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My Happy Disney Life, I hope

My Happy Disney Life, I hope

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I have a confession. I like to watch...gameplay videos.

Being a woman of very little hand-eye coordination, when it comes to fast-moving games like Epic Mickey and Kingdom Hearts, my choices are:


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1. Use a cheat engine (NO)

2. Watch Noe and Alice play.

Right now, I'm catching up to one of the Harvest Moon games I put off while in college, "Tale of Two Towns" and watching Alice play the gorgeous "Skyrim" while I wait for the new Disney 3DS game, "My Happy Life". I've also been watching gameplay videos of the Japanese version:

Yes, it's 42 minutes and it's in Japanese - and after taking two years of both Chinese and Japanese, I'm still unable to read most of it. I had to forget those TMs to learn Math. (Pokemon fans will get the reference.) This game reminds me quite a bit of Two Towns, but with really fantastic graphics, in that you're doing a lot of quests, but I think that it's mostly for the tutorial section of the game. Fishing is almost identical to that in Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.

However, the new game will have elements of battle in it, so perhaps instead of calling it a Disney version of Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, we might rather say it's a Disney version of Animal Crossing and Rune Factory, Harvest Moon's fantasy version, in which Shelly gets killed by monsters in caves over and over and over again.


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The key to the success of games like the Harvest Moon Series, Hometown Story (by Wada-san, the same creator) and the Rune Factory Series is that players develop relationships with the in-game characters. In Animal Crossing, you have several personality types with whom you can interact, and building friendships earns you bonuses. In the Harvest Moon/Rune Factory/Hometown Story genre, you can, for most of the games, have relationships, settle down and have children as well as regular friendships with the various characters.

I don't see that type of thing in the previews I've seen for "My Happy Life", but that most certainly does not mean that they're not going to happen. I mean, look at the ads for Disney Frozen and the finished product. The teaser trailer really turned people - including myself - completely off to the idea of seeing the film. If it hadn't been for such strong word-of-mouth, I wouldn't have bothered to see it. If they'd relied on the film's strengths - the depth of relationships between characters, the strong story, the excellent songs - instead of going for focus group humor, there wouldn't have been such antipathy for the film, pre-opening.


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What does one have to do with the other? Plenty. Video games can immerse you into a world and story as much - if not more - than films, if they're done right. In the hands of a Yasuhiro Wada or Warren Spector, gaming is an immersive and very personal experience. As long as "My Happy Life" keeps the relationships and story strong, while providing that unique magical quality that only Disney can do, this may very well be a monster of a hit, the biggest thing to come out of Disney gaming in history.

I hate the whole "What Walt would have - " trope, but it would be a safe guess to take the known quantity that Walt embraced new technology for art and communication to foment an opinion that he would have taken the technological art form that is gaming and done great things with it. Perhaps the company that bears his name can finally take up that banner of creativity and create games worthy of the name they carry.

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  • "Perhaps the company that bears his name can finally take up that banner of creativity and create games worthy of the name they carry."

    Disney killed of it's game studio Lucas Arts when they purchased Star Wars and licenced the games out to EA. Their only studio making the potential but very flawed Skylanders clone Disney infinity. The Epic Mickey studio is killed of thankfully because both games where bad.

    The Kingdom Harts series is made by Square Enix and are in good hands but the rest that Disney makes is very disappointing,

    What if they could build games like Naughty Dog's Uncharted or The Last of Us or Insomniac's Rachet & Clank or with the creativety of Media Molecule's Little Big Planet (that has already many Disney Princesses and Marvel characters available and is a ton of fun).

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