GMTK is Making a Game

What’s next for GMTK? by Game Maker’s Toolkit on YouTube

Mark Brown of Game Maker’s Toolkit has launched a new series where he shows the educational and creative process of making a game. And he is the one making said game.

I enjoy the idea and am excited to see how the series (and the game) shake out. The first proper episode is out where Mark explains which game engine he choose and the initial learning process he experienced. His lessons already learned are insightful and, frankly, applicable to learning anything for the first time (or the second or the hundredth time).

Exposing Fraud And Deception In The Retro Video Game Market – Karl Jobst

Exposing FRAUD And DECEPTION In The Retro Video Game Market by Karl Jobst on YouTube

You may have seen last month a copy of Super Mario 64 sell for $1.5 million. I even joked how my mostly sealed copy of Ocarina of Time could make me a millionaire. Well, Karl Jobst has dug into how the market has spiked so dramatically in the past couple of years all thanks to WATA Games and Heritage Auctions.

Karl’s research and reporting is thorough and damning. This video is well worth your time.

This helps explain (along with a spike in collecting due to people staying home during COVID-19) why game prices, even for loose games, has skyrocketed.

Since March 2021, I’ve been on a Pokémon game collecting kick. I know it is poor timing given the franchise’s 25th anniversary is this year, but some of the prices I have seen just don’t make sense. In March 2019, Pokémon Emerald was roughly $40~ loose, $100~ Complete-in-Box (CiB). Two and a half years later, it is $90~ and $400~. Pokémon Diamond was $15~ loose, $20~ CiB. Now it is going for $30~ and $60~, with a peak of nearly $100~ earlier in the year.

GameCube games have blown up. Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes has doubled. Billy Hatcher too. I understand those aren’t super popular GameCube games, but these spikes have never happened before.

This upward trend is clearly influenced by WATA Games grading and these extremely high, anonymous sales at Heritage Auctions. These auctions and grades are inflating the market until it will, eventually, burst.

Just the other day, I snagged a copy of Pokémon Silver at my favorite local shop. The owner shared with me how the prices have shot up and that even they have to pay heftier prices to get the trade-ins for their business. He talked about how just a couple years ago the Pokémon games were $20 maybe $30 a pop, now much more in the $70-100 range.

This also appears to solely be impacting the North American market. The same games for Japanese or European consoles have kept reasonable prices. Pokémon Diamond from Japan is selling for $35~ CiB. Emerald is $76~. That same store I shop at has all of Gen 1 and 2 cartridges for Pokémon at or below $30. If the game’s were for the North American market, the prices would double or triple.

Excellent reporting and research from Karl. I hope this bubble bursts sooner rather than later.

Spiritual Successors and Reclaiming Dormant IP

Non-Fungible Taylor Swift by Ben Thompson for Stratechery

Ben Thompson had a great free weekly article about Taylor Swift reclaiming her music by using her fans.

It’s not just Fearless, it’s Fearless (Taylor’s Version); which version do you think that Swift fans will choose to stream (which, after all, is where most of the residual value of Fearless lies)? That’s the part that Logan forgot: when it comes to a world of abundance the power that matters is demand, and demand is driven by fans of Swift, not lawyers for Big Machine or Scooter Braun or anyone else.

It’s easy to see how this plays out going forward: Swift probably doesn’t even have to remake another album; she has demonstrated the willingness and capability to remake her old records, and her fans will do the rest. It will behoove Shamrock Capital, the current owner of Swift’s masters, to buy-out Braun’s share of future upside and make a deal with Swift, because Swift, granted the power to go direct to fans and make her case, can in fact “change history, facts, and re-frame any story [she] want[s] to fit with any narrative [she] wish[es].”

I’ve never even listened to Fearless outside of its hit singles, but I already am anticipating Spark’s Fly (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version), if those ever see the light of day.

Thompson’s analysis of Swift and Dave Chappelle taking back their work got me thinking about video games. Has gaming already had its reclamation boom? Can developers take back their original games when the publisher / rights holder seemingly does nothing with the IP? It seems far more convoluted for say Hideo Kojima to just retake Metal Gear Solid. Games often take a proverbial village to “raise.” While Kojima and Metal Gear Solid go hand-in-hand, legally, commercially, and in their development, Kojima is just one person from a team. Compared to music or comedy or stories, games have to be far more difficult to reclaim like Swift and Chappelle have done.

In light of the legal and developmental hurdles, devs have turned to Kickstarter and the like. There is a cry for a new Castlevania game and Konami seemingly won’t deliver one. So Koji Igarashi, the man who put the “vania” in Metroidvania launches a Kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, earning $5+ million. Same for Mega Man through Mighty No. 9 and Banjo and Kazooie through Yooka-Laylee. These developers take fans of games and genres, reunite the team of old, and make a new game to satisfy fan demand and their own creative desires. The spiritual successor has become the means for reclaiming art/design/gameplay/characters for developers.

Game Pass is the Ultimate ‘Pile of Shame’

Maybe Your ‘Pile Of Shame’ Is A Problem – A Short-Sighted Take from Kotaku

Game Pass provides its subscribers access to hundreds of games.

Games that they don’t own. Games they will never have time to play all of. Games that come and go as contracts and deals expire.

I suppose paying $15 a month for instant access to a game library is foolish then, by Luke Plunkett’s logic.

It doesn’t matter if that’s $[15] you were never going to spend, there’s a button being pressed inside our brains that says hey, this is a lot cheaper than it used to be, get it, because you’re saving and saving is smart. Not like those idiots who paid full price at release. [Subscribe to] it.

Right?

I know that’s a radical suggestion, but you’ll be OK. You’ll get through this. We live in a digital world. Those games are going to go on sale again, and they’re never going to run out of stock. Enjoy the games you’ve got and are still playing! 

Games exist to serve one purpose: to be played. If you’re buying them and not playing them, maybe you’re doing it wrong.

Maybe Your ‘Pile Of Shame’ Is A Problem – Kotaku

Maybe Your ‘Pile Of Shame’ Is A Problem by Luke Plunkett for Kotaku

A backlog shouldn’t need to be unpacked like this. If you’re still playing a game, and liking the game, and you already have another 1-2 sitting there unplayed, maybe…don’t go buying any more? I know that’s a radical suggestion, but you’ll be OK. You’ll get through this. We live in a digital world. Those games are going to go on sale again, and they’re never going to run out of stock. Enjoy the games you’ve got and are still playing!

Try saying that to PS3 and Vita owners in two months.

Games can be delisted. Stores are closed. Physical game prices rise and fall. Buying games digitally is just long-term rentals. Folks have to accept that with their digital purchases. 

Games exist to serve one purpose: to be played. If you’re buying them and not playing them, maybe you’re doing it wrong.

Games serve more than one purpose. Sure, playing them is at the heart of their existence, but one purpose? I guess Plunkett just writes about them for free like me? 

What a shallow take to kick off Kotaku’s month-long coverage about gaming backlogs.