A Tough Choice (Mania.com)

By:Troy Roberts
Date: Friday, June 20, 2003

Normally I would save this for the On Shelves section of the column, but I figure I'd go ahead and raise the question now. This week, STAR WARS GALAXIES: AN EMPIRE DIVIDED will hit store shelves, ending numerous lengthy delays that LucasArts seems to be accustomed to. On the first day of July, Blizzard releases the expansion to their PC Game of the Year, WARCRAFT III. THE FROZEN THRONE looks to be just as good as the original. So, for gamers looking to pick up one of the two, which one is the right choice?

Well, for the gamer who doesn't want to spend a lot of money, THE FROZEN THRONE is probably the better choice. The game will retail for about $35 bucks and will be come complete with a new single player mode and free online gaming. Having spent numerous hours on the beta, I can attest that the new expansion from Blizzard will not disappoint the real-time strategy fan.

And then you have GALAXIES. Obviously, this game will be picked up by just about anyone who loves STAR WARS or just RPGs. And I don't wonder if gamers will mind paying the online fee for the game (since EVERQUEST and games like it are still doing well). But GALAXIES will require a lot of time spent on it, whereas with the WARCRAFT III expansion you can just play whenever and however often you like. GALAXIES is a lot on the character development side, and to really get into it, you need to play a long time. And I do mean a long time.

So which is the better choice? And why? You write in and tell us.


Last week, I asked do you think game companies should sell games cheaper if they know they are not that good. Thankfully, you replied. Below are some of the replies I felt inclined to post.

Todd Smith - "I totally agree with you on the price thing. Some games aren't even worth 20. Did you play VEXX?!? I wish the game developers would really evaluate the price of their games based on the quality. I don't know if they can though. I am sure they want all their games to be worth 50 bucks. Whose job would it be to say how much games should be? I will bet they would get in trouble if some game they priced at 20 was a huge success and it could have been a 50 dollar game. Maybe this would help developers to put out better games, if the threat of instant bargain bin status was looming."

Ben Johnson - "In response to your query about the marketability of $20 garbage as opposed to $50 garbage, I have to stay with the belief that crap is crap no matter what the price. While I do admit that second tier games are much more likely to sell at the twenty dollar price tag (did anyone actually buy DARK CLOUD for fifty bucks?) the problem is that so much trash fills the shelves it's often hard to tell which games are worth any


investment at all. On the other hand when a game I will purchase anyway is released at a lower price tag I won't be complaining. It's a lot easier to explain $20 to my wife than $50."


MACE GRIFFIN, from Vivendi Universal, has shipped for the PS2 and Xbox...Infinium Labs has announced that they are looking for beta testers for their upcoming Phantom system...Atari has announced that ENTER THE MATRIX has sold over 2.5 million copies...Microsoft has announced plans for Xbox Next in 2006...




Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.

Want to comment on the interactive question this week? Let us know what you think at troy@cinescape.com.