In a week when the gaming world's attention is firmly locked on what's coming next from Nintendo, its strategy for the 3DS felt like an odd collision of truly cutting-edge technology and dogged old-school thinking.
While Apple counts its ever-growing mound of cash built on the systematic dismantling of the need for physical, packaged entertainment, Nintendo marches on with a system which will largely rely on a catalogue of boxed product, retailing for as much as £40 a pop.
As excellent as the glasses-free 3D technology undoubtedly is (assuming you posses eyes capable of seeing the effect), I spent much of the time at the Amsterdam conference thinking, 'Yeah, nice – but would I pay £40 for that piece of software?' The answer was nearly always 'probably not'.
I can't help but think that in this era of ultra-cheap, high-quality downloadable software that the goalposts have moved. It already seems absurd to pay £25 or more for a DS game, when I can readily download all sorts of great stuff elsewhere, so why should it be any different on the 3DS?
Personally, I'm not convinced that 3D alone is enough of a draw, nor that Nintendo will make its downloadable offerings cheap enough to compete with what's happening elsewhere. The landscape of the games market is completely unrecognisable from where it was even five years ago, and it feels like Nintendo is unwilling to move with the times – possibly to its cost.
- Mac App Store – £5.99
- Also available on PC Steam – £7.25
You can't blame Tale of Tales for wanting to mess with our heads. I would too, if I were a developer. I'd tell the player to select one of six concerned-looking sisters and go to Grandmother's house. I'd definitely be sure to mention that they should stick to the path.
I certainly wouldn't give the player any idea what awaits them when they stray off into the forest. The fractured noises, the warped visual feedback, the plethora of objects, the sparkly things. That can all just remain a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
You might think of The Path as an adventure, but only in the sense of wandering off on a journey that may not have a particular destination. There's no guidance, no real sense of purpose, or even any structure; and yet the haunting fascination that comes from the possibility of unravelling this sinister experiment keeps you plodding onwards when all logic suggests that you probably have some washing up to do.
So off you go, accompanied by little more than screeching misery and the nightmarish possibility of being eaten by a wolf. Gaming motivation is truly a strange thing, but when you're bored of the drudgery of everyday routine, it's surprising what can keep you entertained.
[Check out Kieron's original PC review of The Path for more. -Ed.]