The Real Wii Value

I was once a huge consumer of video games. Not as much as I used to be, but I do find some time every now and then. Admittedly I’m a little late throwing myself onto the Wii bandwagon – but I have to say it’s got to be the most innovative gaming platform to date.

I had my second brush with one this Thanksgiving, and I have to say I was blown away. I had encountered one before and had been intrigued but nothing more. I think the setting is what made all the difference this time.

My extended in-laws are a crazy bunch. They’re loud, obnoxious, they talk over you and have an unsolicited opinion to share about everything. I find myself rarely surprised when an argument amongst them breaks out and somebody gets disowned for a while. I was pretty psyched to be having Thanksgiving dinner with them.

I had no idea what I was in for. We were all swinging and yelling at the screen like maniacs. If it hadn’t been such a widespread product someone looking in the windows would have thought we were complete lunatics.

The physical implications are pretty much a given. Anyone who has spent any amount of time pondering the culture of gaming knows that the first system to get people physically involved was going to score a big hit. I was afraid that the first attempt out would be clumsy and unresponsive. I consider myself very pleasantly surprised. On the whole it’s a very accurate in judging physical movement – something that could have easily been done very wrong. Say waht you might about inferior graphics or a general aesthetic that seems cartoonish, the physical trappings alone trump all of that. The feeling of physical action over pressing buttons as a representation of action is a massive leap forward in terms of experience.

Aside from the physical aspects of the Wii there’s the social too. Nintendo is by no means the first game platform to embrace social aspects of gaming. PC gamers have been doing it for years. Seeing others play makes you want to do it with them. At my in-laws it was certainly not just the game savvy among us playing, it was just about everyone.

Video games are stereotypically something the kids in the family use to insulate themselves from those who don’t participate. In this case the opposite happened. The Nintendo people got all of those mouthy opinionated folks to shut up and have fun together for once. I can’t say it did much to keep them quiet, but at least people were yelling with not over each other.