Games

TWiG 2008-04-28: As If There's a Choice

Kotaku's gone back to the WiG, so we're keeping the TWiG...Here are the new releases for the week of 2008-04-28.

You know, you have to give Iron Man some credit. Not only is Sega's adaptation of the soon-to-be blockbuster film being released on every single major console and portable system this week, but it single-handedly ensured that every single system had at least one game to show off this week (thus avoiding the fate of withstanding a surely snarky synonym for "zero" in its release column). The demo that Sega released on Xbox Live isn't even all that bad, even if its all-too-short play time does cut out right when it seems as though the game might just get exciting.

No matter -- if you've been at all privy to the world of gaming journalism in the past week, you know that anything on this list that isn't Grand Theft Auto IV is being seriously, seriously overshadowed by Grand Theft Auto IV. You've seen the exclusive review (and while I won't begrudge them for it, I hope IGN thought long and hard about dishing out that 10 when they knew they'd be under scrutiny for being the only outlet allowed to break the dated review embargo that the rest of the media has had to follow), and heck, you've probably seen the rest of the reviews so far as well. That Metacritic wall o' 100s is awfully impressive, if not altogether unexpected.

The sheer magnitude of Grand Theft Auto IV's release is enough to make one wonder: why in the world would Nintendo choose to release Mario Kart Wii a mere two days before perhaps the most highly-anticipated release of 2008? One could make the argument that the audience for the two games is different, but it intersects in enough places that the buying public for Mario Kart can't help but be affected, at least a little bit. One could also say that Mario Kart is a strong enough franchise that it'll get its sales over the long-term, and it will be fine. This is probably true -- and I do expect that Mario Kart will sell gobs of product and little plastic wheels regardless of what other releases happen to coincide with its own -- but still. Mario Kart Wii got one, maybe two days of serious publicity when the journalists got their copies, only to be swallowed almost immediately by the Grand Theft Auto behemoth. Pushing off the release (or moving it up, even) by a week or two might have been able to ensure a solid stream of publicity surrounding its release. As it is, it's going to have to rely on an admittedly sizable established fanbase.

Of course, one could also argue that that fanbase has been what has been sustaining Nintendo all along, but it wouldn't hurt to try like hell to expand that fanbase, especially when there is such a sizable new install base just sitting there, waiting to be taken advantage of. Nintendo apparently sees Mario Kart as a "bridge game" -- that is, a game that could help casual players transition to more involved gaming experiences -- and having had a day or two to play the game, this makes sense, given that it had the four game-playing members (that is, myself, my wife, and my kids) playing a game together for the first time since Wii Sports first invaded our home and free time. Still, it's not going to be a bridge for anyone who doesn't notice its release.

Other releases this week include the happily budget-priced SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 (a much cheaper way to get your Neo Geo fix than the Virtual Console, as it turns out), and Konami's contributions to the Nintendo DS's continued dominance as a lifestyle machine (as opposed to a simple game machine), called Let's Yoga! and Let's Pilates!. I would be sarcastic about these things, but I may buy them. Somehow, these activities seem more palatable when you plug them into a DS and pretend they're games.

Perhaps I've said too much. Go take a look at this week's release list, after the jump...

Xbox 360:

Grand Theft Auto IV (29 April)

Iron Man (02 May)

DS:

Brain Voyage (29 April)

Let's Pilates (29 April)

Let's Yoga (29 April)

Toy Shop (29 April)

Iron Man (02 May)

PS3:

Grand Theft Auto IV (29 April)

Iron Man (02 May)

PSP:

SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 (29 April)

Iron Man (02 May)

PS2:

SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 (29 April)

Iron Man (02 May)

Wii:

Iron Man (02 May)

PC:

Baseball Mogul 2009 (29 April)

Great War Nations: The Spartans (01 May)

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