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Excitebots: Trick Racing

So… I haven’t updated in while. Why? Excitebots: Trick Racing, that’s why. The game has owned me for the past couple of weeks, and with some S rankings still to go in Super Excite mode, I’ve got a lot left on my plate.

I commented in December that Excite Truck was an overlooked gem that companies should be looking at for inspiration. Little did I know that Monster Games, creators of the first game, had a new, tasty dose of excite cooking in the kitchen.

There are few games that I’d offer my full recommendation, but Excitebots is honestly too awesome for anyone to ignore. It looks good, controls really well, packs a lot of content, and sports a solid online mode. And more than anything, it’s just ridiculously fun. Give it a go.

NPD March 2009

NPD sales data for March is as follows:

Hardware Sales

Wii: 601k
360: 330k
PS3: 218k
PS2: 112k
NDS: 563k
PSP: 168k

Weekly Sales March 09

Software Sales Top 20 Overall

  1. Resident Evil 5 (360) – 938k
  2. Pokemon Platinum (NDS) – 805k
  3. Halo Wars (360) – 639k
  4. Resident Evil 5 (PS3) – 585k
  5. Wii Fit (Wii) – 541k
  6. MLB ‘09: The Show (PS3) – 305k
  7. Killzone 2 (PS3) 296k
  8. Wii Play (Wii) – 281k
  9. Mario Kart (Wii) – 278k
  10. Major League Baseball 2K9 (360) – 205k
  11. Guitar Hero Metallica (360)
  12. Call of Duty: World At War (360)
  13. Street Fighter IV (360)
  14. Mario Kart DS (NDS)
  15. Street Fighter IV (PS3
  16. New Super Mario Bros (NDS)
  17. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (NDS)
  18. MLB ‘09: The Show (PS2)
  19. Halo 3 (360)
  20. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Wii)

Sales Trends March 09

Analysis

I’m late (again) to the game here with NPD analysis, so I’ll keep my thoughts short and sweet.

  • Wow… the biggest story of March is the complete nosedive that EVERY console took. I had to check my spreadsheet twice, because this is a pretty dramatic slide from February. In fact, all consoles are down month over month, and only 360 is up year over year – and that’s only thanks to inexplicable hardware shortages in Q1 2008.
  • As expected, Killzone 2 has posted okay numbers but ultimately has failed to jumpstart PS3 hardware.
  • 360 continues to churn out very solid numbers. I sad it last month and I’ll say it again – Microsoft is in a position to do very well over the next few months. Production costs have undoubtedly dropped (having a 199$ sku indicates that), and while I don’t expect sales to come much closer to Wii’s monthly totals, I don’t see momentum dropping off in the foreseeable future.
  • It’s safe to say that Wii supply has finally caught up to demand. Murmurs of slowing momentum will soon creep out of the internet, and while that is obviously a factual sentiment, don’t let it fool you – Wii’s #1 monthly position will not be changing any time soon (if ever).

Top 10 sales for each platform are after the graphs.

Monthly HW March 09

 YOY March 09   

Aggregate HW March 09

Top 10 Wii:

  1. WII FIT    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. WII PLAY W/ REMOTE    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  3. MARIO KART W/WHEEL    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  4. LEGO STAR WARS: COMPLETE SAGA    LUCASARTS
  5. LINK’S CROSSBOW TRAINING    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  6. GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  7. GUITAR HERO METALLICA    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  8. NEW PLAY CONTROL! MARIO POWER TENNIS    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  9. MADWORLD    SEGA OF AMERICA
  10. SONIC AND THE BLACK KNIGHT    SEGA OF AMERICA

Top 10 Xbox 360:

  1. RESIDENT EVIL 5*    CAPCOM USA
  2. HALO WARS*    MICROSOFT
  3. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  4. GUITAR HERO METALLICA    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  5. CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  6. STREET FIGHTER IV*    CAPCOM USA
  7. HALO 3*    MICROSOFT
  8. TOM CLANCY’S H.A.W.X.    UBISOFT
  9. NBA 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  10. WWE LEGENDS OF WRESTLEMANIA    THQ

Top 10 PlayStation 2:

  1. MLB ’09: THE SHOW    SONY
  2. NARUTO: ULTIMATE NINJA 4    NAMCO BANDAI GAMES OF AMERICA
  3. GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  4. NBA 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  5. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  6. RESIDENT EVIL 4*    CAPCOM USA
  7. TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD    EIDOS INTERACTIVE
  8. GOD OF WAR II    SONY
  9. CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  10. GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

Top 10 PlayStation 3:

  1. RESIDENT EVIL 5*    CAPCOM USA
  2. MLB ’09: THE SHOW    SONY
  3. KILLZONE 2    SONY
  4. STREET FIGHTER IV*    CAPCOM USA
  5. GUITAR HERO METALLICA    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  6. TOM CLANCY’S H.A.W.X.    UBISOFT
  7. CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  8. WWE LEGENDS OF WRESTLEMANIA    THQ
  9. SONIC’S ULTIMATE GENESIS COLLECTION    SEGA OF AMERICA
  10. NBA 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE

Top 10 Game Boy Advance:

  1. ASTEROIDS/PONG/YARS    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  2. UNO 52    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  3. PUPPY LUV: SPA & RESORT    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  4. BIG MUTHA TRUCKERS    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  5. VALUE GAME BUNDLE 14.99    MULTIPLE VIDEO GAME MANUFACTURER
  6. GBA SPYHUNTER/SUPERSPRINT    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  7. VAN HELSING    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  8. PRINCESS NATASHA: STUDENT SECRET AGENT    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  9. UNO/FREEFALL    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  10. GAUNTLET/RAMPART    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.

Top 10 Nintendo DS:

  1. POKEMON PLATINUM VERSION    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. MARIO KART DS    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  3. NEW SUPER MARIO BROS    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  4. PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  5. GRAND THEFT AUTO: CHINATOWN WARS    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  6. LEGO STAR WARS: COMPLETE SAGA    LUCASARTS
  7. PHINEAS AND FERB    DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS
  8. MARIO PARTY    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  9. SUPER MARIO 64 DS    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  10. CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE    DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS

Top 10 PSP:

  1. MLB ’09: THE SHOW    SONY
  2. RESISTANCE: RETRIBUTION    SONY
  3. PHANTASY STAR PORTABLE    SEGA OF AMERICA
  4. GRAND THEFT AUTO: LIBERTY CITY STORIES    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  5. GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY STORIES    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  6. IRON MAN    SEGA OF AMERICA
  7. MEDAL OF HONOR: HEROES 2    ELECTRONIC ARTS
  8. MIDNIGHT CLUB: LA REMIX    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  9. WWE SMACKDOWN VS RAW 2008    THQ
  10. MX VS ATV UNLEASHED: ON THE EDGE    THQ

Top 10 Portable Games (All):

  1. NDS POKEMON PLATINUM VERSION    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. NDS MARIO KART DS    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  3. NDS NEW SUPER MARIO BROS    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  4. NDS PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  5. NDS GRAND THEFT AUTO: CHINATOWN WARS    NDS     TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  6. NDS LEGO STAR WARS: COMPLETE SAGA    NDS     LUCASARTS
  7. NDS PHINEAS AND FERB    NDS     DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS
  8. PSP MLB ’09: THE SHOW    NDS     SONY
  9. NDS MARIO PARTY    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  10. NDS SUPER MARIO 64 DS    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA

Top 10 Accessories

  1. WII NUNCHUK CONTROLLER    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. 360 LIVE 1600 POINT GAME CARD    MICROSOFT
  3. WII REMOTE CONTROLLER W/ JACKET    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  4. PS3 DUALSHOCK 3 WIRELESS CONTROLLER    SONY
  5. 360 LIVE 1 MONTH GOLD CARD    MICROSOFT
  6. WII REMOTE CONTROLLER    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  7. 360 HEADSET    MICROSOFT
  8. 360 LIVE 12 MONTH GOLD CARD    MICROSOFT
  9. 360 LIVE 3 MONTH GOLD CARD    MICROSOFT
  10. WII WHEEL GRIP    NINTENDO OF AMERICA

*Inclusive of collectors’, limited, instrument bundles

(source: Wired)

Predictions: NPD March 2009

NPD video game sales data for March 2009 will be released next Thursday. (Note: March is tracked as a 5 week month, whereas February was tracked as a 4 week month. All % calculations will be done using weekly sales rates.)

Predictions

Format: “Total Hardware” (“Weekly Hardware” | “% change of weekly sales over February”)

Wii: 890k ( 178k | –5.44% )
360: 455k ( 91k | –6.91% )
PS3: 305k ( 61k | –11.59% )
PS2: 185k ( 37k | +12.98% )
NDS: 700k ( 140k | –4.76% )
PSP: 225k ( 45k | –9.55% )

Notes regarding my predictions:

  • PS2 had ~5 days of sales at a new 99 dollar price point – expect a mild increase in sales.
  • Wii sales are a tough one this month. It seemed like supply caught up to demand in February, but demand could be pretty epic in March. I might be undershooting this one.
  • If 360 is able to post 450k+, Microsoft should be very excited about their prospects going into summer.

Actual sales data from The NPD Group will be released on Thursday, April 16th after market close (4:00 PM).

Sad World?

With my Peggle problem mostly behind me, I can finally turn my attention to more pressing matters.

MadWorld has been a disappointment thus far. Its style is consistent and arresting, but the game’s general gameplay mechanics immediately show their lack of depth. All of the Wiimote motions translate well to onscreen actions, but there just aren’t enough of them. All of the QTEs are interesting and good-looking, but there just aren’t enough of them. The environmental structures enable some great kills, but there just aren’t… well, you get the idea.

What is there is pretty cool (and generally well designed), but there just isn’t enough meat to cover MadWorld’s bones. This is reinforced by the game’s forced and utterly repetitive commentary. Greg Proops and John DiMaggio have a few funny lines, but they are recycled so frequently that what is originally shocking and fresh eventually becomes really annoying. I ended up turning them down completely so that I could hear the music, which, like the rest of the game, is fundamentally good but ultimately repetitive.

Amazon had a deal on Wii Music the other day, and I just couldn’t help myself. I like what I’ve seen so far, though I’m sad that I won’t be able to take advantage of the game’s song sharing mechanics (since none of my friends have the game). I don’t think this is a game that I’ll put big chunks of time into, but I hope it proves to be an interesting thing to come back to every now and then.

My Peggle Problem

As much as I love me some video games, I rarely feel “addicted” to them. In general, they are a means of entertainment, and while I might sometimes get frustrated by a lack of adequate play time, that’s only because I genuinely enjoy the hobby.

Enter Peggle.

The XBLA version has been my first foray into the Peggle universe, though I’ve heard about it in the past (most notably from 1up Yours’ (ListenUp’s) John Davison). I’m rarely sucked into these simple games, but something about Peggle has really grabbed me by the junk. I don’t know if it’s the tasty mix of skill and luck, the generous helping of off-the-wall humor, or the physics (I love physics), but I’m officially hooked.

Put more simply: I’ve beaten the game, and I’m still playing for high scores and extra challenges. That just doesn’t normally happen.

I started a regimen of allergy shots today, and since they need to “observe” me for half an hour after every dose (you know, so I don’t “die”), I figured it would be a good time to dig into some long-neglected DS games. I fired up Professor Layton and was shocked by its high production values. The game is really quite polished, and I’m looking forward to digging into it.

NPD February 2009

NPD sales data for February is as follows:

Hardware Sales

Wii: 753k
360: 391k
PS3: 276k
PS2: 131k
NDS: 588k
PSP: 199k

Weekly Sales February 09

Software Sales Top 20 Overall

  1. Wii Fit (Wii) – 644K
  2. Street Fighter IV (360) – 446K
  3. Street Fighter IV (PS3) – 403K
  4. Wii Play (Wii) – 386K
  5. Killzone 2 (PS3) – 323K
  6. Mario Kart (Wii) – 263K
  7. Call of Duty: World at War (360) – 193K
  8. Mario Kart DS (NDS) – 145K
  9. New Super Mario Bros (NDS) – 144K
  10. Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii) – 136K
  11. FEAR 2 (360)
  12. Skate 2 (360)
  13. Left 4 Dead (360)
  14. NBA 2K9 (360)
  15. Halo 3 (360)
  16. Call of Duty: World At War (PS3)
  17. Lego Star Wars: Complete Saga (Wii)
  18. Guitar Hero World Tour (360)
  19. My Fitness Coach (Wii)
  20. Fallout 3 (360)

Top 10 Wii

  1. WII WII FIT    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. WII WII PLAY W/ REMOTE    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  3. WII MARIO KART W/WHEEL    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  4. WII GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  5. WII LEGO STAR WARS: COMPLETE SAGA    LUCASARTS
  6. WII MY FITNESS COACH    UBISOFT
  7. WII JILLIAN MICHAELS FITNESS ULTIMATUM 2009    MAJESCO
  8. WII NASCAR KART RACING    ELECTRONIC ARTS
  9. WII SUPER SMASH BROS: BRAWL    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  10. WII TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 09    ELECTRONIC ARTS

Top 10 Xbox 360

  1. 360 STREET FIGHTER IV*    CAPCOM USA
  2. 360 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  3. 360 F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN    WARNER INTERACTIVE
  4. 360 SKATE 2    ELECTRONIC ARTS
  5. 360 LEFT 4 DEAD    ELECTRONIC ARTS
  6. 360 NBA 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  7. 360 HALO 3*    MICROSOFT
  8. 360 GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  9. 360 FALLOUT 3*    BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
  10. 360 GEARS OF WAR 2*    MICROSOFT

Top 10 PlayStation 2

  1. PS2 GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  2. PS2 NBA 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  3. PS2 GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  4. PS2 GUITAR HERO AEROSMITH*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  5. PS2 MADDEN NFL 09    ELECTRONIC ARTS
  6. PS2 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  7. PS2 RESIDENT EVIL 4    CAPCOM USA
  8. PS2 KINGDOM HEARTS RE: CHAIN OF MEMORIES    SQUARE ENIX INC
  9. PS2 WWE SMACKDOWN VS. RAW 2009    THQ
  10. PS2 LEGO BATMAN    WARNER INTERACTIVE

Top 10 PlayStation 3

  1. PS3 STREET FIGHTER IV*    CAPCOM USA
  2. PS3 KILLZONE 2    SONY
  3. PS3 CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  4. PS3 F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN    WARNER INTERACTIVE
  5. PS3 GUITAR HERO III LEGENDS OF ROCK    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  6. PS3 GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR*    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  7. PS3 SONIC’S ULTIMATE GENESIS COLLECTION    SEGA OF AMERICA
  8. PS3 NBA 2K9    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  9. PS3 RESISTANCE 2*    SONY
  10. PS3 MORTAL KOMBAT VS. DC UNIVERSE*    MIDWAY

Top 10 Game Boy Advance

  1. GBA UNO 52    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  2. GBA SHREK 2/MADAGASCAR OPERATION PEN    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  3. GBA BIG MUTHA TRUCKERS    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  4. GBA PUPPY LUV: SPA & RESORT    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  5. GBA MADAGASCAR    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
  6. GBA ASTEROIDS/PONG/YARS    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  7. GBA DRILL DOZER    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  8. GBA GOLDEN NUGGET CASINO    MAJESCO
  9. GBA SPYHUNTER/SUPERSPRINT    DESTINATION SOFTWARE INC.
  10. GBA VAN HELSING    ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

Top 10 Nintendo DS

  1. NDS MARIO KART DS    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. NDS NEW SUPER MARIO BROS    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  3. NDS CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE    DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS
  4. NDS LEGO STAR WARS: COMPLETE SAGA    LUCASARTS
  5. NDS SUPER MARIO 64 DS    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  6. NDS FIRE EMBLEM: SHADOW DRAGON    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  7. NDS MARIO PARTY    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  8. NDS KIRBY SUPER STAR ULTRA    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  9. NDS POKEMON RANGER: SHADOWS OF ALMIA    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  10. NDS BRAIN AGE 2: MORE TRAINING IN MINUTES A DAY    NINTENDO OF AMERICA

Top 10 PSP

  1. PSP GRAND THEFT AUTO: LIBERTY CITY STORIES    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  2. PSP MIDNIGHT CLUB: LA REMIX    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  3. PSP GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY STORIES    TAKE 2 INTERACTIVE
  4. PSP IRON MAN    SEGA OF AMERICA
  5. PSP LOCOROCO 2    SONY
  6. PSP MADDEN NFL 09    ELECTRONIC ARTS
  7. PSP WWE SMACKDOWN VS. RAW 2008    THQ
  8. PSP LEGO BATMAN    WARNER INTERACTIVE
  9. PSP WWE SMACKDOWN VS. RAW 2009    THQ
  10. PSP CRISIS CORE: FINAL FANTASY VII    SQUARE ENIX INC

Top 10 Portable Games Overall

  1. NDS MARIO KART DS    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. NDS NEW SUPER MARIO BROS    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  3. NDS CLUB PENGUIN: ELITE PENGUIN FORCE    NDS     DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS
  4. NDS LEGO STAR WARS: COMPLETE SAGA    NDS     LUCASARTS
  5. NDS SUPER MARIO 64 DS    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  6. NDS FIRE EMBLEM: SHADOW DRAGON    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  7. NDS MARIO PARTY    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  8. NDS KIRBY SUPER STAR ULTRA    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  9. NDS POKEMON RANGER: SHADOWS OF ALMIA    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  10. NDS BRAIN AGE 2: MORE TRAINING IN MINUTES A DAY    NDS     NINTENDO OF AMERICA

Top 10 Accessories

  1. WII NUNCHUK CONTROLLER    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  2. WII REMOTE CONTROLLER W/ JACKET    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  3. PS3 DUALSHOCK 3 WIRELESS CONTROLLER    SONY
  4. 360 LIVE 1600 POINT GAME CARD    MICROSOFT
  5. 360 LIVE 1 MONTH GOLD CARD    MICROSOFT
  6. 360 LIVE 12 MONTH GOLD CARD    MICROSOFT
  7. WII REMOTE CONTROLLER    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  8. WII CHARGE STATION    NYKO
  9. WII WHEEL GRIP    NINTENDO OF AMERICA
  10. 360 HEADSET    MICROSOFT

*Inclusive of collectors’, limited, instrument bundles

(source: Wired)

Aggregate HW February 09

Analysis

I’m late to the game here with NPD analysis, so I’ll keep my thoughts short and sweet.

  • Again, Nintendo stole the show. Wii supply has finally outpaced demand, and while that’s notable, 753k is a mammoth total that simply can’t be ignored. Friendly warning: don’t underestimate DSi demand – it will be huge.
  • Killzone 2 saw modest sales success, but it had a middling effect on PS3 hardware sales. Again, all Sony hardware was down yoy– not exactly the sales momentum they were hoping for.
  • Xbox 360’s continued growth is the biggest (new) story of 2009. They had some unacceptable supply issues in early 2008 that inflate yoy comparisons, but even still, Microsoft has to be pleased with how the first quarter of this year has played out. Aggressive moves like the exclusive GTA DLC and RE5 themed console will continue to push sales up.

 

Monthly HW February 09 

Sales Trends February 09

YOY February 09

Burnout, Literally?

I am overwhelmed by Burnout Paradise – there’s just so much to do that I’m having trouble distilling the experience to a consumable substance. Criterion is to be commended for their continued support of the game via patches and free DLC, but there is such a glut of content (in addition to a completely revamped UI) that I don’t know where to start.

I’m not really complaining, of course. In this day and age of carefully metered entertainment, it’s refreshing to experience such… excess. Still, though I’m mildly ashamed to admit it, there’s a small part of me that is annoyed at having to traverse this ocean without a hand to guide me.

..I’m still debating whether this is a legitimate complaint or the manifestation of my intellect’s atrophy…

“Don’t call me a mindless philosopher,
you overweight glob of grease!”