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Andy Phelps Proposes 'B-Sides' For Games 40

Andy Phelps has once again begun blogging. A recent post of his to the Corante Tech site suggests an intriguing idea: B-Sides to major commercial games. "I think there is an interesting opportunity here: stick some "B-Side" experimental games on the DVD with the big title. Little Flash games, or student games, or Internet games that haven't taken off yet. Don't advertise them on the box, sell the "big game" just like always." Thanks to Hylton Jolliffe for the submission.
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Andy Phelps Proposes 'B-Sides' For Games

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  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @04:42PM (#10350556)
    Pack games on the disk and don't advertise them on the packaging? While I can see a point to that (to reduce criticism), I'm sure marketing won't let anyone get away with packing in features and not advertising them. Marketing would make a bullet point out of the number of times the lead coder sneezed if that'd interest anybody. They sure as hell wouldn't let the opportunity to write "includes 5 additional Full Games as a bonus!!" on the box pass by.
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothic_Walrus ( 692125 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @04:50PM (#10350606) Journal
    Say what you will about the games being available through other distribution channels, but remember that that doesn't hold true for everyone.

    Not everyone has a high-speed internet connection.

    Not everyone has internet access, period.

    Not everyone is willing to leave their computer on all night for a download when they're being billed for the amount of time that they're connected to the internet.

    Not everyone has access to a GameStop, EB, or a store that sells more games than the big-budget titles that Wal-Mart sells.

    Not everyone feels comfortable buying games online.

    Beyond all of this, the fact remains that publisher pays the development team, even a relatively small amount ($10,000, perhaps) might more than cover the costs of making the game.

    Really, who loses out if a company decides to try this? All we'd lose would be the pretty screenprinting on the top of the CD, and that's not a very big loss...

  • by BluhDeBluh ( 805090 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @04:58PM (#10350649)
    And they have in lots of games, whether as Easter Eggs, unlockables or just fun minigames. Presumably, these are side projects thrown in to add something to the mix

    These major ones spring to mind:
    Pyoro 1 and 2 in Warioware Inc. Fantastic fun little things
    The lightgun game Demolition Racer for Dreamcast. Lovely fun little game
    The useless VMU games and both Pocketstation games that no-one ever played
    Galaxians in the Ridge Racer loading screen
    All the retro games in modern titles (PoP and the NES games in Animal Crossing)
    NiGHTs and Puyo Pop for GBA in PSO and Billy Hatcher for GC
    Blackhole Assault with an inbuilt pong game

    After Googling, there's a whole FAQ full at - dates back to 1999, but the point is still there.
  • Nice idea. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod ( 12942 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:08PM (#10350719) Homepage
    It sounds like a cool idea to help independents get a start. Which is probably why it'd never happen. Does any major studio want to encourage independent game developers? This is a billion dollar industry we're talking about. I'm not sure it would be in their best interests. Although it would make for an easy was to do market research of their own fringe ideas. I just doubt indies would get much exposure.
  • Loading... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jobby ( 135237 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:36PM (#10350884) Homepage
    You know what's great? Little mini-games you can play while the main game is loading. Too long have we been fobbed off with high-res ingame shots or unused coverart! Give us scrolling text that adds to the story, or a mini-game to occupy us - because sitting still for more than 30 seconds is *hard*.
  • shmubject (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spyrochaete ( 707033 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @06:08PM (#10351068) Homepage Journal
    I think software companies should bundle REAL things in the box, like manuals, action figures, cloth maps, anything to reward people for purchasing the package. A bunch of tossware would be pointless.
  • by Kyouryuu ( 685884 ) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @12:58AM (#10353201) Homepage
    As a fellow game designer, I have to agree that "Why spend X dollars on a B-side that isn't neccessarily related to the A-side game at all when you could spend those X dollars to make the A-side game better (or, in most case, bigger)?" is probably the biggest reason why you don't have B-side titles. Trying to make the core game interesting and fun is tough enough by itself, let alone having to ensure that a bunch of little extras are themselves fun. This sort of energy should circle around the main attraction, rather than the sideshow.
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Vampyre_Dark ( 630787 ) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @07:02AM (#10353997)
    >> Not everyone feels comfortable buying games online.

    Not everyone feels comfortable buying their girl tampons at the store, but that doesn't mean you get them as free pack-ins with Tomb Raider! Seriously though, I doubt any publisher would go for this, that's what their jewel case value software divisions are for.
  • by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Sunday September 26, 2004 @07:15AM (#10354047) Homepage Journal

    bah. on one hand, your 'sense of history' fashions the statement 'represented a unique channel of distribution' as a lecture of pre-modern 'media'.

    on the other hand, your flimsy argument dismisses all that implies, entirely, when applied to 'back of the DVD scan-in' "alternative-channel" video games/hacks.

    the point is, video games mfr's have "MORE CHANNELS THAN THEY KNOW", in that they can create a sub-market/culture/environment with sneaky 'B-side' style thinking in their box delivery channel. do for videogame /packaging/ (the ony bit that differentiates the company from its pirates) what kelloggs did for corn-flakes; made the box more interesting!

    In other words, put stuff physically *ON* the DVD which makes it more valuable, so that its not so 'readily' depreciable by online content delivery systems.

    this is 'B-side' thinking.

    It's even kind of interesting. But I don't see how it would do anything for resurrecting "innovation in gaming" any more than new channels of distribution (e.g. the Internet) are already doing.

    In the eyes of a media person, the notion of 'unique channel' is an interesting one. What I hope comes of this is renewed thinking on the part of 'media giants' on the values of independent channels, created at will by any group who wills it.

    This is the lesson of the Internet, after all, that it is groups of people, organized, who get things done/make things happen/blow big bubbles... if they create a 'counter-culture' B-side media channel on their boxes and in their games packages, I could see there being a lot of interest in actually buying these things at retail.

    Bar-code videogames/cheat-codes that work with Nintendo and are printed on my XBox game CD might make for some interesting 'warfare' among the media giants..

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