Game Description: Taking the art of video game design to a new level, Nintendo's WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ gives gamers a hilarious look at what really goes on behind the scenes. You can't really say that Wario is greedy. He's just, uh, financially motivated. Always on the lookout for his next get-rich-quick scheme, Wario stumbles upon the lucrative video game publishing market. Like any aspiring entrepreneur, Wario buys a PC and starts his own company, called WarioWare, Inc. With the help of his friends, he develops over 200 of the wildest games the world has never seen.
If the game were truly about volleyball, or even about forming relationships, then there would not be random screens of the girls walking up and down beaches or lying down in poses that make them appear, as a friend so aptly put it, "freshly raped."
Sex is something of an enigma for this country. Everyone wants it, everyone thinks about it, but almost nobody wants to deal with it in a meaningful and intelligent way. This is especially true for videogames and their delayed acceptance as culturally valid media.
Game Description: The girls of Dead or Alive are back and better than ever in the first fantasy sports simulation, Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the Xbox video game console. It's sure to have your heart racing with beautifully rendered graphics and action-packed gameplay. The extreme action is transported from the fighting ring of Dead or Alive 3 to the beach. But this time around the girls are throwing on their bikinis to go head-to-head in the most outrageous beach volleyball game you have ever seen!
There have been "Big Robot" games available as long as there have been consoles, but we've had a real bumper crop this year. I'm certainly not complaining, but the games in this genre typically share a number of traits, and with so many released in such a short time, it only magnifies their similarities. Don't get me wrong; I'm definitely a fan, but a greater amount of variety and divergence is needed.
Nintendo's conservative corporate strategy with regard to licensing games is notorious, but they seem to have re-learned the lesson of "diversity" after the less-than-stellar performance of the Nintendo 64. Its thin selection outside the cash-cow franchises was criminal, and they must be acutely aware of it. For proof, look no further than Saru Brunei's Cubivore.
Game Description: Assume the role of an animal in its early stages of development. But, in the harsh reality of nature, this creature has no parent to coddle and protect it. From the moment the game begins, your creature is on its own to fend for its life. As your animal instincts take over, you will boldly traverse hostile environments, savagely stalking your prey and asserting your place in the animal chain of power.
In Thom's review above, he touched upon the fact that Animal Crossing is structured to be played for about an hour or two instead of the longer, sometimes marathon sessions that other games inspire. This type of slower, more leisurely game design is a very new way of thinking in our field, but seems to be establishing a firm foothold.
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