"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1
"The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1
"I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes
So, Square-Enix is having a bit of a rough patch in Japan. Their games are selling well, especially on the DS, but apparently not up to their standards. Their excuse? The "core" gamer has deserted them.
So I gotta ask, any one else sick of hearing guys like this or Reggie from Nintendo talk about "core" gamers or "hardcore" gamers or what ever they're calling us today like they know anything about how we think?
I personally think the term "hardcore" gamer needs to die, or at least drastically change in it's definition. It doesn't mean anything to me anymore. One self professed "hardcore" gamer will say that their two favorite games of last year were Super Mario Galaxy and Geometry Wars Galaxies, another would say they hate both of those games because they aren't "hardcore" enough. It's like if one self professed vegetarian ate nothing but veggie-burgers, while others would only eat chocolate. While technically both vegetarians, they are so vastly different that I don't think using the same name to describe them makes much sense.
There are two distinct types of gamers that identify as "hardcore", those play games like they were a sport, and those that play them like they are art. There is the "hardcore" gamer who only plays games like plays WoW or Halo 3 but does so every night, then there is the "hardcore" gamer who wants to play every kind of game out their because they are in love with the medium as a whole.
When Reggie says that Mario Galaxy is Nintendo's gift to "hardcore" gamers for 2007, he has to know that at least 50% of self-identified "hardcore" gamers out there (the WoW and Halo 3 types described above) would never play the game. It makes him sound ignorant to what gamers want. But what if he used a different term, a term like "diehard" or "long time" or " lettuce-head" gamers? I think he would have sounded less stupid. Still a little dumb, but not as much.
The Square-Enix guy is even more ridiculous sounding, because he is not only mislabeling gamers, but using his mislabeling to blame gamers for his company's poor sales. The "core" gamer is a live and well in Japan, if you define "core" gamer as someone who loves all kinds of video games despite their lack of graphical complexity . This kind of "core" gamer buys a DS over a PSP, a Wii over a 360, despite their weaker CPU's. That's the kind of "core" gamer Japan is obviously jam packed with, but not the kind Square-Enix caters to.