Sonic the Hedgehog touted to make another splash on the casual gaming scene
Mobile devices have certainly been instrumental in bringing more people into the video gaming fold. It was rather unexpected too, given the nature of these portable devices. After all, as any hardcore gamer will tell you, the accuracy and responsiveness provided by tactile game controls (d-pad, analog stick, face buttons, etc.) will beat out touchscreen-only interfaces 9 times out of 10.
However, it’s perhaps this very reason why the video game industry got a huge market demographic boost. The control limitations imposed by mobile gadgets forced game developers to design games that were simple enough to play through using just touch and/or tilt controls; a design philosophy that’s not dissimilar to arcade machines pre-console boom. And just like how those old arcade machines were able to attract people who’ve never even thought about the concept of interactive entertainment before, present day mobile games have done the same to folks who don’t even know the difference between Pac-Man and Pacquiao.
In other words, casual gaming was born.
Statistics definitely back this gaming phenomenon up. Online games developer AlchemyBet – a major presence in gaming site Pocket Fruity – reports that in a study conducted by Information Solutions Group, more than 125 million gadget users in the US and the UK have been getting into mobile games. Tellingly, 27% of female gamers comprise the 25-34 age group, just a hair’s breadth away from the 28% posted by male gamers. More interestingly, there’s even a 35-44 gamer age category; and that group includes 23% of the total count of female gamers, versus the males’ 19%. Clearly, the allure of casual games is a rather broad one.
Sega apparently sees this casual gaming scene as one of the more viable avenues to resurrect its once highly regarded mascot. It’s no secret that Sonic has been through some rather tough times of late; and the hype surrounding the upcoming Sonic Boom aside, the popularity of everyone’s favorite hedgehog is still nowhere near where it was during his 16-bit glory days.
That being said, there is hope yet for Sonic to make a strong comeback. There have been a few bright spots in his post-Genesis career, one of which was the critical and commercial success garnered by the mobile-only Sonic Jump; particularly its 2012 remake optimized for iOS and Android. Featuring simplistic controls that required merely required players to tilt their mobile gadgets – as well as pull off the occasional double-tap on their screens – the title was quite the fun diversionary romp that appealed to a wide range of people, gamer or not.
As a testament to its popularity, Sega has even announced a sequel at this year’s E3. Called Sonic Jump Fever, the game now allows you to control other characters from the get-go, including fan-favorite Knuckles. Other gameplay improvements include helpful boosters, unique character upgrades, and the so-called “Fever Mode,” which lets your character go into hyper-speed for even higher combo scores.
Only time will tell if this upcoming title will be able to help restore Sonic’s faded star power; and more importantly, if it will lead to Sega’s renewed focus on quality mobile titles. Until then, Sonic hopefuls will most certainly have their fingers crossed.
This is just a note to let you all know that most of Atlus’ SMT PS2 games are now on PSN (at least in America). Each of them will run you $9.99, which is a bargain compared to what you’d spend on even a used retail copy of the original releases.
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, which I’ve played extensively and really enjoyed, was put up a while back. I’ve always described the core series SMT games to people as “Pokemon with friggin’ demons.” If you enjoy a post-apocalyptic setting, dark atmosphere, and demon fighting, raising, and breeding; you can’t go wrong with this one.
Digital Devil Saga showed up a couple weeks ago and I’ll be grabbing it as well as it’s sequel, Devil Devil Saga 2, which is out today.
For the record, Persona 3 FES and 4 have been up for a bit, as has Devil Summoner 1. We’re just missing Devil Summoner 2 now…
I recently obtained a new smartphone and decided to re-emerge myself into to world of podcasting again. I subscribed to all of my favorites and got around to the Sega Addict podcast to discover… it’s no more. This is a real downer.
If you’ve never checked it out before, head over and give them a listen. There’s 150 podcasts filled with Sega memories and a ton of good humor.
They have spun off a new infrequently published podcast called Gaming of the Shrew that now covers all things gaming.
It’s hard for Shenmue fans to let the promising and ambitious series go. The game was a technical achievement on the Dreamcast back in 1999 and touched many hearts with it’s endearing charms. The climax and epilogue at the end of Shenmue II certainly doesn’t help the hunger.
Recently, there’s been a bunch of news concerning the franchise.
First, back in March, Yu Suzuki stated he’s actively looking into ways to continue the series. One of those possibilities is a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it, but he gave no solid details. He told Eurogamer “just now, I don’t have anything I can say yet. I can’t announce right now – but I’m making something.”
Did you just feel butterflies in your stomach?
Later in the month, the new Xbox chief at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, revealed that the most requested game from Xbox owners is in fact Shenmue III.
Then, yet again, in May, Sega renewed the Shenmue trademark. This is most likely a move to protect their IP, but with all of the positive buzz this Spring, perhaps the wheels really are turning. A fanboy can only hope.
Hello, good groovers, Earth People … 14 voices out there in the darkness – tis I, your voice of the night, Chakan. It’s been a while.
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation is a book by Blake J. Harris that the majority of my visitors will likely be interested in. It covers the 16-bit era feud between Sega and Nintendo during the early 1990s.
It’s also being adapted into a feature film by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the guys who brought you Pinneapple Express and This is the End. It’ll be interesting to see their take on things if the film comes to life.
Check out this clip below to get a feel for the book.
If you happen to have a PS3 and a PS Plus membership, then you can now download and play Binary Domain for free. Nagoshi’s third-person shooter became available on November 18th on the service. It received fairly decent scores from the press upon it’s release, averaging about a 75% out of 100% score.
I guess there’s a bright side to my having forgotten to cancel my PS Plus subscription this month!
So Sega bought Atlus’ parent company recently, as we wrote about previously being rumored. I’m personally pretty stoked by it, having been a fan of the SMT franchise for a number of years now. This means Sega will receive additional revenue and Atlus might end up sticking around for the long haul.
Atlus has released a teaser trailer for Persona 5, due out in Japanland Winter of 2014 for the PS3.
I just wanted to drop a memo about a newer website started recently called Sega Masters. It seeks to do with the Sega Master System’s library what Chrontendo did with the NES. That is, to work through the console’s library by release date, one game at a time. So far, the author’s up to 7 games and counting.
If you act between now and November 1st, you can secure yourself a copy of The Typing of the Dead Overkill through Steam for just $9.99. That amounts to a 50% discount off the retail price. Not too bad!
Click here to check it out on the Steam store.
Bayonetta was one of my favorite games from the last handful of years. It sucks a fat one that it’s sequel is headed only to the Wii U, but I suppose it had a much smaller chance of happening otherwise.
Regardless, some folks made an anime movie based on it. It’s being helmed by Fuminori Kizaki, who is renowned for his work on Afro Samurai. It is being released in Japan on November 23rd, 2013. It looks… pretty decent. I’m hoping it will be a lot of fun.