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Dragonahcas Blog

Casual Gamers a Plague to Gamers Across the World?

We have been introduced to a new breed of gamer. This was created by Nintendo using a dual campaign of their Nintendo DS and their Wii console.
Nintendo needed a hook, a hook to try and get back to the top of the gaming charts again. After the pretty mild Gamecube sales (compared to its previous consoles) Nintendo were looking for ways to relaunch themselves. Their decision - to make games appeal to everyone.

They then proceeded to release the Nintendo DS, the now top selling handheld console. For the first time in years we have saw a marketing campaign showing

that everyone can play this. From the very young to the very old. It didnt matter what age you were, you could still play Brain Training, Nintendogs and Animal Crossing! Their marketing ads showed older people doing the brain training and also celebrities playing it. This was, and is still the case with the games.

2006 came around and we were shown the power of the casual gamer. 2006 showed the release of the Wii and the family gamer was truly born. Nintendo invested a lot of money in one last gasp to attract more fans.
The Nintendo Wii, as we all know uses a remote control and a nunchak controller. It based on using the motion sensitivity to play the games, when you swing your hand the character on the screen does the same. To demonstrate this Nintendo released with the console its Wii Sports, this helped people get to grips with the "new" control system of the Wii.
The Wii marketing team had a field day - they set up TV advertisements showing the family sitting around the TV each with a Wii controller laughing and smiling as they play a round of golf, bowling or a game of tennis.
When people saw this sales shot through the roof and the Wii was being bought left, right and centre. Months at a time game stores had Wii shortages, the Wii was the must-have gadget.
Friends would come over and see the Wii and would NEED to have a shot of it. At the end of the night they would say that they then wanted to get one.

Because of people torrent of people wanting to get a Wii, you would find ebayers buying them in bulk and selling some for about 3 times the retail price. And people were buying them. The Wiivolution had begun.

Present day, the Wii marketers are still releasing the same annoying adverts where they are showing the "Family/casual" gamers who are sitting around the TV giggling with their grannies as they play the Wii. The all have the same big smiles across their faces and keep up this smile when they lose the game they are playing.

I saw the recent trailer for the upcoming Wii Fit and this is what has drove me to write this blog.

So the trailer loads up and you see different people using the Wii's new balance board. Dont get me wrong it is a good idea but what annoys me is the way they market it, they show that everyone can use it again - whether it be for the fitness side or the dance mat side. Its the SAME damn annoying fake people playing the games. I know they have to show that the people are having fun and show what the balance board can do. But please, for the love of God stop putting the fake people. You have the mum, dad, son and daughter, the stereotypical family.

The Wii does have some good games including: Zelda, Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Brothers Brawl etc. But the majority of the games seem to be movie tie ins or games such as brain age aimed at the whole family. I bought the Wii back in 2006 when it came out, played Wii sports and found it fun for a while. But I also have the Xbox 360 and am used to playing more challenging games. Needless to say that if you are playing single player on Wii Sports I find it gets boring fast. So, I bought Zelda and Red Steel. Played and completed both. After the whole new console/new games/new ways to play novelty worn out I found myself bored with it.

It took months to find another game that I can actually play on my own. A lot of my friends dont live in the same city as me now and my family are busy. So, trying to find a good one player game that I can settle down to is quite hard. I put my Wii to the side and went back happily to my Xbox 360, which I can find plenty of one player games to play.
The problem, in my opinion with the Wii is that it is fun for a while, and is a lot of fun with the correct games and people to play with. But once your friends leave you are very limited to the games that are still fun to play on your own.

Developers and marketing types who dont really know much about gaming and what people like are now finding this mass market of the Family/Casual gamers and because they see the sales figures of games like Wii Play they get the idea that simple is fun.
The problem is simple IS fun - Lumines & Tetris are good examples.
What they are doing wrong is mass producing simple games aimed at the family gamers and children. Because of this we get games like those from Data Design Interactive who are set to release around 12 games such as Anubis 2 and NinjaBreadMan, these games are "budget" games coming to us at a very low price. Seems you get what you pay for as these games have had an average of about 1-4 out of 10 in most review sites.
Anubis 2, NinjaBreadMan, and Elviz - Rock N Roll Adventures are basically the same game only with different characters and landscapes.

This is what is wrong with the whole casual gamer mark. It doesnt matter how bad the game is, people will buy it because it is "simple and looks fun" -
Developers need to realise the real roots of the game sales. The Wii could be a great console, they just need to step back from adding gimmicks to games such as motion control when it is not needed. Having to shake the control to attack is one thing which annoys me, yes include it in the game but also have a control set up where you dont have to look like you are having a seizure when trying to attack something but failing because the motion sensitivity in the game sucks. A simple press of the button to do an attack would be more than enough with some games.

Mike Capps, president of Epic Games - the creator of Gears of War hit the nail on the head, the wii is still only a party console in my eyes. People see one when they are over at a friends house, they want one, they get one, they play for it for a month or two and the motion control novelty wears off when they finish the games and realise there arent many games for the gamer who wants to be able to play a game that is fun on their own. I think the majority of gamers would rather have a single player game that is fun with an add on for multiplayer, than one that is very poor single player and good multiplayer. There are cases when this is different - Halo 3 didnt have the best single player, but excelled in multiplayer. Consoles like Xbox 360 and the PS3 allow players both options, good multiplayer games and good single player games. The Wii, in my opinion only has about 15 maximum (an estimate, I have not counted them.)

Another thing which bugs me is the rise in cheap-ware on the Nintendo DS. Nintendogs and Brain Training were the original games in their genre on the DS. These have now been copied again and are being milked dry with different variations. Dogz and Catz has now come back to the Nintendo systems. This is a long running series in games dating back to the 90s, however, next to Nintendogs I dont see why anyone would want this. On the DS you can also find a huge array of: Brain training games, sudoku, sight training, crossword games etc. You can now get Build your own safari park, look after a virtual cat/dog/pony/baby. Whats next? A virtual Ant Farm - raise your ants with the DS! Touch the screen to move your ants! Now with real ant noises! Buy Now! Only $20!

This is in no way an anti Wii article it is more a plea to developers to move away from aiming games at the casual/family gamer and to remember the other gamers, the ones who have been playing for years and know what they want with games. They want games to be thought out, look good and play well. Stop with the generic cheap-ware games and focus on bringing us new things. We have seen motion control games now - dont make it into a gimmick. You dont ALWAYS have to use this for every single game now. Give us something fun, something not too over the top.
If every game on the Wii has about half as fun as something like Zelda, Mario Galaxy/Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros the Wii could easily become one of the best consoles ever.

Mass Effect PC Specifications Released

Direct Quote from the BioWare forums:

Minimum System Requirements for Mass Effect on the PC

Operating System:
Windows XP or Vista

2.4+GHZ Intel or 2.0+GHZ AMD

1 Gigabyte Ram (XP)
2 Gigabyte Ram (Vista)

Video Card:
NVIDIA GeForce 6 series(6800GT or better)
ATI 1300XT or better (X1550, X1600 Pro and HD2400 are below minimum system requirements)

Hard Drive Space:
12 Gigabytes

Sound Card:
DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card and drivers

Recommended System Requirements for Mass Effect on the PC

Operating System:
Windows XP or Vista

2.6+GHZ Intel or 2.4+GHZ AMD

2 Gigabyte Ram

Video Card:
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX or higher.
ATI X1800 XL series or higher

Hard Drive Space:
12 Gigabytes

Sound Card:
DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card and drivers – 5.1 sound card recommended

Additional Note from Derek French:

The Mass Effect Config program will automatically adjust your settings on first run, to attempt to give you an optimal play experience. As with all PC games, computer performance varies from system to system and adjustments can be made via the Config or through the in-game options to tailor your experience.


Looks like BioWare were careful and were trying to make sure a wider range of people can play Mass Effect instead of other companies just marking their games towards the more "elite" high spec gamers.

Bus People

Bus People

From sitting on the bus from work and back, you start to notice the different types of people on them.
I will now begin to explain the different type of people:

> The Token Old Person

* These are just the usual old person, these can be cl@ssfied into two cl@sses in their own right. Both are all slow and on a whole, smell of old people.
You get...

> The Moody "I am better than you" old person.

* Ok, here you are sitting on the bus near the back minding your own business, the bus is starting to get busier and this old person, just wanders up right past the usual "old people/infirm" seats and starts to stare and drool at you expecting you to move to let them sit down. If you do not move expect to endure moaning, sighing, and general incoherent mumblings.

** Best Advice: look out the window, pretend you dont see them, listen to music.

> The "I-am-friendly-and-I-am-going-to-talk-to-you-whether-you-like-it-or-not" old person.

* These are the ones who usually totter up the aisle of the bus then sit down beside you and when they sit down usually say: "ahh, there we go" followed swiftly by a laugh, while trying to catch your attention. They will smile at you, and if you make eye contact prepare to get a detailed description of every single thing they have done that day. Many references towards her cat "Tiddles" and the likes. Aswell as saying what a lovely day it is (or when it is raining) how bad the weather is.
These are the better sides of old people, however, just still annoying if you have a hangover.

** Best Advice: do NOT make eye contact, listen to music.

> The Buttzilla.

* These type of people are extremely dangerous. These people are extremely fat (usually women with rather large asses or huge sweaty balding men). They wait until the last possible moment to sit down beside you. To enhance this effect they wait til the bus is moving off and slam their gargantuan lard bucket onto the seat. You must beware as their asses are usually the ****of a small african nation and will crush all opposition, be it your thigh, ipod, bag etc.
If you were sitting beside someone, and that person get off the seat to get of the bus, this is when you must be at your most vigilant as you must try and shift your body weight so you have maximal body space on the seat. If you do not spread your weight effectively you will be crushed for the rest of the journey with nowhere to go. Sometimes these fat people will be thrown towards you such as if you are sitting on a seat facing the aisle, and the bus has to brake suddenly, I pity you if this happens.

** Best Advice: try to move away from these people, or pretend to get off and let them sit down first so you are on the outside seat rather than being stuck at the window seat. This will avoid any internal damage from being crushed, or broken bones from being sat on.

> The Hot Girl or Hot Guy.

* These are a rare sight on a bus to work, and guranteed to brighten up your day if you see them. These are the kind of people, where you are minding your own business and suddenly you see the most perfect person. This will cause your jaw to drop open. However, even though you make the empty space beside you look even more empty (to try and get them to sit beside you), they will never sit next to you. Not much to say on these people apart from "Oh My God" which is what you will say when you see them.

** Best Advice: dont shout "Oh My God" when you see them-they will give you a funny/disgusted look and walk away. If they sit beside you. Do not try to come on to them, you will be slapped, stomped on etc. Do NOT drool or stare-it is not the proper etiquette.

* The Mobile Phone-ahh where would we be without it? Well heres a brief description of why some people should have their one taken off when and severely beaten to death with their phone and impaled in ther head with the aerial.

> The Business Type.

* Perhaps one of the more irritating people on the bus. This is the type of person who wears a suit with a briefcase, and a mobile phone. This person will talk excessively loud on the phone, they are usually highly obnoxious and will irritate the **** out of you. He will talk so loud that everyone on the bus will hear him. In the worst possible case, this person will sit next to you, too busy talking **** on his phone to his secretary, to realise he was just crushed your foot while sitting down beside you. He will continue to reduce your foot into a tiny broken pulp unless you move your foot, yell out in pain or he gets off the bus-whatever comes first.

** Best Advice: buy earplugs. Keep feet away from "the crushing zone". Anywhere between you and the possible person from sitting is "the crushing zone" Listen to music.

> The "Oh my god no way" Type.

* This is someone on the phone usually female, with a particularly loud or ear drum burstingly screechy voice. She will talk to her friend on the other end of their phone about something the girl who thinks she is "it" has done. Constantly followed up by "Oh my god, No Way!", "Really?" and other very annoying sentences multiplied by 10 repetitions a minute. These girls, though some are very nice looking, must be shot on sight.

** Best Advice: hard to avoid these people, as their voices will drown out all music even at high volumes.

> The "I have a good ringtone" Type

* These are the most irritating mobile phone users. These people tend to get calls on their mobile, usually when they are with friends, and because they have a "good" ringtone they will let it play for an execessively long time. On answering the phone, they will, more often than not turn into the "Oh my god no way" types. On other occasions they will even get their friends to phone them to allow them to hear the ringtone again. These people again must be shot on sight.
There is a half breed of these people, usually compulsive texters, people who will come onto the bus texing 20 friends, so when they are sitting on the bus will get 20 replies back. They will usually have an ear damaging loud "beep beep" text tone and they will get one text per 10 seconds. Sometimes, if the bus journey goes through a part of town with no mobile phone reception. You will be treated to a moment of clarity, where those people will not receive any texts. This will, however, be ruined as soon as they get their reception comes back and you will be blasted by thousands of "beep beep" noises.

** Best Advice: sit far, far away from these people, preferably downstairs from them with earphones in listening to music.

> The Screaming Kid

* These are the very annoying small people who come onto the bus with their mum or dads in a perfectly happy mood, until they get bored. These kids will then proceed to scream very loudly, crying and whining until they get dragged off the bus by their parents.

** Best Advice: nothing much can be done about these whining little ****s, as their voices will cause permanent brain damage if they get into full swing. You must scope them out before they start, and let them have an intimate introduction to the back of your hand.

* One thing people dont understand when getting on buses, is that oh my god, buses move, and the drivers wont wait for every single person to sit down. If you watch some people get on the bus, they will get on, pay their fare and casually walk down the aisle without holding on to any of the poles. Nope, they will walk straight down and they will be thrown to the back of the bus, when the bus pulls off. Usually then , they try to grab onto something, but it usually ends up them crushing the person already sitting in a seat or battering someone in a mad attempt to grab onto the seat to save themselves from falling. The prime example is when an old person gets on the bus. The get on (for free) and then very slowly totter away to their seats. But instead of actually going to the first empty seat they try to walk as far as possible to the back of the bus to sit down. Here I am sitting on my seat, when all I see is this old person slowly shuffling up the aisle, I am praying they dont want to sit beside me, because as soon as the bus pulls away they'll end up in a pile of broken hips and groceries.

Thanks for reading.