Holy Shit, Nintendo

Friday, December 26, 2008
Dear Nintendo:

I finally figured out your little dance, and I have to say, Nintendo, I am very disappointed in you. I saw what you're doing, today. But now you've crossed the line. You got my mother, you son of a bitch.

So, yeah, I've seen what you're doing. My mother was so excited--bright-eyed, innocent mum--to open her brand-new Wii this morning. Let me explain something: She has no idea what the fuck a Wii is.

Things I've heard her say in the past few weeks:

"Do you have to dress up like what you're doing to play the Wii?" (i.e., do you have to dress up like a Tennis Player to play Wii Tennis?)

No, mom.

"It's like virtual reality! You move your hand and it does everything you do!" Not quite, mom.

"I want a Wii so I can finally get in shape! You know it helps you do that." Well, sort of, Mom. The ten miles a day you ride your bike probably does a bit more, though.

Me: What games did you get with your Wii, Mom?
Mom: I got five games!
Me: Five? really?
Mom: yep! See! (points to the Wii Play box, which showcases the five "games" packaged with it).

Me: .../facepalm

Don't get me wrong. I like the idea of the Wii. What I don't like is that their target demographic doesn't know what they're really getting because all they hear are these myths of how great that little white rhombus is. I'm not trying to jump to conclusions but everyone I know who owns a Wii plays it once every two or three weeks, max.

To me, this is like the rugby coach who learns his son wants to be an athlete. He's so proud and then his son goes and signs of for ballet. Fuck, man--he loves his son, of course, and supports him! But really? Ballet? Well, okay then. I'm just glad you're doing something.

I'm so happy to welcome my parents into the folds of gaming--why, just a few weeks ago, they were able to use their bonus AmEx points for a PS3. My stepdad is playing Oblivion and I couldn't be prouder. Now with the Wii in the house, what are they going to say when I say, "Hey, I brought Guitar Hero" or "hey, have you guys tried Bioshock yet?" (a game they purchased because they heard it was game of the year--I said "be still, my heart!") I can't wait to see them graduate to bigger and better things. But until then, it's going to be "Boxing or Tennis?" for quite some time.

So thanks, Nintendo. You succeeded in bringing everyone who doesn't play games into gaming--but at what cost? (I'd say about $249). People buy and love the Wii, and I admit, perhaps I'm not being entirely fair. But I'm no reporter, and objectivity is not obligatory. I just hate to see my hobby get thrown by the wayside because my mom wants to balance on a piece of plastic. Why should Ubisoft make Assassin's Creed 2 when they can make Unicornz 2 for a 1/10th of the price and make 10x the money? Hell, why should we get a new Rayman game when we can have a minigame compilation featuring insane rabbits? I can't blame the companies, per se--it's good business (and, actually, Raving Rabbids was a lot of fun)--but when minigames and shovelware are the norm, what happens the the Metal Gear Solids and the Bushido Blades? I love gaming and I welcome anyone into gaming--but I don't know if I'm willing to subvert gaming as I know it to do so.