Editorials and Features
Article by: MrCHUPON
Editorial: Hotel Dusk: The Game That Got Away [Written 2007-01-24]
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, published by Nintendo and developed by Cing, is destined to be one of those Nintendo DS releases that fall off the face of the earth because Nintendo of America has decided to do exactly no marketing for it. A traditional point-and-click adventure title with a decidedly dark presentation, borrowing elements from film noir, Hotel Dusk has gotten tons of accolades.
The proof is in the review pudding (that is, if you swear by game reviews):
a) 8.0, 8.0 and 10.0 from Electronic Gaming Monthly.
b) 8.0 from 1up.com (although 1up and EGM are both Ziff -Davis properties and that 8.0 is probably shared between both entities).
c) 8.0 from Nintendo Power.
d) 90 from eToychest.
e) 8.2 from Gamespot
Along with the need for a petition to bring Broken Sword to the DS and nary a traditional adventure title since Nintendo and Cing's own Trace Memory, the genre doesn't seem to be moving forward like it should given the interface offered by the DS. If Nintendo won't market the game, what hope does it have?
That this game isn't getting the marketing it needs from Nintendo is astounding me. As publisher, it's Nintendo's duty to push out this property to get the sales it needs. As a competitor, it's Nintendo's duty to make sure this game garners the sales it needs to do well against other software. Case in point: Phoenix Wright's newest point-and-click adventure subtitled Justice for All. In the space of adventure gaming, Hotel Dusk is directly competing against Phoenix Wright. Given the latter's success last season, you know that people will immediately flock to the (relatively) now-recognizable name instead of some dinky Hotel game with plain black-and-white box art.
Is Nintendo conceding to its third party supporters, in a move to continually improve relations? Did Nintendo just give up on the adventure genre as so niche that it wouldn't benefit at all from any advertising? What's going on here? If Hotel Dusk is as high-quality as people are saying it is, then Nintendo's marketing budget needs to put some dollars behind this puppy. Hell, there's not much else Nintendo is publishing in the next few weeks. Even with Super Paper Mario coming out in April, according to Nintendo Power, a Mario game almost sells itself. A print ad, a token 15-second TV spot - that's all you need for people to start chanting the fat plumber's name.
Hotel Dusk? Unless you're deep into games, this one is likely going to fly right over your head. This is especially a shame since, according to reviews, this game is more about the heavily stylized atmosphere and story than it is about hardcore gameplay. It's the type of game that you'd consider more of a book or a graphic novel than a skill-based, frantic experience like - say - Metroid Prime: Hunters. Yet, if deeply entrenched gamers will be hard-pressed to remember what this game is, how can Nintendo expect more casual gamers - a great demographic for this type of game - to even bat an eyelash at it?
EGM's Shane Bettenhausen says on the 1up Show that if you get one adventure game this month, make it Hotel Dusk and not Phoenix Wright. (Nevermind the fact that he is of questionable mental stability - just listen to him talk on the 1up Show or in the 1up Yours podcast). Gamespot's Alex Navarro says, "...if the idea of a slow-burning, character-driven noir adventure sounds like it's up your alley, Hotel Dusk is too good to be passed up." You know what I say? Screw that - if you don't play adventure games, even, start right now with Hotel Dusk. At the very least, it will give hope to the now-smallfry genre (one that doesn't deserve to be so smallfry) that people are still willing to give it a shot.
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