Friday, March 20, 2009

The Wii, what gaming culture needed

I am a huge fan of Nintendo as an innovative entertainment company. Every iteration of gaming consoles that comes out they always try to set themselves apart. I think I have owned nearly every system, handheld or console, that Nintendo has released… yes even the Game boy 3D. Nintendo hasn’t been the King of Consoles since the Super Nintendo, but they are still around. About 2 years ago I picked up a Nintendo Wii because I loved the idea of motion sensitive controls. The Wii nun chucks were an amazingly simple and innovative idea.

My primary use for the Nintendo Wii is now only when I’m on deployment with the Military. I’m in the Army Reserves so every couple months I go away for anywhere from one to three weeks for some random training. The Wii has replaced my laptop as my standard form of entertainment on those trips. Last summer we went so far as to bring a TV to the field to play the Wii.

The Nintendo Wii is probably one of the most approachable and user friendly consoles I have ever come across. The age ranges I have personally seen play it are what amazes me. I have played Mario Kart Wii with my 4 year old daughter who had never played any video games before to playing Guitar Hero 3 with my Battalion Chaplain while spending 3 weeks in the field. Let me tell you when my Battalion found out that we were playing Wii with our Chaplain they were all pretty jealous.

When you use the controllers for the Wii, after about 5 minutes it just feels natural. You point them like a wand, or LED Pointer, and a corresponding hand appears on the TV screen as the typical icon. As you move your controller the pointer moves. When we were growing up my sister always had a habit of leaning or shaking the controller when she played video games. Now it would seem that she has been training for the Wii for 20 years because she can frequently beat me; and I’m what you would call a gamer.

The only down side of the Wii is its lack of proper 3rd party support, by that I mean that the only people who can make a decent Nintendo Wii game is Nintendo themselves. So that leaves a very small margin of good video games out there to play on this system. The bright side is that you could pick up the Wii with Wii Sports and probably be happy with never buying another game again. It’s great at parties and just breaking up the monotony of everyday. My work has even gone so far as to have Wii Sport fit breaks 3 times a week.

With video games becoming less taboo than years past Nintendo has made a great decision with the Wii. They have created a system that applies to 4 year olds, hard core gamers, house wives and yes even Army Chaplains. Nintendo has done what many companies couldn’t do, they have made it not only acceptable to play video games but trendy. I think everyone should have a Nintendo Wii as part of their standard home entertainment package.

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