[ Shihiko° × Game。]

About Games. by Shihiko°

February 9th, 2011

This was one of the recent headlines going around lately. News has it that Konami has gained enough shares of Hudson Soft and is now taking over or absorbing the company into Konami. This is a sad thing to see because during my primary to high school years I was a fan of Hudson Soft games… Especially the Super Bomberman series, special mentions to Super Bomberman 4 [Super Nintendo] and Bomberman SS [Sega Saturn] as they were the probably the most outstanding Bomberman games in terms of game play and design before the experimenting started and the series started to lose it’s edge.

Sure Konami is probably taking over Hudson because they aren’t doing so well in the recent years, and Hudson has quite a few great valuable intellectual properties in their treasure chest. Hopefully Konami does a better job with Bomberman as for a classic party game it just isn’t as fun any more with the broken game play, network play lag, poor graphics quality for simple looking characters and lack of good mountable creatures. Bomberman wasn’t the only franchise that was losing it’s edge in the games being made, anyone remember Bonk?

Bonk was one of those unique platform games that Hudson had in it’s arsenal. You had this prehistoric cave man or boy that goes around the world smashing things with his gigantic head and eating chunks of meat, fruit and candy for power ups. Well for some odd reason when ever Hudson makes something from 2D to 3D they don’t have very good 3D lighting or textures and the game just looks ugly compared to the classics. When you think about it, if it wasn’t the game play that was ruined from the series it was the look and feel that ended up taking the blow.

Although these are Hudson game examples, they aren’t the only ones who have released new generation versions of their old classical games only to have it play poorly compared to the originals. One I can think of is Taito’s Bubble Bobble series, though in the PSP version that was made which wasn’t by Taito it was obviously licensed by them and allowed the PSP title to be created… It wasn’t the end of the classical style, but it was still a poor implementation of 2D in 3D of a classic game. Another Bubble Bobble was released on DS which sticks to the classic style and really works well with the Dual Screen of the DS.

So back to Hudson, in the recent years I don’t ever remember hearing a title that was successful that came out from them… but I do remember when they were trying to market and make that Bomberman Act: Zero game saying how it was going to be a reboot of the Sega Saturn version of the game and I thought Wow that is going to be such an awesome game! and then when it came out I was wondering What the? That’s nothing like Bomberman SS. Funnily enough the game was published by Konami. :P

One last example that shows something is wrong… that is when the original franchise’s game play loses to a the spin off’s game play. When playing Bomberman Portable on the PSP it was full of disappointments with the same issues mentioned in the beginning… poor game play, adhoc network play lag issues, poor graphics and texture quality… it’s as if all the 3D objects in game used the default texture: Lambert in Maya and they just stuck one light source in the game. Then comes Bomberman Land for PSP… I mean sure the game isn’t really Bomberman, but it also supports the classical multiplayer battle mode… Sadly it was much better than the franchise release. Bomberman Land had better adhoc network play and the simple 2D graphics does the job right while the main game may not be about blowing things up, the battle mode game play was acceptable to the series standard.

Now days classical franchises get rebooted or remade all the time… it is hard to keep track of how all of them are doing, but it can be assumed that if we aren’t hearing about them in the news then they are probably not doing well. Nintendo seems to be the rare type able to keep their franchises’ reboots or remakes up to scratch… or are just more successful at keeping the quality, look and feel of their games at a representable standard. We will see what happens with Hudson’s franchises with Konami’s take over… Everything goes Act: Zero?

Edit: An insider story to the downfall of Hudson was posted recently, it gives more in-depth details to what I was talking about also some nice information that I didn’t even know about… especially the development environment of Hudson being interesting and the origin of the name. You can read it here.