Dec. 18, 2016

Just one week left until Christmas; it might be a nice prospect if I lived somewhere snowy, rather than being stuck in the baking heat of a tropical summer…

Around OnlySP:

The past week was another slow week for the site, and that was partly my fault as I was away on Thursday and Friday. However, I’m happy to say that our newest writer Stefan Moree is coming into his own, which has been a big help for me. Elsewhere, due to personal issues and other commitments, Luis Magalhaes’s tenure with OnlySP has drawn to an end, and we are very sorry to see him go. His second-last review, of PlayStation VR Worlds was published recently, and his final review, looking at Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice, will be up later this week. We also have an interesting piece of insight coming up later this week, so be on the lookout for that.

Mobile, Mario, and Market Trends:

One of the biggest releases of this past week was, of course, Nintendo’s first in-house foray into mobile development, Super Mario Run, following on from the smash success that was Niantic’s Pokemon Go earlier this year. OnlySP featured the title as one of the Games To Look Out For In December, but we will not be covering it in any great depth. Nevertheless, Super Mario Run is already a testament to Nintendo’s brand power, smashing the record for the highest number of downloads in a single day, and being closely scrutinised by several major sites, which would not normally deal with mobile games. More interesting than its success, however, is what it represents.

Not so long ago, Nintendo was the only figure of any note in the portable gaming sphere. Sony’s efforts with the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita, while not the catastrophes that some commentators labelled them, were far less successful than the promise of the hardware deserved, at a time when smartphone games seemed little more than novelties. The integration of mobile devices into day-to-day life has forced a change in the gaming landscape, and the brief, minute-long experiences so prevalent in mobile games have become an easy, accessible diversion. Furthermore, because such devices are carried everywhere in pockets and handbags, a dedicated machine for portable games seems superfluous. Sony has chosen to concede the space, leaving the Vita to languish with no successor on the horizon. Nintendo, meanwhile, has chosen to adapt.

More of the company’s beloved franchises, including Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem, are set to release for mobile devices in early 2017, while the Nintendo Switch, with its hybridity, seems to spell the end for the dedicated handheld gaming device going forward. The decision to jettison what has traditionally been a strong source of revenue is a risky move, especially considering the flagging fortunes of the Wii U, but it is also necessary. No one can afford to count on the successes of the past, a lesson hard-learned by many gaming companies. But Nintendo has always been more adaptable than most, as its 127 year history attests. These new strategies of third-party development and a hybrid console are yet another example of the company’s ability to respond to the market, and the early praise that both have received indicates that Nintendo, despite the naysayers, remains in a strong position. Besides, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is shaping up as one of the most striking titles of 2017, and the power of a single great game should never be underestimated.

Personal Update:

For me, this past week seemed far longer than it had any right to be. Parts of it were enjoyable, however, such as the trip that my partner and I took to Magnetic Island. Two days away from work, computers, and the four walls of home. Two days spent traipsing hither and thither across what is surely one of the most beautiful places on Earth, with seas of brilliant blue and koalas hiding in the bush. What more needs to be said? Aside from the heat, it was an amazing experience, and one that I highly recommend if you ever find yourself in the land down under.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get much else done this week. Very little reading or gaming, but such is life, right?

Let us know what you’ve been up to and what you’ve been playing. Until next time, single players.

Damien Lawardorn
Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

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