Hold on to your butts.
Monster Hunter is coming. On Saturday and Sunday, game stores in Japan were readied their signs that said things like "We only got 50 copies of Monster Hunter 4 and they're all reserved! We still have 3DS hardware though!" and other variations of the same message.
As it does with every Monster Hunter release, the game shop nearest to my house had people all crowded around it. I remember walking in there a couple of years ago, not knowing that it was Monster Hunter Portable 3 release day and being astounded at how many people could even fit in there. The clerks told me that a lot of people were ready and waiting when the doors opened. Even though it was well past opening time when my tired ass came in, the place still had a line at the cash register that wrapped around several shelves, snaking around about half of the store. (Usually, at these places, you check out whenever you wanna. You rarely see a queue at all, let alone one with actual length.)
And it's not just one demographic with these games. In terms of braod cultural penetration, Monster Hunter, in Japan, is on a level only matched by franchises like Mario, Pokemon, Dragon Quest, and Animal Crossing. There are lots of other series with huge fanbases (Final Fantasy, Dynasty Warriors, Yakuza, Hatsune Miku come to mind, among others), but this is god-tier group has a much more even spread over the ages and backgrounds of players. When you say "half the kids in school" will want to play it, you mean half the kids in elementary, junior high, high school, and university. But it doesn't stop there. You'll see it in the hands of businessmen on the train, middle-aged ladies at a cafe, moms waiting in a lobby to pick their kids up from piano lessons before taking them to violin lessons and then to English lessons and then to abacus class. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the lines.
I got six StreetPasses on the way home from work Saturday evening. Four of those people had been playing Monster Hunter 4. And that was day one.
So, of course, when Media Create's sales figures are released this week, expect Monster Hunter 4 to be on top, and second place to be far the hell behind it. It's one of those situations where First Place might be outdoing Second Place by like 1000%. Thanks to the enormous game release and special edition hardware (pictured above), the 3DS will be sitting comfortably in its usual spot on top of the hardware rankings, just with much a wider margin of victory.
Pikmin 3. I suddenly want to buy Pikmin 3. I am suddenly overcome by the urge to buy Pikmin 3.