Behind the Wave

Wait, there are cars in this game?I received quite a shock last night when I opened an e-mail newsletter that I somehow started getting from EB Games. You see, I haven’t been up to date with current gaming since the Gamecube was around and kicking. I noticed that it happened when I went through a lot of effort to reserve and purchase The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker the day it was released and then never played more than an hour of the game until over 2 years later. It was then that I realized I didn’t have to buy games right when they come out to enjoy them.

We still don’t own a Wii, for several months leading up until Christmas Day we would go into every store we went by and ask if they had any, but never found one. Then it happened, on December 26th we were walking through Best Buy when lo-and-behold there were over 30 Wiis in boxes behind the customer service counter. We laughed, thought about getting one, but decided to wait in the end. We did buy an X-Box 360 back in November but we are still for the most part playing games that came out over a year ago (with the exception of Assassin’s Creed).  For the love of god, we’ve only played Super Smash Bros. Brawl a handful of times and I haven’t even SEEN Mario Galaxy being played in person.

There must be some kind of ingrained marketing scheme to get people to buy games for the most possible money, making gamers think that if they don’t play the game right away the experience will be sullied somehow. Sure, if you haven’t played Final Fantasy 7 by now you’ve probably had a plot twist or two spoiled for you, but in general games are just as good a year or two later as they are the day they come out.

What got me thinking about all of this? Well, back to that newsletter I was reading, I discovered very much to my horror that a crap load of games I’d like to play and that I’ve been looking forward to for a while are coming out VERY soon.  I’ll present them in more of a list just to make it easier to skim through.

Mario Kart Wii – This is just crazy to me that it’s coming out on April 27th, I remember spending hours playing Mario Kart for the N64 the day it came out.  Also countless hours were spent on Double Dash attempting to beat the cheatsy computer opponents, and now it’s coming out for the Wii and we don’t even own the console!  I’m dubious about the whole steering wheel accessory thing, and I think it’s sad that they did not stick with the two-characters to a kart concept from Double Dash, but the addition of the motorcycle is really cool (and already negates the complete effectiveness of the steering wheel).

Grand Theft Auto 4 – I had no idea until last night that this was coming out in just 6 days (April 29th).  Becky’s copy of GTA 3 was a huge hit with our entire dorm throughout our first year of college, and I’d hate to let another experience like that slip by.

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures – Coming out on May 20th, less then a month away, and I don’t know if I’ve heard very much about it since the early stages of development.  Is death still semi-permanent (ie – lasts for a week)?  Is it no good since we haven’t heard anything about it lately?

Ninja Gaiden 2 – I don’t even think I’ve heard anything about the sequel to one of my favorite games, and now it’s coming out on June 3rd.  Probably means I should get working on beating the first one!

News like all of that (it’s new to me, anyway) forces me to steel my resolve against the urge to buy everything the day it comes out.  I can only hope that the experiences will be the same a year or more down the line if/when I finally get to trying them out.  One experience that I know can never be recreated is the first couple of weeks in WoW where everyone was finding their footing, you couldn’t solve a quest with a simple search online, and hitting level 20 felt like a huge accomplishment!

Are there any other super-awesome games coming out dangerously soon that I should know about?


  1. One of the major appeals (for me) in getting a game close to its release date is the multiplayer. If you get a bunch of friends all interested in buying the game – you want to play with all of them and you all want to get the game around the same time before people get sick of it.

    With that said, I just got back into H3 again after playing CoD4 and burnout paradise for a couple months so even getting a game late you can jump into multiplayer gaming with your friends if you buy late.

  2. OriginalSultan says:

    Bartoneus is right: most games are just as good a year or more after they come out as they are the first day they are released. One might argue that they are even better because they tend to be cheaper.

    The only reason a game would be ‘better’ when it first comes out (as opposed to 1+ year later) is that, in the interim, newer games come out that are simply better than the older game, rendering the old game redundant/bad. But even if this were true, it still works to your advantage to buy later because if better games are available a little while after that game you wanted to buy, then its probably good that you didn’t buy it.

    Like Bartoneus, for the past couple of years I have mostly been playing video games that came out long before I was playing them. Example: about 3 months ago I finally beat Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Old game! But it was awesome, and the fact that I was playing it later didn’t detract from the experience in the least.

    I hypothesize that in the coming years the gaming industry will begin to see a growing ‘secondary market crowd’ of gamers that purchase games some time after they are released. The ability to trade in games to popular video game stores that are then re-sold for reduced prices has greatly facilitated this. But I think a key reason for the development of this market is that the video game generation is aging, taking on more responsibilities and has less time to play the newest games…but still wants to play games! So they wait and purchase games for reduced prices, and confine their purchases to only the games that they are likely to enjoy.

  3. OriginalSultan says:

    @ joshx0rfz:
    I think that great multiplayer games will always have some appeal, such that you can always find a crowd who wants to play the game. I know people who still play Goldeneye 007. Goldeneye!!! For the N64!

    And if you try you can get a group together for Starcraft together pretty easily.

    It just goes to show that the true ‘classic’ games can stand the test of time.

    As for the more common ‘cool now but ultimately run-of-the-mill’ games, I agree that the multiplayer is usually best right when the game comes out.

  4. One might argue that they are even better because they tend to be cheaper.

    And patched.

  5. Definitely price is one of the biggest advantages to waiting for your games, sorry that I forgot to mention it!

  6. OriginalSultan says:

    @ Graham
    “And patched.”

    Yup, that too. This is even more important for new consoles. Although I think that has been addressed in another topic on this site a while back…

  7. Mario cart Wii is probably the one game that will drive me (no pun intended) to buying a Wii (just sounds wrong)

    I ran out and bought a 360 when Ass-es Creed came out and I was so upset that it sucked so hard… other games have made up for it, but I think my days of shelling 50$ for a game ill play for 20 minutes before I wonder why i spent the money are over.

    Ive become a rabid promoter of “Rent First, then Buy” theory. Its really served me well.
    The only games I dont think id rent first are RPGs too much content to worry about in renting it.

  8. Sucilaria says:

    It was a real turning point in my life when I didn’t go out and buy FF12 the day it came out. Maybe it had something to do with the long wait between 10 and 12, maybe I was just really busy, but there was a time in my life when a new FF game was priority 1 for the week or so until I beat it.

    I took my sweet time with 12 – I still got it a month or two after it came out thanks to my sweet Hubby, but I found that in taking more time to play the game I remember a lot more.

    Too bad Balthier never seals the deal…

    Now I find myself in the even weirder position of borrowing Crisis Core from my sister after she’s finished it!! Let me assure you however, if it was a game tied into FF6, I’d still be all over that shiz.

    The question remains, however: will we be purchasing a PS3 for the deliciousness that is 13 at some point?

  9. The question I’m left with though is:

    If you’re buying a game late, do you purchase used?

    I won’t insult you with the implications.

    I personally avoid Gamestops in general. They just feel wrong to me now ever since I started knowing more than the clerks.

    Maybe it’s an old debate.
    but do you feel that developers make enough off of their initial sales?