Will 'MadWorld' Take a Chainsaw to Wii's Goody-Two-Shoes Image?
Releasing an M-rated slaughterfest of a video game won't win a publisher new friends within groups like the NIMF. But when that game is a Wii exclusive, the uproar reaches new heights. Is it the notion that Nintendo's system is and should remain the "family-friendly" choice? Or does it have to do with the fact that decapitating an opponent in a Wii game involves swinging through the air rather than pushing a button?
This week, Nintendo once again topped the news in the world of video games, taking a risk with the exclusive release of a violent, Mature-rated game for the Wii, a console that generally supports wares of a more family-friendly variety.
Meanwhile, Take-Two announced a big loss for the first quarter of 2009, while Amazon, apparently eager to recession-proof its business, announced a new game trade-in program.
Tarnished Golden Boy?
The release this week of Sega's "MadWorld" on the Wii has apparently not gone over well with the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF). The game is the 22nd title with a "Mature" (M) rating released for the Wii console out of more than 500 titles currently available for the Wii.
With the launch of "MadWorld," Nintendo has shed its family-friendly patina, at least as far as NIMF President David Walsh is concerned.
"The release of 'MadWorld' for the Wii brings violent video games to a once family-friendly platform. In 'MadWorld,' gamers use the Wii Remote to make the necessary physical actions to chainsaw an opponent in half, impale an enemy with a signpost, or decapitate a victim with a golf club. MadWorld is another reminder that parents need to make sure they watch what their kids watch and play what their kids play," Walsh stated.
"In the past, the Wii has successfully sold itself as being the gaming console for the entire family and a way to bring family game nights back into people's living rooms. Unfortunately, Nintendo opened its doors to the violent video game genre. The National Institute on Media and the Family hopes that Nintendo does not lose sight of its initial audience and continues to offer quality, family-friendly games," he continued.
The ultra-violent game revolves around Jack, a mechanic and former Marine, as he participates in a violent television game show. In the title's sparse black-and-white world, violence is punctuated by sprays of blood and stomach-churning sound effects as player earn points slashing, stabbing, maiming and killing other game show contestants.
Releasing the game as a Wii exclusive is an effort by the console maker to provide a game for the large number of adults who have purchased the console, Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.
We'll just have to wait and see how many parents snatch away their kids' controllers because there's a new M-rated Wii game on the shelf.
In Other News
In other quarters of the gaming universe, economic forces continue drain vendors. Take-Two announced that despite strong sales, it has lost US$50 million in the first quarter of 2009. That's bad news for the company, considering that there are another 9 months left in a year that will likely only grow more challenging for vendors.
Meanwhile, perhaps trying to forestall an impact on its own bottom line, Amazon has announced a new video game trade-in program. Currently in beta, the program will enable users to send in used games the site is willing to buy and receive Amazon gift credit in return.
Real world retailers such as GameSpot aren't likely to be pleased about this move, but we'll have to wait and see if gamers take to the new program.