that it was Dr. Neo Cortex from Crash Bandicoot! Come on guys, let's do better this week.

So, I'm dead. I've lived long enough to see my home country win and host a (soccer) World Cup, but due to a fortunate encounter with an odd man, I could have seen all of them. I have friends who are in to alchemy, art and another who likes to collect interesting stones. I'm a victim of knife crime, but not if I can really help it. People like me need to wear two watched. Who am I?

So, who is it? Answer below in the comments section!

BRING ON THE QUESTIONS!

I guess I'll address last weeks unprofessionalism first.

In the last column, I left stuff out, posted a load of videos to take up space, ignored the Retronomicon altogether and basically said I'd walk away from the column if I didn't get questions. This wasn't really the best way to conduct my business but I was worried that the column that I had lobbied to get for some time wasn't working out. I love writing here on 411 and regardless of whether 5 million, or only 5 people click on my work, I don't mind and I'm flattered you're making the choice to read my work, especially the ones that take the time to comment, message me on Facebook and send me questions every few weeks. With that said, I know that the Ask part of the column may slightly hinder me slightly, as it's very easy to google certain things and I get that, so I'm looking to offer you guys a slightly different approach to what questions you can ask and how I respond to them.

Obviously, you guys can ask me anything you want to in your emails. I'm not trying to limit what you send me. If you really feel like sending me an email that asks if Mario was ever released for the Master System, feel free. I'll still answer it. What I suggest would be asking open questions I can even base an entire column around for you, opinion pieces or even full console or game histories. Think of them as requests rather than questions. What would you like to see me write about next week? This column, not to mention I, thrive on your feedback and contribution, even if you want to correct something I've said, troll for the sake of it, take part in Name that Game or whatever. I hope none of this has been out of line for me to say, but at least I got that off my chest. Let's make sure this is a column that you all want to read and look forward to every Monday, but let's do it together. No comments/emails equal what I gave you last week and nobody wants that again.



Right?

Right. Questions now. Let's hear from Jeremy.

At what point do you think we hit (or when will we hypothetically hit, if it hasn't already) zombie overload in video games?

NEVER! Well, I say never, but there is something of a Zombie infestation going on in video games right now. They seem to be shoe-horned into a lot of things needlessly, like Call of Duty (yeah, I said it. What's the point?) and Sleeping Dogs really stretching the realms of possibility just to jump on the band wagon. Admittedly, CoD have been doing it for so long it's almost forgivable, but come on.



The thing is, though, that there are now not a huge amount of out and out zombie games. Dead Rising, Zombii:U, Dead Island, the Walking Dead and the Last of Us are the only franchises currently "active" on the home consoles, while PC owners can enjoy Minecraft (I know it's on consoles, shut up), DayZ and a bunch of independent games. Sure, there are lots of others, but these are the only high end titles to worry about right now for point of my argument. Popular games like Left 4 Dead and State of Decay are currently on something of a hiatus, or have no further releases announced at the moment, so they're not exactly factors here and the likes of Resident Evil now don't even feature zombies any more.

I don't think we're hitting an overload on zombies any time soon, unless you just have to play absolutely everything with the Z-word in it. It's pretty much a set thing now that we're going to get variants on the zombie genre now, much like we get driving games, FPS games, RPGs and so on, it's just helpful that the living dead can slot into each of these genres pretty well, not to mention they're "cool" right now. It'll pass on to something else soon enough, but I think we're over the worst of it and we'll go back to just getting well thought and hopefully well made games, rather than tenuous Romero references packed into just any old game.

Next we have AndyPleeze asking about a subject close to my heart, retro gaming.

Hey keep up the good work, I am a retro fan, wondering about any great hidden gems for the snes, I've played obscure greats like Magic Sword and Phantom 2040, what other lesser known titles would be worth checking out?

Oh, there definitely is. Where to even begin!

Hyper Zone is the racing game that F-Zero wishes it was.

Pop N' Twinbee is a great shooter/bullethell-esque game that is so cartoony you forget that you're actually playing a stupid hard top scrolling title.



Metal Warriors is by Lucasarts and sees Mechs fighting one another. Who doesn't love that?

Wild Guns is an awesome shooter and in my opinion, one of the best looking games on the SNES. It's also the best cowboy game outside of Red Dead Redemption ever made.



PLOK! is a forgotten platformer that features our hero going on a quest for his stolen flag. It's cute, funny and an extremely cool game.

None of these should break the bank but make sure and have a look at them first, but hopefully at least one of these will give you a decent bit of play!

Next couple are from Katamari Damacy, thanks for the emails, my man!

Seeing as Dark Souls 2 recently released, what do you think is the appeal of the "ultra hard" game? I think Dark Souls, Demon Souls, etc are good and all, but nowhere near as good as gaming media seems to make it out to be, and certainly wouldn't be anywhere near my "best of the year" gaming list.



Nostalgia. Remember how damned hard some NES era games were? I think that's it. I don't get masses of time to play games, so I just go with the default difficulty and just enjoy the experience. Maybe I'll struggle with a couple of bits (ie- Deathstroke in Arkham Origins) but overall, I just like to enjoy the game without spending my precious little gaming time trying in vain to get past one bit, or replaying games over and over to get different achievements or whatever, unless I enjoy the hell out them.

I played Dark Souls and I was really, really bad at it. I actually didn't enjoy the gameplay regardless of difficulty, although fans of the game have countered my arguments, like how I don't think the combat was very good with "you haven't got far enough for it to BE good" and other fairly loose retorts. The appeal of Dark Souls no doubt lies within the fact that against the likes of Call of Duty and even other "AAA" releases, the challenge is back. Let me put it this way: I'm nearly 30 (I know, I don't look a day over 29) so I've now been playing video games for easily 25 years. I'm not what I'd consider a "hardcore gamer" anymore, I've had my periods when I was, but overall, I like pretty graphics and a fun storyline. I'd wager most of you reading this aren't too far away from the same age as me and have been playing games for 15-30 years? I'll take your silence as a yes. As you continue to do something over and over, you get better so a lot of gamers now will breeze the likes of COD in under 10 hours, likely on hard or veteran difficulty. My old housemate felt that way, he'd start a game on the hardest difficulty because "what's the fucking point otherwise." As a result, he's the only person I know who has 100% achievements on Halo.

When you're battering the majority of games on their hardest setting without too much effort, where can you go from there? Exactly. Uber-difficult games like the Souls games! People who find 90% of games too easy tend to enjoy the challenge of bullet-hell, Street Fighter on the most ridiculously high level and super-bosses. They're the same people who'd try and take on Emerald Weapon in FF7 without using cure magic. We all know one of those guys. As for the high reviews?

Video games journalists are fucking weird.

Generally, for a localization, how much money or many sales are required for the game to be deemed "successful" in that it warrants more localizations of games in the same series?

Katamari linked to an article as part of this question which, to summarise, suggested that Harvest Moon for the DS only shifted 28,000 copies upon release, but still spawned a sequel.

Harvest Moon has done incredibly well since it relaunched on the DS in 2005. Sales have risen around 400% since the first game was launched on Nintendo's flagship handheld, so they obviously made the right decision, but it all boils down to one key factor.

Profit.

If a game costs $10 to make and retails at $60, it only needs to sell one copy to be profitable. I'm not going to give you a maths lesson, but Harvest Moon obviously didn't cost an awful lot to make, therefore their 28,000 sales covered their production costs and made them a bit of money. That's all a game really needs to do, unless you're Square Enix.






I was lucky enough this week to pick up a complete in box limited edition console featuring this game, so what better way to celebrate it than by looking at one of the best racing games ever made?






That's all for this week, folks. I hope we've all made friends again and I hear from you guys before next week. Let's make sure we keep Ask 411 Games alive together, otherwise I'll just have to go back to posting pictures of Emily Browning in the MMA zone. And nobody wants that, right?






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