Archive for October, 2009

I’ve always wondered whether or not there is a correlation between the number of useable guns in a first-person shooter games, and how this influences people’s decisions to purchase these games. The fact that just about every FPS explicitly boasts the number weapons at the player’s disposal on the retail packaging leads me to assume that marketing research has shown that this relationship does exist. Afterall, with the small amount of space available for advertising on a game’s cover box, a game publisher has to choose how to occupy this real estate to attract the most attention, and they almost always choose to state things like, “Wreak havoc with an arsenal of over 36 INSANE guns!” and “Splatter your foes with 20 eye-gouging, skull-splitting melee weapons”.

Why is this? Why would this one thing, among all the other features of a new game, attract so many buyers? Well, because it sounds fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want to impale a nazi-zombie 20 different ways? It sounds awesome! Even if in reality, the game is absolutely no fun, the idea of the possibilities sells. However, this brings me to my next question: Is it really the number of weapons that sounds fun, or rather, what you can do with those weapons?

Think about it, if a game had 5 billion different guns, and each one made the same “pew pew” sound, and all the enemies just folded over and died the same way, you wouldn’t care a bit. But that’s not what happens (in most games). When people read about all the different guns, they think of all the cool death animations and simulated destruction they can create. That is what’s fun. If you just break it down, I think this is what goes on in the consumer’s head (and the publisher’s):

Crapload o’ Guns = violence and destruction -> Violence and destruction = fun -> Fun = I want it -> I want it = $$$ for EA

I just read that Borderlands has something like “Over 17 million guns“… I’m gonna go buy it.


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