News Article

Top 20 WiiWare Games in USA (29th Apr)

Posted by Corbie Dillard

It's Wednesday again and time for the WiiWare Top 20!

It's time to take a look at the most popular WiiWare titles available on the Wii Shop Channel. If you're feeling adventurous you can even take a look for yourself by simply logging on to your Wii Shop Channel, heading into the WiiWare section and then viewing "Popular Games". It's that easy!

We compile this list using the USA region Wii Shop channel, so if you live elsewhere your list will probably be quite a bit different. Please feel free to post your region's findings below as always.

Keep in mind that the list below is a measure of actual sales made recently, not of the total time the game has been available for sale.

Here is the list for the 29th of April:
1 (1) - World of Goo
2 (2) - My Aquarium
3 (3) - Tetris Party
4 (4) - My Pokémon Ranch
5 (5) - Onslaught
6 (6) - Dr Mario Online Rx
7 (7) - Cue Sports - Pool Revolution
8 (N) - Crystal Defenders R1
9 (8) - Defend Your Castle
10 (11) - Fun! Fun! Minigolf
11 (9) - Brain Challenge
12 (14) - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
13 (16) - Bomberman Blast
14 (10) - Equilibrio
15 (12) - Pop'Em Drop'Em SAMEGAME
16 (17) - Midnight Bowling
17 (19) - Sandy Beach
18 (15) - Target Toss Pro: Bags
19 (20) - Wild West Guns
20 (13) - Bit.Trip Beat

* (N) - Denotes a brand new entry on the Top 20
* (-) - Denotes a game that was not on the Top 20 last week

It might be time to just start copying and pasting this first section into the Top 20 each week since it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon. The "Big Three" remain intact with no signs of slowing down. There I said it. Of course we could call it the "Fabulous Five" now since these five games have been in the same slot for several weeks now. :)

The big climber this week was Crystal Defenders R1 from Square-Enix, which is also a new entry on the Top 20. The game jumped from off the charts completely last week all the way up to #8. The big dropper this week was Bit.Trip Beat, which fell 7 spots from #13 to #20. Come on people, snatch this one up and don't let it fall off the charts completely.

It seems that Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King and Bomberman Blast are both continuing to enjoy a resurgence and are still making their way back up the Top 20 again. It's also worth noting that Bonsai Barber has officially dropped out of the Top 20. Who knows, maybe it will pop back up on the charts again at some point.

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User Comments (75)

Twilight_Crow

#1

Twilight_Crow said:

What! those five games are still there? And without any changes :O, sorry for Bonsai Barber, it's an underated game, hopefully Bit.trip Beat won't share its fate.

WolfRamHeart

#2

WolfRamHeart said:

Booo! Bonsai Barber dropped out of the Top 20 and Bit. Trip Beat almost off the list! I can't believe so many people downloaded Crystal Defenders R1 too! I wish Toki Tori would make a comeback!

Djungelurban

#3

Djungelurban said:

Swedish top 20:
(1) 1 - Bubble Bobble Plus!
(2) 2 - World Of Goo
(5) 3 - Onslaught
(3) 4 - Texas Hold'em Tournament
(-) 5 - Adventure Island: The Beginning
(-) 6 - Crystal Defenders R1
(9) 7 - Mega Man 9
(7) 8 - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King
(6) 9 - Bomberman Blast
(10) 10 - Fun! Fun! Minigolf
(11) 11 - Tetris Party
(8) 12 - My Aquarium
(4) 13 - Equilibrio
(12) 14 - LostWinds
(13) 15 - Snowboard Riot
(14) 16 - My Pokémon Ranch
(R) 17 - Toki Tori
(18) 18 - Defend Your Castle
(17) 19 - Family Table Tennis
(15) 20 - TV Show King

Pikamander2

#4

Pikamander2 said:

I'm glad that Bomberman Blast is making a comeback. It's such a great game.

I don't understand how World Of Goo is still at the top. Doesn't everybody already own it?

greyelephant

#5

greyelephant said:

You could almost copy and paste the same results week in and week out.

They really need to get us the Swords and Soldiers game already!

Objection

#6

Objection said:

Of course we could call it the "Big Five" now since these five games have been in the same slot for several weeks now. It's the Fabulous Five, get it right~!

CorbsAdmin

#7

Corbs said:

Sorry, I can't use the word "fabulous" as it makes me sound too much like a male hairdresser. :P

Dezner

#8

Dezner said:

Maybe the Top 5 are simply broken and they're really not at the top. >_> CONSPIRACY! :o

...And damn, I don't even remember when Mega Man 9 dropped off the list. :( That's not right at all. :p

MarkyVigoroth

#9

MarkyVigoroth said:

I think I am the only one who wants My Pokémon Ranch to go back to the #1 spot. (In fact, I will download that game when I go into my micro shopping spree after college is over for summer!)

KDR_11k

#10

KDR_11k said:

Hm, looks like BTB had the spike and drop of a hardcore game though it wasn't quite as fast as LIT.

Germany
(1) 1 Texas Hold'Em Tournament
(2) 2 My Aquarium
(3) 3 Onslaught
(5) 4 World of Goo
(6) 5 Equilibrio
(7) 6 FUN FUN Minigolf
(8) 7 TV Show King
(11) 8 Tetris Party
(9) 9 My Pokemon Ranch
(4) 10 Bubble Bobble Plus!
(10) 11 Bomberman Blast
(-) 12 Crystal Defensers R1
(13) 13 Brain Challenge
(-) 14 Adventure Island The Beginning
(14) 15 Snowboard Riot
(15) 16 Pop-Up Pirate!
(12) 17 Family & Friends Party
(19) 18 Defend Your Castle
(16) 19 Midnight Bowling
(17) 20 LostWinds

The top sees some movement as Bubble Booble drops dramatically while Equilibrio stays. Tower defense with Final Fantasy proves more popular than Wonder Boy with Master Higgins and Tetris sees a resurgence due to the tournament announcement. Family & Friends Party didn't keep our interest well either, losing quite a few spots too. Completely missing this time are FFCCMLaaK and SAMEGAME.

VGM

#11

VGM said:

Hey Corbie you can say fabulous,you won't sound like a hairdresser you'll just sound like the King of all Cosmos from Katamari.

CorbsAdmin

#12

Corbs said:

Oh well, then I guess that's okay. I like the King. :D Fix'd and Fix'd!

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#13

Philip_J_Reed said:

If Bit.Trip: Beat falls off the list next week, Chicken Brutus WILL go mental and beat the crap out of everyone who doesn't own it.

You've been warned.

Toddr

#14

Toddr said:

I don't own it but you can gift it to me if you really want me to have it. I have no points to buy it. :P

chris3116

#17

chris3116 said:

Canada list:
1-World of Goo
2-Tetris Party
3-My Aquarium
4-Crystal Defenders R1
5-Dr.Mario Online RX
6-My Pokemon Ranch
7-Onslaught
8-Cue Sports - Pool Revolution
9-Defend your Castle
10-Bomberman Blast
11-Equilibrio
12-FFCC: My Life as a king
13-Brain Challenge
14-Mega Man 9
15-Bit Trip Beat
16-Party Fun Pirate
17-Fun! Fun! Minigolf
18-Pop'Em Drop'Em SAMEGAME
19-Tiki Towers
20-Bonsai Barber

YAY No more Hockey Allstar Shootout.

Djungelurban

#18

Djungelurban said:

I certainly won't buy Bit.Trip by then, cause I find it looking really stupid. "hides from Chicken Brutus in his fortress of extra padded pillows"

Not that it would affect its US rank anyway but hey... :D

osb1842

#19

osb1842 said:

Hey! This is Chris, BIT.TRIP BEAT's very own programmer. Srsly folks, does anyone have any idea why we're dropping so fast in the charts? If you haven't bought BEAT, post here and let us know why!

CorbsAdmin

#20

Corbs said:

Hey Chris. It's the concept. Look at Mega Man 9, Gradius Rebirth, and Star Soldier R. The retro games don't hold on for long. It's sad, but they don't. If you had put fish in the game, it would be at #2 right now. Fish sell! :P So here's hoping for Bit.Trip Fish.

And you wanna know what injects interest into a falling title...a contest! Need I saw more?

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#21

Philip_J_Reed said:

Would anyone be interested in a Mario Kart tournament in which I gift Bit.Trip: Beat to the winner?

Toddr

#22

Toddr said:

I would be very interested. You could also gift it to all the participants. :P

bboy2970

#23

bboy2970 said:

NOOOOO!! Not Bonsai Barber!! It BETTER make a comeback in the future!
@Chris: Well i bought bit trip beat but my guess for the fall is mabey the fact that the games concept isnt very clear and doesnt sound that great in the title or description. Also while you're here care to shed a little light on the next bit trip game??

osb1842

#24

osb1842 said:

@Corbie and @bboy2970 Man, is the whole retro thing over that quick? :( I thought we could ride it for at least one more year. But yeah perhaps it's a fad. As for the title & description, you may be onto something too. Any ideas how to make that stuff more clear?

You want to know more about BIT.TRIP XXXX, you say? Well, I'm looking at it right now on my TV... what do you want to know? :)

CorbsAdmin

#25

Corbs said:

I just think the retro crowd is much smaller in the overall scheme of things than us retrogamers are aware of. The Wii is more gravitated towards the casual gamer crowd and maybe that's watering down the retro crowds even more. Don't let it sway you from your goal, however. I still think the retro-type games you guys are creating are the right way to go. You still have the European launch to look forward to. Maybe that will kickstart the US release again.

As I said above, try a contest. That injects new life into a falling title any day! :D

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#26

Philip_J_Reed said:

Honestly, Chris / Alex, I was a bit unimpressed by the initial gameplay video. I want to make clear, before I explain further, that Bit.Trip was a day 1 purchase for me and is easily one of my favorite games of the year.

However, the trailer...it didn't seem exciting enough. I think, thanks to the interview, I was able to understand what to expect from the game, but the trailer made it seem very simplistic, and--I hate to say it--repetitive. Maybe some of the more advanced sections would have been worth showing, or a selection of music more exciting than the "bip...bip...beep...bip..." that we got.

The game itself is, I'm being totally honest here, nearly flawless. I love it, and I've recommended it to everybody I know with a Wii. But I can understand somebody looking at the trailer and being nonplussed.

I hope none of that sounded rude or out of line...but you did ask, and that's the first thing that came to mind.

CorbsAdmin

#28

Corbs said:

I agree. The Behind-the-Scenes video was a great marketing tool. Gave a lot more insight into the game and how it plays. That first trailer can make or break a game, it really can. Well said Chicken.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#29

Philip_J_Reed said:

If by the second one you mean the behind-the-scenes thing, yeah, I loved it. :) But, to be honest, by that point, you had already won me over. If somebody saw the first trailer without being interested, and then a making-of was released, they might not even bother to give that second vid a chance.

The best part of the first trailer was when those purple figure-eight dots come in, weaving around the stationary dots...(go ahead, make fun of me for not knowing their names...I can take it!), because that was a taste of the game doing something unique.

Maybe instead of the "standard" beats dominating the trailer, it would have been nice to include footage of those swirling pink beats, or those connected crazy ones from stage 3...

But, honestly, don't listen to me on specifics. I'm no video whiz. It's just that I thought the trailer was a little weak. And when the game came out, and I saw how effing awesome the thing really was, it was even more frustrating. :P

You have a small team, though, and I do respect everything you guys have managed to do with such a limited budget / timeframe. I hope I don't sound ungrateful.

osb1842

#30

osb1842 said:

Right on. The behind-the-scene vid was made waaaaaay later than the rest, so unfortunately we couldn't rely on it for the first taste. The second trailer actually was this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_Nr7oW_fdc

I think it debuted on Joystiq a bit (ha!) after the first trailer.

osb1842

#31

osb1842 said:

Oh, and Chicken... you aren't ungrateful, quite the opposite in fact. All we're trying to do here is make some rad games and sell a ton of them. Any help whatsoever in how to get these sales up is MUCH appreciated.

Rum_Rapture

#32

Rum_Rapture said:

UK:

1 (1) - My Aquarium
2 (2) - Texas Hold'em Tournament
3 (3) - World of Goo
4 (5) - Onslaught
5 (8) - My Pokemon Ranch
6 (7) - Pop-Up Pirate!
7 (6) - Equilibrio
8 (4) - Bubble Bobble Plus!
9 (9) - Snowboard Riot
10 (N) - Adventure Island: The Beginning
11 (12) - Defend Your Castle
12 (10) - Bomberman Blast
13 (15) - Tetris Party
14 (11) - The Incredible Maze
15 (18) - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King
16 (13) - TV Show King
17 (14) - FUN! FUN! Minigolf
18 (17) - CueSports - Snooker vs. Billiards
19 (20) - Space Invaders Get Even
20 (N) - LostWinds

No sign of Crystal Bearers, but My Life As A King went up a few spots, and we lost Brain Challenge and Family & Friends Party to make room for Adventure Island and LostWinds.

P.S. Bit.Trip Fish sounds like a winning idea.

thewiirocks

#33

thewiirocks said:

@Corbie sez... "I just think the retro crowd is much smaller in the overall scheme of things than us retrogamers are aware of."

Hey, we have more than enough numbers to overpack the Midwest Gaming Classic show! Plus, there's a lot of positive reaction to retro gaming.

I think the real problem is that Bit Trip is not so much retro gaming as it is chic. Retro styling is chic right now. BTB is retro styled. Ergo, BTB is chic. Anything chic tends to be faddish in nature. :(

Gradius was a completely different beast. First off, shmups appeal to a smaller crowd. That's just the way it is. Secondly, it wasn't that great of a game. I picked up the GBA Gradius after trying the WiiWare version, and it was worlds better.

Maybe my memory is faulty, but I recall MM9 holding on for a few months? Certainly long enough for VGChartz to make the (apparently baseless) claim of it selling hundreds of thousands of copies.

CorbsAdmin

#35

Corbs said:

The Midwest Gaming Classic show is relatively small by comparison to the actual number of active gamers out there. Even E3 is quite small by comparison, even when it was open to the public. I love retro gaming and I spend far more time on my classic gaming rig and my arcade cabinets than with my Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii consoles. FAR more time. Heck I spend more time with my pre-video game crash rig of my Intellivision, Atari 2600, Colecovision, Atari XEGS, and Odyssey 2 than with my current consoles. :D

But I still believe that retro gaming makes up a very small part of the overall gaming picture, and sales of retro packages tends to reinforce that belief, as sad as it is. And so far, not many retro-themed WiiWare titles have managed to last for very long on the charts, even though some of the lesser-thought-of titles have. :D

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#36

Philip_J_Reed said:

@osb1842:

Wow, I hadn't even seen that second trailer, then, to be honest. I just watched it though, and I do think it's much better. I wouldn't call it a home run (the many misses in the trailer may not be a great idea...I don't know if I've seen a Guitar Hero commercial with the player screwing up...it's usually the promise of success that's so enticing), but it does feature a lot of great gameplay footage.

Actually, I wish I HAD seen this before I played the game, because it solves a part of the game that had me screaming profanities for god knows how long... :P

I can't wait to see what you guys do next.

Djungelurban

#37

Djungelurban said:

@osb1842
Since you asked... Apart from the fact that I couldn't play Bit.Trip Beat yet even if I wanted to (seeing is it isn't released here yet) here are the reasons why I don't wanna play it.

*First of all, the Atari 2600 was never a big hit i Sweden and seeing as I was born in 1983 I kinda would ahve missed the party anyway. Therefore this "homage" thingy graphically leaves me completely cold. Now I'm not a graphics snob by any popular definition (I mean Suikoden is my favorite game franchise ever and if its something that series is really NOT famous for it is pushing the envelope graphically), but let's just say that I'll never be able to play through Adventure cause the mere sight of it damages my soul... I like old school graphics, but that's just one step too far. So yeah, graphically Bit.Trip Beat is a huge turn off for em.

  • Secondly, I just don't get why this would be fun. As far as I can tell, BTB is sort of a cross-breed between Pong and a chip tune generator. And the best thing I can muster up about that is sort of like "yeah, that's kinda neat... maybe". To be clear, I'm not adverse to games that use music to generate or interact with gameplay in unconventional ways, for example I really like Audiosurf, even though puzzlers aren't really my thing. But on the other hand we have a game like Vib Ribbon where I sort get what they were trying to do but I just don't understand why they thought that specific game design would be fun. And from my PoV, BTB might be more of a "Vib Ribbon" than an "Audiosurf" if you know what I mean. I think I understand the idea conceptually, but I don't understand why the idea would be good. I mean, it's obvious that alot of people do think the idea is good seeing as it's getting raves from both fans aswell as press, but that only serves to make me more confused.

So basically what it all boils down to is that I just don't get it. I'm sure that this appeals to alot of people, I'm just not one of them. I watch gameplay vids of it and afterwards the only thing I'm left with is the question "Why?".

osb1842

#38

osb1842 said:

@Djungelurban Thank you SO much. We need more feedback like this!

1) We knew up front that the 2600 style would be a big turn off for some, especially those without a nostalgic hook from their own life. As for myself, born in 1981, I caught the tail-end of the 2600 craze, and frankly, did not like it one bit cause I was comparing it to the new-fangled NES that some of my friends had. Although, there are plenty of hilarious WTF moments with games like E.T., among others ;) We are eagerly awaiting results about performance in the EU and Japan, both places where the 2600 had little to no presence. But hey, a good game is a good game, so maybe it'll do alright with word of mouth...

2) Seems like a demo would really help you here. We've found a lot of people just don't "get it" until they try it. The trouble with demos though, is twofold. First, Nintendo doesn't do them at all! And second, since it's such a small game, we'd feel weird about "giving away" like 1/3 of the game for free. But hell, maybe that would help sales, not sure...

Thank again, and keep these "why I didn't buy BIT.TRIP" comments coming!

Djungelurban

#39

Djungelurban said:

I'd argue also that interest in retro in general is as marginalised as Corbie makes it seem. Sure, it might not have the broad mainstream appeal that a fish tank sim might have but if we actually got to see the first day or first week sales of Mega Man 9, it would dwarf the first week sales of every other game. It's quite possible that by now it's been overtaken by other games but it still shows that retro gaming is not dead. And for the other games there are other more logical reasons why it didn't work as well as one could hope. Star Soldier R had there problem that it didn't seem to be a full game. I mean, only 2 levels and a time limit? What the..?! Gradius on the other hand had plenty of bad (or should I say unfair) press to deal with (I'm looking at YOU Corbie :P) aswell as the fact that it was basically little more than a Gradius remix. Space Invaders Get Even "failed" because it was little more than a shell of a game really and people eventually found that out. And Alien Crush Returns failed because, well let's be honest here, apart from a few people here and there no one ever really cared about that franchise in the first place.

Let's not forget that alot of "retro" games has worked like gang busters. First of all Mega Man 9, which should have tapped out its entire market in the first week and yet spent 24 weeks on the US chart (still ranking in the top 10 in Sweden btw), but there are also games like Bomberman Blast, Tetris Party, Dr Mario Online RX and let's not forget that Bubble Bobble Plus! seems to have had a flying start out of the gate (3rd straight week in top in Sweden for example). Adventure Island is too early to call but it does seem to be doing pretty good atleast.

I wouldn't call Bit.Trip Beat a failure really. I mean, it charted fourth 3 weeks in a row in the US only behind a game that still will be remembered 50 years from now, casual bait extraordinaire and the game that basically created the entire modern puzzle genre and is quite possibly the most well known game in the world. That's a feat. However, I think BTB is a tough sell because its concept isn't immediately obvious and it looks, I think everyone can agree here, pretty damn weird. It's just a rather narrow game, at least at first glance, so if it's not doing as well as some people might have expected... Well, you really should have expected it. All in all though, I'm certain retro is not dead. In fact, it's more alive than ever.

CorbsAdmin

#40

Corbs said:

Well I didn't mean to make it sound like retro gamers were a tiny portion of the market, but I think we retro gamers tend to think we make up the bulk of the gaming community sometimes when it's not as significant as we'd like to think. Most of my gaming friends here where I live are around my age yet have absolutely no interest in classic game consoles past the Playstation system. They think I'm out of my mind for owning all of these 30+ game systems when I could, as they put it, "just emulate them on my computer the way everyone else does."

And I was speaking more about longevity on the charts, rather than instant or short-term sales. And I would certainly never say retro gaming is dead or anywhere near it. Oh and I had the Gradius comment coming. :D

As for Bit.Trip Beat, I just wish we'd see more creativity like that found in games like Bit.Trip Beat and World of Goo on the WiiWare service. I'm anxious to see how Bit.Trip Beat sells in Japan and Europe. I hope it makes Gaijin Games some money so they'll keep making the games. :)

longtimegamer

#43

longtimegamer said:

@Chris - You guys did a great job on BTB! I haven't played it for awhile, but I've still got to go back and finish the last level.

I wasn't sure about getting the game at first. As a matter of fact, when I heard people going gah gah over over it I before it came out, I couldn't understand why they were so worked up over it. I'm not trying to offend you guys, but people might see the Atari style graphics and automatically what the h*ll? Of course, you can't always judge a book by it's cover. I think the fact that people were excited about this helped get me interested in this, look up more about it and eventually buy it.
On the level of difficulty, it kind of sucks starting way back at the beginning of a level after getting quite aways into it. However, it is really nice to be able to say that you got through it. You should have an online leaderboard so everyone can show/(brag about) how well they did.

I think corbies right about the contest thing. Your game would be perfect for that too. Like what they're doing for Madstone.

Hardy83

#44

Hardy83 said:

These lists will always be incredibly similar week to week because, as we all know, Nintendo is ridiculously slow when it comes to releasing new content... Like... It's actually pretty sad how slow they are.

On the other hand, I'm sure the people who HAVE made it on there are happy. :P

Objection

#45

Objection said:

Corbie, #12-Hell yeah! Now we're talking! Thanks, VGP (#11!) I bought BTB and was semi-satisfied...I don't regret it though. Just wish the levels were broken up into more actual, selectable levels.

Tails

#46

Tails said:

I'm surprised Crystal Defenders moved up i didnt like it that much but i want Explodemon! @osb1842: I thought BTB was fun i'm not saying its the best in the world though so please dont hate on me but i tell everyone at my work everything thats going on WiiWare,Wii & Etc. Also if you can are yall developing any other games soon?

thewiirocks

#47

thewiirocks said:

@Corbie - Neither the MGC or E3 are representative of the entirety of the gaming community. They are a sampling of that community. (In the statistical sense.) If you can jam-pack a conference where so many people are willing to fly across the nation to Las Vegas or Oconomowoc WI, you've got some major (potentially money-making) interest.

It's shocking who you'll find is a classic gamer, too. My wife works with a vet who it turns out is a huge fan of the 2600. Who would of guessed that one?

CorbsAdmin

#49

Corbs said:

@ thewiirocks - I was just making a comparison with what you mentioned about the MGC. I know there are tons of retro gamers out there and I'm glad there are. But I believe the numbers are a lot less than we sometimes think they are. I am going to go to that MGC next year. I've wanted to go for years. When I interviewed Bob Smith of Imagic, he mentioned the MGC. Of course every penny I have is currently going to E3.

ALDAWGZ

#50

ALDAWGZ said:

@ chris i think a lot of wiiware in general is word of mouth i bought BTB recently and since than i put bout 3 ppl on 2 it that downloaded it weneva i play a game which i think is a overall good game i tell all my friends bout it but i cant force them 2 buy anything of course cant wait 4 the next game will b gettin it as soon as its released

feba

#51

feba said:

I really don't think Bit.Trip's problem is a 'retro' one. I didn't get into gaming until the mid-90s, I never owned anything earlier than a PlayStation. I still enjoy some classic SNES titles, like LTTP, Super Metroid, and there are more I want to look into. I never cared for games around the NES era or earlier, largely because they were very simple, very hard, or some combination of the two.

and Bit.Trip Beat is definitely a combination of those two, yet I still find it enthralling. The audio/visual/sensory (rumble on the beat) experience is great, and quite possibly one of two games in a genre of synesthesia, along with Rez.

I would imagine the biggest problem is price-- a lot of people think of it as musical pong, and it's hard to justify 800 points for that. I think it was lowered in other regions. Would it be possible to have Nintendo lower it in the NA store?

Still, artsy games tend to start slow, and then build a rabid fanbase way too late. Look at all of the games that had great critical reception, didn't sell well, and then started selling for multiple times their retail price on eBay years later. One of the great things about a download service is that your title will always be up, never out of print, so hopefully in a few years you'll get that following and it'll be a nice continued source of income. And then there's the general habit of Wii games starting slow and gaining steam, although I'm not sure how that applies to WiiWare.

One thing I would suggest, though, is if it's possible, have Nintendo put up a Bit.Trip Beat v1.1; I'm not sure if you're allowed to update WiiWare games, but a few simple additions would be a big help:

1- Save level unlocks, regardless of whether you get a high score or not. Or just lower the default highscores-- I want to see my own name up there in lights, not the guys that wrote the software.
2- A difficulty option. Just add in other difficulties that grow the paddle, to make it easier. I hate cheating in games if I don't have to to continue, and leaving a controller sitting on its side so I can get a high score to save levels (or beat them) is very lame. I can't imagine this would take more than a few seconds to change the default paddle size and the size of the various change pixels. Plus, you could add in harder difficulties than default (I know!) for the truly hardcore who no longer find the patterns challenging. A bit of extra replay value.

I can't imagine those would take more than an hour of coding and an afternoon of testing to make sure you didn't break anything. The biggest thing is just getting Nintendo to say ok to it.

Other than that, maybe try Nintendo's technique of showing people sitting around playing stuff, instead of showing off the game directly. Try to show how challenging and addicting it is, because it's really hard to pick up if you're not actually playing it. Oh, another thing I like is the Super Smash Bros. Brawl tutorial videos that have been going on the Nintendo Channel lately. If you could get a Bit.Trip Beat tutorial out there, that shows off the various beats, tells players how to deal with them, which ones to miss to avoid potentially game-ending challenges, etc. it could really help to show off how varied the game is (not to mention help some of us with said high scores)

Please, though, even if the sales don't meet your expectations, don't change. If BTB had gone after a very simple 3D look, with low-res textures, and looking cutesy, it would have been crap. Skinned in another style, it would not be nearly as captivating. Keep your head up, and keep doing what you (and we) love, and even if you don't get rich, you make a damn fine game.

P.S. If you think marketing might be the problem, showing us some Bit.Trip Next gameplay couldn't hurt. Get your name out there.

Just sayin'.

feba

#52

feba said:

Oh, one thing I forgot, if you are allowed to update BTB, to such a v1.1-- individual level segments. You already have the stages divided up into neat little parts. They practically feel like checkpoints. Just add a function to skip to any specific stage segment, or the Boss Fight, once you've made it there. Makes retrying a level after dying much less painful, allows people to practice specific parts for 'marathon' runs, and gives a way to jump right into the boss fights.

That would be the most complex things, but still shouldn't be too hard. Most complex thing would probably be wrapping the UI around it; it would break it up a bit. You'd probably need to have a second screen after selecting from Transition/Descent/Growth, where you pick "Phase 1"/"Phase 2", etc.

I think these are relatively small things that a lot of people would appreciate seeing. Taking a bit of the frustration out would make it easier for me to recommend to my friends.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#53

Philip_J_Reed said:

I understand the desire for level checkpoints, but I truly feel the game works better and is far more rewarding without them.

Having to replay an entire level can be frustrating, but when you finish it, finally, the experience is a much richer one. If you had checkpoints every few minutes, and were able to return there, you'd never actually have to memorize/master any patterns. All you'd need to do is barely squeak through and then you'd never have to play that section again.

Which kind of defeats the point of Beat. It's not about getting past something difficult so that you'll never have to deal with it again...it's about MASTERING the difficulty so you can hear the music you're creating.

Again, I DO understand that people are crying out for checkpoints. From a purely game-playing mindset, I do the same thing. But from someone who appreciates the OTHER things that video games can do (ie: something apart from getting beaten and tossed aside) I think the forced marathon play works enormously in the game's favor.

KDR_11k

#55

KDR_11k said:

Hey! This is Chris, BIT.TRIP BEAT's very own programmer. Srsly folks, does anyone have any idea why we're dropping so fast in the charts? If you haven't bought BEAT, post here and let us know why!

I haven't decided against buying it myself (it's simply not out in Europe) but seeing the sales of other games it looks to me that BTB's primary appeal was to the hardcore gamers who read the gaming news regularly and thus know when a new game comes out, rush to buy it and all interested customers got it by the time the first few weeks are over (this pattern can regularly be seen on on other systems).

The titles with long-term sales tend to be the ones that you don't have to read the gaming news to appreciate, many of them were practically sold before they were even developed by being something the customers wanted beforehand, not only after the game was there and reviews came in. The local charts here show huge success for Texas Hold 'em Tournament, a game that's not very good but that was something people knew they wanted before it was even released: They love poker, after all. My Aquarium, possibly the biggest seller on the whole service, sold by catering to the people who buy those aquarium DVDs. Onslaught sold because FPSes are popular and somehow underserved on the Wii so people looking for a Wii FPS grabbed it. I'm honestly not sure about the sales of WoG though (yes, Bridge Builder and its ilk were awesome but I'm not sure how many people were exposed to that), maybe that one's spreading by word of mouth and people demonstrating it to their friends or something.

Anyway, I don't think anyone was thinking "yeah, singleplayer Pong with music is exactly what I need", in fact I doubt most of the people who look at the service ever played Pong or remember it fondly. Most likely they prefer Wii Sports Tennis because they can relate to that more. People without 8 bit nostalgia see the abstract art style as a negative, they simply cannot connect to a simple bar that moves up and down and they probably don't even know why the graphics are simple lines when even flash games and such have at least functional sprite designs for these elements.

Then there are the people who were adults when they first encountered the 2600 so they didn't develop the association of 2600 = childhood that nostalgia works on, someone who doesn't associate the system with a "better" time will just prefer more modern replacements.

Ian_Daemon

#56

Ian_Daemon said:

I enjoy retro gaming more than the next guy, but I bought Bit.Trip:Beat as soon as it launched and I am very disappointed. Were my expectations too high? Maybe.

It's just very easy to miss some beats because the colors and and backgrounds are always moving and overlapping. Visually, it's confusing.

It's very reasonably priced. I was just hoping for something...fun to play. For now it'll sit there next to Niki Rock'n'Ball.

To answer the BTB programmer's question (osb1842)...I would say "marketing". If it weren't for WWW, I wouldn't know anything about BTB. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. The whole Bit.Trip concept is cool, but might be a little "obscure" for the masses. This website does what it can to get the world out, but Nintendo isn't going to be much help in selling your games.

feba

#57

feba said:

Chicken, while I can understand an appreciation for difficulty, the likelihood of being tossed aside is far far greater for more people if it's as difficult as it is. Whenever I start up Bit.Trip Beat, I know that I'm going to have to play through a part of a stage that is extremely boring to me because I've played it so many times, and then I know I'm almost certainly going to make it through the rest of Transition with minimal problems. But because I don't get a highscore, I have to do it all over again if I want to play Descent-- that or leave Bit Trip on. I haven't left a console on instead of saving since Spyro on my PS1-- and that's not because it couldn't save, but because I didn't have a memory card.

If I, who already loves a game on some levels, only play it on rainy days when I think "oh, hey, what about that game. that game is pretty cool.", how am I supposed to recommend it to a friend? The marathon mode will still be there for those who want it-- heck, if you just start people at the different stage phases with 0 points, they'll have to play it for the high score. If you want people to have to 'master' the difficulty of a game to enjoy it, you either need to have that difficulty be very low, or you take an extremely reduced market.

As it is, I really want to recommend BTB to friends, as I think it's very cool and engaging when you get into it, but if you only get in to it two or three times before going 'screw this, I'm going to go play something where I can finish it with a crappy score, and work to improve that, instead of working just to finish.' it's very hard to justify. I can think of ONE friend who I will talk to about this game-- and he's huge on retro games. Fighters, Mega Man, and other games that are generally too punishing for my tastes. The sort of guy who finds entertainment in testing how much damage each attack does, the sort of guy who runs scientific experiments in MMORPGs to find out how the mechanics work behind the scenes, the sort of guy who can tell you off the top of his head how many frames a move takes.

I'm sure he'll love it, if he hasn't already played it. But what of my other friends, the ones that still enjoy a fresh experience, but don't want to devote hours of their life practicing the same pieces over and over? What of people who are so bad they practically die in co-op?

Leave the adventure, leave the journey to speak for itself. Requiring you to 'master' the game like this is almost as bad as expecting people to 'master' huge sections of an RPG-- and if you don't kill all of the side bosses, you can't save your game, too. It's more tolerable in Bit sized portions, but it's still very painful and discouraging. For as much as you love the experience, I hate the fact that I can't even get past the first half. For as much as you don't want it broken up, there's a very good chance I may never turn that game on again, and may never see for myself what happens at the end. For as much as you enjoy the story, I am barred from seeing it by not having the time or motivation to perfect my gameplay, not wanting to cheat, and the game lacking any sort of safety-net tools (with the exception of the far-too-wide stage and high-score system)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#58

Philip_J_Reed said:

My point isn't that there's a right and wrong market to appeal to...there's just a right and wrong WAY to appeal to those markets. Beat makes it very clear what kind of market they're trying to impress, and I don't think breaking it into easier-to-digest casual chunks is going to do anybody any favors. Those after a hard-core experience will find it watered-down, and those after a more casual experience probably won't be happy with the game anyway.

(I'm genuinely not sure why the ability to play a game they don't enjoy in shorter bursts is supposed to appeal to them.)

Again, I respect your desire for checkpoints. I've already said that twice. But I think that you're looking at it as a simple solution to a problem that isn't so simple. By taking a certain type of title and changing it to appeal to a different type of audience, you can very, very easily end up with a game that appeals to nobody.

In order for a game to be a real classic, it needs to be true to itself. It doesn't compromise. (Compare Mortal Kombat SNES to the other console versions. Did compromise win that battle?)

BTB has its issues, but I don't think that flogging a title like this at a casual audience is going to solve anything. Nor do I see how shorter passages would appeal to a player who isn't already interested in the concept.

feba

#59

feba said:

It's not a 'hardcore'/'casual' issue! You can make it less painful without taking away the challenge. The only group your idea of 'leave it as it is' serves are those that like to be able to say "HAH! I finished a game (or got an achievement, etc.), and you didn't." Not saying you're part of that group, but if you want difficulty, YOU DON'T NEED TO USE THE CHECKPOINTS. You can keep repeating the same parts of the level until you perfect them, then continue, make a mistake, and repeat the section you've perfected again. If you enjoy that, that's your thing, but it makes it very painful for most people. I want to make this very clear-- it's not about breaking the game into 'shorter passages', it's about taking advantage of the phases that are already in place to keep people from CONSTANTLY REPEATING PHASES THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN THROUGH JUST TO FAIL HALFWAY THROUGH THE STAGE.

You don't need to change the gameplay. You don't need to make the game about playing in 'shorter bursts'. Do you honestly not understand that people don't like to play the same four or five minutes of game over and over again, just to hit some place they can't get past and have to start all over? Even Mega Man has extra lives as backup. Also look at how popular save states are on emulators; not having to lose all of your progress for making a mistake. That doesn't take away the challenge, it takes away the frustration.

The casual audience is probably never going to appreciate this game, no. The casual audience sees games as something you do simply for fun, and while BTB is ok in that field, it shines as a piece of art. I have a friend who I know would appreciate it as an experience, but would absolutely loathe the difficulty. He might learn to deal with it, or he might play it until he gives up, and never gets past Transition. I would probably never recommend it to him as it is now. I know plenty of people who are hardcore gamers, who can appreciate games as art, but who I really doubt would want to spend their time perfecting hand movements, memorizing patterns, etc. just to get past the first stage. And then have all of that vanish the second they turn it off, because they didn't get a high score.

There is no change of audience-- it's a widening of that audience. Right now, it appeals to a niche of a niche-- hardcore gamers who appreciate games as art, AND don't mind frustratingly hard games that require a lot of repetition. If you remove that second bit, you can keep the game JUST as challenging while not making it torturous for those of us who want to experience the art. BTB doesn't have character because it is hard, it has character because it is a sensory experience.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#60

Philip_J_Reed said:

I would definitely (without any question) argue that save-states in emulators take away challenge. I don't hesitate to say that at all. The fact that they are popular doesn't mean they're the right way... :P

But beyond that, I think we've both made our sides of the argument clear, and taking this any further would just be talking in circles. I respect your opinion, and if you can respect mine, there's not much else we can say.

feba

#61

feba said:

I agree on the fact that our positions have been stated. If you have nothing left in rationalizations, it's over, then.

On save states, it depends on how much you use them. For example, there's a big difference between putting a save state right before a boss fight, so you can fight it as many times as you like without having to repeat the stage and going into a boss fight, shooting, making a save state when the boss takes damage and you don't. Using the save state to give you multiple chances at making the same dodge is obviously taking away challenge; using a save state to keep you from having to beat a stage over and over again not so much.

TwilightV

#62

TwilightV said:

I bought BTB first day. I really enjoy it (even though I can only get to the middle of the second song). I wouldn't pay much attention to the "popular titles" list. From what i've read, sales of Telltale Games Strong Bad series have increased in recent times, but it hasn't appeared on the list in months.

Mike1

#63

Mike1 said:

42. Corbie
"Another week, another "boring Top 20" comment."

Well seriously, these lists never change. I'd rather see a Top 20 VC list everyweek as well. And don't say that those lists are exactly the same each week because the WiiWare list never changes either.

osb1842

#64

osb1842 said:

Holy mother of comments! Thanks again to EVERYONE for participating in this dicussion. One of Gaijin Games'company pillars is "Work with great people" and that definitely means of all you!

I'll try not to sleep next time, so I can comment more :)

@Tails86 re: the sequel! Hell yes, we are working on it and it's super rad. Development is coming along wonderfully, and watch for more details very soon in all the usual channels.

@feba Thanks for your detailed feedback :) I'll let our Alex, our designer, speak to some of the gameplay choices like checkpoints and such. As for the price, I believe it's 600 points, not 800. That puts us right next to the lowest priced games on WiiWare (500 points so far). Does 600 points feel like an appropriate price? Would 500 be better? Or perhaps did anyone see the low price and think "hey this is a cheap budget game, I'll pass"?

@KDR_11k re: "The titles with long-term sales tend to be the ones that you don't have to read the gaming news to appreciate". I'm beginning to think this is the primary reason are sales are not the greatest. We've heard this point from a number of sources. As @Corbie has mentioned, although the retro gaming community (and even the internet gaming community) seems quite large, it's actually tiny compared with the install base of home consoles (especially the Wii! 50 MILLIONS UNITS). I truly believe the non-gaming community can enjoy BIT.TRIP BEAT, if only the first level ;) The question becomes, how to get out sales to breakout (ha!)? World of Goo has proven it's possible to get the sales we want. Geometry Wars, the same. But both of these games have been lucky enough to get the "snowball effect" where each is the "if you only buy one game on platform X, buy THIS ONE" type of game. Being in that #1 spot is soooooo much more powerful than even #2, cause many people might just buy #1 blindly. Getting more data onto WiiWare might help with that, like user ratings and better sorting (like the iPhone App Store).

@longtimegamer Thanks! It's amazing how well the game turned out considering we made the whole thing from scratch in 4 months, with only 3 dudes, very little money, and starting a new company at the same time! As for contests, we hear ya. Any ideas for ones?

@Ian Daemon For sure! We definitely need better marketing. But what to do??? Ads cost a TON of money and it's nearly impossible to measure their effect. We've done the viral thing and it worked pretty good (but didn't breakout of the online gaming community). We've got a nice little blog going (http://www.gaijingames.com) and a Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/BitTrip/94061592159). I'll be firing up a company Twitter soon too. But I still worry that all these avenues are for us gaming/internet nerds, and not the juicy gaming masses! Any ideas????

CommanderVideo

#65

CommanderVideo said:

Hey everyone. Alex Neuse from Gaijin Games here.

Thanks for all the awesome comments and tons of care that you've put into sharing your voices with us. Being able to talk to the community who has bought our game is not only fun, but is also very informative. Even if you're not a fan! Let's face it, this game isn't for everyone. ;)

I wanted to talk about two things that y'all brought up.

1. The level unlocking. Sadly, having the game only save if you get a high score is a bug. We never intended it to be that way. After you beat a boss, the next level was meant to unlock permanently whether you ranked in on the high scores screen or not. The Gaijin Games crew is very bummed about shipping with this bug. We're not sure yet if a WiiWare patch is even possible, but until we find out, there is a save file available on gamefaqs with all levels unlocked here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/wii/save/957980.html. We're going to make our own super-special save file and post it on our site next week as well if you want to download that. Subsequent games in the BIT.TRIP series will not have this issue to deal with. So, apologies to everyone. The game is way more punishing than we intended it to be because of this bug.

2. In terms of checkpoints or shorter stages; I understand and respect the desire for them. I absolutely do. It was a design choice of mine to go the direction we ended up going, though, because I'm a huge fan of shoot-em-ups and I have found that when I have unlimited continues or the ability to start from where I left off, I never have to learn how to play the game well. As a gamer, I am more drawn to learning the patterns and strategies and failing over and over again only to triumph in the end. This is of course a personal preference. I like to think of our game as more akin to shoot-em-ups than any other genre, really. Some of my favorite games are punishingly difficult, and I think my preference shines through in the difficulty of BTB. Whether that's good or bad, I'm not 100% sure. Either way, though, the sequel follows the same structure as the first, but who knows if all games in the series will...

I think that the sequel is easier, but it's hard to tell because it's just so different and very challenging in brand new, mind-bending ways. I hope that you all give it a try when it comes out (if you enjoyed BEAT enough, that is). :)

Thanks again for your comments!
-Alex

Djungelurban

#67

Djungelurban said:

I'm gonna segue to the original subject here a bit but I'm wondering if someone was going to update the Japanese chart this week. I'd like to know how WoG is doing!

KDR_11k

#70

KDR_11k said:

I recall hearing that WiiWare updates are allowed (and I definitely recall downloading a VC update once),

Some shmups have a practice mode so you can practice the hard sections (it ends after the selected section) without playing the full game and only play the whole thing when you want to get serious about progressing. That way you need to master it but you can focus on the parts you actually need to master still without spending much time on the ones you already have mastered.

Wolfcoyote

#71

Wolfcoyote said:

@ the good folks of Gaijin:

I've watched the trailers on the Nintendo Channel but it wasn't until Garnet Lee and David Ellis of the Listen Up podcast hyped the game, comparing it to other music-hybrid games like Rez and Lumines as one of thier favorites. It was the word-of-mouth channel of information that caused me to give the title a look.

Despite the difficulty of the Descent stage (those blue beats jumping pell-mell when the rock music starts is what does me in), the game is very enjoyable; the problem is that everyone else in my family is too scared to try it! My infant nephew and neice love the music of the Transition stage, but thier mother freaks out when watching me play, let alone control it herself. My mother (though a fan of classic games from the '70s and '80s herself) wouldn't try out the game. Don't ask me why, except maybe it's the Wii itself that intimidates her.

I think this post will illustrate why the game is selling the way it is. Gamers such as Corbie and myself who are into retro games (Millipede and Crystal Castles on the Atari 2600 are more enjoyable than a lot of the high-budget drivel being released today in my opinion) and who overcome thier fears of experimentation will eat games like Bit.Trip Beat up. The casual gamers in my house are too afraid to play because like Pac-Man if you don't have SOME mid-level gaming skills you're not going to last long. The lack of marketing is an unfortunate third issue - not enough gamers besides the internet or podcast listener crowd knew about the title (though you have explained that advertising would have left you without a budget).

I still play the game every time I have a short break (must...beat...Descent) and I did make a screensaver recently saying "Play Bit.Trip Beat!" at work so that my Wii-owning co-workers could take the hint.

Keep up the good work!

feba

#72

feba said:

Chris, Alex, as always it's very nice to know that a game's devs listen so directly. Also very nice to know that the no-saves thing is a bug-- I've never liked using other people's saves, especially if they mess with high scores or completion amounts or things like that, but I am looking forward to your special save file, or a patch. On points, BTB was actually one of the rare games I bought mostly on an impulse, without considering the price very much, so I probably was wrong.

For marketing outside of the game-o-sphere, might I suggest the tagline "PARTY LIKE IT'S 1979"? On a serious note, any sort of marketing to non-gamers other than word of mouth would be expensive, unless we're talking "two game developers were arrested this morning" type marketing. I would focus on appealing to gamers, and then telling those gamers to spread the love around.

How about a collector's edition? Take a look at http://www.thecoverproject.net/view.php?game_id=6486 -- design a similar cover for Bit.Trip Beat, print up an instruction manual, see if you can't get Nintendo give you guys download vouchers like Amazon got for World of Goo (if not, just sell it without the game included), make a DVD (behind the scenes stuff, interviews with the three cool dudes, a video of a perfect playthrough, the trailers, and maybe a preview of the next game), sign them, and sell them off directly and through contests. Would probably go around the gaming blogs again, and get people that like physical stuff with their game (look at Patapon 2, or Mega Man 9's press kit)

Also, Bit.Trip shirts. I would totally wear a shirt with a nice big Commander Video on the back, with "I AM ONLY A MAN" under it, and Gaijin Games/Bit.Trip franchise logos on the sleeves.

feba

#75

feba said:

Well, I say that for three reasons. One, most people who'd want it would probably already own the game. Two, they could have people register Gaijin's Wii on their Wii, and have it gifted to them. Three, they could just take $6 off the price and say "Go buy it yourself, it's not that hard guys, really."

Not intending it as something to be put on retail shelves, like Patapon 2 is.

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