Console Wars: The Tactical Debrief

Sines By Sines.

22 Weeks. 22 weeks went by in a flash while everyone was fighting to get their favorite console to the top. Running from Early March up to the end of September, this new event can only be described as a success when looking at the participation numbers and overall positive feedback it got. But now that it is over and we’ve been sent packing back home you want to know more? Why was fighting needed in any case, who put this conflict framework in place and more importantly will we know peace in our time?

It is to answer those and more that we went directly to the director of this operation, well known thorough our community, BahamutVoid BahamutVoid.

> First of all, Hi! Thanks for being there to answer our questions! To start with the obvious: What was the origin for this idea?

When I was working on Challenge League 2022 I really liked the premise of my Grand Tour challenge (beat a game from every supported console) but I was also aware that it was a huge ask for many players as only 13 of 53 participants cleared that task. I liked the idea of encouraging people to experience consoles they’d never touched before and so was thinking of ways to make it more accessible to the wider community.

At the same time, I’d also see people in chat debating their favorite consoles and had the idea that it would be fun to give these arguments some weight. You think X is the best console? Prove it; play it.

The two ideas merged, and Console Wars was born.

The first edition Console Wars

> Looking at the results do you like how it ended up and as well in terms of format?

Overall I can only call the event a success, so yes I’m definitely happy with how things ended up. I had been hoping for a more balanced podium than the Nintendomination we got (GBA, GBC/NES, NDS/N64), but it’s hardly surprising that it happened given how many consoles they had in the running.

There were a few format issues, like favorite consoles returning and knocking out others that were only appearing for the first time. Making the shift to allow multiple consoles per player each week was also a little rough, being added once things were already underway, but it was absolutely the right call to help keep things competitive. Shout out to those players who earned their badges by continuing under the week 1 single console restriction though!

(For context, only 6 players managed to get the Mastery award with only one entry per week!)

The initial participation absolutely blew me away. I’d been hoping that I’d manage to pull in as many players as I’d had for CL2022 (53) but that was more than doubled in the first week alone. I was a little concerned that the numbers would sharply drop off at the midway point once people started reaching the badge requirements, but the combination of those going for high scores, late joiners and, those simply enjoying the event kept it to a steadier tapering off as things drew to a close. I ended up with a total of 155 players and I cannot emphasise enough how pleased I am with that result - I was trying to make a more accessible event than my last one and this absolutely confirms that I pulled it off.

> Any plan for a new version in the future, and if so what could be some variant?

Yeah, I’m definitely planning to come back for a second season, just got a bunch of details to finalize before it’s ready.

First up I need to put some work into normalizing the point thresholds a little - not enough that they’re all the same, as certain consoles aren’t directly comparable, but to make the differences less drastic especially when looking at the extremes at both ends of the scale.

To counter the issue with ‘sweeper’ consoles coming back and knocking things out, I’ll be putting each week’s winners into a separate pool so that they won’t reappear until everything else has had a chance to fight for survival.

I’m also reconsidering the no alt accounts rule - it needs a little fine-tuning, but I should be able to make this work.

Finally, the bonus badge requirements are going to be changed - I was initially worried that the Underdog mechanic wouldn’t catch on but I ended up over-incentivizing it. Instead, I’m thinking of using the bonus badge to highlight the event’s origins, but no hard details yet.

> Ooh, we could get less of an no-holds barred War and more of a proper Tournament Arc! From having watched the entire event from behind the scenes, which console surprised you the most?

Right from when the event was first announced, people had concerns about the PSP’s notably higher point threshold - the only platform to break 300. Although it was calculated the same way as everything else, I shared these concerns and was worried that it would deter people from playing it when its turn came around. It’s got a varied library of games and as the weeks went by with no sign of it in the rolls, the tension only increased. Admittedly, when it finally came up in week 20, it didn’t manage to fend off the NES or the SNES, but it did put up a sporting fight with a range of only 6 points from winner to Underdog rather than the landslide loss I had feared.

> Inversely, which are those that made you sad?

I was looking forward to the classical console wars match-up of Mega Drive vs. SNES, but before we got that far, MD was knocked out by the NES, not even managing to beat the WASM-4 as it died. Look how they massacred my boy!

(If anyone’s curious mines are from Week 1: both the Wonderswan and Arcade deserved better but got pitted against SNES right at the starting line!) > About the final rankings, was it close to what you expected initially?

In retrospect, GBA was such an obvious contender. That final result makes a lot of sense for this community, and yet somehow, I never saw it coming. Personally, I was hoping neither Nintendo nor SEGA would win, subverting the classic war and instead Sony would clinch it despite only having three contenders.

> What’s the origin for using Ammy as a mascot for the event?

I already had the idea of the Underdog system, so I was looking for a video game dog to represent it. Duck Hunt dog’s iconic chuckle is already known as a jokey react in the community and other options like Wolf Link or Dogmeat were well known, but didn’t stand out enough design-wise to shine as icons. Amaterasu is visually distinctive, but also less-known enough to evoke the spirit of the underdog.

And that was all from BahamutVoid! Thanks again to him for not only organizing all of this and taking the time to answer those few questions. As for me I participated almost every week, missing a few due to a busy schedule. Even with those miss I managed to get all the badges for the event, proof if needed be that there really was no need to be a God Gamer to win!

After all, maybe the real war was the friends we made along the way…

Still want more? You’re in luck! Check out The Quinn War Report - A Console Wars Retrospective, written by our fellow Console Wars Veteran QuinnWasTaken QuinnWasTaken to get a more detail look back week-per-week!