sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
The other day my brother links me to this article: "Angry Birds is 'The New Super Mario Bros.'" and I gotta say, I question whether or not Mr. Brightman really has been playing games since the Atari years. (Perhaps he's just really bad with titles, or with picking sensible quotes for his articles).

For those who haven't played, "Angry Birds" is a physics based "time waster" game. The kind of game you play when you are waiting in a doctor's office and may have to quit on a moment's notice. The premise is simple, you fling birds into wooden houses that have pigs in them. Your goal is to knock each house down with the fewest number of birds possible to maximize your score.

Sure, Angry Birds has sold a ton of copies on multiple formats, and I'm not begrudging them that. However, you have to take a few things into consideration concerning this very flawed comparison before you go calling it "the new "Super Mario Bros."

1) "Angry Birds" is Hella Cheap.

Of COURSE it has had over 100 million downloads!!! It's ONLY TWO DOLLARS!!!!!!! (and some versions are FREE). I'd buy just about anything for that price!!!! Keep in mind that most people got their first copy of "Super Mario Bros." when they plunked down over $100 for their Nintendo Entertainment System! So, that implies you had to be committed to that investment to spend that kind of money back in '85. Which leads us to...


Downloading a game is not the same as buying a cartridge. Recall that back in the 80's a cartridge based game cost up to $70 each. So, if you didn't buy SMB with your NES, you likely had to make a tough choice about what game to buy next with your hard earned money. Considering that you were buying microchips and circuit boards that had to be made in factories, that would limit the number of copies sold simply because only so many were out there to begin with. (This of course is assuming you got your first copy in the 80's and didn't purchase it in another format such as the Wii VC.)

3) "Angry Birds" is more "Breakout" than "Super Mario Bros."

While I'm sure "Angry Birds" is a fun play when you are waiting to board a plane, it's no "Super Mario Bros." in terms of innovation in the game industry. Part of the charm of "Super Mario Bros." is that Miyamoto's iconic character and story based gameplay revolutionized video games in the 80's. While the story in "Super Mario Bros." isn't as complex as some modern games, "Angry Birds" is even less complex in terms of story and goals.

I think a better comparison in this situation would be the old arcade classic "Breakout." "Super Mario Bros." is a story driven platformer. "Angry Birds" is like a souped up version of "Breakout." Bird hits house, house falls down. Small square projectile bounces off paddle, destroys blocks. Same thing, just fluffier. I don't see how or why anyone would even try to cross reference two different genre's like that, except for shock value or to compare sales numbers.

But to proclaim "Angry Birds" the new SMB, as was done so in the title (and moronically quoted in the article like some kind of lame marketing boast), is ridiculous. You may as well try to draw comparisons between "Tetris" and "Mega Man." Sales figures aside, they simply are not even close to being in the same category.

4) Casual Gamer vs. Hard Core Gamer

I don't know why there is this gap in the gaming world but, last I checked I'd call myself "casual" but I'm certainly not playing wussy, time waster games like "Angry Birds."

The article talks extensively about "casual" gamers and their importance in the market. I have a life. I have a job. I only play games when I have time, and I do not always have time. But I'll be damned if I'm going to waste what little gaming time I do have on a game that is in the "pointless" category.

Somehow, I exist somewhere between "casual" and "hardcore" and I really wish they would come up with a term for "happy medium" people like me. I think that whole "casual vs. hardcore" concept is a very black and white outlook on the whole game market. We gray area people need to be represented sometimes too.

So, anyway, "Angry Birds" may have surpassed "Super Mario Bros." in terms of number of copies sold. But I can tell you this: People still talk about, and play, "Super Mario Bros." after 25 years... I very much doubt anyone will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Angry Birds."

After all, did anyone remember to celebrate "Breakout's" anniversary in 2001?


Thought not.
sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)
Does anybody out there know where I might find a few pictures of old video game concept art (particularly of the 8-bit Nintendo era?) I have some old manuals and I may scan those, but I'd much rather have more sketchy stuff like doodles with notes and sketches-- more like the fare you'd find in an art book. I'm working on a lesson idea about video game art for the end of the year and it'd be sweet to do a sprite vs. hand drawn comparison to some of the early stuff. I'm mainly focusing on the art of Shigeru Miyamoto, so Nintendo stuff is preferred.


sarah_sensei: Midna: LoZ Twilight Princess (Default)

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