Mighty No. 9 and the World of Niche Games

All of us are on an endless and unstoppable march to the grave. The sad part of that though is as we go we are forced to watch as the worlds we loved slowly fall apart and vanish and are replaced with new ones that we see as terrible. It’s not so much that the new stuff is inherently bad, just that its different from what we grew up with but different enough that we don’t see that, only that our beloved figures from youth are no longer in the spot light. That said there is no denying that video games are as dead as a secondary character in a Joss Whedon production. Everything that comes out now is terrible, watered down crap for idiots who don’t even like video games like we do. And that’s selling in record breaking numbers so there’s no chance its going away. Our only hope for one of our beloved franchises getting a big budget is if Michael Bay decides to make it and I’m not sure we’re ready for the result of that.

Michael Bay presents: Kirby's Dreamland

Michael Bay presents: Kirby’s Dreamland

So where is the place for us? The old, the bitter, the resentful, the spiteful, the people who want games to have that arcade feel with colorful concepts and are free of bland, brown haired space marine protagonists who brood about their troubled history and kill for redemption? Kickstarter seems to be answering that call and niche games are filling the void within us that just can’t seem to be filled by Cheetos. Of course by being niche they can’t really rise too high but its nice that someone out there is catering to us! While many Kickstarters have been funded only a few have actually seen the light of day so far. But that hasn’t deterred many people from donating to new promises. Many of the biggest known Kickstarters have been for revivals of dead franchises or genres and they usually pass their goals with flying colors. Granted that doesn’t solve all the problems. If you haven’t already track down the behind the scenes documentary Double Fine is doing alongside their game to see the sadder side of game development.

This is not a sad scene at Double Fine.

This is not a sad scene at Double Fine.

Former Capcom B.M.O.C Kenji Inafune’s own personal Kickstarter for his reinvention-of-the-wheel Mega Man game called “Mighty No. 9” just finished the other day and managed to hit all of its stretch goals and clocked in at about 4 million dollars with about 70,000 backers. That’s pretty damn impressive for a concept that Capcom turned its back on years ago along with a big chunk of the market judging by their old sales numbers. But there IS a market out there for this sort of thing, us old bitter gamers who won’t or can’t give up the hobby. We’ve got a lot of time until this comes out and we’ll know if its actually any good. But I like this trend. And I really hope to see it continue and we get more games made out of passion involving genres that have long since fallen out of style. Last week I lamented the Star Fox franchise, but someone out there must also love the on-rails shooter games like Star Fox and Panzer Dragoon. I know I can’t be the only one out there who bought and loved Panzer Dragoon Orta on the Xbox, but chances are I’m the only one who comprehended the games story!

What the HELL is going on here?

What the HELL is going on here?

Let’s not go too far with this and think that everything’s great from here on out. Things could very easily turn out bad and the final nail be hammered into many a coffin. These niche games need to keep coming out and new developers encouraged. Sure, we’ll get some crap and it’ll be a while before anyone really rocks the AAA world with something truly new and tasty. But the bubble will burst one day for the big names and we’ll fall into the doldrums. It happened before, and its happened to movies and TV. But that doesn’t mean death. At this point video games have been around too long to completely die. It’s through conflict like this that things get better and slime like focus groups and marketers lose their ill-gotten power and the creative come forward.

This is what will save gaming. If you don't know what this is or did not donate to its Kickstarter you are a dumb.

This is what will save gaming. If you don’t know what this is or did not donate to its Kickstarter you are a dumb.

Nothing stays popular forever, and when something falls from grace that doesn’t mean its gone for good. Trends come back and fade again just like the tide. And while I know the heyday of my video game youth is gone, it’ll live on in the niche market until it gets popular again. And that day can’t come soon enough! The next generation on Xbox One and PS4 looks like it’ll be the blandest and most non-video game generation to date! Get out of my hobby, hipsters! Die-hards and hardcores only!

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About Kimo Kuppe
Kimo is a contemptuous old coot. With experience in video games dating back to 1988 and a schizophrenic range of games he boasts an impressive range of knowledge of gamings best, and worst. Dwelling in the desolate wastes of the American Midwest he brings to Z1Gaming a perspective that looks for positive qualities in even the worst games.