dragon quest xi

Dragon Quest 11 Reaches 4 Million Copies Sold

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Apparently we weren’t the only ones to enjoy Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (read our review). Square Enix announced that the massive JRPG has hit four million units sold globally since its US launch in September.

Long-time Dragon Quest creator and designer Yuji Horii thanked the fans in the announcement:

I was truly delighted when I heard the news that Dragon Quest XI had exceeded four million sales worldwide. Back when I created the first Dragon Quest game, over thirty years ago, I could not possibly have dreamed that it would become a series that would cross the seas and be played by people all around the world. This is the eleventh numbered Dragon Quest title, and in depicting a ‘hero’s tale,’ also represents a new beginning for the series.

When I think that there are now over four million of these heroes all around the world, and each one has gone on their own individual adventure, it reminds me how glad I am we made the game. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the people who played Dragon Quest XI, both the fans of the previous games and the new fans who started with this one. Thank you all.

Although its the eleventh in the series, Dragon Quest 11 represents a fine starting point for newcomers. Like Final Fantasy, each entry is a self-contained adventure featuring recurring themes, concepts, and familiar RPG systems. It features turn-based battles, colorful monsters and allies, a huge world, and a classic hero’s journey of good versus evil.

Dragon Quest 11 is the first DQ game to reach the West since 2009’s Dragon Quest 9, and the first home console DQ game since 2004’s Dragon Quest 8.

Dragon Quest 11 is available on PlayStation 4 and PC (Steam). It’s rated T for Teen.

nintendo switch

The Switch Has Already Sold Twice as Many Units as the Wii U

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It’s well known to industry insiders that the Wii U was a financial failure, selling about 13 million units over its relatively brief four year lifespan. It’s also known that the Switch has been a big success. Thanks to the latest financial report from Nintendo, we know exactly how much of a success.

Since its launch in March 2017, the Nintendo Switch has sold over 22 million units. That’s nearly twice as many consoles sold over the last year and half, versus four years of the Wii U.

Much of those sales figures (~17 million) are from last year. Huge games like Super Mario Odyssey and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild helped the Switch fly off shelves. Nintendo also found success re-releasing updated versions of Wii U games, like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8, introducing these games to a wider audience.

Switch software sales have grown to 42 million units, including nine games that have sold at least a million copies.

Sales have slowed greatly for the financial year of 2018, however, with the Switch only selling around five million units. The biggest first party releases were Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze and Mario Tennis Aces. Nintendo also launched the unique Nintendo Labo line of cardboard toys that work with the Switch and Joy-Con controllers.

Despite the slow start in the first half of the year, Nintendo is confident the Switch will reach 20 million units sold for the 2018 financial year (up from 17 million last year). Nintendo has saved all of its big 2018 releases for the last few months of the calendar year, notably Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Dec. 7), and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and Let’s Go, Pikachu! (Nov. 16). Nintendo’s financial year runs through March 2019.

In related Nintendo earnings news, the eight year old 3DS has slowed down considerably, with sales dropping by 65% to a million units sold. By comparison, the NES and SNES Classic Editions sold far more copies, with combined sales of 3.69 units.

megaland

Megaland Review

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Publisher: Red Raven Games
Age: 8+
Players: 2-5
Game Length: 20 minutes
MSRP: $24.99

In Megaland players explore video game levels fraught with enemies but filled with treasure. If they survive they can use that treasure to purchase buildings and earn victory points.

Megaland plays quickly and easily and features beautiful artwork by Red Raven Games designer and illustrator Ryan Laukat. The gameplay provides a solid, family-friendly introduction into more advanced board game concepts such as set collection, resource management, and risk assessment.

Ready Player One

In Megaland each player starts with four hearts. Each round everyone jumps into a level, which is represented by a deck of 10 oversized cards. Players earn one treasure card from the treasure deck as each of the level cards are flipped over.

Level cards can contain enemies with 1-3 skulls, a blank, or a treasure chest. Encountering an enemy causes everyone who’s in the level to take damage equal to the number of skulls. If anyone would lose all their hearts, they’re knocked out and lose all their accumulated treasure. However, any time before the next level card is revealed, a player can choose to leave the level to keep all of their earned treasures.

megaland

The goal is to risk staying in the level long enough to earn as many treasure cards as possible. Treasure cards are more like resources or materials, such as carrots, gears, and eggs. These cards are then traded in to purchase buildings as each player builds up their own city.

Building cards are randomly selected from the box, so each marketplace layout plays a bit differently. Sets of unique treasure cards purchase buildings, while sets of the same treasure cards can be used to purchase additional hearts, allowing for longer (and more lucrative) runs.

We Built this City

Since everyone journeys on a level together, taking damage and earning treasure cards simultaneously, the game runs very quickly.

Purchasing buildings works similarly to a lot of deckbuilders, especially Dominion. But you’re not building a deck in Megaland; building cards are placed in front of the player, making it easy for kids to keep track of any possible ongoing effects.

These buildings often earn coins (victory points), either directly or through various triggers. The Hospital, for example, earns that player two coins for every player to their left or right who falls in a level, while the Fishing Pond simply awards two coins at the end of each round. The first player to reach 20 coins wins.

megaland

The risk of staying in a level to earn more treasure is a lot of fun, though it’s a shame the level deck is so thin. At only 10 cards it’s much more about calculating the odds each round rather than being surprised and shocked at the deck’s reveal.

The video game theme is also a bit thin. Other than a single jump ability provided by certain building cards, nothing inherently screams ‘video game.’ And most video games require you to finish the level, not quit early to get ahead. In Megaland the levels also never get more difficult; the level deck simply changes the order of which enemies (or blanks) you encounter with each shuffle.

On the plus side, the game moves very quickly and scales nicely as players earn more hearts, thus more treasure, more buildings, and finally more coins.

The Rating

Megaland is a great pick for kids who have graduated beyond the low age (4+) starter games but aren’t quite ready to tackle the big stuff (13+). Weighing the odds of when to jump out is a great teaching tool with stats and percentages, as is choosing which building cards to purchase. Although it’s competitive, players aren’t attacking each other, making Megaland a good game if you’re looking to avoid direct confrontation.

The Takeaway

Megaland is the perfect example of a board game publisher successfully applying advanced tabletop systems and mechanics to a wider, younger audience. Despite the small level deck the large number of possible building cards in any given game creates a solid amount of replayability, and risking it all for just one more treasure creates a lot of anguished yet enjoyable laughter.

Find Megaland at Target.

girl gamers

“Girl Gamers” are Three Times as Likely to Pursue STEM Degrees

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A recent study published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behavior found that young teenage women who were classified as heavy gamers (nine or more hours of gaming a week), were three times more likely to pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).

Likewise, a startling 100% of young women who were already in STEM degrees identified themselves as gamers. The study shows that encouraging gaming for adolescent girls is likewise encouraging them to consider education and careers in STEM.

The research was funded by the British Academy and led by Dr. Anesa Hosein. Dr. Hosein is Program Director of PhD in Higher Education at Surrey and self-identifies as a “geek gamer.”

“Despite the pioneering work of people like Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Surrey’s own Daphne Jackson, the first female Physics professor, there are still too few female STEM role models for young women,” said Dr. Hosein. “Our research shows that those who study STEM subjects at degree level are more likely to be gamers, so we need to encourage the girl gamers of today to become the engineering and physics students and pioneers of tomorrow.”

Per the study, Dr. Hosein recommends that any young woman with a pre-disposition toward gaming should be empowered to make the connection between her hobby and the adjacent career fields. She suggests attending gaming panels and meeting STEM role models, and for educators to include gaming as part of STEM curriculum.

“It therefore makes sense, in the short-term, that educators seeking to encourage more take up of STEM subjects should target girl gamers, as they already may have a natural interest in these subjects,” said Dr. Hosein. “We need to get better at identifying cues early to recognize which girls may be more interested in taking up STEM degrees.”