I know, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything. I got my cast off about a month ago, but was just out of the habit. So I didn’t write about going to Brugges (in Belgium) to play frisbee for three days, I won’t tell you about my trip to Paris last weekend (mainly because it was anticlimactic and enragingly expensive).
Instead, I will tell you about my NEW new toy. My Wii.
When my friend Ian first told me about the concept of Nintendo making a game console that would use a radically different kind of controller that used motion instead of thumb-twitches, I was immediately both excited and sceptical. It was just so radically different from fifteen years of game console convention.
But then when Microsoft and Sony started jacking up the prices of the consoles to 500 Euros and packing them with super high-end graphics cards and high-def DVD players and pretty much making only incremental changes in the basic concept of a console… that’s when I started to really appreciate the strategic masterstroke that Nintendo accomplished with the Wii.
It may not have the hardware specs that either the XBox 360 or the PS3 have, it may not do graphics as well, but it is just. damn. cool. And at 250 Euros it’s HALF the price of the entry level PS3.
So let me get this straight. Nintendo takes a radically different direction in gaming and lets Microsoft and Sony lose money on selling what amount to small versions of luxury gaming PCs. They make a console that’s half the price. That appeals to parents because it gets their kids at least waving their arms around for hours instead of just twitching their thumbs. AND they make money on every console sold.
I only have one game at the moment, Wii sports, which comes packaged with it, but even this rudimentary demo of the Wii’s abilities is enough for me to sing its praises to everyone who will listen.
There’s no way of describing the feeling of playing the Wii, it’s just so different and so much cooler than anything you could imagine. I played tennis against Lynn for a while and even though girls are genetically deficient at video games, becasue the Wii is so intuitive, she picked it up immediately and even beat me (once). I have a feeling that Nintendo’s console will do more to bring girls into gaming than anything that has been done so far, and that’s one fantastic way to increase market share: appealling to the 50% of the population that has been traditionally underserved by the mainstream games industry.
Congratulations to Nintendo on making a great product and having the balls (and the intelligence) to do something radical with the very industry that they helped create with the first Nintendo system.