Nintendo has yet to fully get their act together when it comes to their online services. Their early attempts at digital download stores, the WiiWare and DSiWare shops, were really hard to navigate and very unintuitive, leaving many quality releases without an audience. With the 3DS eShop, they've made browsing a little more fun and a lot less tedious, and as a result I've found lots of cool, unique, inexpensive games that I would otherwise have never played. For this new feature, I'm going to introduce you guys to some games you may not have heard of previously and talk with eShop game developers.
Hit the jump for the first edition of eShop Shelf!
Talking Shop With Tanukii Studios
For this first feature, I chatted with Keith Webb of Tanukii Studios on Nintendo's commitment to digital downloads and what he hopes to see happen with the Nintendo eShop.
GayGamer: DSiWare has a lot of great games, but too often they go completely unnoticed by most gamers. What do you think contributed to the apathy around DSiWare?
Keith Webb: I think it might be due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, to be honest, as well as a few other factors. As the DSi was not an entirely new system when it was released a few years back (merely an update from the DS), the extra features it bought, such as the DSiWare service, didn't get as much exposure as it would have had it been connected to a brand new console. There were a few decent initial DSiWare games coming from well-know developers, but after a while, that really slowed down, so newer, less well-known developers started cropping up, and maybe consumer were a bit dubious of this at first. Couple this with the fact that the iPhone apps and games had a great boom over the past couple of years, DSiWare couldn't really compete with that. It's interesting actually, I watch a lot of the online opinions when each DSiWare update is announced every week, and a lot of the comments are quite negative, mostly for games that people have had little exposure too ... it is only after more info, and reviews that the opinions seem to change, so it is almost as if consumers are expecting the games to disappoint them and so they keep away. Nintendo themselves have also mentioned time and time again that they are worried the iPhone method of gaming will saturate the market, and so I think they are reluctant to push a service that basically follows the same model a the iPhone stores, that is probably why they leave it to the developers themselves to push their own games out there. Nintendo know the standard retail market really well, and understandably they don't want to shift the focus to digital distribution just yet when they still have a firm hold of the other method [retail]. The other thing is probably the points system may be a little too complicated for consumers, and perhaps the DSiWare store itself could be a little more user friendly. But as an aside, I wpuldn't have been able to get my game released as a standard retail game, so I am thankful for DSiWare as it stands ... but it could be better!
GG: Has the eShop been a good first step in enhancing Nintendo's digital download services?
I think if you went back and looked at the buzz that was created when the eShop was announced, with its promise of Virtual Console games, 3DSWare and 3D Classics, you'll see that it does have the potential to capture the consumers' hearts. Perhaps the fact that the content has been spread out too thinly at the moment meant there wasn't a great, epic push for the service, which there could have been, and so that might have been a missed opportunity. The eShop is great for DSiWare developers (in fact 2/3's of sales of Kokopolo come from 3DS's rather than DSi's) so I'm glad Nintendo included DSiWare support. However, again it could be better laid out and more intuative ... and perhaps it will be in the long run, maybe there will be some big layout changes on the horizon. Personally, I would also like to see some cool 3DSWare games that take advantage of the new harware (but not just yet, as they might overshadow my DSiWare game!), so in short, it has the potential to enhance the service, but it isn't quite there yet.
Download These Games!
The following DSiWare games are available to download on the 3DS eShop or on the DSiWare store on the DSi. I have chosen three all-new IPs that are charming, different and deserve more attention than they're getting, including Tanukii's Go! Go! Kokopolo!
Go! Go! Kokopolo
Developer: Tanukii Studios/Room 4 Games
Price: $7.99/800 Points
Lowdown: A unique action game where you play as Kokopolo, a wildcat bent on revenge for the other animals interrupting his sleep. The gameplay is addictive: smack other animals, run as they chase you, and lure them into a killer plant for points. It's a game of cat-and-mouse that oozes polish, great art and awesome gameplay. Seriously, this game could have been a full-priced retail game.
Developer: Agetec, Inc.
Price: $4.99/500 Points
Lowdown: An on-rails platformer where you play as Powerpuff Girl look-alikes on roller skates and spray paint color back into a monochromatic city. Lots of levels, easy controls and colorful visuals make this clone of everything really cute and engaging. It can be a bit frustrating at times, but when you're grinding, spraying paint and avoiding random alien enemies you won't notice the little hiccups in its design.
Zoonies: Escape From Makatu
Price: $4.99/500 Points
Lowdown: Leo the lion must escape from the clutches of Makatu and his minions after his airplane is shot down by Makatu's spear. This is another on-rails adventure, but the gameplay is much more puzzle-oriented. Rather than control Leo, you control the environment and have to manipulate the objects in the game world to guide Leo, who walks right until he comes to an obstacle, to safety. The difficulty ramps up significantly as the game progresses, which makes for a nice challenge.