The Party is Over

Last week, Gamasutra posted an article about how at least two major retailers have begun refusing to stock Wii mini-game collections. According to Gamasutra’s Paul Hyman, he says, “Stores like Target and Best Buy have reportedly told game publishers not to even bother approaching them with collections of mini games, which they will no longer pick up.” Not to be spiteful, as I recognize that I’m not a fan of the genre and that the target audience for most mini-game collections isn’t me, but good riddance.

Ever since the release of the Wii and the smash success of party-centric software like Wii Sports and Mario Party 8, developers and publishers from far and wide have been practically dumping hundreds of crappy mini-game compilations onto the system in hopes of striking gold. They’re cheap to make, they’re fairly popular among Wii owners and they’re targeted towards people who are generally not informed with what’s happening in the scene, therefore are more prone to purchasing sub-par products.

What bothers me about this dearth of mini-game collections isn’t the fact that I’m not a fan of the genre. I do enjoy a few mini-game collections, including the Wario Ware series and the first few Mario Party games. However, the brunt of these games don’t come anywhere near close to that level of quality, and most of the time don’t even try to be good. Most of these games feature poor design, poor programming and a complete disregard for “fun”. Often times, these games barely even work. The majority of these are shovelware, and are practically scams that prey on children and parents of children who don’t follow games that closely. When mom and dad see “Imagine: Party Babyz Babysitting Party” on the Wal-Mart shelf for $20 or less, they think, “Oh! Madison will love this!” Well, she might. But I’m guessing she won’t.

I never thought anyone at the retail level would call out and stand up against this trend, but I guess the return on investment for these games has fallen off dramatically to the point where its not worth it for stores to carry these games. I wouldn’t miss seeing all of those cash-grab mini-game collections disappear in favour of better quality products, but I’m sure this isn’t the end of crappy mini-game collections.

As a value-added bonus for reading this post, I have included my 10 favourite Wii game titles with the word “party” in the title. My unofficial count had over 40 games, but running that in my blog format would be overkill. Without further ado, the 10 “best”:

Imagine: Party Babyz Babysitting Party
Party Pigs: Farmyard Games
Family Fest Presents Movie Games Movie Studio Party
FaceBreaker KO Party
Game Party
Our House: Party!
Six Flags Fun Park Fun Park Party
Totally Spies! Totally Party
Family Party: 30 Great Games Outdoor Fun
Charm Girls Club: Pajama Party

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