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New Super Mario Bros. Wii Attempts To Bridge Casual/Hardcore Divide

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the hope-you-brought-your-tanooki-suit dept.

Classic Games (Games) 119

When Nintendo returns to its roots next month by releasing a new, 2-D, side-scrolling Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii, it's trying to do more than simply hop on the retro bandwagon many publishers have ridden in recent months. Speaking at a roundtable discussion in New York this week, Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto talked about how they're trying to satisfy fans of the series who want challenging gameplay in addition to attracting new or casual players just looking for an entertaining platformer. Quoting: "... you can play the story mode single-player all the way through from beginning to end, and at any point along the way, you can add players from the world map and have up to four players cooperate to complete the levels. And beyond that, there are two dedicated multiplayer modes, one of which is free-for-all, which lets you select the stages from story mode ... so you can easily find the stage you like. And then there’s also a coin battle mode which is a competitive multiplayer mode, in which you’re actually competing for points and you’re getting ranked based on how many points you’ve collected. The free-for-all mode has kind of a similar feel to something like Mario Kart where you just happen to have four people over and you want to sit down and play a quick match in your favorite level."

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hmmm... (1)

Mendoksou (1480261) | about 5 years ago | (#29775933)

I'll hold off my judgment until I try it, but so far such attempts to "bridge the gap" have all failed. Although most of those attempts start with the hardcore side and water it down (Empire Earth 3 anyone?). IMO, it seems best just to let hardcore gamers have their hardcore games, and casual gamers have their casual games, and those who want a mix, can get some of each. But I hope they pleasantly surprise me.

Re:hmmm... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 5 years ago | (#29775967)

Or in nintendo and sega's case they usually start with the casual side and then throw in absurd cheap shots. If I go back and play the classic SMB games I feel like it's my fault when I die most of the time. NSMB on the DS was just universally a problem of bad controls (handling), shitty clipping, and even worse true cheap shots of things appearing inside you. The only modern game I've played that's bigger on memorization encouraging cheap shots is Sonic Rush.

Re:hmmm... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#29775989)

Sonic Rush isn't remotely as bad as Sonic Advance 3 which will happily have those Sonic run sequences end in a deathtrap that you get 1 second to spot and dodge.

Re:hmmm... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 5 years ago | (#29776171)

I think you need to play Rush again, it likes to take those run sequences and stick a booster right in front of an instant-kill trap primed so you die instantly if you don't dodge it (and usually the boost), they also like to keep throwing enemies in the middle of spring chains and other sequences where you're vulnerable.

Re:hmmm... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#29776253)

I really didn't have trouble with that, all the boost roads ended in regular walls for me unless I interfered with jumps at the wrong time.

Re:hmmm... (2, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29776165)

I have to disagree, NSMB was dead on awesome. The DS Version of Mario Kart on the other hand, well, I just can't get over the "socialist weapons" that punish you for doing well.

Re:hmmm... (1)

Nossie (753694) | about 5 years ago | (#29776283)

I agree with you on that one!

regarding NSMBW however....

one thing for sure - by most reports - it's bloody hard!

Re:hmmm... (3, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 5 years ago | (#29776297)

>>I just can't get over the "socialist weapons" that punish you for doing well.

Heh, in our group we call them the Socialism Bullet and Socialism Shell, too. =)

Re:hmmm... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#29776767)

The common name for those here is a string of expletives.

Re:hmmm... (2, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 5 years ago | (#29776973)

I dunno, those things are what makes Mario Kart Mario Kart. It can be irritating, yes, but it also lends an element of unpredictability and hilarity.

On the other hand, playing that game gives me nasty hand cramps, because of the way I have to hold the DS.

Re:hmmm... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29777015)

Back in the day of the classic SNES version, and even the GBA version (I didn't play the 64 or GCN version enough to say much about those) there were weapons, but you had to use a little skill to utilize them. If you were in first there was always someone aiming a brown shell at you (and on the SNES version I was a damned good shot with a green shell), there was the star to contend with, mushroom burst, and the only unskilled weapon in the game, the lightning bolt. Unlike the modern lightning bolt ALL players were affected evenly. If you wanted to win you had to have some skill.

Of course the old versions the CPU character had advantages humans didn't. Unlimited specialized ammo, no coins needed/lost so they didn't spin out from collisions where you did, etc... Oh, and the order of finish line crossing was preset, but you could jack that up, one of my favorite things to do.

Re:hmmm... (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 5 years ago | (#29777059)

The N64 version, though, was basically like the versions today are, although the communist shell was less deadly, and could pretty easily go off the track in its search for the first-place player.

The 'Cube version made the communist shell absolutely deadly (although you could dodge it by dropping back to second place once you heard the shell launch), and is almost exactly like MK DS in terms of weapons. I think the only new one they added on the DS was the ink blot, which was pretty easy to cope with, so I don't think it makes that much of a difference.

Mind you, there's very much still an element of skill in Mario Kart. I can't beat the really good racers online, no matter how much the game helps me out with items. You might feel that the amount is too low, and that is up to you to decide, so I won't argue on that point. Don't be mistaken, though, skill is very much alive and well in MK-land.

Re:hmmm... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29777137)

I've never actually played it online, only way I've played the DS version is solo. I've actually played the GBA version linked, I made it a point to get my daughter, my nephew, and an ex girlfriends kids Gameboy Micros, I got the link cables, and the SP to Micro adapter. The ex girlfriend especially liked it since she has two boys, they link up all the time (nothing bitter, we still get along).

Re:hmmm... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29778289)

It occurred to me I had Double Dash on standby and I never actually played it. I just played it for a few hours.

That was awesome, I love it. The DS tried to emulate it in so many ways, and fell so short of the mark.

Re:hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29779685)

Of course the old versions the CPU character had advantages humans didn't. Unlimited specialized ammo, no coins needed/lost so they didn't spin out from collisions where you did, etc... Oh, and the order of finish line crossing was preset, but you could jack that up, one of my favorite things to do.

Sounds like the old school, the NPC/Computer is always cooler/better than the PCs suckage.

Re:hmmm... (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29776153)

Have you ever played "The New Super Mario Brothers" for the DS? As far as I'm concerned that was gap bridging done right. It had all the good things that made classic Super Mario Brothers right, simplistic game play, 2D side scroller, didn't over use the touch screen, but it had a lot of newer system touches with the graphics and some of the power ups. It was very win-win. Even my friends who stopped playing video games a decade ago, or will ONLY play classic games (yes, I have these types of friends) will play that particular game. I almost have to break their fingers to get my DS back.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29775935)

First Post
(No, I don't care I'm not logged on)

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776003)

May be you shouldnt care about getting the first post either.

The good old days (2, Interesting)

Cprossu (736997) | about 5 years ago | (#29775945)

I remember once leaving my NES on for a week straight trying to get to the end of the original super mario bros when I was a kid without using any warps, good times.
I'm glad however that the wii one is getting a multiplayer, and I look forward to the level designs, I may actually have to buy a wii now instead of just fixing them for friends!

Re:The good old days (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29776223)

To this day I haven't beaten the original Super Mario Brothers. See, my parents were actually involved back then also, only the TV was in the living room and leaving the NES on for a week was unacceptable. My parents would actually play the game, but they called warp zones cheating, so I never actually beat it. I would occasionally get to work 7 and call it quits, even if I had lives left.

I should make that one of my goals. I set goals to play and beat the original Zelda as a kid (I didn't have that one). I finally did. Two years ago on my GBA. Around that same time I finally beat Dragon Warrior (1 & 2) and the first two Final Fantasy games, all on my GBA. Dragon Warrior was the GBC version. Yep, when I say I'm gonna do something, I'm gonna do it. Even if it is over a decade later.

Re:The good old days (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | about 5 years ago | (#29776803)

I never beat the original Metroid. Right now I am playing through Metroid Prime 1 & 2 before starting 3 and I wonder if I should get the 2D versions into that mix. I'm a lot better with the controller now than I was back then. (Although my reflexes at age 35 may be a bit slower, I realize now there's more to it than that.)
Having a physical AV switch on your TV instead of using the automatic one that came with the NES was a godsend. Leaving the thing on for days at a time without interfering with Mom and Dad's TV-watching was great.

Re:The good old days (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29776841)

No so much that, if they saw the red light on, it was getting turned off. Also, to this day my dad has it in his head the A/V inputs from my Nintendo were what caused our LXI TV to need service all the time. (hint, that started well before I ever plugged anything in with those cables)

Re:The good old days (1)

Cprossu (736997) | about 5 years ago | (#29777229)

haha that reminds me of a media PC I had hooked to my 55" samsung crt bigscreen... the convergence boards in the TV blew every single year to the day in october, and the 2nd time around the tv repair guy blamed it on the media pc.... Still covered under our extended warranty though (One of the only extended warranties I will buy, as for a bigscreen tv they make sense) but as a result of that idiot I had to take my media PC off of it, and sure enough, one year later the convergence board still blew out sans PC.

Re:The good old days (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | about 5 years ago | (#29778229)

I would highly recommend Metroid: Zero Mission for the DS if you have one. It's an expanded remake of the original Metroid that plays like a dream. It's very much on par with Super Metriod in my opinion, and the gameplay is a little faster.

If you're a purist and want to beat the original original, that's on the cartridge too, though you may have to unlock it.

Re:The good old days (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about 5 years ago | (#29781021)

I would highly recommend Metroid: Zero Mission for the DS if you have one

Its on the GBA not the DS.

Re:The good old days (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | about 5 years ago | (#29778199)

I'm jealous--I never managed to beat Dragon Warrior no matter how many times I tried. I think I always started getting impatient at about the time I could handle Stone Golems, so I'd venture further and get killed by Wyverns all the time.

Man, I forgot how much that pissed me off.

Re:The good old days (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 5 years ago | (#29778277)

See, that was my first RPG, I got up to the end, but I didn't beat it. I wanted to keep leveling my character and I didn't know if I could or not if I beat it, so I was holding off on beating it. I even "saw" the guy at the end, but I wouldn't actually fight him. Then I accidentally erased my game and didn't beat it until 14 years later or so.

Re:The good old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29778781)

Play Dragon Warrior 4 - in fact, skip 3 to do so. DW 4 is a CLASSIC. I'm pretty sure it was the largest ROM ever released for the original NES.

The world features day/night cycles - people in towns are in different places and say different things depending on whether it's day or night. It's divided up into multiple chapters - 1 through 4 show the backstory of the various characters (excluding the main character) and chapter 5 is the main quest, where all the characters join up with the main hero. It's also about four times as long as the other four chapters combined (and chapters 2 and 4 are each almost as long as Dragon Warrior 1 - numbers 1 and 3 are shorter).

Taloon, the character from chapter 3, is awesome (Torneko in Japanese - he had a few side-games featuring him that were only released in Japan because he was such a popular character [Torneko no Daibouken, Torneko no Daibouken 2]) he's a weapon shop merchant's apprentice. You start out minding the shop, you get commission on what you sell every day. Once in a while somebody will come in to sell a Sword of Malice - one of the better early weapons (it can be activated in battle to throw fireballs which damage a whole group of enemies). I recommend working at the shop until you have enough money to buy the sword, waiting for somebody to sell it to you, and then picking that day to quit - then immediately buy the sword back from the merchant.

tl;dr - make Dragon Warrior 4 next on your list.

Re:The good old days (1)

Ojuice (638639) | about 5 years ago | (#29779197)

DW4 was also recently remade for the DS using an engine similar to that of DW7. I suggest everyone run down to the local gameshop and buy a copy of 'Dragon Quest IV' pronto (they've started using the Japanese title Dragon Quest since the Square and Enix merger).

Re:The good old days (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 5 years ago | (#29778109)

The first time my brother and I beat SMB (we usually played together) was actually, more or less, an accident. We inadvertently discovered the "unlimited lives" cheat/bug in the game (which is much, much easier to trigger in SMB3) in (IIRC) the level 8 castle on my last life, and were able to beat Koopa as a result.

We didn't learn about the 2nd warp until years later, actually, so we had to beat the harder levels every time. Man, what hours spent...

These days, I'm still playing SMB and SMB3 with my eldest son on the same NES I had as a kid. They don't make 'em like they used to. And I've still yet to actually beat SMB3, even though I had (and essentially memorized, and remember to this day) the Nintendo Power for the game.

What makes a casual player casual? (1)

kashalotas (1646043) | about 5 years ago | (#29775995)

Being semi-"hardcore" all my gaming career never actually gave too much thought about casual gamers point of view. Wonder where people draw that line.

Re:What makes a casual player casual? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#29776033)

Not sure there is a solid one. There are multiple factors at work, which interact with each other and all have gray areas. Time commitment often comes up, but some people play Bejeweled for absurdly compulsive amounts of time per week. Time commitment per session might be one, though perhaps perceived time commitment per session is a better one. Some might just be cultural factors--- "hardcore games" tend to have all sorts of non-gameplay related markers like fantasy or shooter themes that mark them as targeted to specific groups. When you change those, as with Spore, you get a different audience, even when you still have a really long game typical in many ways of the "hardcore" category.

On the whole I think it's basically incoherent as a solid distinction, though it comes up often enough that there must be something to it. The first research I know of trying to pin it down better is Jesper Juul's new book on the subject [amazon.com] , which among other things tries to sift some data from a bunch of interviews with self-described "casual" and "hardcore" gamers about what traits each of them thinks the two labels implies. It might be interesting to have a richer vocabulary to talk about it, though, since it's clearly more than a single hardcore---casual axis.

If I just happen to have 4 people over? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29776019)

The free-for-all mode has kind of a similar feel to something like Mario Kart where you just happen to have four people over and you want to sit down and play a quick match in your favorite level.

Honest question: how often does this happen for other people that you have three other people over and you say "Hey, let's play mario kart" and they say "sure?" One of the 3 people for me is invariably my wife who has made it clear she doesn't enjoy playing videogames even "casual" games in a group. (Before anyone starts suggesting "a game she's sure to like," realize I've probably made attempts to get her interested in games already). Even when she's not, I don't see that happening, most people who I have over don't come over to play videogames. Same with my friends who have wiis, when I'm at their house with other people, I don't find myself playing mario kart or smash bros or guitar hero.

Who are these groups of people that nintendo is still making games for? And next console generation, can we establish before hand which consoles are going to have libraries that are mostly group games and which consoles have more games that you can play online or by yourself? I got a wii early. I think Muramasa, demon blade is the only game I've played on it this year.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (4, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#29776049)

umm, so you've only got 2 friends?!

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 5 years ago | (#29776063)

You need better friends. :)

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776077)

We always have 4 people who live here (myself, my hubby, and 2 sons). What's your point?

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776097)

Two words: College dorms.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | about 5 years ago | (#29776133)

I bought a Wii early. I bought 4 controllers. I have never experienced what you're talking about, either. Atleast, never any game other than the wii sports range. Even when I've managed to "scrounge" up three players, they've been non gamers and thus, no challenge - which for most of us would mean, no fun, either.

For me, what you're describing is a group of people akin to the dynamic potrayed in The Big Bang Theory. I'm sure it exists, but it surely is not in the mainstream and owing to the existence of the penis, extremely unlikely to last for very long, if infact you can score such a scenario.

(I mean, I almost went for a wank in the middle of this comment)

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 5 years ago | (#29777181)

You've never been to university have you?

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

oGMo (379) | about 5 years ago | (#29776151)

Who are these groups of people that nintendo is still making games for?

Nintendo is still making games? I haven't heard of anything since .. uh, SSBB, which I'm not interested in. The last game I cared to play was Super Mario Galaxy .. and that was out at the end of 2007! It's been nearly two years . I lent my Wii console out to a friend a few months after Mario, and haven't had any reason to get it back since.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | about 5 years ago | (#29776157)

Fairly often. As often as I get a group of people together to watch a particular movie, for instance.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29778551)

I HATE watching movies with a group of people. Someone is always talking or asking questions or being generally distracting. I don't know how people do this.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

plague911 (1292006) | about 5 years ago | (#29776241)

To be honest its your own damn fault if you figured the Wii was going to be anything else. It was very clearly marketed towards non individual non traditional games. Which is exactly why i never considered getting one.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29780693)

To be honest its your own damn fault if you figured the Wii was going to be anything else. It was very clearly marketed towards non individual non traditional games.

The message I got was that they were going to try something more community oriented, on some level. They were still billing it as a "game console." I assumed it would mean that the console was more friendly to online play than the gamecube, which had no online capabilities worth mentioning. There was -nothing- obvious to let one know that the console would turn out how it did.

And who the hell takes marketing to mean anything anyway? The PS3 was "marketed" as the next ubiquitous media player, to claim all of the PS2 market and all the DVD market. Look how that turned out. Nintendo's marketing alone didn't make the wii into what it is now either, it's the 3rd party developers that never started making good single player games for it.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

defireman (1365467) | about 5 years ago | (#29776441)

Girl gamers?
From my experience, they are pretty spontaneous when it comes to getting together and playing party games. While my sister's friends are staying over for a week, they literally played Mario Party non-stop for hours at a time.

Perhaps the wii is not as attractive to us teenage guys, but they do have a market in party games and casual gamers.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776445)

You have what they call a life. Many people, whom do not have lives, will fake like they do by playing video games together in the same room. Perhaps Nintendo is targeting that group of people, and not you.

All joking aside, you could have researched the consoles and games that you bought to find out if they were group-oriented or not. Also, I don't know of a Wii game that doesn't have single player modes, so why is this even a problem? Yeah, the games are more fun with more people but so is drinking. Being alone hasn't stopped me! /swig

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

surferx0 (1206364) | about 5 years ago | (#29777575)

You have what they call a life. Many people, whom do not have lives, will fake like they do by playing video games together in the same room.

Kind of like other people who might fake like they have a life by playing alcohol-related games and drinking together in the same room?

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 5 years ago | (#29778221)

Why can't it be both!? :)

The answer: East Asia (1)

bjornte (536493) | about 5 years ago | (#29776513)

> Who are these groups of people that Nintendo is still making games for?

The Chinese and Japanese are two obvious groups, at the very least.

I recently spent three months traveling through East Asia, mostly in China (Beijing & southwards) and Japan (Tokyo & southwards). There is a huge amount of casual gaming compared to Europe and the US. People commute a lot using advanced public transit (even Beijing's subway looks like Sci-fi compared to NYC MTA, and of course Japan is a different planet altogether). So, all these people not busy steering (and gearing, if in Europe), have PSPs at hand for zoning out to and fro work. And it's not just young boys; also thirty-something women frequently whip out gaming gear rather than makeup kits.

Of course it's not only a subway phenomenon. In Japan for instance, apart from all the gaming at home, there are also at least three distinct types of public game venues:
1 - Tekken-style penny arcades, similar to those in the West, mostly crowded by young men.
2 - Incredibly packed places with Vegas-style machines, but with small silver balls that rush though mazes. These places are unbelievably noisy from all the balls, sounds like a small airport. People of all sorts hang out here, from young men in fancy suits to middle-aged women who apparently just drop in when shopping.
3 - Cafe-style manga libraries where there are also booths for reading, gaming and surfing - or just sleeping. The Japanese seem to be sleeping everywhere, even in the lobbies in the hotels where they stay for the night. I really don't know why they prefer the lobby to their own room..?

the 1980's are scifi compared to NYC MTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776729)

considering that most of the NYC MTA are just trolley cars running on lightly-roofed-over roadways, pretty much anything from the 1980's forward will seem like scifi by comparison.

Re:The answer: East Asia (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 5 years ago | (#29779437)

2 - Incredibly packed places with Vegas-style machines, but with small silver balls that rush though mazes.

They are Pachinko [wikipedia.org] parlors. Think of the earliest pinball machines, before bumpers and flippers, tilted vertical. No skill involved (like our slots).

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29777313)

I wouldn't be caught dead hanging out with anyone who doesn't enjoy Mario Kart.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (2, Insightful)

surferx0 (1206364) | about 5 years ago | (#29777407)

Honest question: how often does this happen for other people that you have three other people over and you say "Hey, let's play mario kart" and they say "sure?" One of the 3 people for me is invariably my wife who has made it clear she doesn't enjoy playing videogames even "casual" games in a group

It happens pretty often for those in which one of those 3 people is not a wife. You've either become really disconnected from your younger years or video games just wasn't part of what you and your friends used to do in your childhood if you seriously think this very common situation is so odd.

And next console generation, can we establish before hand which consoles are going to have libraries that are mostly group games and which consoles have more games that you can play online or by yourself? I got a wii early. I think Muramasa, demon blade is the only game I've played on it this year.

If there was any console in which it was blatantly obvious about what type of games were going to be on the system, it was the Wii. It was dubbed the party/casual game system from the get-go and if you even looked into any of the titles coming out for it around launch time that was quite clear. I mean the controller by itself should have made that clear enough, did you think you were going to be standing there by yourself swinging your arms around for 4+ hour long sessions of in-depth solitary gameplay? Not that the Wii doesn't have some good in-depth games you can sink your teeth into and spend long game sessions with, but seriously it was very clear that was going to be more the exception rather than the norm.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (2, Interesting)

Odin's Raven (145278) | about 5 years ago | (#29778067)

Honest question: how often does this happen for other people that you have three other people over and you say "Hey, let's play mario kart" and they say "sure?"

For me, it's every time I go visit my family. Mario Kart's actually more second-tier though - Ravin Rabbids, Wii Play, and Wii Sports are the faves for group play. Super Monkey Ball and Chicken Shoot also see moderate use. Oddly enough, the one game I picked up specifically for group/family play - Mario Party 8 - was a total flop. Too long between turns, people kept getting distracted and losing focus/interest. Meh, you win some, you lose some.

Generally, games where people can basically just pick up the controller and get going with minimal training seem to be more popular - at family get-togethers we're only going to play for an hour or two max, so spending 15 minutes per person training them on complex moves just isn't a viable option. Simultaneous co-op play also seems to be a big plus - if someone sucks at first they can still have fun since the experienced people can pick up the slack and keep the game moving forwards.

Same with my friends who have wiis, when I'm at their house with other people, I don't find myself playing mario kart or smash bros or guitar hero.

So do you play group games on another system? That'd be fair enough - XBox and Playstation both have multi-player titles that aren't on the Wii. (Or do you not play group games on any system, in which case I don't get your point - maybe that the Wii failed to capture your group's attention when nothing else did either?)

Who are these groups of people that nintendo is still making games for?

None of my friends happens to own an XBox - most have PS3s, only a couple others have a Wii, and there's a random assortment of older systems. But I know that the XBox 360 outsells the PS3, and I thought that in the U.S. it's actually not all that far behind the Wii (despite lagging by a wide margin in worldwide sales). So rather than pondering who Microsoft is making games for, I just shrug and accept that there's clearly a demographic that's buying XBox 360 consoles and games...just happens that me and my circle of friends aren't part of that demographic. Apparently my group is rather atypical - if I went with my own direct experience, I'd think that the PS3 was tops, the Wii second-place, and the 360 a total loser, and I'd be wrong in all cases.

Re:If I just happen to have 4 people over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29778881)

Are you a fucking moron?

  KIDS. You bleeding idiot.

Yeah sure, the Wii is hot around the Seniors homes and college dorms and what have you, but make no mistake - there are a metric fuckton of KIDS in this world. And they, you know, hang out with each other and play games.

And yes, teens are kids in my classification.

 

The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (5, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#29776027)

If you've ever seen a so-called "casual" gamer get into a game you'll notice they really devote a LOT of attention to it and tend to deal even with the harshest challenges. What you need to make one of them play your game isn't low difficulty, it's a beginning that convinces them the game is worth their time and many "hardcore" games botch that badly with overly long intro cinematics followed by boring as hell tutorials which are necessitated by overly complex game design. Complex here doesn't mean deep, many games that use the whole controller are just "shoot anything that moves", it's that they have a crapload of minor functions thrown in there that you'll rarely need but still have to memorize and camera views geared for "immersion" rather than understanding WTF is going on.

You could probably implement a modern FPS with Contra's gameplay without really sacrificing the fun. Contra was something recently made gamers enjoyed on the NES. It didn't waste your time, it was about action and offered the joy of playing cooperatively. And if it's too hard, up up down down left right left right B A.

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776203)

You couldn't be more right. I want to pick up games to try them out, but I get so bored trying to learn all the nuances of the game that it's more effort than it's worth to get involved in the game. Fuck 30 minute tutorials...I want to know if I will like the game RIGHT AWAY. That's the problem with games these days...boring tutorials that feel unnatural and not fun. All the good games slowly introduce new elements to the game as you play to really get you hooked as you start to feel yourself advance. That's how it should be!

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (1)

imikedaman (1268650) | about 5 years ago | (#29776407)

The problem here is that you're assuming the term "casual gamer" refers to people who play games casually when it actually refers to people who play casual games. The difference between the two is how interested someone is in learning how to operate two analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, and 4 or more face buttons just to be barely functional in a game.

A few years ago my dad told me that the NES he bought for my brother when we were kids was actually purchased for himself, and that he used to be really into video games back in the days of Pac-Man and Galaga, but he ended up giving the NES to my brother because he couldn't stand the idea of having to learn how to operate a D-pad and multiple buttons with two hands *at the same time*. When I was growing up he would occasionally balk at how games and the controllers are getting more and more complex for seemingly little benefit. These days I think he's addicted to a handful of online puzzle games and turn-based strategy games that only use the mouse. He is a casual gamer.

Casual gamers will generally see hardcore games as needlessly complicated. Hardcore gamers will generally see casual games as overly simple and thus boring. And thus, a divide was born.

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#29776779)

But Super Mario Bros doesn't bridge the gap between lapsed gamers (who are actually a part of the Wii's target audience) and dualshock controllers, SMB uses two buttons (one of which is optional for most of the game) and a dpad. Maybe that's a bit more difficult than an Atari joystick but it's not even remotely close to a dualshock.

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 5 years ago | (#29777221)

Yes! Someone else who understands that you can be a hardcore casual gamer (24/7 Wii) and a casual hardcore gamer (the occasional level on the 360)!

I'm a bit weird in this regard. I love the Wii for the 'pick up and go' simplicity and fun with friends, and I also love PC gaming because there are hundreds of buttons to do exactly what I want, but I can't stand most 'hardcore' console games - especially wrestling ones - because I don't see why the combination for "kick this guy in the head" has to be up, down, X, L, L, R, down, up, shake the controller, unplug the TV and sacrifice a virgin on the second full moon of the year.

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (1)

Omestes (471991) | about 5 years ago | (#29778461)

That's what always got me about Street Fighter games, and their ilk. This type of game is the only type of game a large subset of my friends will ever play, and despite 26 years of trying, I still have no idea why I need 7000000 button presses to shoot a damn fireball. In a match of Bushido Blade I will kill them every time, since it makes so much sense. 3 stances, 2 attack buttons, one block button, instant kills, most of which makes sense since it is more a Bushido simulator than an actual fighting game. If Squenix made a sequal, I might be motivated to actually go out and buy that overpriced behemoth called the PS3.

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29780209)

Two people have nailed it (for me, anyway). I skipped MS consoles and the PS2 but have had all the rest.

I'm sick of "combat simulators". If I want combat, I'll go join a real army. And the turn-based fantasy junk is was over 2 decades ago.

If I want to watch CGI "cinematics" I'll watch a movie.

If I want to invest all my time and effort into something, it'll be something that pays me a lot of MONEY.

There seems to be a shortage of good games. I know, it's a classic "mature market" problem. Still...

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | about 5 years ago | (#29780603)

Casual gamers will generally see hardcore games as needlessly complicated. Hardcore gamers will generally see casual games as overly simple and thus boring. And thus, a divide was born.

Let me give a possible alternative explanation for these terms and the divide from a I-have-no-idea-what-type-of-gamer-I-am sort of a guy.

I think marketing types are to blame for all the overuse of stereotypes and general innovation killing in gaming-land of today.

It's possible that some time ago the people for whose job it is to increase profits probably decided that they were only selling their company's games to boys. Hence they could more than double their profits if they sold equally to girls, and then some more to older folks.

How to sell games though to this new audience with little previous exposure - pretty the games up, make them simpler, and have a "hold-your-hand" button.

The games were made much simpler, at the same time cheap RAM began to be made use of, by adding more and more save features+extra lives - ostensibly so that one didn't have to repeat things ad nauseam. This simplification removed a lot of the sense of satisfaction about beating a new challenge in a game. It also removed a feeling of fine control over the character, as it wasn't really necessary to acquire this over time to complete anything (for both developers and players).

So the games became simpler, more shallow, and less time was spent actually controlling the (now nicely rendered) character/object.

This I think is where the casual gamer/hard core gamer labelling comes in. Some people still wanted games with difficult to obtain objectives and gameplay. So, based on stereotypes of the day, the marketing types decided large amounts of button pressing (where it had to be the right buttons you mashed in order to progress) and enemies with huge health points would satisfy this. I am of course talking about first person shooters of the "hard-core" type. The rest of the games with lower difficulty were to also be sold to girls/older folk, and became "casual" games.

This divide between casual/hard-core seems to have happened over time though. It's as if all the good game developers jumped one-by-one into a big hole at different times, and are slowly trying to climb back towards the light.

I'll at least be happy if this game and others like it bring back that fine sense of control, innovative and varied game design, whilst keeping the possibility to die and have to redo things to get that bigger sense of achievement when completing something. Who cares what it is labelled by the media if the enjoyment you can get out of it is longer-lived, so much that it is really worth your while to play. I want to see more games that aren't about cheap, never ending victories, and actually challenging gameplay made fun.

Sorry if that all reads like a rant. I'm not usually up this early in the morning.

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (1)

pizzach (1011925) | about 5 years ago | (#29776961)

What you said reminds me of Contra Hard Corps for the Sega Genesis with it's unskippable mini-cinemas. I might consider it better than the SNES Contra 3 if it didn't have them (or at least they were skippable.)

Re:The "Hardcore/Casual" divide is bullshit anyway (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 5 years ago | (#29778195)

Eh, I don't know about that.

I'm a casual gamer. I haven't owned a platform since the NES. My favorite games were Zelda, SMB3, Marble Madness, and Jackal (a top-down scroller, but with jeeps instead of planes and "mission objectives"). I didn't really get into most games.

The last game I bought was Fallout 3, but before that I think it was Max Payne II (which I regret spending money on), Max Payne, and Deus Ex before that. I split the cost of Warcraft 3 with my brother, as well as Half-Life 2. The list of games I've beaten is only slightly longer than the above list (Farcry makes that list, surprisingly). In the last 8-9 years, I remember playing (with some degree of interest) Black & White, Eve Online (for the free trial), and very briefly, Enemy Territory and Counter-Strike 2 (but those were mainly for the multiplayer w/ friends).

Deus Ex and Mechwarrior 2 are my favorite PC games. I'd hardly consider those, or Fallout 3, un-complex: they've got a steep learning curve. They also all have a fairly lengthy collection of cinematics to explain the game world.

Maybe I'm not a casual gamer. Personally, I don't find any of the dime a dozen FPS games out there fun or interesting. It's just another implementation of the same thing. There's no story, and there's no reason for me to be invested. With no character (a unique one, either of the player's character or the game's purpose) and a tacked-on story to support the new 'special effect' of the game, there's not much of a point.

wii is fail (-1, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#29776031)

firstly there is the name. secondly there is the lack of titles that are anything more then gimmics, and lastly there is the poxy low poly low res graphics.

please go back to playing animal crossing, i don't like to be flamed by 12yo girls.

Re:wii is fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776045)

You're one of those screechy 12 year olds on XBox Live, eh?

Re:wii is fail (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 5 years ago | (#29776069)

Well, the first point is fair, and the third is somewhat accurate, but I don't think it's an issue.

On the second point, though, you're full of shit. There are enough games that don't rely on "motion sensor as a gimmick". Off the top of my head: Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Mario Kart, Smash Bros, Metroid Prime 3, Super Paper Mario. Yes, it's all Nintendo games, but honestly, I don't give a shit who makes the game. If other developers are making crappy games for the Wii, that's their fault, not the console's. You might also be dismissive of the games I've listed for other reasons, but even then, they aren't just motion-sensor-gimmick games, so your original assertion is false.

Re:wii is fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776085)

He will probably dismiss them as franchises as other "hardcore gamers" (i.e. people who plunked money for the 360) are wont to do, while playing mostly franchise games :p

Re:wii is fail (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#29776111)

i don't own a single game console. the only game i play is spring rts which is a brillant free rts.

i just don't think the wii has a single game that's worth while, and the fact they are grasping at straws by releasing endless remakes of old titles shows it. it also highlights another point you guys brought up, that only nintendo games are on the wii. 3rd parties are the only way you'll get fresh air in that stale room....

Re:wii is fail (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 5 years ago | (#29776183)

that only nintendo games are on the wii. 3rd parties are the only way you'll get fresh air in that stale room....

That's also incorrect. There are great 3rd party games on the Wii. If you like, I can list them; but I suspect if I do, you will promptly do your best to forget them.

Re:wii is fail (2, Informative)

captjc (453680) | about 5 years ago | (#29776195)

only nintendo games are on the wii.

There are plenty of third party games on the wii, the problem is most of them suck. They don't all suck, just most of them but that is the same with all consoles. Off the top of my head, Mad World, The Conduit, RE4, No More Heroes, Okami, and Rayman Raving Rabids were all good games that any hardcore gamer could enjoy. If one is into nostalgia value, the early reviews on the remake of A Boy and His Blob seem positive as well. Yes the first party games are better on average. However, the premise that there are no good games, much less good third party games, is completely false.

Re:wii is fail (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#29776265)

You sound like the BA DSD 16v16 type of person who shouldn't complain about a lack of fresh air.

Re:wii is fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776603)

>spring rts which is a brillant free rts.

You're delusional.

Re:wii is fail (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29776829)

i don't own a single game console. the only game i play is spring rts which is a brillant free rts.

What do you do when you have friends over and you want to play a round of video games? Or do all your friends own laptops and carry them everywhere?

3rd parties are the only way you'll get fresh air in that stale room

There are games for Wii published by third-party major labels. It's just that third parties do an absolutely fecal job of promoting them to players.

Re:wii is fail (0)

Toonol (1057698) | about 5 years ago | (#29776177)

firstly there is the name. secondly there is the lack of titles that are anything more then gimmics, and lastly there is the poxy low poly low res graphics.

please go back to playing animal crossing, i don't like to be flamed by 12yo girls


I thought slashdot skewed old enough these sorts of opinions wouldn't show up. This sounds more like 4chan talk.

The Wii name obviously hasn't hurt sales at all. Are you saying you personally don't like the console because the sound of 'wii'? That's childish.

There are gimmick titles. There are also dozens of excellent games, some that make use of the controller, some that don't. The 'wii has no games' mantra has been wrong for most of it's lifetime. The Wiimote is no more a gimmick than, say, analog sticks were. Just like them, it will become standard.

Lastly, the low poly count graphics. Irrelevant. For one thing, the Wii is more powerful than the PS2 and Gamecube from last gen, and there were GREAT and beautiful games on both consoles. One of the best looking games of this whole gen, Muramasa, is on the Wii. GPU power has become almost irrelevant to how nice a game looks, compared to the skill and quality of the development team. There's a lot of PS2 games that look better than PS3 games. Lower res, lower poly counts, but BETTER.

Lastly (since you talked more after saying 'lastly'), I'm a man, and I'm older than you. I've played more games than you, too.

Re:wii is fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776239)

Marked as flamebait but also 90% true. Ironically even Animal Crossing felt like a shitty gamecube port. And the best games for the Wii didn't or rarely used motions controls, which shows you how much of a gimmick the Wii became. Maybe if they waited until they got the controls right (even the motion plus is lacking) and put at least an xbox-level graphics chip in it. Graphics are not the most important thing in games, but when your games don't even look decent compared to last generation games the joke is on us.

City Folk is fail (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29776867)

Ironically even Animal Crossing felt like a shitty gamecube port.

To me, City Folk felt like a DS port because they didn't add anything to Wild World other than a strip mall. If it were a GameCube port, then I'd be able to keep my town on an SD card or USB stick and have more than one of them going on one console like I did on Population Growing. But by far the biggest disappointment of City Folk was the lack of a split-screen 2-player mode.

Maybe if they waited until they got the controls right (even the motion plus is lacking) and put at least an xbox-level graphics chip in it.

If the GameCube's Flipper GPU wasn't on par with that of the original Xbox's GeForce 3 GPU, the Wii's Hollywood GPU sure is.

Re:wii is fail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776249)

You're a faggot.

Re:wii is fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776469)

the only fags here are the little bitches who play infantile shit like "super mario"

a cheesy japanese made game based on a fat mexican plumber. that sounds fun...

Re:wii is fail (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | about 5 years ago | (#29777251)

I'll bite, but only for one minor correction.

Mario is Italian, you bloody idiot.

Re:wii is fail (1)

Too Many Secrets (449095) | about 5 years ago | (#29776447)

You're the reason it's still embarassing to say things like "I enjoy playing video games".

Not always a good idea. (1)

Capsy (1644737) | about 5 years ago | (#29776115)

As all attempts to make a game suitable for all types of gamers have failed, this is generally a bad idea. For instance, in the competitive gameplay, the one where you attain ranks, this may provoke people that play casually to start playing hardcore, or turn casual players away from the gametype all together, since they will never attain as high of a rank as a person who spends all night on the game. While this is a novel concept, it's generally doomed to fail as it has the potential to either pull many people into the hardcore style, or push a lot of them away.

Define casual (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 5 years ago | (#29776267)

I'm not sure what casual means. I think the different types of player are:
- Social, the ones who come not for the game per se, but for the community and companionship
- Recreational, the ones who come for a quick, easy, romp in fantasy-land
- Hard-core, the ones who want to beat the game or their fellow players, and who will invest time in understanding and mastering its mechanics.

I think the problem with casual, is that it tries to cover social and recreational, and ends up meaning... idiot... which alienates the hard-cores.

WoW is kinda covering all bases, with guilds, lots of solo and easy ("normal") content, and heroic raids + pvp rankings for the hardcores. I think their issue at the moment is that
- lowering the "maintenance" effort (grinding, farming) for the players to make the game more accessible to casuals is making the game boring for hard cores: there is not much to do outside of raiding, and raids are very easy and short these days. Achievements farming only does so much, especially since not much skill is required, just time.
- having hard-core content that is not very different from the casual one (you're no longer killing a very exclusive boss, only the same as everyone, but in hard mode) is kinda a let-down

On the other hand, I've tried EVE, and found the game not very accessible (I had trouble understanding how to complete a few very early quest), and quite overwhelming for the new player.

Re:Define casual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29776855)

I really don't like the terms "hardcore" and "casual" gamer. Most people who refer to themselves as "hardcore" gamers make the classification because they are willing to spend gobs of money on gaming hardware, televisions, and audio equipment. I don't consider that hardcore. It's just stupid.

I game much harder than most of these people and play a lot more genres of games. The PS2 was the last console that I bought. More recently, I tend to play "retro" games only. This started when I came to the conclusion that there are thousands of games that were released during my lifetime that I have never played. These games don't cease to be good just because they are old. The ROMS are pretty easy to come by. Why spend a ton of money on gaming if it doesn't make it more pleasurable?

Re:Define casual (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 5 years ago | (#29779489)

I think "casual gamer" means someone who can take it or leave it. I put myself in this category -- when I play it is because I happen to have a few hours up to a few tens of hours spread across a few days. Then three months go by before I again casually game.

Hardcore gamer = borderline addict. No need to explain this category to slashdotters.

Social gamer = not really a gamer, but finds that through games they can interact with people. Would be easily pleased by a wide variety of games, I imagine. Also with chatting in IM/chat rooms.

Re:Define casual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29780313)

It's easy enough.

A hardcore gamer is somebody who thinks of himself as a hardcore gamer.

A casual gamer is somebody who doesn't.

Obviously these definitions only exists for hardcore gamers. A "casual" gamer will not refer to himself as such, since to him (and the rest of the world), the distinction doesn't exist.

Marge Simpson (3, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 5 years ago | (#29776393)

If Marge Simpson can be on the cover of Playboy, why can't Mario do hardcore?

Some people seem to have lost their sense of reality!

Re:Marge Simpson (1)

trytoguess (875793) | about 5 years ago | (#29776759)

Peach is a prude who never wears anything more risqué than that dress of hers. Do you really think she'd let her love interest soil her royal name by fornicating with some slut? Lets not forget, in her latest game she got her hands on an extreme omnivore umbrella that can eat like say... Mario sized to increase her power.

Re:Marge Simpson (1)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | about 5 years ago | (#29776785)

Hasn't he already been doing that for the last 30 years under the pseudonym Ron Jeremy?

Re:Marge Simpson (1)

karnal (22275) | about 5 years ago | (#29777521)

I think Mario would take issue with that since Ron's known as The Hedgehog.

Re:Marge Simpson (1)

JHromadka (88188) | about 5 years ago | (#29777889)

Two words: Peter North.

Re:Marge Simpson (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 5 years ago | (#29778211)

Some might argue he already has [imdb.com] .

Just One Problem (1)

Talthybius (633309) | about 5 years ago | (#29776619)

I certainly applaud the effort to reconcile hardcore and casual gaming, but Super Mario Brothers Wii will not accomplish that because of one glaring problem: it is on the Wii. The Wii is not a hardcore gaming platform. It is the platform you use when you want to give your casual gaming friend a snowball's chance against you in a game that relies more the Wii interpreting in a fortuitous way your frustrated spastic Wiimote flailing than it does skill. Speaking for myself, I prefer an input system that is a bit more precise and accurate than the Wii, which is wont to take my motions more as suggestions than actual controls.

Re:Just One Problem (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | about 5 years ago | (#29776777)

You don't know what you are talking about.

Re:Just One Problem (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#29776881)

I prefer an input system that is a bit more precise and accurate than the Wii

What input system might that be, while still allowing two to four players to share one living room monitor?

5 controllers (1)

mhelander (1307061) | about 5 years ago | (#29776877)

"The free-for-all mode has kind of a similar feel to something like Mario Kart where you just happen to have four people over and you want to sit down and play a quick match in your favorite level"

Four people over plus I also want to play...that means five controllers, right? Thought Nintendo only supported four...

Perhaps they meant "have three people over".

Re:5 controllers (1)

KillerBob (217953) | about 5 years ago | (#29779431)

The Wii supports 4 Wiimotes, as well as 4 Gamecube controllers. You can connect the GC controllers simultaneously with the Wiimotes, and there are a handful of games out there that can take input from both at the same time and theoretically support up to 8 player multiplay. The DDR games jump to mind immediately, though in their case, the DDR mat connects to the GC port, and one player does input through both the DDR mat *and* the Wiimote simultaneously, so it's only a 4-player game.

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