Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 27, 2014

Email: Something you keep missing about Amiibos…

You used to talk all the time in your disruption posts about companies (like Harley Davidson for example) basically giving up on the mass market and focusing 100% of their efforts on the customers that spend the most money only.
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What you don’t seem to realize about this latest effort of Nintendo’s is that figurine collecting is huge in japan, or at least there are enough collectors to make it a full blown “industry” of its own. Look up “Japanese figure collecting” or some variation thereof in a Google image search if you want to see some real nightmare fuel. These guys are the subject of much ridicule on western forums where this behavior was never widespread and has NO acceptance whatsoever. Most publishers in Japan already produce figurines for the collectors market. Amiibos were made to milk revenue out of these guys. Only Nintendo is arrogantly thinking they can bring the phenomenon to the West, which has a 0% chance of working.
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So what this is really all about is Nintendo re-strategizing after the failure of the WiiU and 3DS to become a heavily niche focused company making products for only the most extreme heavy spenders. It’s Nintendo giving up and falling back on the “Japanese centrism” that you’ve often criticized. I’d expect this will be coupled with more anime-styled games as well. And likely that Zelda will move more toward Wind Waker rather than away from it. I also wouldn’t be surprised by a Metroid: Other M sequel (whether in name or gameplay style) for the same reason. Nor would I be surprised if they attempt to revive irrelevant series like Star Fox or F-Zero just to appease their cult followings, presumably with heavy character focus.
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In short: Expect Nintendo to become THE MOST HARDCORE games publisher of them all.

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Oh dear guys. We’ve got a Japanese Culture Expert (c) over here!

What Nintendo is doing with the Amiibos is not innovative or new. Activision did it first with Skylanders.

You might ask, “Gee, Malstrom, how did Activision, which is a Biiiiiig Game Industry Company, which you abhor, make something so innovative and cool that Nintendo is playing copycat?”

I am glad you asked, reader. The reason for this innovation is due to a game company no one ever mentions (except me): Toys For Bob. Toys For Bob created Skylanders.

“Who the hell is Toys for Bob?”

The company was founded by Paule Reiche III and Fred Ford. While their first games were Star Control and Star Control 2, the history goes back further. Reiche helped make the original Archon which was EA’s very first game in 1983.

Notice the woman’s credit in the title screen? She was the PROGRAMMER. I’ve always been very annoyed how no one mentions that one of the most iconic PC games was programmed by a woman. Perhaps it is because other games were made by women such as King’s Quest.

Reiche III was involved in Mail Order Monsters. What a high concept type game!

But with Fred Ford, the two made Star Control.

And the most famous game they made: Star Control 2.

(Note: Star Control 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, easily in the top 5 favorite PC games. It is a Space Combat/ RPG /Adventure Game. Its story is as good as a novel.)

Toys For Bob also made games like Pandemonium and Unholy War for the PlayStation. When the Wii launched, Toys for Bob made one of the launch games. I said…

“Hey! It is my good friends, Toys for Bob, making a launch game for the Wii. The game they made was Tony Hawk: Downhill Racing which I did buy, dear reader. You can tell how restrained they were in the license, but they definitely made it enjoyable and fun. Try it out if you dare. It was my most played Wii launch game after Twilight Princess.” Toys for Bob already made a cult classic with Star Control. Usually, makers of Cult Classic games are ripe to make a game about to burst out into the masses.

And Toys for Bob did that with Skylanders. Good for them. Unfortunately for their success, they will be condemned to make nothing but Skylanders games until the franchise dies as this is how the industry works.

Toys for Bob also has another great potential talent that no one knows but I. Do you know you know what it is, reader? Of course not. That is why you are reading this page. Toys for Bob is the only way I see to resurrect Bomberman or Bomberman-type gameplay. While Toys for Bob making a spiritual sequel to Star Control is top on my list, I think their true potential is in continuing the gameplay of Bomberman and evolving it.

(Toys for Bob employees are Bomberman freaks. They’re like addicted to that second SNES version of Bomberman! If Activision Big Suit went down to Toys for Bob and said, “Sorry guys. You have to make a Bomberman type game now.” They would be doing cartwheels I bet.)

We’re never going to see another Bomberman from Hudson or Konami, right? I think Toys for Bob is the company that can do Bomberman justice.

But I am just a *silly cow*. Never forget to *enjoy the sauce!*


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