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Almost one year after the launch in Japan, the last Chunsoft game has arrived in the United States and it’s manifesting how such a niche game can attract the interest of video gamers, thanks of many factors such as the solid fan-base has grown on the DS throughout years and its Japanese production quality.

999 is basically an adventure game which mixes a puzzle part with a visual novel component à la Professor Layton; also the background is similar to the acclaimed Level 5 series: a mistery story with eccentric characters and paranormal-horror events, reminding Agatha Christie’s books and the Saw movies (in fact it was rated Mature by the ESRB).

With about 30.000 copies (367th position in the 2009 Famitsu Top 1000, so now it may be somewhere above the 50.000 copies considering how good DS games sell in the long period), 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors has not achieved a great success in Japan when it was launched during last Christmas holidays; I do think he suffered the competition with another mistery game, Professor Layton and the Specter’s Flute, which had been out just 2 weeks before. Moreover, Spike promotion wasn’t so widespread in stores, so the game was on the sly.

But something has happened after its distribution by Aksys in the United States. Word of mouth is making the game very popular in all american discussion boards, such as NeoGAF, where the topic of the game is growing faster; moreover, the average rating on Metacritic is 90 out of 100, based on 5 reviews… Not so many, but enough to say that this adventure game worths attention, even because DS games don’t usually have this kind of treatment from the critics, which try to compare them to counter-parties on home consoles and  exaggerate flaws.

In Europe in this game hasn’t arrived yet; I do hope it will come, but meanwhile I can advice all of you to order it on Amazon and appreciate the great game is.

The “Iwata Asks” interviews have become famous showing how funny is the fourth president and CEO of Nintendo. In this episode concerning the new games out in store in a few days (March 13th in North America, March 26th in Europe), we can read that Iwata had some important roles during the establishment of Pokémon as a brand. He says: “Studying the program for the Pokémon battle system was part of my job.” In fact, Iwata-san was the director of HAL Laboratory, Inc. when Pokémon Stadium was in development and he was in charge to port the battle system over from Green and Red to a new Nintendo 64 game.

The thing that caught my attention is the development of the first games of Pokémon (Red and Green, followed by Blue 9 months later, and the second generation with Gold and Silver). Shigeki Morimoto from GameFreak says: “Actually, at that time (i.e. 1999) we had very few programmers. That wasn’t just the case for Gold and Silver but for Red and Green as well. There were only about four programmers.
Well, four is a very small number for a game with such those contents. It’s impossible to think that Nintendo was conscious about the success the game would have had. Only some years later the release of Green and Red, Pokémon became a commercial phenomenon in all over the world and worthy of major efforts.

It’s interesting to read this brief excursus on Pokémon history. When Green and Red made their appearance on Japanese market in the February 1996, it seemed that Game Boy might have reached the end of its life. Fourteen years later, we could say that Pokémon was the third system seller (killer application is a so obsolete term) of the handheld Nintendo console after Tetris and Super Mario Land, and the game that made Game Boy popular again among video gamers.

I have only talked about some short topics in this post, for the entire interview, check here.

I’m starting to blog a bit.

The purpose of this blog is to inform all of you (well, most of all of you) about video games sales and other things related to the videogame world. The most important idea behind this little project is the truth.
I’ve realized that a lot of video games site and magazine considered authoritative are driven by the same type of people who write in video games forums and are named ‘fanboys’. There are no differences between them; well, the former represent a noisy minority: they are only a little part of the entire video games world but they own the most influential media within it. I think it’s a problem. And I firmly think people need someone that shades light on the problem.

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