Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call’s DLC is Too Expensive

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (TFFCC) is an amazing game. I just purchased it two days ago and have already logged in 7 hours. The game is a music/rhythm game in the vein of Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution, only with Final Fantasy songs, characters, and quests.

In short, this is the game I’ve been waiting years for and it’s a game that justifies the purchase of a 3DS. The game features over 200 songs from every major and minor FF game, plus allows you to play as 60 different characters.

Just watch the trailer above to really understand what this game is about.

TFFCC contains a vast amount of content—so, so much music and so many game modes—that I’ll be busy with this game for dozens of hours.

But Square Enix is blessing the fans even further by offering DLC featuring more tracks and more characters.

How could this go wrong?

Simple: charge too much for the DLC.

I’ve never been one to buy DLC. Being a Nintendo fan, DLC wasn’t really an option on Nintendo games until late. The first DLC I ever purchased was the Mario Kart 8 DLC (most of which hasn’t been delivered yet). I’m very familiar with the concept, and I understand all the arguments gamers have against it.

I don’t have anything against the concept of DLC, per se. Being able to add new content to old games is one way to keep them fresh, as long as the price point is reasonable. After all, you’ve already spent $40-60 on a game.

To figure out the value of DLC, I take the amount of content in the original game and divide it into the purchase price of the game. In other words, how much did I pay, on average, for each level, track, dungeon, quest, etc., in the original game? Then, I compare that price to the cost of DLC. If the price of the original content is equivalent to the DLC, then it’s a good deal.

In the case of TFFCC, let’s do the math. The standalone game contains 221 songs and 60 playable characters: 281 pieces of content, not counting all of the various game modes, which is hard to put a price on. I bought the game new for $40, so that means each song and playable character is worth $0.14. What an amazing deal! And if we factored in the cost of the game modes, the real price of a song or playable character might be closer to $0.10.

Now, let’s compare that to the DLC. Currently you can buy 41 extra songs and 5 extra characters. Likely more content will be added in the future. According to this interview with Theatryhthm producer Ichiro Hazama, TFFCC will be the last Theatrhythm game, serving as the “base” upon which new content will be offered in the form of DLC. I like that model in theory, but not in execution.

Each song or downloadable character costs $0.99! Compare that to the original cost of this content, $0.10-0.14, and you can see that this DLC is far overpriced. To get all DLC right now, you’d have to spend $46—$6 more than the cost of the base game! And you’d only be getting 20% of the songs 8% of the characters.

Does this model seem fair to anybody? It certainly doesn’t for me.

So what would I be willing to pay for extra songs? Offering songs à la carte is cool, but I’d rather have the songs bundled together, maybe by game, like a bundle of FFXIII songs, a bundle of FFVII, etc. I think $0.20 per song would be appropriate (while still being more costly than the original songs), so a $5 bundle consisting of 25 extra songs, or 20 extra songs and 5 additional characters.

That sounds like a deal to me.

Square Enix can still change their prices. Maybe if enough gamers refuse to buy this overpriced DLC, they’ll be forced to reconsider their business model.

Not that I’m hurting for content right now. I’ll probably be just satisfied with the game if I never purchase DLC: there are so many great songs included with the game already! But because this is an option, and there are so many awesome tracks excluded from this game, I’d very much like to buy DLC in the future.

But only if the price is right.

Game on,
~Dennis

Small update: 10/28/2014

After I wrote this post last week, I emailed Square Enix my concerns, saying much of what I wrote here. Finding an adequate customer service email for general comments proved quite challenging. I ended up submitting my thoughts through the Theatrhythm customer support forum, the kind of forum that’s supposed to be used for technical issues and whatnot. Within a couple days, they responded with:

Thank you for contacting SQUARE ENIX support,

We appreciate your feedback. It will be forwarded to my superiors. Thank you for taking the time to contact us today and we look forward to your opinions of our upcoming titles.

Thank you for contacting the SQUARE ENIX Support Center.

Pretty standard form response. I really didn’t expect them to personally address the issues I have with DLC, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway.

Maybe if enough people complain about the cost of the DLC (or don’t buy it) they’ll lower the prices.

~D.

Custom Painted and Cut Catan Pieces

The Settlers of Catan is an awesome, as you might know from my previous posts on the modifications I’ve made to the game board (Hexels and the Pop-O-Matic). I’ve been playing the game for quite a few years, and while I still love it, frankly, I’ve gotten bored with the standard game piece colors: red, orange, blue, white, brown, and green. For the past six weeks, I’ve been working on creating my own game pieces to paint custom colors, and the project is finally complete!

Pile of Catan pieces

So many Catan pieces, 288 total (60 settlements, 48 cities, and 180 roads).

I started by cutting the pieces from basswood, purchased at your local hobby store. The wood probably cost less than $12 total. I used one board (1/4″ thick by 3″ wide by 36″ long) to craft the settlements and cities (luckily, the pieces are only 1/4″ thick), and several small sticks that were the exact width of the roads.

Using a coping saw, band saw, belt sander, and sand paper, I carefully cut out each piece. The roads were the easiest. The settlements I cut from long strips of wood, creating the angle of the roof on the belt sander.

The cities were the most difficult. I used a band saw to cut the basic outline then finished them with the belt sander. The pieces aren’t exactly the size of the originals, but they are pretty close.

My pieces compared to the original Catan pieces

Even though the cities are slightly bigger than original, casual gamers can’t tell unless they are holding both my pieces and the originals in their hands at the same time.

Truthfully, if you look closely at the original Catan pieces, you’ll find imperfections in the manufacturing process as well. I’m satisfied that the pieces turned out as well as they did!

Next, I painted the pieces with various acrylic paints. The pieces were a little rough after the paint job, so I gave them a light sanding with fine-grain sand paper. This removed the paint in some spots, giving the pieces a weathered look, which I came to like. My pieces have a matte finish post-sanding, not a nice glossy finish like the original, but they still feel good to the touch.

And that’s the most important factor I was going for: how well do the pieces feel in your hand? Catan is a tactile game, and while most people probably aren’t consciously aware of it, I think part of the appeal of the game is that there are so many things to touch.

Yellow Catan pieces.

I started with the yellow pieces. The yellow color I chose is a bit brighter than the yellow used for the arches in Cities and Knights, but I think it still looks authentic for the set.

Black Catan pieces.

Black was a color sorely missing from the original set. Of all six original colors, my friends find brown the least appealing. Black is so classic, though, that I’m surprised it’s been omitted from the game.

Pink Catan pieces.

Some of my girl friends are excited about the pink color. I think these pieces look like Double Bubble. Maybe Mayfair should release Catan bubble gum!

Purple Catan pieces.

Purple pieces round out the rainbow of colors. This purple is a little dark, but it actually fits best with the original color palette.

Electric blue Catan pieces.

I wanted to create 6 sets of pieces, and after exhausting the rainbow, I knew I’d have to double up on some colors. This electric blue color was requested by multiple friends, and is actually my favorite shade of blue.

Seafoam Catan pieces.

Seaform/mint green was also requested by several ladies.

When you compare my pieces to the original pieces, it’s clear that my palette is brighter, and in some cases, pastel compared to the original:

Palette comparison of original and custom Catan pieces.

However, my pieces now round out the rainbow very nicely, so I’m satisfied with this much-needed addition to the game!

Rainbow of Catan pieces.

While my group of friends doesn’t play Cities and Knights that often (the only expansion I have right now), it would be nice to have Cities and Knights pieces with my same colors. My only hesitancy in making the C&K pieces was that the knight pieces in the original use stickers to distinguish between active and inactive knights, and I didn’t want to come up with some symbol on my custom pieces to indicate that.

Then I learned that you can buy an unpainted set of Cities and Knights pieces for $3.50 on Mayfair’s website. So six sets would be $21: a little pricy, but it might be worth it so I don’t have to go through the hassle of cutting custom pieces again.

I also learned, after the fact, that you can buy an unpainted set of Catan pieces for $3.00 on Mayfair’s website.

Game on!

~Dennis

The Minecraft Travelogue: Floating Rock: Days 101-103

Seven witches are destroying this world by raising an army of undead warriors. My job is to hunt and kill them. Perhaps killing these witches will restore balance to the world.

Five witches have been slayed: two more remain.

I crossed the Orange Ocean after many weeks, only to enter a barren land of rock and sand.

This is my journey. My only goal is to tell a good story.

Day 101

I traveled west as much as possible, smoke from last night’s fire carried by the wind into my nostrils. I quickly discovered that this place is quite barren, little plant life. But the water, so plentiful! Maybe it’s all salt water and unsafe to drink.

I soon ran into ocean and had to progress north more than west. The ponds and streams and rivers got in my way, but I was able to traverse most of them with Lightning.

Minecraft Travelogue

Minecraft Travelogue

Minecraft Travelogue

Minecraft Travelogue

I found an Enderman, perhaps a hooligan from the night before who assisted in the attack. I was weak, though, and didn’t have much food for recovery. I spared his life, for now. I will hunt this race when I am through with the witches.

Minecraft Travelogue An enderman hides under a rock.

At times the canyon rivers were too deep, so I built small land bridges to cross them. These were nothing compared to the super land bridges I was building just a week ago.

A small land bridge across a canyon river.

Eventually I constructed a small home of sand and cobblestone to stay for the night. No sight of serious monsters yet. Perhaps I was safe for the time being.

Small house made of sand and cobblestone.

Day 102

I continued traveling, not sure what I was looking for. Food? Shelter? Witches? A place to make a home? Other people? Loneliness was creeping in, and I started wondering whether my quest was worth it, whether I should just give up and consider it “good enough.” I’ve already killed five of the seven witches. I’ve done more than my fair share to protect this world. Maybe somebody else will kill the remaining witches.

Maybe they are already dead.

Then I found a pool of fresh lava, still flowing, and I knew that the witches were here as well.

Overlooking a pool of lava.

Day 103

I woke up to the sound of a spider clawing at my sand waystation. So my respite from death only lasted two days.

So be it.

I carefully deconstructed my shelter and hit the spider with a couple arrows. I had to conserve wood, wool, arrows, iron, and weapons. Who knows how long I would be in this desert? Were people even here?

Attacking a spider with arrows from inside the sand shelter.

That threat effectively neutralized, I saddled up and rode on. I was riding up and down these sandy hills when suddenly I leaped over a witch roaming the countryside!

A witch stands on a hill as I prepare my weapns.

The witches are close! I was dangerously low on supplies, but I had to engage her. I demounted Lightning and pulled out my bow. I attacked her several times. I could’ve used arrows entirely, but they were precious.

Attacking the witch with arrows.

I finished her off with my sword, but in the process I was poisoned. The poison quickly flowed through my veins, bringing me to the edge of life. I ate an apple and recovered some strength, but now my food supplies were dangerously low.

Poison saps my health.

I had to keep walking, to find shelter. My midday, I found the perfect place to construct a little homestead. I dubbed it Floating Rock.

Gazing at a large, floating rock.

I’ve seen floating rocks before, but never this size. What was happening to this world? Was this the result of witchcraft? Instead of being scared of that rock, I was comforted. It wasn’t going to fall. If it’s stayed in the air this long, perhaps that rock has a strong will.

I built a decent house, constructed a pen for Lightning, built a workstation, then built a chest for all of my valuables. Before I could continue the journey I needed food, and perhaps lots of it. Who knows when I would find grass again?

A homestead built under Floating Rock.

Now my next task was to find soil. Fortunately I had the foresight to save wheat seed from before. Once I had dirt, I would cultivate the largest wheat field I’ve attempted to date.