Da da daaa…da da dibba dibba da da dibba dibba da da dibba da dap. Etc.
I like how the videogame industry is like a Benny Hill sketch. Not the milkman one, the one where they play that sax tune and an old man chases scantily clad, generously provisioned young ladies around a park. ‘Oh god’ says Industry Entity One. ‘Oh god, Industry Entity Two did this thing and now they are making all money and shit. We should do this thing now. It is the only way we can make money and shit like they are. Oh god.’
Casual and social games is the current obsession of the entire world of games. No, really! The Wii is doing quite well, winning the battle for hardware sales, all over the newspapers, all over the lounge. The DS is the same, making actual lady women play videogame type things with a stick. And so on. So that’s where everybody’s off to now. Must make these games. Must do. Must!
It frustrates me quite deeply. It’s been obvious that you could sell games to people other than gamers if, you know, you made games for people other than gamers and, you know again, advertised them to people other than gamers. I’ve written so many columns about this very thing that I made an amusing metaphor about it. Dang!
Then Nintendo did it and everybody bought one. Well, quite a lot of people. 20 million Wiis and 60 million DSes is about right ish, give or take. Quite a lot of those probably went to conventional gamers, but quite a lot probably didn’t.
Anyway, where one has gone, now all the rest must follow. There’s been a perfectly successful multi billion pound industry up to this point, but fuck all that, let’s focus on our social and casual games because that’s where the money’s at now! SOCIAL! CASUAL! NOW!
Well that’s where some of it is, sure but, like a fat man chasing anus, the short term goals seem to overwhelm the bigger picture (it’s a cat’s anus, for the sake of metaphor continuity) and then everyone falls over dead when they realise they haven’t actually made a solid gold goose that shits money out faster than you can count it with a second solid gold goose that shits a way of counting money really quickly.
Hold the line people. Sure, there’s money in them thar hills (‘hills’ is being used here to represent casual gamers and women, by the by) but there’s also money in them thar hills (and here it’s traditional gamers that are adopting the ’hills’ mantle) and in them thar hills also (finally ‘hills’ means the people who still haven’t bought a games console despite them making you cleverer, improving your eyesight and tennis).
And so next you get this.
The best selling videogame console ever, is the PlayStation2, with about 120 million of the little fuckers out there. It’s also, by a number of measures including most importantly my own, the best. While my balls deep nostalgia allows me to achieve orgasm by merely observing the packaging of Super HQ or Batman on the Jap Megadrive, and I have no less than several Xboxes, the PS2 is the king. And there’s a single reason why – everything. Whatever kind of game you like, there’s a really good one on the PS2. In fact scratch that, whatever kind of game you like, there are fucking millions, a shitting great sack full of the fuckers, in every hue and odour known to mankind, and some other ones as well and everything. The PS2 is mass market in a way the Wii will never be, because it does absofuckinglutely everything for absofuckinglutely everyone.
The mass market is not one thing. It’s not one big bunch of people going ‘you know I would get a games console if they only had games that were a bit easier/cost less/had more pigs in them/made me do a big piss out of my fucking eyes/were pink/fell out of the sky and killed you/were made of fruit’. It’s a big bunch of very small bunches of people who all want totally different things and have totally different reasons for wanting/not wanting to play games.
The PS2 has no less than one and maybe more than a trillion games on it. A trillion! And they cover every conceivable subject from fishing, to singing, to running a farm, to saving the world from him, to saving the world from her, to shooting a man, to dating a man, to shooting a different man, to kicking a whole bunch of men, to making a huge breasted woman in a tight rubber bunny suit hit unidentifiable creatures with a stick, to stretching huge breasted women’s breasts with a thing, to breasts, to driving breasts and breasts. Breasts.
There’s a very po-faced shitlicker argument about this being economies of scale – sell enough consoles and you can make games about the fucking Bible and that because even though no one likes the Bible, there are loads of consoles out there and someone who likes the Bible must have bought a PS2, or at least found one manifested in a burning bush or in the sea or whatever it is that these people do with their spare time. And the po-faced shitlickers do have a point. That is true. It is.
But beyond this po-faced, shitlicking argument, there’s a second reason for all these PS2s dotting the landscape to left and right. There’s the fact that Sony never really gave a fuck who you were. Nintendo care deeply about who you are, and you must be a child or a woman or old or never have played Halo or Final Fantasy VII or JUST GOT 6TH DAN ONLINE IN VF5 MOTHERFUCKER. HOME GYM! You must be one of the people they want to sell consoles to, because that is who they sell consoles to.
And Microsoft made me sign a piece of paper saying I was 17 years old and lived in Austin, Texas before they’d let me buy a 360. I actually had to hoot loudly at the sight of a badly painted Mustang sluggishly shouting its way down a very straight piece of road in order to validate my Live account. They sell consoles to American teenagers and that’s your fucking lot, fuck you.
Sony however, with the PS2, didn’t give a fuck who you were or what you wanted. They’d just throw great mountains of software about the place and see what stuck. Sure, they were helped hugely in that aim by the ridiculous success of the PSOne and the world and his developer being only too keen to print themselves some more of that good money by releasing just about any crazy shit they could knock up in an afternoon. And they still had that ridiculous approvals process in the west that restricts most of the bat shit insane, what the fuck were you thinking, oh god, what’s going on stuff to Japanese releases.
But their consumer atheism, their arrogant lack of focus or expectation meant that they really did make a mass market console. They sold 120 million of them, don’t forget. That’s mass market. That’s every market. That’s just everyone. Everything.
So you Benny Hill motherfuckers out there, getting in line with the other fat old men, chasing the glistening buttocks of casual and/or social gaming as they jiggle away in the flimsiest of underwear, inches from your gnarled grasp, stop. Stop, look, listen. There’s a hundred (and twenty) million ways to skin this bastard. Being slaves to fashion will only put you in direct competition with all the other slaves to fashion whilst also narrowing the appeal of your offering to people that you’ve chosen to offer to. Care not who your customer is, just make lots of, well, everything.
Summary. Closing statement. Joke.