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Advice to PS3 Fans from a Nintendo Fanboy Part II

by Carmine Red - December 17, 2008, 4:47 am PST
Total comments: 26

"I said it before and i'll say it again. MAKE A PROFIT.

Nintendo coming third on a profit making console (when the others are losing money) puts it a clear first in its business objective." - Plugabugz

"I don't really wish that anyone has to endure that side of the gaming culture. It's one of the worst parts of being a fan - that you may be rooting for the loser while the majority is for the winner. No one wants to be in that position." - White Mage

"Sony's made its bed then, because if the price can't go down to bring in a larger audience they'll never get those "unique experiences" that every console must have to survive." - broodwars

There are many more good points in the talkback thread for my last post, which you can view here.

Of course, one of the major themes among the responses, and one I agree with, is that Sony needs to stay profitable. But reader oohhboy pointed out that the PS3 will be nigh-impossible to make as cheap as the other consoles, that the "biggest mistake was [to] over-engineering it" to begin with. So how can Sony make sure their gaming division doesn't bleed money?

2. Be Proud of What Makes You Special

We're comparing Sony and Nintendo, but to be fair Nintendo did have a lot of things going for them during the dark days of the GameCube. For instance:

"When Nintendo lost all of it's third party support, we still had the best damn developer making games for our beloved little cube - Nintendo. Sony, while making some decent first party games, is no Nintendo." - UncleBob

I agree with UncleBob: Sony is no Nintendo. They have a different skill set, different opportunities open to them, and they need to exploit those.

But they can start by not letting UncleBob intimidate them: Sony has some KEY exclusive games and franchises. And they have second party style relationships with some very skilled, and some very loyal, developers. Sound familiar? First and second party game franchises kept Nintendo alive during the lean years, and they are STILL an exciting part of Sony's arsenal. In fact, with the likes of Naughty Dog staunchly allied to the PlayStation 3, top-notch development talent is the last thing that Sony lacks.

What franchises can Sony live off of then? Rachet & Clank, Uncharted, and Twisted Metal are three major examples. Resistance, Little Big Planet, WarHawk, and WipeOut are some more modest IPs. Heavy Rain could surprise. And of course, there's Gran Turismo, which needs a full-fledged game, not a prologue, to make its presence known. There's Killzone 2 and, heck, God of War 3 has to be good for something doesn't it?

Now, will Mario Kart Wii outsell any or all of these titles? Sure. The GameCube's hottest exclusives weren't that generation's top sellers either: it just comes with the userbase. But these games kept Nintendo going, and they can do the same thing for Sony as well. Sony just has to make sure that they re-use engines and make sure that exorbitant development costs are the exception, not the norm.

But what happened to Sony's PS3 MMO games, like the Agency, or Free Realms, or DC Universe Online? Sony Online Entertainment is already well established and they've already talked about bringing these unique and truly exclusive games to the platform. Even one of these MMO titles would be great for pointing out the PS3's bigger harddrive and distinguishing it as a console that offers something the Xbox 360 doesn't.

Maybe to sell the PS3, Sony might even need to educate consumers on the glories of installing games on the guaranteed hard drives for faster load times? It's a small thing, but every ounce of "Hey look at me I do something special" is helpful.

Sony also has other hidden strengths: they're ahead of Microsoft in Japan and might have a shot at making it an even fight in Europe. Plus, surprise surprise, Sony has casual gaming strength as well. Buzz and Singstar raked in millions in sales on the PS2 and both sit at the top of their respective genres. Push these aggressively for the PS3 and Sony could profit.

I'm a Nintendo fanboy, not a Sony expert, so I wonder what other things Sony can easily distinguish themselves in. During the GameCube years, Nintendo had their first and second party games on the GC, GBA connectivity, and a family-friendly image to support them. For the PlayStation 3, Sony has their own stable of exciting first and second party games, an online ready system with harddrive that's ripe for Sony Online Entertainment MMO's, and actual proven casual games waiting to be exploited.

And, well, let's be blunt. Sony fans, you have it easy. You have WAAAAAYYYYY more third-party support than the GameCube ever had.

But again, let's restrain ourselves from getting too excited. These strengths are probably not enough to make Sony win this generation, and that's not even the point. The point is that Sony needs to make money: sell exclusive games, make the PS3 unique in the eyes of consumers, exploit existing casual successes, and enjoy third party hits in a way the GameCube never did.

But that was all about getting things right. Sony, you also need to stop getting things wrong, because every bad practice or every failing investment costs much needed money. Where can Sony cut the fat? Where can they change their practices?

It would take a time machine to change the system price. Bummer. But are there ventures that Sony should abandon to save money and energy? Are there things that need fixing now so that they don’t cause problems in the future? What do you guys think? Right now I'm pondering the PSP's future, but that may just be my Nintendo fanboy desire to see a handheld competitor bite the dust.

Talkback

White MageDecember 17, 2008

I am thoroughly enjoying these PS3 Fan posts!  I just find it very interesting that we, as Nintendo fans, have something to share with Sony fans - and it's the idea of dealing with a console that's sitting in last place.  Before the announcement of the PS3 and Wii and their respective price tags, who would have ever thought that such radical shifts in console leadership would eventually take place.

I think a lot of what you touched on makes quite a bit of sense.  It's going to be a tough road for Sony, but eventually making a profit is something that is obtainable.  It will take time and there will probably be a few more mistakes along the way, but by following the points you mentioned - it does seem possible.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 17, 2008

I do have to disagree with you - not a single one of those IPs you mentioned even has the potential to be a Mario or a Zelda-level franchise.  When you can make God of War Tennis or Super Smash Ratchet and Clank and sell craploads just because of the mustacheo'd guy in suspenders on the cover, then we'll talk.  Mario games don't just sell well because we all love Mario - they sell well because we *KNOW* they'll be good.  Most people wait for a few reviews on Ratchet and Clank before picking up the newest title in the series.  Most of us already have pre-orders on Super Mario Galaxy 2 (or would, if such a thing existed).

How many of you have re-purchased the original Super Mario Bros, either in GBA or VC form?

How many of you would purchase the original Gran Turismo in emulated form?

RABicleDecember 17, 2008

I dunno Kairon, I think Sony's current approach of making shoddy, overhyped copy cat software like HOME while creating insulting advertising campaigns for boring racers will eventually lead to massive success.

On a serious note: Uncle Bob jsut mentioned Gran Turismo. Polyphony Digital and Sony have to lift their fucking game with that one. Search through time and look at the fan reaction to GT4 a couple of months after it launched. Disillusioned is a good word. Shattered is another. I'm pretty sure the lie, that the next iteration will feature vehicle damage is wearing off too. It still has it's hardcores, those who'll tell you how great GT4 Mobile is gunna be and how upset they were that GTHD was cancelled but the millions of others, casuals, who embraced this hardcore game like none before or after have dumped it on it's arse.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 17, 2008

Quote:

sell craploads just because of the mustacheo'd guy in suspenders on the cover, then we'll talk.  Mario games don't just sell well because we all love Mario - they sell well because we *KNOW* they'll be good.

Re-reading that sounds a little contradictory... Lemme expand on that just a little bit - Mario is like a "real" Nintendo seal of quality.  We don't buy the game because Mario is in it - we buy the game because we know it must be good because Nintendo put Mario in it.  Make sense?

Spak-SpangDecember 17, 2008

I think Sony has some very strong IPs...but the problem is they aren't unique IPs. 

Nintendo does what only Nintendo does.  What console has any platforming game/series as creative and successful as Mario.  Even Super Mario Sunshine (which is undeservedly bashed) is above all other platformers in design and quality.  But it is not just Mario.

Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid, Animal Crossing, Wii Sports/Fit, Smash Bros...heck even Star Fox are games we don't see much of one the other systems.  They are truly unique in style/presentation, quality, and feel.  They are bright, family friendly...but not kid's games.

Sony's exclusives are more of the same, a FPS, a mature Zelda, a Realistic Racer, even their MMOs when they come out will be just more of the same.  I am afraid Sony and Microsoft ARE fighting over the exact same market and tastes, while Nintendo has differentiated itself in the market.  They are still competing with Sony and Microsoft but Nintendo definitely offers something Sony and Microsoft do not...and it isn't just a flashy Wiimote.

broodwarsDecember 17, 2008

Quote from: UncleBob

I do have to disagree with you - not a single one of those IPs you mentioned even has the potential to be a Mario or a Zelda-level franchise.  When you can make God of War Tennis or Super Smash Ratchet and Clank and sell craploads just because of the mustacheo'd guy in suspenders on the cover, then we'll talk.  Mario games don't just sell well because we all love Mario - they sell well because we *KNOW* they'll be good.  Most people wait for a few reviews on Ratchet and Clank before picking up the newest title in the series.  Most of us already have pre-orders on Super Mario Galaxy 2 (or would, if such a thing existed).

How many of you have re-purchased the original Super Mario Bros, either in GBA or VC form?

How many of you would purchase the original Gran Turismo in emulated form?

I'm really not sure that's a valid argument about Sonys lineup being weak just because they don't have a Mario or Zelda-calibur title.  That's like saying that Nintendo's Mario and Zelda games are weak because they can't sell on the scale of Carnivale Games.  For one thing, although those games are generally between "above average" and "exceptional," I think Nintendo's success with their franchises has less to do with the quality of those games than the fact that they are a big fish in a relatively small pond.  It's like asking climbers why they climb Mt. Everest: people buy them because they're there, and they're better than the rest of the crap in that genre on that platform.  Think about it for a minute: what 3rd party games can you think of from the N64, GameCube, or Wii days that are actually comparable in quality to a Nintendo-made game from the same genre (note: I said "3rd Parties."  Rare doesn't count on the N64 since it was 2nd Party)?

For example, let's take the success of the Mario franchise.  Can you think of a single notable platformer on the N64 that wasn't made by Rare?  How about the GameCube?  The Prince of Persia franchise quite definitely, but that's the only one I can think of.  How about the Wii?  Let's do the same for Zelda, and once again I can only think of one notable 3rd party venture in the adventure genre that was notable, that being Beyond Good and Evil.  You might argue Okami on the Wii, but the sales certainly haven't proved that one comparable.  I could do this for every genre on all 3 of its most recent systems, and only be trumped in a handful of categories they have games in (notably RPG, Music, and Party games).  Nintendo has made mediocre games in its core franchises in the past (Mario Sunshine and Mario Party, anyone?), but they sell well regardless because Nintendo has a history of making at least decent games and 3rd Parties have a history of not putting in the effort to compete with them.  That's why I think they sell as they have.  As strong a development house as Nintendo is, there's just no quality competition.

By contrast, I can think of 3 strong platformers on the PS2 just off the top of my head: Jak & Daxter; Rachet & Clank: and Sly Cooper.  By contrast, Sony's market has greater diversity and thus the sales aren't as strong by contrast.  While they are published by Sony, the developers themselves I believe are 3rd Party.  There's loads of competition by comparison.

Sony's big problem when it comes to the games on their platforms is that they are not a strong development house, and have always lived & died by the quality of their 3rd party exclusives.  However, with the exhorbitant price of the PS3; it's relatively-small user install base; and the rising cost of game development, 3rd parties can't afford to be just exclusive to them anymore.  So now Sony doesn't just have competition within its own console's library, but competition with the same games on the much-cheaper and graphically-competitive XBOX 360.  They struggle as a result, but it's not like they don't have good games.  They just have few games that require a PS3 to play that are worth playing.

KDR_11kDecember 17, 2008

broodwars, the N64, GC and Wii had shoddy third party support, to prove that it's big fish/small pond you'd have to show that they didn't sell well on the SNES or NES where the competition was stronger.

broodwarsDecember 17, 2008

Quote from: KDR_11k

broodwars, the N64, GC and Wii had shoddy third party support, to prove that it's big fish/small pond you'd have to show that they didn't sell well on the SNES or NES where the competition was stronger.

KDR_11k, that was my entire point: you have to go back 3 generations (well over a decade) before you find a system where Nintendo's titles have actually had real competition and can have accurate sales comparisons.  And the SNES/Genesis days followed the monopoly that Nintendo had in the NES days, so they had strong name brand recognition going for them in the SNES days.  That's why I feel you can't really compare the sales of Nintendo's franchises right now to what goes on on the other systems, at least not to the extent the poster was.  I'm not saying that Nintendo doesn't make great games, just that I think their sales of those games have been greatly skewed by the quality of their competition.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 17, 2008

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: KDR_11k

broodwars, the N64, GC and Wii had shoddy third party support, to prove that it's big fish/small pond you'd have to show that they didn't sell well on the SNES or NES where the competition was stronger.

KDR_11k, that was my entire point: you have to go back 3 generations (well over a decade) before you find a system where Nintendo's titles have actually had real competition and can have accurate sales comparisons.  And the SNES/Genesis days followed the monopoly that Nintendo had in the NES days, so they had strong name brand recognition going for them in the SNES days.  That's why I feel you can't really compare the sales of Nintendo's franchises right now to what goes on on the other systems, at least not to the extent the poster was.  I'm not saying that Nintendo doesn't make great games, just that I think their sales of those games have been greatly skewed by the quality of their competition.

Solid points though Nintendo is one of the greatest game developers going, and perhaps have the strongest and well know brand name right now when it comes to games.

Part of the reason Nintendo's brands continue to fly off the shelves is because gamers like US, who have been gaming with Nintendo since childhood, continue to pick them up. Their market is built-in, and they know it. However, more and more kids I talk to grew up on the PS1, PS2 or...worse...Halo. These people have the same brand enthusiasm we do, but just not for Nintendo. As my generation gets older, Nintendo's support will wain. This is just my theory, of course. No, Ratchet & Clank doesn't move units like Super Mario Galaxy, but you know what beats them both? WII FIT. And, yes, Carnival Games. Nintendo's worst enemy is itself: As they continually embrace "casual gaming," our favorite serials will start to drop off (they already have).

Sony, however, can only continue to gain support. And so can Microsoft. And, of the three brands, who's the REAL enemy here? That's right: Halo. :-)

GoldenPhoenixDecember 18, 2008

At least MS has a noticeable brand.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusDecember 18, 2008

Quote from: Halbred

Part of the reason Nintendo's brands continue to fly off the shelves is because gamers like US, who have been gaming with Nintendo since childhood, continue to pick them up. Their market is built-in, and they know it. However, more and more kids I talk to grew up on the PS1, PS2 or...worse...Halo. These people have the same brand enthusiasm we do, but just not for Nintendo. As my generation gets older, Nintendo's support will wain. This is just my theory, of course. No, Ratchet & Clank doesn't move units like Super Mario Galaxy, but you know what beats them both? WII FIT. And, yes, Carnival Games. Nintendo's worst enemy is itself: As they continually embrace "casual gaming," our favorite serials will start to drop off (they already have).

Sony, however, can only continue to gain support. And so can Microsoft. And, of the three brands, who's the REAL enemy here? That's right: Halo. :-)

This would be true if the market was a continuos narrative. Every time the new generation rolls round, almost everything gets reset. Every console has it's core followers that buy the launch units. Beyond that it's a free for all.

Remember, Wii fit is only the beginning. Nintendo doesn't want to just sell them Wii Fit. They want to move these people up the ladder and turn them into gamers, who come in many variants. Nintendo just has more than one way to increase it's support.

Armak88December 18, 2008

I think you guys, and especially broodwars, have missed the point almost completely. First of all, sales figures are NOT an empirical measurement for the quality of the title. If anything, Ratchet and Clank is the big fish in the small pond, so let's throw it in a bigger pond. As long as we are talking about gaming experience as the measure of quality and not the sales figures, there is no reason we can't compare cross consoles. So what contemporary platformer was better than mario sunshine? The games broodwars mentioned just don't stack up. Compared to Mario 64, even the Rare games don't stack up, let alone the games on the playstation.

Mario is an symbol of established quality. One can be fairly certain that any new mario title will be a AAA affair. Sony does not have a franchise like this. The closest I can think of is God of War (and I have my own reservations about that franchise). The best Sony has been able to do is produce titles that are good enough to invoke interest in the sequel.

broodwarsDecember 18, 2008

Quote from: Armak88

So what contemporary platformer was better than mario sunshine? The games broodwars mentioned just don't stack up. Compared to Mario 64, even the Rare games don't stack up, let alone the games on the playstation.

Mario is an symbol of established quality. One can be fairly certain that any new mario title will be a AAA affair. Sony does not have a franchise like this. The closest I can think of is God of War (and I have my own reservations about that franchise). The best Sony has been able to do is produce titles that are good enough to invoke interest in the sequel.

Mario a symbol of quality?  Please.  Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games?  Mario Party?  Mario 3 on 3 Basketball?  NBA Street w/ Mario?  Care to find the "quality" in those (remember, Mario is a "symbol of quality," therefore anything bearing his name MUST mean "quality")?  Mario is a symbol of outsourcing and lazy development these days, as he's been used in so many side projects ranging from poor to mediocre that I just don't give a damn about him anymore.  He's extremely over-exposed.  Every so often Nintendo actually puts out a game bearing the Mario name that's worth a damn (Mario Galaxy), but for the most part he's not what he used to be.  He's a symbol of Nintendo as an established company and nostalgia, and nothing more or less.  But I suppose that's neither here nor there.  Let's just say that I have as much disdain for the Mario franchise these days as others do for the Zelda franchise,and for much the same reasons (it's the same damn game iterated over and over again).

And by the way, you want AAA titles on a Sony platform?  How about Shadow of the Colossus or Ico?  You certainly can't argue that they certainly bear the "quality" you speak of, if not the sales.

And yes, I would take any one of the Sly Cooper games over the bloated, boring, paint-by-numbers design mess that was Mario Sunshine.  Those games are actually inventive, fun, and (for their time) original takes on the platformer genre, which is more than I can say for Mario Sunshine.

Man, I can't believe I just wrote all that.  I guess my NES-era Nintendo nostalgia is wearing away over time, replaced by a cynical old man.  -_-'

KDR_11kDecember 18, 2008

I don't see the Halo brand surviving as long as the Mario brand, the reason is simple. Halo has a continuous story that ends at some point. Mario? The little bit of story a Mario game has is usually disconnected from other games. It doesn't matter what Mario did in the last game, you can always make another game and you can even make it about something completely different (e.g. the different RPGs) or just put him in a sports game or whatever without any necessary justification. How many different games can you make out of the Halo franchise? Could you really make a Halo racing game or Halo sports or whatever? No because the story wouldn't permit it. Mario can do whatever Miyamoto wants. Compare Mario to the Metroid franchise which had almost no spinoffs and really struggles to find a spot in the timeline to stick new games into. Zelda doesn't have a timeline and again they can do almost anything they want.

broodwars, those are a few games spread over a long time (well, except Mario Party but I guess some people keep enjoying that), no major fraction of the Mario games released.

Mario Party is good, there are just too many of them and Mario 3 on 3 Basketball is great, if only for the Coin Runners multiplayer.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 18, 2008

Who said Sony doesn't have any quality games? I think most of us are saying they don't have a franchise that is hailed as a representation of Sony's high quality games (Ico nor SoC are franchises). You don't hear about people standing in line for hours to get Resistance 2, or the next Gran Turismo.

Also, wow, Mario Sunshine bashing, how original! To each their own I guess, but it is still my favorite game out of the series, I loved FLUDD and what it brought to platforming along with some the very unique missions in the game that were more than "find the shine or beat X enemy to get the shine". It also appears extremely silly to say the Mario series is "the exact same thing" each iteration. Mario Sunshine was very different from Mario 64 and Mario Galaxy pushed the genre into really new territory. I understand people don't like FLUDD, but to say it wasn't something unique or innovative either just didn't like this particular innovation or don't realize how much it changed how the game was played. FLUDD added a new layer onto how you get shines, there were usually multiple ways, not to mention Mario Sunshine (and Galaxy) both have extremely innovative boss battles (Cleaning an eels teeth anyone?), while Mario 64 had fun boss battles but were few and far between. Sunshine even brought along the concept of boss battles that utilize the whole world like the Wiggler or Petey Piranha. You can say a lot of bad stuff about Mario Sunshine's camera, lack of 120 shine incentive, or even FLUDD but to say it didn't have some unique concepts that set it apart is ridiculous.

Even the Zelda series is exagerrated when people say each game is more of the same. Zelda: OOT, Majora's Mask, LTTP, LoZ, LoZ2, and Wind Waker are extremely distinct games. Only TP can even be considered "more of the same" but even that is a stretch.

Now if you were to say Animal Crossing, the Nintendo sports lineup, or Fire Emblem were "more of the same" you'd have a better argument, but as it stands it is weak at best.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusDecember 18, 2008

What GoldenPhoenix said, especially the bit about Super Mario Sunshine.

broodwarsDecember 18, 2008

Meh, I tried to like Mario Sunshine when it came out.  I really did, and it's not like I had a choice considering it was one of the few decent platformers on the GameCube.  My big problem with it is not FLUDD (which aside from its obnoxious ability to talk could be fun, especially in hover or rocket mode), but that the game itself is boring.  It's Mario 64 2.0, except that it is much more restrictive and there's very little variety.  Once again, the Princess gets kidnapped; you have to go save her despite never having a real reason to do so (outside of the Mario RPGs, has she EVER been worthwhile?); there's an entirely inconsequential hub world where "worlds" open up by you collecting stars...err...I mean "shines"; you get these by traversing the same levels over and over again; and in the end you fight Bowser (an especially lame version of Bowser I might add).  By the way, that's the exact same forumula that's in Mario Galaxy as well, and it's just as tiresome there too.  It's Mario 64 all over again, and I already played Mario 64 to death.  What's worse, though, is that they took away the element of freedom Mario 64 had: in that game, I could choose a given star but if I explored a bit perhaps I could spot another tar in a different area of the map, grab it, and be rewarded for my exploration with a different star than what I started out with.  But no, you can't do that in Mario Sunshine, which takes these big worlds and fixes it so you can only go after one specific star at a time, ratcheting up the repetition.  Furthering that is that every single world has the same tropical theme to it, which gets very old after a while.  Toss in the tedium of washing away grime with FLUDD, the lack of interesting power-ups, and the general lack of interest any of the levels inspired for me and you just have a game I didn't find fun to play (aside from the fun death gauntlets where you were without FLUDD and had to do some old school platforming).

I just want the main Mario franchise to break with its formula and try something more radical, instead of just throwing up a new environment over the same formula 3D Mario games have used for the last decade.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 18, 2008

Quote from: broodwars

Meh, I tried to like Mario Sunshine when it came out.  I really did, and it's not like I had a choice considering it was one of the few decent platformers on the GameCube.  My big problem with it is not FLUDD (which aside from its obnoxious ability to talk could be fun, especially in hover or rocket mode), but that the game itself is boring.  It's Mario 64 2.0, except that it is much more restrictive and there's very little variety.  Once again, the Princess gets kidnapped; you have to go save her despite never having a real reason to do so (outside of the Mario RPGs, has she EVER been worthwhile?); there's an entirely inconsequential hub world where "worlds" open up by you collecting stars...err...I mean "shines"; you get these by traversing the same levels over and over again; and in the end you fight Bowser (an especially lame version of Bowser I might add).  By the way, that's the exact same forumula that's in Mario Galaxy as well, and it's just as tiresome there too.  It's Mario 64 all over again, and I already played Mario 64 to death.  What's worse, though, is that they took away the element of freedom Mario 64 had: in that game, I could choose a given star but if I explored a bit perhaps I could spot another tar in a different area of the map, grab it, and be rewarded for my exploration with a different star than what I started out with.  But no, you can't do that in Mario Sunshine, which takes these big worlds and fixes it so you can only go after one specific star at a time, ratcheting up the repetition.  Furthering that is that every single world has the same tropical theme to it, which gets very old after a while.  Toss in the tedium of washing away grime with FLUDD, the lack of interesting power-ups, and the general lack of interest any of the levels inspired for me and you just have a game I didn't find fun to play (aside from the fun death gauntlets where you were without FLUDD and had to do some old school platforming).

I just want the main Mario franchise to break with its formula and try something more radical, instead of just throwing up a new environment over the same formula 3D Mario games have used for the last decade.

Sorry I quit reading when I seen you said Mario Galaxy had the same formula as the other two.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 18, 2008

Quote from: broodwars

Mario a symbol of quality?  Please.  Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games?  Mario Party?  Mario 3 on 3 Basketball?  NBA Street w/ Mario?  Care to find the "quality" in those (remember, Mario is a "symbol of quality," therefore anything bearing his name MUST mean "quality")?

First, just because Mario is a symbol of quality it doesn't mean that every single title with him on it *must* be quality.  Nothing is absolute.  As per your examples:

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games?
Pretty fun game, actually.  I haven't played the DS version, but the Wii version was tons of fun and I know there's a lot of people who have enjoyed it.  Both versions have "average" ratings on Metacritic (The Wii version is actually a 8/10 via user reviews).

Mario 3 on 3 Basketball?
Haven't played this one, but those who have played it seem to like it.  Rated Average (8.1/10 by users on Metacritic)

NBA Street w/ Mario?
NBA Street is one of the rare occasions (it's what happens when you whore out your IP in a desperate attempt to get 3rd party support).  Rated 88/100 and 8.5/10 on Metacritic.

Mario Party?
The Mario Party series is something I'll challenge you on.  For all the crap the series gets, it's actually pretty darn good.  How many people do you know that generally buy at least one version of the series per generation?  That's because it's good!  Show me a single party game (and not Fighting-game-billed-as-a-party-game - Brawl - or racing-game-billed-as-a-party-game - Mario Kart) that's anywhere near the caliber as the Mario Party series.

The games aren't for everyone, by any means.  But I wouldn't recommend Ocarina of Time or Link to the Past to just everyone either.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 18, 2008

The Mario Party series is still unrivaled and while it is beaten to death the formula behind the game is still sound.

Perhaps we should use a modifier:

Canonical Mario games are a mark of quality. Everything else is generally horsepucky. There are notable exceptions (Mario & Luigi series, Super Paper Mario), but let's face it: Mario may have brand recognition, but his career has numerous potholes. The same came be said for virtually any long-running franchise.

And if I may say, Sony does have at least one steady AAA series: Ratchet & Clank. Now granted, Ratchet: Deadlocked was something of a misstep, but overall the quality of those titles (even the PSP ones) is impressive. I would predict that the God of War series, should it continue beyond the third game, will also become one of Sony's top brands. The three games in the series right now are all ridiculously good.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 20, 2008

Quote from: Halbred

Perhaps we should use a modifier:

Canonical Mario games are a mark of quality. Everything else is generally horsepucky. There are notable exceptions (Mario & Luigi series, Super Paper Mario), but let's face it: Mario may have brand recognition, but his career has numerous potholes. The same came be said for virtually any long-running franchise.

And if I may say, Sony does have at least one steady AAA series: Ratchet & Clank. Now granted, Ratchet: Deadlocked was something of a misstep, but overall the quality of those titles (even the PSP ones) is impressive. I would predict that the God of War series, should it continue beyond the third game, will also become one of Sony's top brands. The three games in the series right now are all ridiculously good.

The Mario Sports series has always been a quality series as well for the most part. In fact it is the exception rather the rule that they are good to great games. Now if you were to argue it waters down the impact of the Mario character, I would agree, then again Nintendo has been putting Mario in spin off games ever since the NES days. Personally I don't have a problem with it because I enjoy the Mario characters and find they add quite a bit to games like Mario Baseball, Mario Strikers, Mario Golf etc.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 20, 2008

What she said.

I think most people would laugh at the idea of Mario Kart (any of 'em) being "Horsepucky".

NinGurl69 *hugglesDecember 20, 2008

Mario Power Tennis is like the best arcade fighting game that's not a fighting game.

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