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Wii’s doing you a favor, so quit yer whining.

August 4, 2007
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wii41.jpg

So the news is out.  Nintendo has abandoned its fanbase.  The people who kept them kicking in the console scene while their numbers dropped below rivals Sony and Microsoft.  Not that they really needed the financial help though, since the GBA and GBC were printing out money way before the pudgy DS and its slim cousin Lite came along.  So really, they didn’t owe you all THAT much, and they showed it in min-E3 with Wii fit and the zapper as their highlights of the event.

 This is Nintendo. They cater to casual gamers now.  And you know what?  That just might be the best thing that’s ever happened for gamers worldwide.  How often have we collectively wished that every non-gamer out there would “get it”?  How often did we wish our significant others or even the folks would get off our backs about indulging in such a childlike pastime as videogames?  What the Wii is doing is bringing gaming to the masses, and who cares if it’s being done with casual games?

 I see casual games as the starting point for the non-gamer.  It’s an intro, an appetizer if you like.  To offer a musical analogy, casual games are like Sum 41.  They’re easy, accessible, and offer just a hint of what games can offer.  After enough Sum 4s the casual gamer might take the step up to Coheed and Cambria, which is like Super Paper Mario.  It’s still fun and accessible but delves a little bit deeper into the immersive experience that is gaming.  And when they’re done with that, they just might want to dig deeper and have a Mars Volta-like experience with the Legend of Zelda:Twilight Princess.  At this point, its probably the deepest game Wii has to offer (though I’m probably wrong) and after finishing that they’ll finally get it.  They’ll understand your passion for videogames and why there’s nothing wrong with playing a game on the sofa instead of watching a film or the theatre.

 Then comes that magical moment where your friend/SO/parent comes to you and says, “hey what’s another game like this that I can play?”

 “Well, there’s Bioshock and Mass Effect for Xbox 360, MGS4 and Final Fantasy XIII for PS3, you might like those.”

 “Oh well I only have a Wii, what can I play on it?”

 “…”

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. turkish permalink
    August 4, 2007 9:57 am

    While I totally agree with using the Wii as a gateway to games, the rapid leap to games like “Bioshock and Mass Effect for Xbox 360, MGS4 and Final Fantasy XIII for PS3” is completely unrealistic. The amount of time it would take a gamer so consumer the casual games and slowly graduate to games like FF will take years, if ever. It’s likely your “friend/SO/parent” will NEVER be interested in violent FPS games or 100 hour RPGs. Forget. Those style games will always be core gaming genres. Just like some music will never be attractive to the masses, so these games will stay somewhat niche, which is fine. In any event, by the time the casual crowd is attracted to the wii and wants more substantial fair it will be there. I trust developers and if there is a solid market on Wii for those games, someone is going to make them. In a months time it will have the largest global install base and when it does, the third parties will step up and offer the experiences that will sell. I for one am glad for the casuals. In my 30s now, I am becoming more casual. I’m glad developers are embracing gamers outside the typical 14-20 male demographic. Those are the only people whining about the Wii going casual, they fear losing a few hooker beatdown simulators and shooters. Well we could use a few less GTA clones IMHO. I can’t wait for that Wii games “smarty pants”. That looks like a blast. Interactive trivial pursuit with adaptive AI questioning? Amazing.

  2. August 4, 2007 10:30 am

    Well you make a good point, but just like some kids stick to sum 41, some will dig deeper. The point still remains that it’ll draw a larger crowd to gaming, demystifying it once and for all.

  3. turkish permalink
    August 4, 2007 12:25 pm

    “Well you make a good point, but just like some kids stick to sum 41, some will dig deeper. ”

    You’re absolutely right, I’m just saying it wont be your mom and dad digging all the way to FF and Mass Effect, at least not for a few years, by then there should be a larger volume of “gamer” games, those solid middle of the road games that are not really casual and not quite bleeding edge hardcore. In all honesty, they’ll probably only make it to the likes of twilight princess and burnout.

    “The point still remains that it’ll draw a larger crowd to gaming, demystifying it once and for all.”

    No arguments there. I think this trend is a win-win for all but the elitists gamers who honestly don’t want the average joe involved in “their” hobby.

  4. August 4, 2007 12:59 pm

    well maybe not mom or dad, but your SO? thre’s a slim chance. 😀

  5. turkish permalink
    August 4, 2007 1:28 pm

    “well maybe not mom or dad, but your SO? thre’s a slim chance. :D”

    Wouldn’t that be awesome. I’m trying slowly but surely. I actually got her to play Strikers Charged with me for about an hour the other night. I had to let her win every game, but she had a good time. I tried once with Halo a LONG time ago. I’ll never make that mistake again, not at least until they introduce Daisy as a playable spartan in orange armor. 🙂

  6. August 4, 2007 10:02 pm

    or pink.

  7. August 6, 2007 4:07 pm

    There IS a pink armor option in Halo, so don’t complain!!

    I think casual gamers who slowly graduate to deeper games after a few years of playing Wii will eventually buy a PS3. Or a 360, if they are still around.

  8. August 11, 2007 3:13 am

    Pardon Ryan, but this is an old sticking point that doesn’t really stick anymore. Nintendo’s whole thing is based on this being a gateway console, we’ve known this forever. The issue now is that us long-timers are on the chopping block and Nintendo is showing very little mercy while they try to regain their former stature. Stunting the creative growth of the medium to pump up the commercial gains… That’s no favor to me.

    We’ve been Nintendo fans all this time for a reason.

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