All about hidden gems

Greetings once again, I hope you didn’t miss me too much during my fortnight off due to moving/getting a new job and that you didn’t defect to Microsoft-Liam and Sony-Leopold and have just been waiting patiently. This week I have decided to answer two questions that I am often asked and first up is the question “How do you determine a hidden gem?”

For those new to my blog one of my regular features is called “Nintendo Lee’s Hidden Gems” which takes a look at games for the Wii, DS, 3DS as well as a retro game that you may have missed out on due to a number of reasons. This could be poor marketing, you remember seeing it and think that you’ll pick it up later, it was released the same week as a Mario game or even a poor score from another gaming site.

How did I get started in my quest for hidden gems? Can you remember when GAME still sold Gamecube games during the first year or two of the Wii? It was during that time a lot of Gamecube games became really cheap and with that I noticed a few games that I liked the look of and ultimately I purchased Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. This carried on for a few years and whilst most stores stopped selling Gamecube games places like Gamestation, CEX, Cash converters and eBay did provide a few bargains.

How did I get onto the Wii hidden gems? It was games such as Little King’s Story (that I bought on release day), Zak and Wiki, Mushroom Men and many others that I saw for cheap and thought why not give it a go. It also came up during a discussion on a forum I used to moderate when people asked for a recommendation of Wii games, of course you had the likes of Mario, Zelda etc. but I started recommending games that very few had heard of and when the other forum member had played it they gave a huge thumbs up to it.

I started writing NLHG during the start of Operation Rainfall (a campaign to get Xenoblade, Last Story and Pandora’s Tower to the NA regions) and my thinking was why is all the effort going in now? This would have been great a few years back pushing some of the games that have already been released that no one has played. It was during a conversation with Matthew Jessup (who wrote this great piece on Mega Man Legends 3) and he persuaded me to go for it and find some hidden gems.

So how exactly do I decide which games to play?

  1. Rising Star games: After doing this for a few weeks, I noticed a specific pattern in that a lot of the hidden gems were published by Rising Star Games (if you’re in NA it’ll probably be XSEEDGames). So now if I see a Rising Star game on the shelf, I pick it up. I’ve bought a few that I’ve yet to play but I’ve not played a bad game by them yet.
  2. Recommendations: Ask around and see what people say, I asked on twitter and got given a list of a few that I hadn’t even heard of let alone played. Most have been purchased but some are on my list.
  3. Cross referencing: I remember as a kid when it was a big deal for a game to get more than 90% in a review, now a game is classed as bad if it gets an 80%. Now just because a game scored 80% doesn’t mean it’s rubbish it just mean it’s not the best. Here I look around game shops and find a cheap game, I check the review and if it’s above 75% I give it a go, it worked with Mushroom Men and a few other titles that have turned out pretty decent..

So don’t let people tell you there are no good games for the Wii outside of Nintendo first party games as there are a quite a few. You just have to find them and for me it’s given my Wii a new lease of life.


Posted on 31/10/2011, in Features, Hidden Gems. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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