At last, a new game on the list!
Welcome back to Kotaku's monthly look at the 10 most avidly-played Wii games, our so-called "measure of pleasure," that charts which Wii games collect the least dust. Lego Star Wars has fallen to #11 thanks to the arrival of Harvest Moon: Animal Parade. People sure do like playing their Harvest Moon games a lot.
(Click the chart to enlarge)
For many months, the same games have appeared in this top 10, based on data pulled from Nintendo's official tracking service of Wii users (full explanation of where the numbers come from below). The lack of a new entry has been disappointing, but understandable. These top 10 games each average more than 40 hours per person who plays them. Any new games have a long way to go before they reach that threshold, and some just don't have enough content to come close.
New Super Mario Brothers, for example, is only at 22 hours per player as of March 1. The surprisingly hot-selling Just Dance has been played, on average, just over five.
The news this month, though, is that a new Harvest Moon, subtitled Animal Parade, has given its players enough of a fever. It cracks the top 10, with a 43-hour, 59-minute average playing time.
Animal Parade knocks Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga off the list. That game ascended to an average playing time of 43 hours and 52 minutes, but was passed by the Animal Parade rocket. Expect Lego Star Wars, which continues to post steady play-time increases, to return in a few months, passing the stagnating or declining likes of Rock Band 2 or The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. Those games are hovering at close to 46 and 47 hours per player, respectively.
In The Margins
-One game that continues to bear watching is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition. The online multiplayer of Call of Duty: World at War has helped that 2008 Wii game to post high numbers on this chart. The 2009 Reflex edition isn't Top 10 material yet, but in the past four months it has shot up from about 17 hours per player to 32.5, gaining 5.5 of its hours in just the past month. It has a shot of making this list someday.
-Slow and steady but never successful enough to make the Top 10, Mario Kart Wii is about to reach the 37-hour mark. It hit the 36-hour mark over the New Year, making it one of the most-played games on the Wii. That is a great feat for any top-selling game, given how prone the top-sellers are to having some consumers drag the average playing time down.
-No one asked, but Jeep Thrills rose from an average playing time, as of February 1, of 3 hours, 32 minutes, to, a month later, 3 hours, 35 minutes. Who even knew there was a game called Jeep Thrills?
Where's all this from? (AKA an explanation of the above chart for stat junkies only): In a move somewhat surprising for the generally secretive company, Nintendo makes all of this data public. Any Wii owner can download the Nintendo Channel to their Wii and begin browsing for games. Any game that has been played enough times has usage stats listed for it, contributed by anyone who chose to share their data with the channel. The sample size that the channel tracks is pretty good, though it is obviously biased toward users who hook up a Wii to the Internet. We calculate that sample size by looking at Wii Sports usage numbers, which show that more than 98 million sessions of that game have been played by Nintendo Channel users as of March 1 (up 4 million in the last month), for an average of 29.66 sessions per player. That divides to more than 3.3 million Wii Sports users whose gaming has been tracked by the channel. Since almost all Wii Sports owners in North America would be Wii users, we will venture that as many as 3.3 million people have contributed stats. That is up from the 3.2 million people when these numbers were run for February 1. (October 09 data is not included on the chart due to a problem with Nintendo's data reporting in the previous month.)