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Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

July 3rd, 2008 by Derrick Schommer · 1 Comment

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Once upon a time Rare though they had a winner; a game which would end all the confusion between a hardcore console and a kiddie console. Viva Piñata was supposed to change the way we think about Xbox 360 gaming by showing off a title that would make children feel more inclined to game on a “big boys console.”

Unfortunately, execution of Rare’s new franchise title came with a few rough patches, namely Gears of War. Earlier on they had press releases and conferences about how this game was going to interact with users, inspire them to watch Viva Piñata the cartoon to get new recipes for the game which would allow you to create new breeds of Piñata. There were a few flaws in the plan. They didn’t hype the game enough prior to the release and then they decided to launch the game during the over-hyped Gears of War title.

Oddly enough my children (two and four years of age) would rather watch Sponge Bob and Dora reruns than a single episode of Viva Piñata. I thought the show was cute and the bright colors and crazy creatures would draw children like moths to a flame, but they just didn’t care.

My children were too young to play the first Viva Piñata and it didn’t provide enough interest for them to watch me play it and invest the hours. I found the game to be creative and fun… for awhile. Once my happy little Piñatas started eating each other and fighting constantly I realized the joy was gone. If I want to listen to screaming and fighting I’ve got my own children, babysitting Piñatas in a fake garden just wasn’t doing it for me.

Now, Viva Piñata: Trouble in paradise has been given a date of September by Eurogamer. Rare is stating we’ll have 30 new Piñata’s to play with along with new environments, co-op play and other cute options. Admittingly, Drop-in/Drop-out co-op play does sound kind of neat but my emotional scares from the first title have not healed yet.

I was told there would be a great deal of downloadable content (DLC) for Viva Piñata. but found nothing available after I purchased the game and, if content exists now, I’ve long since lost interest in the game. The idea was solid, the demographic was available but the execution went flat. You cannot expect older gamers with children to believe Microsoft or Rare are planning to give us real kids games when you release a single title and show us no other kids games for two years.

At this point, if you’re looking for a console with more kid-friendly gaming you’re going to buy a Wii every single time. Titles on the Wii work for both young adults, teenagers, kids and older grandparents while the 360 goes strong with the 18-34 year-old male demographic.

If you want to be serious about bringing kids on board, Viva Piñata is going to need some friends not just a single sequel. Otherwise, you’re going to find out quick that the 18-34 demographic will simply nod politely and move on to their next great fix… Gears of War 2 perhaps (November, 2008).

If the upcoming Viva Piñata franchise executes like its prior title there will definitely be some trouble in paradise.

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Tags: DLC · Editorial · Industry News · Kids Games · Simulations · Xbox 360

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Josh RobertsNo Gravatar // Jul 4, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I totally understand what you are saying. Microsoft and Rare are approaching the child’s gaming market in the wrong way. You can’t try to be kid friendly by just releasing one game, and hoping that will establish your position in the market. You have to follow it up with something. That’s like giving a baby a lollipop, and saying, “There you go, that’s all your getting.” The baby is not going to be happy. Same with the market.

    p.s. It would be totally awesome if you mentioned my comment in your podcast. 😀

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