Every year, Livingdice.com chooses a single game offering that deserves the title “Best of Show.” “Best of Show” does not have anything to do with marketing budget or how cool the presentation was at GTS. Any publisher attending GTS automatically enters the competition. RPGs, board, card and miniatures are all eligible. My criteria is quite simple; is the game fun and does it show some originality?
Last year, “Ex-Illis” from “Bastion Studios” took the prize in a landslide. The unique combination of traditional miniatures with technology really impressed.
This year’s winner also leveraged digital technology to great effect and did it in a way that supports traditional game stores. I proudly present this year’s winner of the Livingdice.com “Best of Show” for GTS 2010.
Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Duel Terminals
Here is how they work; a player inserts a dollar and the machine vends a single Yu-Gi-Oh card. Players center the card on the large, black disk in the center of console. The terminal reads the card and loads a corresponding monster up for the player’s use. The terminal then launches a series of mini-games that either require you to rapidly touch targets on the screen (the entire screen is a touch screen) or hit the single button on the console at a specific moment when some targets align. Once you complete the mini-games, your performance determines how well your monster does against the opposing monster. Best two out of three determines the victor. All of which takes place with lots of energetic graphics and sound.
Though clearly designed for younger players, it really is quite fun and you get a game-legal card, win or lose.
I chose this game for its design and playability and one other reason. You see, this game only exists at physical game stores. I am for anything that drives more involvement in a local game community and these devices provide a specific, “not sold on Amazon” reason to get the next generation into game stores. Though I am not a fan of CCGs, they are undeniably a “gateway” game to the RPGs, board and miniature games that I enjoy.
Konami built these terminal in support of their own game and as a new cash-flow for participating game stores. Probably as a “money-sink” for those gamers booted early from tournaments or waiting between rounds. In my opinion, they also boosted all of gaming.
Going through GTS, there were a couple different games that had the potential for this designation (and you will hear more about these products in the near future). But, as Trask mentioned, this game was ultimately chosen due to it mix of technology and gaming and with the focus of bringing people into the local game shop to spend some coin. However, I did want to point out a few negatives to the system.
- First is the high cost entry point. Each machine is several thousand dollars,($2500 each or two for $5000) and you will need two terminals for two-player competition (else you could only play versus the computer. So, it is a pretty high investment for game stores, especially ones that are already struggling in the current economy.
- Second is the lack of greater networking. Two systems can be connected for players to play against each other. But there is no greater connection to the Internet. I would think this would be a no-brainer in today’s digital age. These machines should be able to pull updates, access online accounts, and provide leader-boards, etc. Most importantly if you should be able to duel players at other terminals around the world. It is a great idea that you can only play this in retail game stores, but there should still be these online components. Stranger yet, Konami is a video game company at its core, this should have been done from the start.
The negatives aside, this is still a revolutionary product. If anyone sees one of these machines in your local game shop, ask them how this is impacting their business and report back to us!