It's a me, Mario! Mamma Mia, Why you no buy 3DS?

By Mike on 10:25 pm

comments (0)

Filed Under:

Things haven't been so super for Mario lately. Peach left him for Luigi, they repossessed his kart, and he's forced to eat beefaroni because real spaghetti is too expensive. Guess he should have sold his Nintendo stock before the 3DS launched.

Nintendo conquered the video game market through innovation. They introduced us to motion and touch screen gaming, then 3D. Now it seems the juggernaut has finally run out of gas. Revenue forecasts have plummeted 80 percent. The company's stock value has dropped 50 percent since last February.

The Nintendo 3DS is being blamed for the company's poor showing. The portable had a stellar launch back in February. Since then, sales have been lacklustre. There's nothing wrong with the 3DS itself. We don't have another Virtual Boy on our hands here. It's a solid piece of hardware that works as advertised, and does a fantastic job at it. However, panicky pundits, such as IGN, are already declaring it a maybe, sort of, failure. That's not the case. The gaming market has changed a lot since the DS launched, yet Nintendo is still using the same approach they've used in the past.

The three things holding the 3DS back are price, lack of software, and increased competition from smartphones.

Legendary game producer Shigeru Miyamoto likes the 3DS, why don't you?

The 3DS is the most expensive successor to the original Gameboy. With inflation factored in, only the Virtual Boy would cost more today. Prices for Nintendo hardware have been creeping up over the years. Studies into manufacturing costs show the company making fat margins on every console sold. It is estimated the 3DS costs about $100 to build. Even assuming marketing and R&D costs the same, $50 per unit is still a tidy profit.

Nintendo has long refused to sell their products at a loss. So does competitor Apple. Logically, that makes sense. However, that sort of thinking changed with the 2008 recession. People don't have as much disposable income as they did during the DS and Wii's heyday. Nintendo products are marketed at a younger crowd. Parents will think twice at dropping that much cash on a "toy".

Competing products, such as smartphones, are being seen as more economical than standalone systems. Apple sells their iPod Touch in the same price bracket as the 3DS. Not only is it a virtual Swiss Army Knife of media consumption, software is a fraction of the price. Most games are under ten dollars. Compare that to 3DS titles, which sell similar products for, on average, two to four times more. That's the advantage of digital distribution. There's less cost overhead, which opens the market wide open. Why spend upwards of $400 buying little Johnny multiple devices when one will satisfy him for half that?

Lol. Stop it, you're killing me!

Gamers scream that iPhone games aren't comparable. They aren't as in depth, or lack the experience of traditional controls. They're partly right, but it's a moot argument. Most of today's most popular games aren't deep, story driven experiences. Angry Birds, Call of Duty and the like offer simplified gaming in bit sized chunks. Enough to satisfy the short attention spans of today's young gamer. iOS actually does have these in depth games, such as Final Fantasy and Zenonia. It can also surf the web, download your tunes, let you shop for a new outfit, and pay your taxes.

Somewhat ironically, the same argument can be made about the 3DS. Games like Steel Diver and Pilot Wings aren't what you'd call deep. They offer the same experience as many $1.99 apps, yet cost significantly more. The system lacks the strong, original titles that Nintendo is known for. What we get is the same glut of shovelware that's infiltrated the Wii. Very simplistic games sold for high prices compared to competitors. The 3DS has few in depth titles coming down the pipeline, and that's it's problem. In trying to adopt a smartphone, app-style, shovelware based business plan, Nintendo is alienating their core fan base.

This doesn't mean the 3DS is a lost cause. The DS went through similar growing pains way back in 2004. The hardware is fantastic. Nintendo just needs to get software production kicked into high gear. No console can be successful if it doesn't have the games to back it up. It doesn't matter how spectacular the technology is. Nintendo will bounce back, as they always have. They just need to learn how to market themselves and their games better in today's app-based world.

Title image copyright Device Magazine
Images copyright Elder-Geek, Funny-Potato

Beer to game by: Lake of Bays a beer for geeks

By Mike on 7:15 pm

comments (1)

Filed Under:

Geeks too enjoy a good beer, and some are beer geeks. Lake of Bays brewing company prides itself as a beer for the latter. For those who need to get in touch with their inner craft brew fanboy. Their newest offering is Rousse Red Ale. We've already tried the king of nerdy beers, and it was awful. Let's see if the roi of geeky bière can do any better.

Lake of Bays is a new brewery that opened earlier this year.
The company's employees refer to themselves as "beer geeks", connoisseurs of fine brews. They're based in Baysville, Ontario on, as the name suggests, the Lake of Bays. Unlike Rolling Rock, they're totally independent.

Their beer is brewed in smaller batches. While only sporting a small operation, Lake of Bays is widely available across Ontario though the LCBO chain. They currently sell three types: a pale ale, mocha porter, and rousse red ale. The latter is what we're reviewing today.

A quality Quebec-style craft beer to
put Rolling Rock in it's watery place

According to their website, Rousse is a traditional Quebecois red ale. It has a heavy pour to it, and dumps into the glass without much head. It already wins out over Rolling Rock, which looks more like yellow club soda. The beer has a clear malty smell with a dark red colour. It has the shade and consistency of a good root beer. Let's give it a taste.

It's thick, and very flavourful. This is what beer should be like. The toasted malt flavour is very evident. There's nothing watery about this one at all. I can taste a bit of hops bitterness, but it's not overpowering. It has a very slight coffee notes to it to. The flavours are well balanced, making it satisfying to savour slowly.

A heavy dark ale with a lot of flavour to it. The pleasant maltiness is a nice change of pace from yesterday's bread & water.

I prefer dark, malty beers to largers in general. This is definitely a good one. Plenty of flavour with a delightful heaviness, but it's not bitter nor does it leave an aftertaste. It's a good drinking beer, not a beer to get drunk by. You could imagine enjoying this after a day of skiing at Mount Tremblant, or historic pub crawling in Quebec City. It's definitely worth trying during your stay in Ontario.

Title image copyright Beer & Nosh

Drinking the nerdiest beer: Rolling Rock review

By Mike on 5:40 pm

comments (1)

Filed Under: , , ,

"He'd rather eat, the rotten asshole, of a roadkill skunk and down it with beer." If you're a gamer, chances are you've seen James Rolfe's Angry Video Game Nerd web series. His character is known for a foul mouth, love of bad games, and affinity for Rolling Rock. The beer is popular in Pennsylvania and Rolfe's native New Jersey. The LCBO here in Ontario just started carrying it. I couldn't resist giving the king of nerdy beers a try.

Rolling Rock is a pale larger originally from western Pennsylvania, now based in St. Louis. It's brewed by the Latrobe Brewing Company, as it has since 1939. InBev, a global beer conglomerate behind many famous brands including Budweiser & Alexander Keiths, currently owns them. It is a staple of the AVGN series, and has been since the 2004 pilots. Rolfe's Nerd is seen drinking it to dull the pain of playing bad Nintendo games.

The AVGN made it the king of nerdy beers.

I'm writing this as I try the beer. Rolling Rock has a very light yellow colour and pours with a thick, foamy head. It's very reminiscent of "cheap" beers like Molson Canadian or Budweiser. It has a light grainy, but non-alcoholic smell. So I take my first sip.

Yep, this is classic American beer. It's fizzier than most beers I've had. The level of carbonation is close to soda. I guess you'd say it has a light, clean taste. There's no appreciable amount of hops in it. That's fine by me, as I don't like bitter beers. However, there's nothing else in the way of flavour. It has a faint grainy taste, but no malt. Heavily watered down is a more appropriate way to describe it. It's like drinking club soda with a slice of white bread. This is a bad beer.

Rolling Rock is pale, too fizzy, and incredibly weak.
I feel bad putting it in the same glass as a good craft beer.

I don't like InBev's brands. A lot of their products are a lesser quality, and weaker, than others I've had. Even Keith's allegedly doesn't qualify as an IPA anymore, it being weaker than in the past. This one is exceptionally poor though. James Rolfe has the right idea. Rolling Rock is only good for dulling the pain. It will get you drunk, and that's it. For those that appreciate good beer, look elsewhere. This is a stereotypical American pisswasser. Despite what the label says, premium this ain't.

Enjoy this review? I might be reviewing some more craft beers to game by in the future. Stay tuned.

Title image copyright Cinemassacre Productions