The other day in an episode of Game Scoop! on IGN there was a discussion on the recently announced Vita TV, and what this hardware means to the game industry. To me, not much. It’s major drawing point is that it allows Vita games to be played on a home television. Since the PSP plays PSP games on a television right out of the box at no extra cost, the Vita TV seems like less of an innovation and more of an opportunity for Sony to milk its customers. To be fair though, Vita TV is capable of much more like streaming media and allowing PS4 games to be played elsewhere in the home on additional televisions with only a single PS4 console. Sony has every right to charge it’s customers for these services. However, Vita TV aside, I’m more interested in what Colin Moriarty (editor at IGN) had to say in defense of Playstation Vita as a whole.
Justin Davis (also an IGN editor) said the Vita TV allows him to play Vita games since it’s much more affordable than purchasing a standard Vita handheld system. He goes on to say that he waited to purchase a Nintendo 3DS until it received a price drop and had enough games to justify the purchase. Colin Moriarty follows up by saying the Vita has been justifiable for some time now, and acknowledged that the 3DS is a powerhouse since Nintendo dominates the handheld market, but…… people who want a “hardcore” gaming experience will want to play a Playstation Vita.
To me this was a pretentious way of saying the Vita is better regardless of its poor performance on the market. Worse than that is his improper use of the word “hardcore”. If you break down his use of the word, what he really meant to say was “M” rated games and not “hardcore” games. Let me clarify. Being a gamer for over 25 years I have my own idea of what “hardcore” gaming means, but since this industry has changed so much in recent years I thought I’d look up an actual, recent definition of the term. As stated by Wikipedia, “Hardcore gamers extend gaming into their lifestyle and may represent the stereotypical “game geek”. They are frequent purchasers of games, prefer to expend significant time on games, and are more likely to try to “master” their games by completing as many objectives as possible….” and so on. To me hardcore gaming, in it’s essence, is looking for the ultimate challenge and having the perseverance to overcome said challenge.
Before I go any further I’d like to point out that I have no allegiance with any particular console manufacturer. I believe every video game console offers games worth playing. Yes, even the 3DO and Atari Jaguar.
For Colin to dismiss Nintendo by claiming they don’t offer a hardcore gaming experience contradicts not only my idea of the term, but also its actual definition. As I said before, I look for challenge in my games. Colin Moriarty, a known Sony advocate, always leans to what his Sony consoles have to offer. With that said, I don’t see the Uncharted series as hardcore, and I don’t see the God of War series or even Metal Gear Solid 4 as hardcore. Sure there’s a “geek” following for all of these games, but none of them present much challenge whatsoever, and represent the best, exclusive experiences Sony currently has to offer. Even with the Xbox 360 I can go home and crank out a Halo game or Gears of War game in a single sitting or two without much fuss. Granted there are usually ways to increase challenge by adjusting the difficulty, but games are initially meant to be played on “Normal” difficulty to experience how the game was intended to be played. However, if I sit down to play something like Donkey Kong Country Returns, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, or even any given Mario game I guarantee I will spend a good percentage of my time pulling my hair out trying to finish any number of stages on “normal” mode. The recently released New Super Luigi U on Wii U gives players only 100 seconds to complete each stage the game has to offer. I probably died over 200 times before mastering the game. I probably haven’t used up 200 lives in the history of my PS3 console.
What I’m getting at is that I believe all systems offer hardcore games, but that Nintendo consoles might surprisingly offer the most. So before jumping out and dismissing Nintendo for not having hardcore games, maybe stop to think maybe you mean M rated games.