Chart-topper?Usually, there’s little movement at the top of the most-played Wii
game charts. But although it's been dominated by one game since 2008,
this month the top spot was yielded to a surprising upstart.
Note that we’re not talking about the Wii’s best-selling game, nor
the one that the largest proportion of Wii gamers own (those would be
Mario Kart Wii and Wii Sports, respectively). Instead, we’re talking
about the games that have the highest cumulative per-player time; the
games that people who buy them play the longest. The figures are derived
from opt-in data submitted by the Wii’s Nintendo Channel.
For years, the only contender to the crown was multiplayer fighter
Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Glued to the top of the chart with a lead that
looked unassailable, it shrugged off challenges from best-selling
critical hits like Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario
Galaxy 2 -- but this month its reign was brought to an end by a game
many Wii owners have probably never heard of.
Meet Monster Hunter Tri. Launched in the U.S. back in April to modest
critical acclaim (84%, according to review aggregation site Metacritic),
it’s an action-oriented role-playing game that sends its players off in
pursuit of an assortment of fantastic beasts. To be successful, they
need to forage for herbs and other items, and having slain their
targets, they can bring back hunks of the unfortunate critter for the
local blacksmith to forge into more powerful equipment.
Why’s it winning? Put it down to its devastatingly long life. While
many top-selling titles can show you everything they’ve got in ten or
fifteen hours, Monster Hunter Tri’s just getting started. You’d need to
clock a good 70-100 hours before you’ve seen the majority of its
monsters -- and to see them all takes far, far longer. True addicts have
racked up cumulative play times approaching the thousand-hour mark, all
in the six months since the game released.
But don’t feel bad for Super Smash Bros. To date, about 1.75 million
players have recorded their Brawl play data. Monster Hunter Tri? A mere
40,000 or so. But while those fans are few in number, we can only
imagine the sheer number of monsters they’ve slaughtered between them.