This Magic Market

This Magic Market
By Karl Castaneda

The video games industry is growing, and with that growth, there’s lots of money to be made. Unfortunately, the competition for those fat sacks of cash is fierce. It takes a lot more than a good concept to sell a title to gamers these days. Some prefer familiarity, others look for something original, and some of them go simply be word of mouth. To push their chances to the absolute maximum, though, publishers invest millions every year in advertising. Whether it’s a full-page spread on Electronic Gaming Monthly or a thirty-second TV spot, you can bet the most popular games of the year have big bucks backing their success. But there are so many ways to do it. Let’s explore a few…

Classic Style: Print Ads

Everyone’s familiar with print ads. We see them in newspapers, in magazines, and even on the street at bus stops. With gaming, it’s pretty straight-forward; some concept art or a fancy-looking render with a super-imposed logo and some PR-talk designed to get you hyped and ready to give up your hard-earned cash. However, it’s not always pretty when a publisher decides to deviate from the basic formula.


Sin & Redemption 8

Sin & Redemption
Karl Castaneda


When the N64 lauched in 1996, we all thought Nintendo had it in the bag. They had a stronger processor (courtesy of Silicon Graphics Inc.), a revolutionary control scheme, and Super Mario 64. When it released in America, there were only two games. The aforementioned Mario title, and Pilotwings 64, a sequel to a game that had accompanied the Super Famicom. Unfortunately for Nintendo and Hiroshi Yamauchi, they had overestimated themselves.

After Square had completed Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the SNES (Fun Fact: The game brought together two masters in the art of game music for the only time ever: Nobuo Uematsu from the Final Fantasy camp and Legend of Zelda/Mario's Koji Kondo.), they had grabbed hold to Sony's wing. And with them went Enix's Dragon Quest, Capcom's Mega Man, Konami's Metal Gear, and a plethora of other valuable properties. The paradigm had shifted. Things had changed. Nintendo was, for the most part, alone.


Lost Gems 4: Star Tropics

Alright kids, pack your stuff we are going to Coral Island for vacation. We are going to visit an old friend. The Star Tropics series. Easily one of the greatest and overlooked franchises on the NES platform. At times it was seen as a joke to the public mainly in part that the main character's weapon was a yoyo, but looks can be deceiving. And since this was a Nintendo title you are going to get more than just a decent game here.

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What About Hubbs.

Well I think I need to let you people know straight up that I am kind of tanking. My engines aren't running properly and I can't get them started. Fear not though as apparently this is kind of a seasonal thing I believe. About this time last year I was haivng difficulty finding the urge to write and this went on for about 2 to 3 months. I was still able to write but not as often as I usually do.

I was going to do a new Lost Gems on the Sega CD game Vay, but then I thought it would be neat if I could try and get a small interview with Victor Ireland of former Working Designs fame. I wanted to do something unique like how the project went with the game and such. However Victor is rather elusive at the moment so that project is on hold. SO instead I am going to work on the Star Tropics series as my next Lost Gems.

Cross your fingers and hope I don't competely burn out on you folks. I have a quota to meet and I am pretty sure Karl is tired of providing a vast majority of the material for this site.



Sin & Redemption 7

Sin & Redemption
By: Karl Castaneda


When we last left Nintendo back in Sin & Redemption 6, they were on the road to disappointment with the N64, and while they would put out many memorable titles on the console, it wouldn't be able to uphold the legacy created by the Famicom and Super Famicom. Indeed, it was a crushing blow to the company, and especially so to Hiroshi Yamauchi, who had put so much stock in the system as yet another success in his tenure as President and CEO of Nintendo Co. Ltd. But that's not what Sin & Redemption 7 is about. Let's do it differently, this time; how about we explore the man who would blow a new wind into the industry, not only in Japan, but the entire world. Let's talk about Ken Kutaragi.

Visions of Grandeur


In Search of Player 1

"The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal."-Ralph Koster, chief creative officer of Sony Online Entertainment in a panel for the Churchill Club

The quote you see before you was taken earlier this year, a month or so before the Game Developers Conference, where Koster would make a keynote speech about the importance of "fun" in gaming. Now, as I outlined in a previous editorial, this is a great thing; it's entirely necessary to pursue entertainment rather than the ego-driven pretentious trash we see so often. However, and I'm sure this is what you took notice of first, the blunt wording of his comment is not only wrong in a factual sense (I had no idea video games had only been around for 21 years!), the very implication that single-player games are a pox on our industry is ludicrous. But what of "...and is about to go away...?" Well, as much as we disagree of a variety of things, Mr. Koster might have a point.


Gaming Vision: What's Up Next

Well, I know there hasn't been anything new in about a week, but that doesn't mean we're out of ideas, far from it. After my little vacation in Ocala (read: that city sucks) I'm ready to get back to work. Check out what's coming up soon on the digital pages of Gaming Vision:

  • A new season of Sin & Redemption
  • New interviews!
  • A new editorial coming this week
  • 13% more Hubbs

    And that's just the beginning. Don't fret; new stuff's coming.
  • 4.02.2006

    The High Definition Era of Gaming

    The idea of HD gaming may have started as far back as the Dreamcast. The Dreamcast was the first system to support vga, s-video, and rgb inputs. It was also capable of outputing games at a resolution of 640x480 on a pc monitor. Microsoft a few years later said that the Xbox wil support HD with a minimum support of all games at 480p. For the 360, Microsoft made the decision that they would push HD gaming into the mainstream. So now I dare ask the ultimate question of life.

    Are we there yet?

    High Def gaming. Is it really the future of where the next gen of gaming needs to go? Are we at the point where we all need High Def to further improve our gaming experience? Well to be brutally honest I believe we aren't quite there yet. Right now I am pretty sure all you High Def buffs are all up in arms now about I don't really see the point in pushing high def gaming yet.


    Innovative Tendencies

    Innovative Tendencies
    By: Kart Castaneda

    The latest buzzword in the industry today seems to be "innovation." Every press release, every keynote address, and every preview seems to include it least once in its content. The race to be "new" and "fresh" has been iterated over and over again, and for a while, I was completely in favor of it. The fact of the matter is that innovation is only effective when it's thought out clearly, and when it isn't, the term becomes rather weightless.

    In an American Scholar essay, the author made the point that with an added emphasis on creativity, where everyone and everything was supposed to be "original" and "different," the word eventually lost its potency, and fell to frivolous use. In the games industry, the same process is happening to "innovation." To put it simply, too much is being put into our games.