Digital Download Game World - News and Opinions from the DLC side of the Video Game Industry

Digital Download Game World’s Best DLC of 2010 (Part 2)

Best Shotgun Approach to Marketing and Design – 2010

Plants vs. ZombiesPop Cap Games

1. Tower Defense Games
2. Cartoon Artwork
3. Farming / Gardening
4. Multiple Platform Release Strategy
5. ZOMBIES!

Pop Cap Games figured out how to bring 5 of the most popular trends in the casual gaming to one title.  Plants vs. Zombies, which has been around since early 2009 has continued to earn accolades like Editors Picks, Readers Choice and even Game of the Year in 2009 and 2010!  The staggered release of this game in multiple markets, regions and platforms is a large contribution to its success but we also cannot ignore a brilliant integration of all things popular in todays casual gaming market.  The “Tower Defense” game mechanic, combined with time lapse planting and, of course, the inevitable zombie apocalypse have guaranteed this game’s mass appeal and ongoing success.

Available with exclusive game modes on XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, iPhone/iPod Touch, Android as well as many PC Digital Distribution services, Pop Cap has ensured that the entire gaming populace has access to this great game.
And, of course, dont forget that the Plants vs. Zombies Game of the Year Edition (PC) is available right here from our Digital Download store for only $8.96!

Best  Racing Platformer- 2010

Joe Danger will take us back without going all retro on us. New features, good family fun.

Joe Danger, Hello Games

The debut title from Hello Games, Joe Danger launched recently on the Playstation network.

Super Mario meets Excitebike in this modern stunt racing game that brings back memories of the games that turned so many of us into gamers while providing polished, hi def graphics and features.

The split screen, local multiplayer and level editing options add significant replayability to this entertaining and original digital download.  The designers clearly gave gameplay top priority with my favorite feature, instant restart by selecting the <select> button.  A quick restart is always a must in a twitch, trick racer such as this.

Hello games is a new start up,  comprised of talent coming from Criterion, Sumo, Kuju, EA and Climax and since Joe Danger is a clear example of the caliber of their work, we can definitely look forward to great things from this studio.

Best Digital Download Industry Trend Setter – 2010

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, Capcom
We saw something very new in 2010.  A highly anticipated game sequel did not ship the usual free game demo for eager players.  Instead, they packaged up the demo into a playable first chapter or Prologue and sold it for $5!  Initial reaction from the community was as expected, WTF, I’m not paying $5 for a demo screw you Capcom.  Of course, most said this as they levelled up their character to level 5 and viewed the credits after completing the story missions and about 20 hours of satisfying gameplay.  It’s like being told you can’t have your Broccoli until you’ve finished desert.

Capcom’s “Demo” version of Dead Rising 2 was the highest grossing property on Xbox Live in 2010.  So what does that tell you?  If you have a great game franchise with solid gameplay, good story and character development and an audience that can’t wait till launch day to play your game, why ship a free demo when they will happily give you $5 for the privilege and you won’t even have to give them a break on the full version (as long as you let them gain an advantage over the newbs on launch day.)

I am confident that this phenomenom has not been overlooked by the big publishers in the industry and we will see more of the same in 2011.  I am curious, however, if many smaller, indie developers can use the same business model to generate revenue for the final launch push of a game by launching a purchase mini version to build audience and revenue.

Don’t forget, Dead Rising 2, Case West is out now on XBLA for 2011.

Best Digital Download Licensed Content Game – 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World, UbiSoft Canada, Chengdu

Ever since they launched E.T. for the Atari 2600, movie licensed games have pretty much always stunk.
To be clear: When I refer to movie licensed games, I am referring to games that launch as a cash grab in tandem with a movie release.  I am not referring to extended content releases like Star Wars and Star Trek games, we can refer that to a different arguement for a different day and article.

When I think of movie games, I think of the Fantastic 4, every non lego Harry Potter Game, the first Ghostbusters game etc etc.  Game publishers are forced, with a cash loaded gun to their head, to finish and ship games within the movie launch window.  Quality assurance and game design take a back seat to project management and deadlines  because everything lies on the ship date.

That is not the case in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  Sure, the task of making a game based on a movie that sets it’s theme within a video game is pretty much a gimme but Disney managed to F*ck up Tron Legacy anyway.

So with that said, we have to congratulate Ubisoft on making a really fun retro classic, side scroller.  Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the game features gameplay that harkens back to Streets of Rage and Double Dragon while allowing for modern gameplay concepts of levelling and game cash spending.  Co-op gameplay is great fun with this game but many gamers immediately noticed the lack of drop in play.  Want to add a friend? Go back to the beginning.

The game was launched on time for the movie release but unlike most lisenced movie game releases, Scott Pilgrim launched as an inexpensive digital download instead of a WalMart style cash grabbing DVD.  A further homage to the gamers for whom the movie was made.

Stay Tuned for Part 3 where we announce the winner of
Best Overall Digital Download Game 2010!!!

1. Tower Defense Games, 2. Cartoon Artwork, 3. Farming / Gardening, 4. Multiple Platform Release Strategy, 5. ZOMBIES!

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