Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Healthy Sales

I've never been much of a fan of the Grand Theft Auto games. I've enjoyed the freeform elements, but the plots are rubbish, so I've often spent more time trying to jump from one skyscraper to another on a moped than I have in beating up Generic Thug 1 because Generic Thug 2 said so, and there are only so many hours one can waste doing that. However, like Halo, the mediocrity of the GTA series hasn't stopped a huge fanbase developing around the game. People are very excited about GTA IV, so I was quite surprised to see that all the shops still have massive stacks of copies, but can I find a single copy of Wii Fit in all of Brighton?

The Wii, you'll remember, is Nintendo's vanity project, which will never be successful because teh grafx r suxxor5!

I'd be interested to know what the ratio of order to sales have been on the two titles, because despite my ambivalence towards the series, GTA IV should be selling shedloads. I can only assume that the shops all massively over-ordered GTA, and perhaps under-ordered Wii Fit, thinking it wouldn't catch on.


  1. There's a global Wii Board shortage. Not a sentence I'd ever thought I'd utter, but true. As with the Wii itself at Christmas, Nintendo can't seem to keep up with demand. There's no shortage of copies of GTA, cos precious few actually own a 360 or PS3 to play it on.

    With you on GTA and Halo, two of the most overrated series ever. GTA could be fun if they dropped the cliched gangster setting, but that would alienate their target audience of 10 year old chav juniors.

  2. Yes, as I tromped about in the rain, I was reminded of the original Wii shortage. I pre-ordered my machine, so I didn't have to do any tromping then, but I had no idea Wii Fit would take off the way it did.

    Perhaps they're hoping GTA will sell some Brick360 or PS3 consoles; I'm not sure what the sense is in not releasing the game on the most popular system...

    I bought, but haven't yet played, No More Heroes, which apparently marries GTA style open sandbox play with a more offbeat setting and a proper plot. Should be interesting.

    I think there's potential in GTA, if they put some actual character interaction and a decent storyline or two. At some point, someone's going to think of putting an rpg and GTA together, and then they'll have got it.

  3. The most likely reason they haven't done GTA 4 on the Wii is there's no cut down PS2 version to lazily port it from.

    The only RPG/GTA mix that springs to mind is Steambot Chronicles, although that's more steampunk mechs and musical numbers than guns 'n' cars.

    I hear No More Heroes revives Advanced Lawnmower Simulator as a mini-game, so it can't be bad. Plus it's the first Wii lightsaber game.

  4. I can't comment on the vaccuousness of Halo, because I've little interest in first person shooters, but I don't think you're being fair to GTA.

    First off, I'd be interested to see you name five games with fully realized plots and developed characters. I can name the Metal Gear series, but even that has its weaknesses. I'm not saying that game stories can't be deep, I'm just saying the standard for them isn't very high, so it's not really fair to criticize the GTA series, which is still well above average.

    And it's not really taking its own crime stories seriously. The characters are absurd and often hilarious. It's the humor that (at least for me) is the draw to the story. Everyone's going to die by the end anyway; what matters is the outrageousness that occurs along the way.

    It's really the open-endedness of the gameplay that's the big draw. You acquire new weapons, areas, cars, etc, through the missions, but there's no incentive to play straight through the missions. My ex, who got me into the series, NEVER played the missions, and usually just went around to malls killing people. It's a guilty pleasure.

    And each game has arguably more gameplay objectives and free-roaming quirks to play around with than any game I've ever seen outside of an RPG (which are often much stricter in terms of freedom).

  5. Well there's the question really. How long did your ex play the games? Probably not that long, as the random exploration and vandalism aspect doesn't hold up to extended play.

    I can see an argument being made for GTA being a parody of tough-guy gangster fiction, and I think there's truth to that, but the problem is that the huge sales and hype aren't because people are getting the joke.

  6. As for the five games, you'll have to give me a bit of time to think about it. I could easily name ten or twenty, but they'd all be rpgs, and that's too easy.

    I'd go for Marathon off the bat, and either Resident Evil 2 or 4. Let me have a think.

  7. If it's any help, Wii Fit is *definitely* worth getting hold of. We nabbed it on the day of release and it's been used daily ever since. Ludicrously nifty.

  8. Dont worry, Give it 6 months and GTA will be out on the PC so not haveing an Xbox or ps3 will not be a problem.

    I have to say i love GTA purley for the mindlessness of it but my next buys are definatly going to be for my Wii.

    Mario Kart and Wii fit, Wont buy thought until i have finished Battalion wars 2 which despite not great reviews is a great game.

  9. My PC is so behind the times that I wouldn't be able to run GTA even if I was halfway interested!

    I've got Smash brothers on order, but I want to finish some of the games I've got first. I've finally given in and finished Zelda (I was holding it off so I could do the Cave of Ordeals sidequest first, but I gave up on that), and the Resi 4 extra missions need doing too.

    And then I foolishly bought the Neverwinter Nights expansions, and Vagrant Story on the PS1...

  10. Dammit, I forgot to follow up with this . . .

    I loved Resident Evil 4 the game . . . but the story? The characters? There's barely anything there. Granted, that was never a complaint for me - I didn't need anything heavy, just short sequences to string the action together, which the story provided. But taken on its own, it's really flimsy, and there's little interesting or memorable about Leon.

    Yeah, there are rpgs that had stories I really enjoyed, but nothing that approaches the kind of storytelling we see in other media. I mean, I love FFX, but if you look at all the addition NPC dialogue, the tangents and optional tasks, the in-jokes, the "dialects," and the forty hours over which it all has to unfold, it can hardly measure up to "real" stories. It's almost unfair to make comparisons to other media.

    Anyway, you have AIM or MSN? Facebook wall hopping isn't my thing.