Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 20, 2016

Email: Gaming Constituencies

Hello Master Malstrom,

I found your recent post about gaming constituencies to be very fascinating and astute. If I understand you right, then even though Call of Duty and Bioshock are both called FPS, really Call of Duty appeals to Soldiers and Bioshock to Action-Adventure gamers.

I think there is one other major constituency that you have overlooked: the Massive Sandbox constituency. These are games that have huge worlds that let the player choose what they want to do. Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, Skyrim and Minecraft all fit into this constituency. Most Zelda games also fit into this constituency.

I remember the first time I played Zelda 1 on the NES. The game felt huge, and I had a lot more freedom than in any other game I’d played before. I could explore, gamble, hunt for secrets, or just pick whatever dungeon I wanted. I could kill the creatures from a huge list of items. Link to the Past had the same feel. Zelda 2 is different though. It felt like an RPG and not a massive sandbox (still a great game though). I also remember playing Wind Waker. That game sucks so hard! How can anyone like it? I think kids played it because they weren’t old enough to play GTA, so they got the kiddie version of the Massive Sandbox. Almost everyone else played GTA.

I think Nintendo wants to make Zelda: Breath of the Wild to compete with all of the other massive sandbox games. That includes both Skyrim and GTA and maybe Minecraft too. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also launched with a Mario game for the Action-Adventure crowd, because Zelda is more for the Massive Sandbox crowd.

Absolutely on your ‘massive sandbox’ crowd. Minecraft would definitely be that game, as would GTA and Skrim. Breath of the Wild could be the first Zelda since Zelda 1, Link to the Past, and Ocarina of Time to have the sandbox feel. I know ‘dude bros’ who are suddenly taking an interest in Zelda because they have an interest in GTA and Fallout. They like their sandbox.

 

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