Infographic of the Most Popular Consoles and Games by US State

Guest Post By: Evan S from JJGames

From the original Zelda games on the NES to GoldenEye 007 on the N64 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the PS2, we take a look at the consoles of choice for retro gamers across America.

You never forget the first time you completed Super Mario Bros. You also never forget the first time you held one of those iconic Playstation controllers or when the best way to troubleshoot a game was to blow in the cartridge.

Times have changed and new consoles have come and gone, but there’s still something to be said about those iconic gaming systems that we were raised on. Their games have a unique charm that no amount of fancy graphics can make up for, which is why we turn to emulators and why original NES games still in their boxes go for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

To celebrate the release of a new infographics, which digs into the favourite consoles by state and favourite games by states, we thought we’d jump on in and take a look at the data.

NOTE: The infographics are based on the number of units sold for each game/console on JJGames.com from 1999 to 2019. More than 2.5 million games sold.

[Click on each infographic to see a larger version]

 

Lessons A Huge AAA Success Like GTA 5 Can Teach Indie Developers

Grand Theft Auto 5, Rockstar Games’ colossal juggernaut of a title, was developed on a budget of $265 million. The end product was a detailed open-world game with cutting edge graphics and AI programming of unparalleled complexity (for the time).

All that is just about as distant as you can get from indie game development.

Rockstar has decades of industry experience, GTA is one of the most popular mainstream AAA franchises around and the company spent more than half of its hundreds-of-millions budget on marketing. It also just cracked over 95 million copies sold.

Anyone with an inkling of what indie development looks like will know that these things are worlds apart.

And yet, in the underlying fabric of the game itself – not the product – are lessons that small teams working remotely and one-man devs can learn from, if only conceptually. Development of a title like GTA 5 is a unique beast in terms of project management, and unlike anything most AAA developers have to deal with let alone indies, so we’ll be focusing on just the game itself.

It’s also a tough example because, due to its high budget, there was very little the developers couldn’t allow themselves. Even so, interviews and other sources have revealed that over the course of the game’s development a number of features and mechanics were cut either due to time or monetary constraints.

This brings us to our first lesson, and one that can be applied to gaming universally – scope. You need to know the scope of what you want to do, what you can get done, and sync the two together. Game development can be arduous work even when the crunch hasn’t set in, and indie developers are certainly hit harder than AAA in this regard.

In the case of indie devs, when they’re working from a much smaller budget or are developing for free, the stress of getting your title out into the open can be confounded with making that title the best it can be. Feature-creep must be avoided, cut what needs to be cut and stay focused on your scope.

Too many indie developers give up their daily lives to create their first game, release it, then patch it profusely only to end up with health issues, broken relationships and a financially unsuccessful game because they lost sight of what could be feasibly achieved.

Big productions like GTA 5 have specific committees to keep an eye out for this, reining in the project if too many features are planned, pushing the limits of deadlines and budgets.

On the other hand, indie developers have more control over their work and need to be their own supervisors. If GTA 5 had stretched itself too thin because adding additional feature X and Y would be “cool”, it wouldn’t be the critically acclaimed success it is today.

Another thing GTA 5 gets right is the ratio of content to scale. AAA titles these days pride themselves on how expansive their maps are and how much sheer content there is – you’d think that more is universally better. Thing is, even though the settings of Los Santos and Blaine County are large, together, they’re hardly the largest open world in gaming.

Instead, Rockstar knew to limit the physical size of the map to the amount of content they’d produce. Thus, GTA 5 has a large amount of unique content distributed evenly and organically throughout the action-space. Things aren’t too cramped nor are they too far between.

Relating gameplay content with map size is very specific to open-world sandboxes, but the principle can be applied to any game. The pacing, amount and length of content needs to be in balance.

There is no golden ratio and that “balance” varies depending on the project. Maybe a sombre exploration game is well balanced when quiet moments are predominant, where an action-packed FPS is well balanced when you keep the adrenaline pumping.

Generally, as an indie developer, realistic goals are essential, and no-one should be gunning for a spectacle the scope and size of GTA 5 right off the bat. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the game and how it implements basic game design principles, because these principles are universal and GTA 5 implements them masterfully.

image source: Rockstar Games

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Logan Smith
Logan has been obsessed with Rockstar Games ever since the Grand Theft Auto series went 3D with GTA III. He spends his time wandering Los Santos while eagerly waiting for Red Dead Redemption 2 to finally land.

 

 

 

Retro Gaming and Monday Madness

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