Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sega's Teaser Site: What Could Have Been

After the massive overflow of gaming blockbusters that occurs in the last two months of the year, January unsurprisingly begins what is kind of a drought of video game releases. Maybe two or three notable games are coming out before March, which would usually leave a lot of people with gaming as a hobby twiddling their thumbs.

The good part of this timeframe is that a lot of game companies tend to fill in this gap with gaming news. They might announce new games or expand on previous announcements. The new announcements are never super big since those are usually saved for super big events like E3 or the Tokyo Game Show, but a lot of the time it's still something that's worth looking forward to. And every now and then, it is a big announcement. Which is why teaser sites with mysterious countdowns, promising a new game reveal when it ends, can be so exciting.

For those of you who have trouble catching on, Sega did this recently.

On January 13th, a very barebones website from Sega hit the World Wide Internets, sporting nothing but the image below:

There was a lot of speculation on this image, and my own initial thoughts were something along the lines of "A Mario mushroom with Sonic colors? Oh DUDE we're getting an actual for reals crossover(Mario and Sonic at the Olympics didn't count)!" Don't ask me how I manage to speak in parentheses, it's a very special talent.

And as time passed, new additions to the site seemed to support my theory. Eventually the mushroom would grow big and flash red if you held your mouse over it, clicking on it would produce a sound very familiar to the Mario 1up tune, and clicking on another voice would make a voice say "Ohh, mushrooms! Mushrooms have a reputation, right?" in Japanese. Really that last one is more proof that Japan people say things funny than it is anything else, but I was still getting pretty excited.

Then finally the 26th rolled around and we got this:

Pole's Big Adventure, an 8-bit platformer for WiiWare that parodies other 8-bit games, with the most focus on making fun of Mario titles. The mushroom featured is one of the powerups, which makes you bigger and bigger until you become too big to fit on the screen and you die. Other little jokes like this occur, like going down a pipe will just make you re-emerge covered in oil, and a cactus that looks like a regular background graphic just might decapitate Pole if he tries to walk past it, resulting in little pixelly blood splatters on the screen.

And actually, that actually sounds like it'd be pretty enjoyable stuff. I'd probably buy it if it came out in the States, especially if it's only 5 bucks when it comes out like it will be in Japan. But it still has me asking myself, where the hell is my freaking epic action-platformer where Sonic and Mario team up and there's awesome fanservice for both groups and Sonic doesn't turn into a werewolf or make out with human girls? I mean, back when Mario and Sonic at the Olympics was announced, its developers were saying that this was just the first step. If their first crossover attempt was successful, then more might follow. And after the game came out it proceeded to sell ten million freaking copies worldwide. So what's the big deal?

The only explanation I can think of is that last time a Sega representative had a talk with Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, about the subject, the conversation must have went something like this:

Satoru Iwata: Hm. Our sales of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games are adequate, but not as good as our previous big Mario games. They could be selling even better.
Sega Representative: Heh, what if we made the next one an actual game? Hahaha!
Iwata: (icy glare)
Sega Rep: Haha...ha...ha?
Iwata: (icy glare)
Sega Rep: Oh god.. I- I'm sorry sir, I was only kid-
Iwata: (icy glare)
Sega Rep: I didn't mean to... to...
Iwata: (icy glare)
Sega Rep: OH COME ON! Sega has been nothing but good to you for the past five freaking years! We're making a Phantasy Star MMO exclusively for your handhelds? We're giving you MadWorld! You know, the title we'll probably lose money on due to poor sales, but we're making anyway just to support your system's low amount of hardcore titles? And we'd make more! We could make a fantastic one, if only you'd let us-
Iwata: (icy glare)
Sega Rep: S-sir... I am so, so sorry. I don't know what came over me.
Iwata: (icy glare)
Sega Rep: Please sir... if there's anything I could do to make it up to you..
Iwata: (suggestive smile)
Sega Rep: T-that!? Again? ... but it hasn't even been half an hour since the last-
Iwata: (icy glare)
Sega Rep: OKAY OKAY! Okay! I'll do it!
Sega Rep gets on his knees. Iwata unzips his business pants.
Iwata: :)

And in the end Sega Rep didn't even do a very good job, so he was permitted to only be allowed to make a regular game that made vague references to Mario. The business world is so cold and harsh!

So in conclusion, that story was 100% factual and I hope Sega hires someone who is better at blowjobs so we can finally get a good crossover game.

See you guys next week!

No comments: