So Many Touch! Generations Games

It’s amazing how many “Touch! Generations”: type games there are for sale for the Nintendo DS here in Japan, cashing in on Nintendo’s core series of accessible ‘games for everyone’.

In the Sofmap store I visited they must’ve had thirty or forty different ones, including jigsaw puzzles, IQ tests, knowledge tests, small game collections, various versions of sudoku and much more — even a game featuring a “really cool gray-haired dude”:

When I saw this, I couldn’t help but feel that the Western games market will never be anything like the Japanese games market, with so many small publishers having the ability to jump onto some bandwagon so quickly, targeting a well-defined audience (even if it’s — quite radically, for the games industry — older or ‘more female’), all this increasing the scale of the phenomenon.

We usually seem to lack a stand-out platform of our own, like the DS, meaning we have to rely on the Japanese companies. A process that’s slow and troublesome. There’s no jumping on bandwagons when you’re moving at snail speed.

And then there’s translation to the different languages, which I assure you can be a lot of work. As a friend of mine said, “Even a small mobile game can be delayed for two months because of localisation issues.” All of this makes it harder to dynamically create products according to the various rapid changes in the marketplace.

In contrast with Japan, only now has an American competitor for ‘Brain Training’ “been announced”: Majesco is going to release a series of ‘Brain Booster’ games, challenging Professor Kawashima with a clever Japanese guy of its own, Dr. Makoto Shichida…