Monday, January 19, 2009

Can Wii play too?

As my mother flails about frantically, cursing with frustration 'cos she can't make that return shot on the Tennis minigame on Wii Sports, it's the first time I've ever seen her enthusiastic about a topic which has caused much consternation in our household - namely computer games, not tennis.

Once a topic of debate (as to how long I should be allowed play them), considerable ignorance and misunderstanding and utter disinterest, they've suddenly come to the fore. For that, I have my mother's Wii to thank, a Christmas present from my father, and a fine bit of inspiration on his behalf.

While her knowledge thereof mightn't be as in-depth as a hardcore, or even a casual gamer, she's certainly become aware of the simplistic joy behind games. I'm glad, because now she's stopped getting on my case about the amount of time I spend playing them. She understands, at least on a superficial level. While she'll never be enamoured by the intricacies of the Metal Gear Solid saga or the simple pleasures of LittleBigPlanet, she still shouts with joy when she sinks a putt in Tiger Woods. On a personal note, it's brought us a little closer, namely because we've become doubles partners on Wii Sports tennis and sparring partners on the aforementioned golf sim.

This is what Nintendo have done with the Wii and the DS. They've opened gaming up to a generation and a demographic which were previously thought untouchable and deemed a lost cause. On the downside, from a purist's point of view, it's devalued gaming. Nintendo are content to churn out obscenely awful content, usually just replicating the same motion control novelties over and over. To put it simply, I'm sick of seeing a Wii Sports clone on the shelves every other week. Granted, they've have some gems, including Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros Brawl, but everything else is just smegma in comparison.

I've ranted on this topic at length, but I've discovered that I'm completely missing the point of the Wii revolution. I'd wager it's brought a number of families closer together. It's provided laughs, friendly rivalry and countless hours of quality family time. Nintendo have turned gaming from a niche pastime (albeit a niche growing every year) to one which can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age, gender or ability. It's thrown open the doors of the digital world and allowed it to cast its light on the unknowing masses.

For that alone, they deserve our thanks and praise.

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