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BS: A lot of core users don't really see Wii Sports and Brain Age as real games.
TT: That's the classic core user, yeah.
BS: There might be a lot more core users in the U.S. A lot of them say things like, "Nintendo has abandoned core users." I think that's interesting, because they used to be kids and played so-called kiddie games.
Perhaps the casual DS audience in Japan would become core users if they played more "real" games like Dragon Quest IX.
TT: Well, I think most serious American gamers are playing on their 360s, not on the Wii. There aren't a lot of core users among casual game fans. I don't know how many core gamers play casual games. By that definition I suppose Bomberman is a casual game, but...
BS: In the U.S., you have mothers buying the Wii with Wii Sports, buy Wii Sports Resort and that's it.
TT: That and music games.
BS: Yeah. But a lot of them just have a Wii and those two games. It's a worry to me.
TT: You could say that's because it's a fun experience, even if it's not exactly a game.
TT: Right. They're using the Wii as a toy, not as a game system.
BS: That's why I think core users are important. Core users are always on the lookout for new titles; they buy 10 or so titles a year. One core user may be worth five times a casual user in terms of money.
TT: They're very important, of course. Those are the sort of people who played Bonk and Bomberman and so on back then, and I'd like to think they're the sort of people who'd be interested in Bonk and Military Madness today. I'd like to see those titles generate a lot of buzz.
BS: I really liked Hudson's games back then. I feel like Hudson doesn't play up its retro heritage enough -- making its old games into 3D rather than remake them with a retro feeling to attract those old users back.
KS: The hardware's certainly expanded a lot since then, for one. There's nothing stopping us from releasing a game with that retro-graphics feel, definitely. The thing is that if we do that, than no matter how faithful and nostalgic it is, a lot of users are going to say that it looks cheap and low-quality, no matter what.
A lot of users are jaded to modern graphic standards. Maybe I look for gameplay above everything else in the games I play, but a lot of games these days aren't really games so much as interactive movies. Final Fantasy is pretty much a movie now. I, personally, think there need to be more novel ideas in games, but you have to attain a certain standard.
TT: In conclusion, yes, we could make a game like that, but the stores probably wouldn't buy it from us, currently. We'd have to do it on DSiWare or somesuch, but it wouldn't show up in stores.
Bonk: Brink of Extinction
BS: Mega Man 9 was digitally distributed, yeah. Users saw the game and were happy to see it.
TT: Yeah, but even now -- this is all hypothetical, but let's say that the PS3, Xbox and Wii never existed. If the Famicom and the PC Engine were the only consoles in existence, I think there would've been a lot more innovative, original games out there right now. There'd have to be, because the graphics can only go so far.
But the thing is, it's like watching an old Disney hand-drawn film like Dumbo and then immediately watching one supported by computers. You get jaded visually, no matter what. You can't go back to the old stuff. If you eat a fancy dinner, you don't want to go right back to ramen.
But... okay, lots of people like ramen (laughs) But that ramen keeps getting better, and more expensive. That's the difference.
BS: Maybe you can't go back to ramen, but for example, tomato ramen is an interesting new thing.
TT: I'm sorry, I don't know that much about food... (laughs) I know what you mean, but...
BS: I know what you mean, too, but Mega Man 9 isn't ramen, it's tomato ramen -- Ramen plus something else interesting.
TT: Well, Bomberman Live is the original Japanese Bomberman with some American tastes added to it. I think that's kind of neat, outside of the controls and all that, and I'd like to see more of that sort of thing in the future.
When I played Bonk I wondered why modern tanks and stuff show up in the game, but I think atmosphere-wise it's just as it was before. If that does well, then I think everyone will notice and that'll get some momentum rolling, but previous attempts at retro-style games have not been successful. If we're going to do it, it'd have to be on DSiWare or WiiWare or somewhere, and it'd have to be inexpensive and not the sort of thing that you could sell in stores.