Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Do some developers care only about money?

I sometimes wonder if developers really care about the games they release. There are some companies who really do make sure they release only quality products, but some just don't seem to give a damn. For example, let's look at one of the most well-known offenders...

Yes, I'm looking at you, Data Design. Let's look at the reviews from some of your latest "games"... Okay, we have a 3.5/10 from IGN for Myth Makers Super Kart GP, a 2.4/10 from n-Revolution for Billy the Wizard: Rocket Broomstick Racing, and oh dear... A 0.5 review from n-Revolution for Ninjabread Man... My, Data Design, don't you have plenty to be proud of!

The Wii versions of all these games cost an average of $20 in the bargain bin at your local Wal-Mart, a price which is likely similar to the game's development costs. After all, these are merely ports of poorly-received PS2 games released back in 2005. All they did was give it a new box art and some crappy motion controls. Whoopee, us gamers sure are lucky.

They couldn't have possibly released these games thinking that they're good. No person with a properly-functioning brain could ever think that. All they wanted was the cash, and they didn't give half a crap how badly flawed their product was. Seriously, if we aren't careful, it'll be the videogame crash of 1983 all over again.

It seems that only in the videogame world can you get away with things like this. It would never work with movies, as consumers tend to be more wary of crappy-looking movies than they are cautious of obviously terrible games. And besides, I've never seen a movie released that looks comparatively bad to Ninjabread Man. Crappy films don't even get that far. Theatres will never display a badly-made movie instead of a new high-budget film. And when it comes to DVD sales, a crappy movie would just sink to the bottom of the bargain bin, never to be seen again.

But with games, it seems to be a lot easier to get them published. Just look at any EBGames selection, and you'll see "gems" like Chicken Shoot and Elf Bowling sitting there next to actual video games. These games could have been whipped up by a Flash artist in about a day and released for free online. Actually, in the case of Elf Bowling, that's exactly what happened! It's nothing but a conversion of a popular Flash game. Have you ever seen a Youtube video remade and released on DVD? I sure haven't. The game world just works so much differently.

Developers whip up some crap, get a publisher to put it on the shelves and that's that. Sure, they won't sell as many copies as Super Mario Galaxy, but their lower development costs would be quickly overcome by their meager profits. Basically, they spend less, sell for less, end up selling enough to cover development, and make a bundle in the process. Cash in the pocket.

I don't think a director would print a movie he knew was crappy. I doubt an author would publish their book if they knew it was tripe. And whether a TV producer thinks their bad show is good or not, it wouldn't matter, as the broadcaster would never show it. Truly the game industry is the way to go if you want to put in as little effort for the best payout. Sadly for us, Data Design caught on to this, and here we are with Ninjabread Man, Monster Trux Extreme and Action Girlz Racing clogging our video game store shelves.

If you're ever browsing in the electronics section and see someone buying one of these titles, for the love of god, stop them. They'll save $20 and their sanity, you'll feel good for doing a good deed, and Data Design will have a little less cash in their coffers. It's all for a good cause.

And it's not just Data Design that's in on this. Oh no, there's more. Phoenix Games is also aiming to bring us "true gaming pleasure" with their nearly copyright-infringing titles such as Dalmatians 4, Iron Chef 2 and Lion and the King 3. Oh man, it's E.T for the Atari 2600 all over again!

Beware the false Disney game!

Have your say on this article in the comments section, or in this forum thread.

The Duck Has Spoken.

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