From a Gamer’s Basement 09.22.04

Busy week people. Let’s recap: I live in northeastern Pennsylvania. We got the aftereffects of Hurricane Ivan. Massive flooding occurred all over the area. As a result I got evacuated from my apartment and just got back today in time to resume courses, because my university laughs and flooding and has classes anyway despite half of the student body being MIA due to bad road conditions. So while I realize that those in the South, and especially Florida, have been hit much, much harder than me, I still reserve the right to be angry for the sole fact that it took me SIX hours to get back into my apartment because the state police thought I was a looter instead of a college student simply trying to get back to my place. Needless to say my weekend was only saved by the grace that is Pokemon Leaf Green. Still, you people are here for content, and not my weekend news, so we’ll get on with the show. I actually have a mailbag this week, so we’ll do that jazz first. Eli Kaplan writes in (as did a few others) to inform me that there already is a game about the topic of colonization in the New World. Here is what he had to say.

“There is this guy named Sid Meier who did this big game called Civilization for Microprose. You might have heard of him. ^_^ He also published a PC game called Colonization back in 1994 or 1995, which is pretty much the game you described. The game uses a lot of the Civilization interface, but the key difference is that each colonist has a job. You steer a group of colonies through an economic framebase taking colonists from Europe and developing colonies in the New World, taking immigrants and local births and training them in the appropriate fields to keep them economically prosperous. As the game progresses, the Home Country continues to up your taxes while reducing the prices at which it buys your goods; slowly you develop your factions for a big, bloody, and violent struggle for independence against the home country. The game has an early game, a mid-game, and an end phase, and it has a lot of the fun stuff like developing Founding Fathers that work almost exactly like the Wonders of the World in Civ. You can pick one of four factions, the Dutch, British, French, and Spanish, and each faction has its own modifier. So anyway… I’d jump on this game in a moment, though I would probably like to see it in a console format as well as a PC format.”

Since I’m not a PC gamer, this game was something I had never heard ofâ┚¬Â¦although that does not excuse my lack of research that should have uncovered this one. Still I’m glad Eli was on the ball and caught my mistake. So if anyone is interested I’m told this game is pretty easy to come by with a little bit of looking. I plan on getting myself a copy so I can partake in one of my historical scenario games. Up next we have Christian; our Gamecrazy contact, with a suggestion for a game of his own:

“Since we’re talking wars, and all of the ones on this continent seem to have been done except one: The War of 1812. (Or if it was, then I seriously missed it). My wife and I have very different views on this war since she is American and I am Canadian (and a loyal subject of Her Majesty).

It would be easy to do things from either side as they each had their motivations and justifications. My wife feels that the Brits were in the wrong as they indentured American sailors on the high seas and that point. Napoleon got involved and things just kinda went from there.

Later on the US invaded Canada and us stalwart Canadians beat back the Yankees. They ran so fast they forgot to take their culture (Look up a song called The War of 1812 by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie or visit here for details.) Retribution for the sacking of York by the dastardly Americans.

That might make a good tactical RPG by taking on the roles of Jackson or Brock during the War of 1812 and trying to change things. Will it end in a tie again? Or would we have a united continent under British or American control?”

Not a bad idea at all. If anyone else is interested in the War of 1812, I would suggest watching the History Channel at random times. Recently they released a special on the War of 1812 that was pretty good, and gives some decent facts about the second war with the British. Now before we move on, remember kidsâ┚¬Â¦I like mail. Mail means people read, and for anyone who writes for an audience you know that is the best feeling you can get. So write in more often folks so I can get as much feedback as possible to make this column that much better.

So anyways, this week’s topic is kind of thrown together. Sorry to disappoint, but between being evacuated and school work all around me, I’ve had a busy week to say the least. Anyways, I thought I would talk about a new marketing plan of Nintendo’s, which I reported on earlier this week here. This little event is called the Nintendo Fusion Tour and it mixes gaming with music, which certainly in today’s gaming world has a lot of overlap. We need look no further than the latest Grand Theft Auto game, Vice City, to see how real music is being incorporated into the games of today. It is known that San Andreas will also follow this trend, as have other games out there. So, the question is, why am I devoting this column to Nintendo’s Fusion Tour? It’s simple: I think this is a great idea.

I think gaming companies in general have gotten soft in terms of marketing. It’s partly our fault too. We buy because we’re hooked. Really, the casual gamer these days is still a very loyal consumer in terms of final profits. As a result there seems to be no need to go above and beyond the call of duty to advertise to the gaming audience outside of what they have always done in terms of advertisement. So when I saw Nintendo actually reaching out to a key demographic, which judging by the music ranges from the 12-21 area, I was pleasantly surprised. Here is an honest to goodness grassroots campaign to get the word out about Nintendo products in a different manner. When you go to one of these tour dates it is true you are paying twenty dollars, but in exchange for that you are getting to partake in all that Nintendo goodness, and you get to see a myriad of bands that will be playing live. And when you consider most concerts cost more then twenty dollars this is pretty much a steal for those close enough to attend one of the tour dates.

What this is, when you boil it down, is Nintendo reaching out to the younger gamers out there and trying to show that there willing to go the extra mile to get you to try their products. Sony and Microsoft have always come off as the hands off companies that simply exist to sell their products. And don’t get me wrong: there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s the way of a capitalistic world. Nintendo; however, has always struck me as the gamer’s company. They may aggravate some and confuse others, but when the chips are down they always try to appeal to the hardcore gamer in all of us. This tour is just one more example of Nintendo trying something new, and taking a different approach to an old problem they we call consumer advertising.

And you may be saying to yourself, that this really won’t attract all the much more business, or convert people to Nintendo only status, or whatever else. But that’s completely missing the point. The point is that in a world where we are simply expected to buy what is put out there, Nintendo has gone out and said the hell with that, we’ll convince YOU to buy are stuff. Come down, pay a fee that is less than your normal concert ticket, get some kick ass music, and test out all of our latest gaming technology while your at it to see if it’s up to your gaming tastes or not. If I were Sony and Microsoft I would take notice of this. This kind of advertising is how is SHOULD be done. I’m going to enjoy going to the Nintendo Fusion Tour, and I would suggest that anyone out there who wants to have a video game company actually pursue you as a consumer do the same. If you’re going to the Philly show shoot me an e-mail, because I’ll be there and I’ll have me GBA SP and Pokemon handy, and I’m always up to meet new gamers and actually have some fun with my favorite hobby. That’s it for this week folks, I’m tapped, and I’m going to enjoy me apartment that is fresh off a weekend of flooding. Next week’s edition of From a Gamer’s Basement will have a special topic: the worst game I ever played. Until then I’ll catch you all later.