A new brand of game, Welcome the MMONG
Nov 21, 2005 20:00:00


After giving R.O.S.E. Online a spin, I can't help but noticing a reoccurring theme within many of the systems covered lately. They are MMONG's. That is, Massively Multiplayer Online Nintendo Games.

Let's use R.O.S.E. Online as an example.

The characters look like anime versions of Mario. They have very distinct cartoon-style graphics, which is fine. As mentioned many time before, a solidly branded graphic style is a boon for any game. What is interesting about this, is that the characters all look like children. The body dimensions are very short (ala Mario) but have kid-cartoon-anime style heads (ala Shaman King, Pokemon, etc). I couldn't help but feel that my avatar was a child. This is not appealing in the context of adventures fraught with danger. Danger is the operative word there, as killing jelly beans and dragons resembling the legendary Puff, isn't exactly thrilling, nor can I capture a feeling of a job well done after cleansing the world of these "evildoers".

I must admit I was somewhat disturbed by the design of the female avatars. Child anime faces, child proportions...with tank-tops and perky breasts. Call me squeamish, but this bothered me more than a little. I expected Mario to hop past at any second, and likely stop to ogle the endowed playground girls. I had to log out after an hour of killing jelly beans. I simply couldn't take it anymore. Despite this, the game seems to be written and designed fairly well. It ran smoothly, had relatively intuitive controls, and had consistently happy artwork that looked good.

ROSE Online Screenshot 1ROSE Online Screenshot 2ROSE Online Screenshot 3

Back but to the MMONG's. There must be a market for these that I am not aware of. I suppose the Super Mario players of today probably like the added dimension of MMO play, and so, there might as well be versions of these games aimed at children right? This is the only explanation I can come up with for the glut of games emerging with this look-and-feel and simplistic game play that makes WoW (which is unarguably easy to play) look labyrinthine by comparison.

At this point, the market for MMOs is distinctly undivided, one MMO must be similar to all other MMO's, right? This was the case a few years ago when the market was smaller and focused a the demographic akin to those who did the design of these games. Times are changing. Mario has invaded the MMO market.

There are two primary take-aways from this. One, the market is expanding to cover a wider player base even faster than we thought. Not only is there increased penetration into existing demographics, new ones are being courted heavily. Two, those of us who have been at this for 10 years must take care in selecting our play venues, not all of the options are aimed at us anymore.

Submitted by Brent on Nov 21, 2005 20:00:00 CST (comments: 0)


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