Gaming’s Dirty Little Secret

“We all know that Square Enix makes the Final Fantasy games or that Capcom makes the Resident Evil games, right? Well, not exactly. One game development studio — one of the biggest in the world, actually — has secretly been behind a lot of the games you’ve played. And you’ve likely never even heard of it… Based in Kyoto, Tose has around 1,000 employees (some also in studios in Shanghai and Tokyo), making it the biggest non-publisher game developer in the world. And almost every major publisher has used it at one point or another — yet few have ever acknowledged this. Looking at Tose’s list of clients, almost all of gaming’s big names are there: Nintendo, Capcom, Namco, Sony, Square Enix, and even major American publishers like Electronic Arts and THQ. Tose has over 1,000 games to its name — or rather, to other companies’ names. And it’s been working in secret like this for over 25 years.” Sam Kennedy,

Wii Sports

“What strikes you immediately playing Wii Sports — and particularly Tennis — is this feeling of fluidity, the feeling that subtle, organic shifts in your body’s motion will lead to different results onscreen. My wife has a crosscourt slam she hits at the net that for the life of me I haven’t been able to figure out; I have a topspin return of soft serves that I’ve half-perfected that’s unhittable. We both got to those techniques through our own athletic experimentation with various gestures, and I’m not sure I could even fully explain what I’m doing with my killer topspin shot. In a traditional game, I’d know exactly what I was doing: hitting the B button, say, while holding down the right trigger. Instead, my expertise with the shot has evolved through the physical trial-and-error of swinging the controller, experimenting with different gestures and timings. And that’s ultimately what’s so amazing about the device.” Steven Johnson

A literary criticism

“Shigeru Miyamoto’s masterwork Super Mario Brothers is truly a classic work of modern literature; borrowing heavily from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and an obvious inspiration for Trainspotting, SMB shows the initial joy but the eventual mental and moral decline due to drugs.” Super Mario Brothers: A Literary Criticism

War of the words

“We find that pretty arrogant. They don’t decide. We don’t decide. Gamers decide.” Xbox Canada’s Jason Anderson, on Sony’s E3 proclamation of “Sony decides when the next generation begins”

Entertainment choices

“To start, I think women are much more discriminating in general than men in their choice of entertainment experience. Men will do the same stupid thing over and over again and be happy. Women tend to want a more complex, creative experience.” Will Wright, creator of The Sims

A plague of sequels and movie spin-offs

“Video games are an unusual medium in that they carry a heavy stigma among nongamers. Not everybody likes ballet, but most nonballet fans don’t accuse ballet of leading to violent crime and mental backwardness. Video games aren’t so lucky. There’s a sharp divide between gamers and nongamers, and the result is a market that, while large and devoted—last year video-game software and hardware brought in $27 billion—is also deeply stagnant. Its borders are sharply defined, and they’re not expanding. And even within that core market, the industry is deeply troubled. Fewer innovative games are being published, and gamers are getting bored. Games have become so expensive to create that companies won’t risk money on fresh ideas, and the result is a plague of sequels and movie spin-offs.” A Game For All Ages

DS Lite

“I had seen every picture of the new machine released on the web, watched every video, and I was still not prepared for this pygmy iteration of the device. What made the other one so big? I think this is a fair question. Is there a man inside? What is in there? Perhaps it is like one of those creatures that inflates when it feels threatened.” Tycho, on Nintendo’s new DS Lite

DS Lite