Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In which my forbearance is put to the test: New Releases for the Week of July 24th, 2011

The Smurfs Dance Party (Nintendo Wii)
I usually try not to be the guy who goes around grousing about the fact that things that were plainly never meant to appeal to him do not, in fact, appeal to him.

There are few things that seem more pointless to me then hearing someone who's appointed himself arbiter  of gaming purity bitch about how Wii Fit and Nintendogs aren't hardcore enough, or how Facebook games aren't very skill-based, or how the narrative of the Barbie Horse Adventures franchise isn't as thoughtful or gripping or complex as Bioshock's. I'm not terribly interested in listening to people carry on about how RPG's should ditch the menus and stats so that they're not so boring, or how Greg Egan should drop the unwriterly science and speculation from his books so that he can focus on the existential despair and/or psychosexual minutia of contemporary white-collar Americans, so I try to do as I would be done unto.

(With the obvious exception of the critically acclaimed 2004 PlayStation 2 cult classic Barbie Horse Adventures: The Battle of Verdun, of course, though I'm pretty sure the events of that game aren't considered canonical in the Barbie Horse Adventures universe as a whole.)

I don't want to be that guy. But you make it damned hard sometimes, Nintendo.
By a remarkable coincidence, this is almost identical to what I saw on my kitchen counter the night I downed an entire bottle of Wild Turkey 101 after an IMAX showing of Avatar.

Instead of being that guy, I'll raise a question: what is the target market for this? The game seems pretty clearly made for kids, which makes sense for a game based on a move based on a kid's show. But it's a kids show from the 1980s; when the Smurfs went off the air, anyone young enough to be in what I presume is this games target market now was at least a decade away from being born. I suppose I could ask the same question about the fact that they're actually theatrically releasing a new CGI Smurfs movie in 2011, but I can at least imagine a nostalgic adult who grew up with the show deciding to see the movie for old times' sake, or perhaps while really, really high; buying a video game seems a lot less likely.

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