Archive for August, 2012

CoffeeWithGames Turns 3!

August 30, 2012


Coffee Beans
Time flies when you’re having fun? Well, something is another year older today, and that would be the site! August 29, 2009 was the first day I posted an article on the blog, “Analyzing the Wii Manufacturing Costs in 2009“. Today marks 3 years of posting for me on CoffeeWithGames, with only two months being absent of any posts at all over the last 3 years!

If you have been reading the site since I started it back in 2009, you probably have noticed the slight, but hopefully better, changes to the data stories I do on a regular basis. You might even remember when I changed the background to the coffee beans that are currently still there, shocking you awake each time you visit. If you are new to visiting and reading CoffeeWithGames though, you might wonder what you have missed since the beginning.

Brew yourself some coffee, and take a look at some things you might not know about CoffeeWithGames.

Here are some things about CoffeeWithGames from over the last 3 years that you might not know, or may have just forgotten:

  • CoffeeWithGames.com started off as CoffeeWithGames.Blogspot.com, not an official “.com”.
  • The current banner at the top now was made a reader, Araknid, who also made the coffee mug that is standard in data report images as well. You can see one of the first CoffeeWithGames banners I put together with my terrible skills, HERE.
  • I was contacted by Nintendo’s PR firm after I broke the story on Metroid Prime: Trilogy no longer being published or shipped; which I thought was odd as they offered nothing in return for wanting to know how I “broke” the news that they had told me. Terrible PR is terrible PR, and Nintendo I think has a clear history of having terrible PR.
  • I have participated in podcasts on sites like Nintendo-Okie.com and WhoBurnedMyToast.Blogspot.com over the last 3 years. My first podcast was with the guys from WhoBurnedMyToast, and you can see my point on it HERE.
  • Keith, of RespawnAction.com (in hibernation), and I started up our own podcast that lasted I believe for 2 weeks…MAYBE? It was called Tornadoes in Alaska, and you can check out the first podcast we did HERE.
  • I have written only one “new” official review of a game for the site and that was for Max & the Magic Marker. You can read the full review for it HERE. Though I have only written one review since forming the site, I have provided lots of coverage for other games; some very detailed coverage, such as THIS.
  • My first review was with Interplay, about their DSiWare game, Legendary Wars: T-Rex Rumble. You can read that interview HERE.
Caffeinated Thoughts
How long will CoffeeWithGames continue to be active with posts? I’m not sure at this point, but I am working on a few ideas for future features such as the “Critics vs. Customers” one I posted up 2 weeks ago. Counting this post, I have gotten up 604 posts over the last 3 years, and most of them have been original data stories that aren’t really found anywhere else. While I have enjoyed blogging these last 3 years the biggest enjoyment hasn’t been just doing the posts, but the conversations, friends, and readers I have met because of it. It seems I have connections all around the U.S. now, and even around the world now, because of starting up CoffeeWithGames 3 years ago.
Thank you all for the comments and discussions you have provided over the last 3 years on the site, and I hope to provide more stories and coverage of the “coffee” and “games” industry to provide more conversations going forward. Being that today marks CoffeeWithGames’ third anniversary, or birthday, what is an anniversary or birthday without a gift? Well, let’s not have to answer that question!
If you leave feedback to the questions below, I’ll put your name in the coffee container next week and draw it for a coffee and/or game related giveaway. Keep the coffee brewing, to help keep your eyes peeled for more contests/giveaways over the next month!
Questions
If there was one new feature on CoffeeWithGames, be it regular reviews, a podcast, coffee talk, opinion pieces, or even just game-play videos, or something totally different, what would you like to see? Do you have a favorite post on CoffeeWithGames, that you enjoyed more than the others?

Metroid Prime Trilogy turns 3! How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported playing it?

August 29, 2012


Coffee Beans
Metroid Prime: Trilogy was released on August 24, 2009 in the U.S. with a MSRP of $49.99. The game was developed by Retro Studios and published by Nintendo, and received an ESRB rating of “Teen” with “Animated Blood, Violence” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of. I reported on January 8, 2010, less than 5 months after the game was released, that Nintendo confirmed they were not shipping more copies of Metroid Prime: Trilogy.

How many hours have U.S. Wii players reported playing Metroid Prime: Trilogy since the game released just over 3 years ago? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
Metroid Prime: Trilogy now has approximately 86,562 U.S. Wii owners that have reported game-play hours through the Wii’s Nintendo Channel, with 1,099 days possibly reported. The game has about 8,955 more Wii owners now that have reported data, since the report last year.

Trilogy’s play-time per day/session is now 2 hours 13 minutes, and the game’s overall reported average is one hour more than last year, sitting at 34 Hours 13 Minutes as the image shows.

What about the critic and customer review score averages over the last year? The “professional” critic review score average is still 92.27%, based on 33 reviews on GameRankings.com. The customer review score average has changed slightly though, and is now at 96.00% for the game, based on 115 customer reviews on Amazon.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I have mentioned before on the site that I purchased my copy of Metroid Prime: Trilogy from Best Buy for just $19.99. I knew the game was a “best buy” at that price, and didn’t pass it up. Looking at the “used” and “new” prices for the game now, I am very glad that I didn’t wait to purchase it, though I have yet to play any of the games on the disc. If you have not seen footage of the Metroid Prime games, and what to expect from them, the trailer below should give you a good idea:

As for the reported data, the overall reported “Total” hours and the average hours “Per person” have increased less than I expected them to over the last year. I thought that perhaps players would completed two of the Metroid Prime games on the disc by now, and that the average would be sitting closer to 40 hours “Per person”. I assume that completing two of the Metroid Prime games should take about 40 hours “Total”, 20 hours for each.

Seeing how much the “new” and “used” prices are for Metroid Prime: Trilogy online, I find it odd that Nintendo hasn’t reprinted the collection. As I said in the recent “Metroid Prime 3: Corruption turns 5!” post, I think Nintendo should at least add Metroid Prime 3: Corruption to the Nintendo Selects games, and if Nintendo doesn’t add Metroid Prime 3: Corruption to the Nintendo Selects lineup, having the Metroid Prime games available to purchase on the Wii U’s eShop when it launches this year I think would be a great alternative, and a great reason to purchase the Wii U day one for fans of the Metroid Prime games.

If you are looking for information on how to enter the games contest/giveaway, you can find that post HERE. If you are already entered in the contest/giveaway, you can get an extra entry by tweeting out this post using the “Tweet” button below and adding @CoffeeWithGames to the tweet; you can also get an extra entry by liking this post on the CoffeeWithGames Facebook page HERE.

Questions
Do you think Nintendo should add Metroid Prime: Trilogy to the Nintendo Selects lineup? If you own Metroid Prime: Trilogy, how many hours have you gotten out of it, and have you completed all three games on it?

See Metroid related Wii games below:

Hours spent watching cartoons, or hours spent playing cartoons? Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL Data Report

August 29, 2012

Coffee Beans
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL was released for the Wii on November 8, 2011, I believe with a MSRP of $29.99. It was also released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 the same day, both with a MSRP of $39.99. The game was developed by Papaya Studio and published by Crave Entertainment for its U.S. release, and it received an ESRB rating of “Everyone 10+” with “Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Tobacco Reference” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of.

How many hours have U.S. Wii owners averaged brawling with cartoon characters in Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL since the game released? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL has approximately 3,461 U.S. Wii owners that have reported game-play data through the Nintendo Channel, with 293 days possibly reported. The game has an average play-time per day/session of about 1 Hour 48 Minutes, with its overall reported average being 14 Hours 39 Minutes “Per person” as seen in the image above.

How was the game reviewed by critics and customers? Well, the game currently has a “professional” critic review score average of 71.67%, based on 3 reviews from GameRankings.com. It has a customer review score average of 76.66%, based on 12 reviews on Amazon.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I have not played Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL, but I did watch a “Development Diary” for it back in November. The game appears to have similar game-play elements as the Super Smash Bros. games, and even the upcoming PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Instead of video game characters though, it’s with popular cartoon characters off the Cartoon Network. Watch the “Development Diary” below to get an idea of what you can expect from the game:

“Did you ever wonder what would happen if Humungousaur and Samurai Jack met up in a dark alley? What if Dexter took on Mac and Bloo? The possibities are endless! If there was a way to get all your favorite cartoon characters together… Well you don’t have to wait any longer… Get ready for Punch Time Explosion!”, reads part of the description for the game. If you are a fan of the Cartoon Network characters, seeing the game with an average time of around 15 hours “Per person” I think is pretty good and it might a game you want to add to any “wishlist” you may have.

As for the chance to win the games, you can find more information HERE. If you have already entered the contest/giveaway, get an extra entry by tweeting out this post using the “Tweet” button below and adding @CoffeeWithGames to the tweet.

Questions
Have any of you played Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL on the PlayStation 3, Wii, or Xbox 360, or even the original Nintendo 3DS version of the game? If so, what did you think about the game and is it one you would recommend to fans of the cartoon characters and shows from Cartoon Network.

If you are interested in the game, you can see the home console versions below:

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption turns 5! How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported playing it?

August 28, 2012


Coffee Beans
If you are looking for information on the contest/giveaway of BIT.TRIP BEAT, Fieldrunners, SpaceChem, & Uplink you will find the link for more information on it in the “Caffeinated Thoughts” section below.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was released five years ago (today) in the U.S. on August 27, 2007. The game was developed by Retro Studios and published by Nintendo. It received an ESRB rating of “Teen” with “Animated Blood, Violence” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of, and the game released with a MSRP of $49.99.

How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported playing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption over the last 5 years? Brew some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption now has approximately 542,561 U.S. Wii owners that have reported game-play data since the game released, with 1,827 days possibly reported. The game has about 25,965 more Wii owners that have reported data through the Nintendo Channel since last year’s report.

Corruption’s play-time per day/session is still the same as last year’s, 2 hours 7 minutes; and the game’s overall reported average is the exact same as it was last year, still sitting at 22 Hours 25 Minutes “Per person” that has reported data as the image above shows.

Have the critic and customer review scores changed any for the game over the last year? Well, the “professional” critic review score average is still the same at 90.16%, based on 66 reviews on GameRankings.com. The customer review score average has slightly changed though, increasing just a bit over the customer review score average from last year. Corruption now has a customer review score average of 87.02%, based on 148 customer reviews on Amazon.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, what do I think about the game? Well, if you missed my review (rarely happens, I know) for it from nearly 2 years ago, you can read it HERE. In short, if you enjoy the FPS genre with some exploration aspects, and Wii motion controls in FPS games, I highly recommend you give Corruption a try. If you are planning on purchasing the Wii U (it does play Wii games), you might want to look for the Metroid Prime Trilogy bundle since you should get “more for your money” with it, though it might be difficult to find at a reasonable price now. If not the bundle, you should be able to find a cheap used copy of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption either online, or at stores like Game Stop and Best Buy that have used games. If you have never seen any footage from Corruption, the video below is a very quick look at the game:

Seeing the average reported being 22 Hours 25 Minutes “Per person” makes me think most Wii owners that have reported data are completing the game just once, and not playing through it again. I played through the game multiple times, and I’ll show how many hours I have played it in the comment section below by attaching my reported game-play hours image to my comment. I don’t know why Nintendo stopped printing both Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and the Metroid Prime: Trilogy bundle, but I think they should add one of them to the Nintendo Selects lineup, and/or have them available to purchase on the Wii U’s eShop when it launches later this year.

If you are here looking for how to enter to for a chance to win the games mentioned in the data image, you can find more information HERE. If you have already entered the contest/giveaway, just tweet out this post using the “Tweet” button below and add @CoffeeWithGames to it for an extra entry, and you can get an additional if you have “liked” the CoffeeWithGames Facebook page found HERE, and you simply “like” this post on the CoffeeWithGames Facebook page.

Questions
Have any of you played Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, perhaps in the last year even, and what did you think about the game? Good, or bad? If you have played through it completely, do you know how many hours you have played the game?
Also, do you think Nintendo should add Metroid Prime 3: Corruption to the Nintendo Selects games in some fashion?

If you are interested in the Metroid Wii games, you can see them linked below to their Amazon.com pages:

How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported playing GoldenEye? GoldenEye 007 Data Report

August 27, 2012


Coffee Beans
If you are looking for information on the contest/giveaway you will find the link for it in the “Caffeinated Thoughts” section below.

GoldenEye 007 was released on November 2, 2010 for the Wii, and the game was originally announced as a Wii “exclusive” at its E3 2010 reveal. I wrote a post titled, “Can GoldenEye 007 (Wii) Legally be Ported to the Xbox 360 and PS3?” on November 9, 2010, in which I listed the reasons why I thought the game not only could be ported, but would be ported to the other consoles. It was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with the subtitle “Reloaded” added to it, the following year on November 1, 2011.

GoldenEye 007 received an ESRB rating of “Teen” with “Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of. The game was developed by Eurocom, and published by Activision for the U.S. release.

How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported playing GoldenEye 007 since the game released? If you’re a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 owner interested in GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, how many hours can you expect from the game according to the Wii’s reported data? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
GoldenEye 007 now has approximately 114,583 U.S. Wii owners that have reported game-play data through the Nintendo Channel, which is almost 30,000 more players that have reported data since this past November. The game has an average play-time per day/session now of about 1 Hour 58 Minutes, with its overall average now being 30 Hours 15 Minutes “Per person” as the image above shows.

The “professional” critic review score has remained the same since November, still sitting at 82.77% based on 62 reviews on GameRankings.com. GoldenEye 007’s customer review score average based on just the “Standard” software only version is now 77.59%, a slight increase since November, now based on 158 customer reviews on Amazon.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 was released in the U.S. 15 years ago as of Saturday, August 25th. It was my favorite and most played Nintendo 64 game that I owned, and I still enjoy playing levels in it from time-to-time. When Activision and Nintendo revealed GoldenEye 007 for the Wii at E3 2010, I was glad to see it. While I knew the game wasn’t going to be a direct port of the original, it looked like Eurocom had put a good bit of effort into it, and I purchased it the day it released for the Wii.

If you purchase GoldenEye 007 for the Wii, and you enjoy Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls for your Wii FPS games, I would suggest making adjustments to the default control settings. You can see how I “fixed” my control setting for the game in the video below:

While I haven’t played the Wii version in a while, I did enjoy the single-player campaign and put a good number of hours into the online multiplayer modes as well. I don’t know how active the online multiplayer community is still going though, but just based on the reported data for the game it is apparently being played a decent amount, because it has one million more hours reported now, than were in the last report 9 months ago.

If you enjoy FPS games for the single-player aspect, I would recommend giving GoldenEye 007 for the Wii a try. If you are looking for people to play with online, my friend code for the game is 2043-7355-3797. The Wii version, as well as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version, can now be found for under $30 at most retailers, and considering the average hours are now more than 30 hours “Per person” on the Wii, I would think the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions would offer just as many hours of game-play.

With the original game releasing 15 years ago this past weekend I wanted to look at the newer GoldenEye another time, before looking back. What do I mean “before looking back”? Well, I should have a new feature up this week called “Retro Grind”, on the original GoldenEye.

If you are looking for the games giveaway link, you can find it HERE. If you have already entered the contest/giveaway and want another entry, just tweet out this post using the “Tweet” button at the bottom of the post including my Twitter tag @CoffeeWithGames in it. You can also get an additional entry if you have “liked” the CoffeeWithGames Facebook page HERE, and by liking this post on the Facebook page.

Questions
Have any of you been playing GoldenEye 007’s online multiplayer for the Wii, and if so, how active is the online community? If you own the PS3 or Xbox 360 version, have you had a chance to play the MI-6 mode that is exclusive for those consoles and what do you think of the mode?

You can see GoldenEye 007 for the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 linked below on Amazon.com:

The best Paper Mario? Paper Mario Data Report

August 26, 2012

Coffee Beans
First, if you are looking for information on the contest/giveaway you will find more information on it in the “Caffeinated Thoughts” section below.

Paper Mario was originally released for the Nintendo 64 on February 5, 2001. The game was re-released digitally for the Wii’s Virtual Console in North America on July 16, 2007 and the Virtual Console version can be purchased for 1,000 Wii Points, which is $10.

The game was originally developed by Nintendo’s Intelligent Systems division, and of course published by Nintendo. The Virtual Console edition has an ESRB rating of “Everyone” with “Comic Mischief” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of.

How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported playing Paper Mario since it released on the Virtual Console? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
Paper Mario has approximately 191,273 U.S. Wii owners that have reported hours through the Nintendo Channel, with 1,862 days possibly reported since the game released. The has an average play-time per day/session of about 1 Hour 58 Minutes, and its overall average is 27 Hours 32 Minutes as the image shows.

What about “professional” critic review scores for the game? The game has a “professional” critic review score average of 88.74%, based on 33 reviews on GameRankings.com.

Paper Mario’s Virtual Console release has made Nintendo about $1,912,730 just based on the number of U.S. Wii owners that have reported data and the $10 price point.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I have never played any of the Paper Mario games, though I did see a friend in college play just a bit of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. If you are not familiar with the visual style of the original Paper Mario, here is a brief video to give you an idea:

I am interested in the Paper Mario games, because I think the concept behind them looks very original and interesting for Mario games. Seeing Paper Mario on the Virtual Console having “27 Hrs. 32 Min.” reported as its average play-time “Per person”, and knowing the game only costs $10 I think makes this game an incredible deal.

What about being the best Paper Mario though? Well, according to the “professional” critic reviews available for all the Paper Mario games on GameRankings.com, this Paper Mario has the highest review score average of them all.

If you are here for the contest/giveaway information, you can find information on it HERE. If you have already entered it and are looking for more entries, just tweet out this post using the “Tweet” button at the bottom of the post and add/include my Twitter tag, @CoffeeWithGames. You can also get an additional entry if you have “liked” the CoffeeWithGames Facebook page, HERE, and by liking this post on the page.

Look for this section of buttons below to tweet it out.

Questions
Have any of you played all of the Paper Mario games, and if so, which one do you think is the best of the series? If you have played perhaps just one of them, what did you think about it?

If you are interested in the Paper Mario games, you can see a code for it below directly from Amazon.com, as well as the original version and Super Paper Mario for the Wii:

Free Games Giveaway! Connect With Coffee

August 26, 2012

Coffee Beans

Do you like free games? Here’s a chance for you to win not just one game, but four games! Fieldrunners, BIT.TRIP BEAT, SpaceChem, and Uplink are up for grabs, and each is compatible with Android, Windows, MAC OS X, and Linux platforms.
Not only will you get the games, but you will also get the official soundtracks for each as well. Now, how do you go about entering? Brew yourself some coffee, and take a look below!

The Brew
Okay, so you have the chance to enter the giveaway multiple times. That’s right…four games, multiple entries, but only one winner!
Here are a few ways of how to get entries for the contest/giveaway right now:
1) Follow the CoffeeWithGames Twitter account HERE, and tweet out this page link adding/including @CoffeeWithGames using the “Tweet” button at the bottom of this post.
Look for “Tweet” button at the bottom of the page.
2) Follow, or “Like”, the CoffeeWithGames Facebook page HERE, and like this post on the Facebook page.
3) Leave a comment in the comment section below that says something like, “I want Fieldrunners, BIT.TRIP BEAT, SpaceChem, and Uplink more than my daily cup(s) of coffee!”, or leave feedback for the questions I have below, in the comment section as well. If you leave a comment, make sure there is a way I can contact you, and it’s not simply an “anonymous” comment. You can email me your contact information HERE, if you wish to comment without a Disqus and/or Twitter account.
There will be chances for more entries in other posts before the contest/giveaway ends, so make sure to check out any other posts that may be popping up. The contest/giveaway will run through next Thursday, August 30th.
Caffeinated Thoughts
I noticed a while back over on Chalgyr’s site, http://chalgyrsgameroom.blogspot.com/, the “Social Profiles” section he put up, and I liked how simple and neat the buttons were. I have had trouble with getting the Facebook box to show up properly in my Google’s Chrome browser in the past, and after doing some research this past week, I finally experimented with and added the “Connect With Coffee” section at the top right of the site. If you click on the individual coffee cups, the first two will direct you to the Twitter and Facebook pages, while the third is the email contact.
If you are interested in the games for the contest/giveaway, but don’t want to wait and see if you win, you can currently purchase them for yourself in the latest Humble Bundle sale, HERE. As for the games being given away, there is a Steam key included with them, so if you have a Steam account they will be synced up with your account.
Questions
Have any of you played any the games included in the contest/giveaway? If so, what do you think of them?
If there was one new feature on CoffeeWithGames, that was consistent (once a month?), what would you like that to be?

A few items related to this post:

Did You Board the Nintendo 3DS XL Hype Train?

August 22, 2012
Do you have any games you bring with you on the “hype train”?

Coffee Beans

Nintendo just released their new 3DS XL model in the United States this past Sunday, August 19. If you don’t know, the Nintendo 3DS XL has 90 percent larger screens than the original Nintendo 3DS system (which released last year), as well as longer battery life.

The new 3DS XL model has a retail price of $199.99, and is available in Red or Blue, and comes bundled with a 4GB SD card. Not only did Nintendo release the new 3DS XL on Sunday to entice gamers to stores, but they also released a new Mario game, New Super Mario Bros. 2, on Sunday for the 3DS system as well.
Last year after the 3DS released I did a poll that asked, “Did you board the 3DS hype train?” and you can see that poll and post HERE. Last week, I posted up a new poll that simply asked, “Are you buying a Nintendo 3DS XL?”. The poll has ended, but what were the results (and can you guess which one I voted for)? Take a look!

The Brew
Are you buying a Nintendo 3DS XL?
Day one!                                                                                         3 (17%)
Trading my current 3DS, for the 3DS XL model.                                 1 (5%)
Keeping my original 3DS, AND buying the new 3DS XL day one.         1 (5%)
Maybe, not sure.                                                                             3 (17%)
Sticking with the original.                                                             7 (41%)
No, and I don’t own any 3DS yet.                                                      1 (5%)
Does it have two Circle Pads?                                                          1 (5%)
Did somebody say iPad?                                                                 0 (0%)
PS Vita!                                                                                         0 (0%)
Caffeinated Thoughts/Questions
First, feel free to share how you voted in the comments below. I found the results interesting for the poll being up only a week, and considering that I rarely post polls I was glad to see it get a decent number of votes. The largest vote total is in bold above, “Sticking with the original.”, with 7 votes, or 41% of the total votes.

Which one did I vote for? See the first comment below in the comment section to find out! If you were one of the three that voted “Day one!”, or perhaps you missed the poll and didn’t vote but have purchased the 3DS XL, do you think the new system is worth the asking price of $199.99? If you didn’t get the 3DS XL yet, and own the original, have you taken a look at any of the current trade-in promotions for the new system and thought about taking advantage of those?

Also, if any of you purchased New Super Mario Bros. 2 and have had a chance to play it, what do you think of the game from what you have played? Good, or bad?

President Obama, Space Camp, & Six Flags Fun Park? How they are oddly connected.

August 20, 2012


Coffee Beans
     Bankruptcy, Six Flags Fun Park, President Obama, and Space Camp?

     Just about 2 weeks ago, I put together the story, “Curiosity Inspired – Space Camp Hours Report“. After I posted the story, a former developer who worked on the game saw the story and sent me an email. While the developer will remain anonymous, they were glad to see coverage on the game and wanted to share information on the “…background on the development process, and also why the game dropped with zero marketing…”.

     How are Space Camp, Six Flags Fun Park, and President Obama connected? What decision by President Obama is given as a reason to have possibly “killed all the synergy” around the Wii game Space Camp? What about bankruptcy? Brew yourself a fresh pot of coffee, and read the email below to find out!

The Brew
     The former 7 Studios developer said, “OK, so back in mid to late 2008, 7 Studios was finishing work on Six Flags Fun Park for DS and Wii, published by Brash Entertainment. Brash had a lot of problems and ended up going out of business right when SFFP was supposed to release. The DS version made it to store shelves — with zero marketing — but the Wii title didn’t. It had been approved by Nintendo for North American release and the discs, manuals and boxes were all printed and ready to go, but Brash went under before they could actually ship the game to distributors.

So we were all pretty bummed that this Wii game that we’d worked on for a year and half or so, and were pretty happy with, would never see the light of day. At the time our main LA office had only one other project, Scratch: The Ultimate DJ, published by Genius, so we were looking for other games.

We ended up signing the deal with Activision to make Space Camp. It was a very short development cycle, something like 4-5 months, with a small DS team and a small Wii team. How were we able to get a console title done that quickly? We re-used as much of Six Flags Fun Park as we could.

If you check videos on YouTube of Space Camp and SFFP you can see that the interface, engine, even many (maybe even a majority) of the minigames are identical. At the time we weren’t too concerned as the DS version of SFFP got no marketing, and the Wii version was never released, so we were still shipping what was effectively a brand-new game for consumers.

When the Space Camp game was signed, if I remember correctly there was an expectation that President Obama was going to work with NASA and announce a new push for another US moon landing. The plan was that Space Camp would ride the wave of publicity around that and we’d be part of the marketing push for both NASA and the real Space Camp — Activision had licensed their logo and possible new mascot.

Unfortunately due to the economy the President backed off on these plans, which killed all the synergy around the project. My understanding was that Activision had never planned to spend a ton of marketing money on the game, mostly seeking a cheap tie-in to the existing hype which never panned out. So it shipped and disappeared. The office responsible for publishing the game was Activision Minneapolis, which at the time was tasked with publishing the company’s low-budget ‘value’ titles.

The really funny thing is that as we were working on Space Camp, Ubisoft bought the Six Flags Fun Park project from Brash as part of Brash’s bankruptcy proceedings. They shipped the existing boxes, which were released to stores in March 2009, just two months before Space Camp! Ubisoft also had us make a version of SFFP for Europe, Fun Park Party. Apparently SFFP did well enough to justify another print run, but 7 Studios wasn’t able to work on that directly as we were purchased by Activision.

So that’s the story of Space Camp, and the related story of Six Flags Fun Park. Overall the team was proud of what we were able to accomplish on both games, in terms of what we could do with the time and resources we had, and it’s always been disappointing that factors out of our control (Brash’s bankruptcy, the backtracking of the new moon project) led to both titles underperforming.

Unfortunately 7 Studios didn’t ship another title. The Scratch lawsuit happened shortly after we were purchased by Activision. After that we did prototyping and development work on console and iPhone, and we helped out with some tools and the downloadable demo for DJ Hero 2. Then in Spring 2010 Activision shut down their music/rhythm game division and that was the end of the studio.”

Caffeinated Thoughts
     I was glad a developer was willing to share feedback and an inside story on the development for Space Camp, and Six Flags Fun Park, giving us a small inside look of why certain decisions were made. They did say that, “…there may be a few minor errors…” in the story, but that they had fact checked dates to backup things from memory, and I did look at release dates and other information as well to make sure we were providing accurate information.
     I personally found it interesting that Activision gambled on a new Moon mission being promoted by President Obama, even going as far as possibly getting licenses from NASA and the real Space Camp, but then not being able to move forward with their use because of President Obama’s decision to not move forward with a new Moon mission; funding instead went to the Mars mission I believe. I can already see a political attack ad being formed, “Obama destroyed the video game industry, and your children’s entertainment by cutting NASA’s Moon funding!”.
     As for Brash Entertainment, the original publisher of Six Flags Fun Park, and how it came and went so quickly in the video game industry, here is a great piece on the company and its failure: “Brash fallout a cautionary tale“.

     Now, let’s say you are in a store and you stumble upon Six Flags Fun Park and Space Camp, both at a great bargain price. How do you decide which one to try?
     Well, I asked the developer and this is what they said, “I can’t recommend one over the other, it really depends on the player. If someone is really into NASA, they should go for Space Camp. If they like carnival games, they should go for SFFP. I think SFFP has more content overall than Space Camp does. In terms of the single-player story, Space Camp starts better but gets grindy near the end, while SFFP starts slow but has some really cool moments near the end.”

Questions
     Have any of you played Six Flags Fun Park and/or Space Camp? If so, what did you think about the games?
     Also, what did you think of the story behind the games, and how they both came about? Did you find any details perhaps odd, hilarious, or just outrageous?

You can see links to Six Flags Fun Park and Space Camp below:

How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported playing Pokémon Snap? Data Report

August 19, 2012


Coffee Beans
     Pokémon Snap was originally released for the Nintendo 64 in North America on June 30, 1999. Pokémon Snap was re-released digitally for the Wii’s Virtual Console at a price point of 1,000 Wii Points, which is $10.
     The game was originally co-developed by HAL Laboratory and Pax Softnica, and published by Nintendo. The game has an ESRB rating of “Everyone” with no content listed for gamers and parents to be aware of.

     How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported snapping photographs of Pokémon on Pokémon Island? Brew yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
     Pokémon Snap has approximately 92,414 U.S. Wii owners that have reported game-play data through the Nintendo Channel, with 1,708 days reported. The game has an average play-time per day/session of about 1 Hour 1 Minute, and its overall average is 6 Hours 2 Minutes “Per person” as the image above shows.

     What about review scores?
     The game has a “professional” critic review score average of 76.30% based on 23 reviews on GameRankings.com, and its MetaCritic.com review score average is 77 out of 100 based on 15 “professional” critic reviews.

     Pokémon Snap’s digital release on the Wii has made Nintendo about $924,140, just based on its approximate number of players that have reported data and its $10 price point.

Caffeinated Thoughts
     I can remember when Pokémon Snap released for the Nintendo 64. I have mentioned before that I have never really played any Pokémon game, and I believe Pokémon Snap is the only game from the series I have “played”, and it was only very briefly of a demo for it in a store.
     If you have no clue what Pokémon Snap is about the video below might give you a better idea:
   
     I think it will be interesting to see if a “Pokémon Snap Wii U” version will be released for Nintendo’s new system, as I can imagine taking photos of Pokémon with the new Wii U GamePad could be setup really well, and have some interesting gameplay mechanics overall.
     As I wrote about last yearPokémon Battle Revolution was the Wii’s first game to feature an online multiplayer mode, which makes me wonder if Nintendo has any special online features planned for their next Pokémon home-console game? Or, perhaps making use of the Wii U GamePad’s NFC functionality and introducing a new Pokémon toy series to go along with the game, much like the Skylanders games (I think Pokémon fans might like this, just based on comments I have seen around)?

Would you buy this?

Questions
     Did any of you play Pokémon Snap when it originally released for the Nintendo 64, or perhaps the Virtual Console release? If so, is it a Pokémon game you would suggest to fans of the Pokémon series that haven’t played it yet?
     If you are a Pokémon fan, is there a certain Pokémon game you would suggest as a good game to start with, for people new to the series? Also, do any of you expect a Wii U version/sequel of Pokémon Snap or a game very similar to it for the series on the new console?

You can see a few Pokémon items below: