Gaming Wars: The Wii vs. Everything Else
by Branden Hart
Last week, I wrote about the difference between console and PC gaming. Please note: I did not leave out arcades for any reason other than they are very rarely found in homes. This is about home video entertainment, because that's where the majority of the video game market lies. Arcades, for better or worse, are things of the past. What will follow next?
Bowling alleys, for one. Now don't get me wrong, I'm using hyperbole folks. But let's look at something here:
Night out bowling for real:
Rentals for me and my fiancée/illegal escort: $35.00
Drinks for me and my fiancée/illegal escort: $10.00/$35.00
Cigarettes for me and my fiancée/illegal escort: $0.00/$10.00
Condoms for me and my fiancée/illegal escort: $0.00/$13.00
So you see, based on who I took bowling, I could easily spend up to $93.00 ($101.57 if I spring for French Ticklers).
Night out bowling on the Wii:
And that's it. Like I said, I know it isn't the same, but it's very interesting how much it feels like the same. If you haven't bowled on the Wii, you're missing a very intriguing experience, because you move just like you would if you were really bowling. Don't worry about some dumbass playing “Born in the USA” on the jukebox all night long—you can put on your own tunes, because you're at your house.
Some people might see this as a bad thing. May think of it as, “People aren't going to go out as much because they have this entertainment in their homes.” But I think that it's just a way to augment the entertainment already there. We have friends coming over tonight. And instead of sitting around, staring at each other, and then talking every now and then, we're going to play games—bowling, baseball, tennis—that we otherwise wouldn't be able to play with each other in such an abbreviated time frame. After all, we have to cook dinner and watch the Sopranos as well. So we've only got an hours to squeeze in ten frames of bowling, nine innings of baseball, and nine holes of golf. But thanks to the Wii, we can do it.
Yeah, I like Trivial Pursuit, Cranium's kind of cool, I can get some Scrabble going if I'm in the right mood, but I'm enchanted by this video game system that is really something anyone at a party can get into. I love to party, and I love having people come over to my home and enjoy themselves. The Wii allows this in a way most of us haven't dreamed of for years. We were once given a machine that allegedly had the power to do what the Wii does now: the Power Glove, a peripheral released for the very first Nintendo. Ah yes, I'll never forget the Christmas morning I woke up to the Power Glove, the dream of using it to drive a car in Rad Racer. But truth is, the Power Glove sucked a fat one. Fortunately for us, Nintendo learned from their mistakes.
Using a controller with infrared sensors and an accelerometer to gage the speed of movement, Nintendo offers everything the Power Glove was meant to do and more. Originally criticized for its incapability to duplicate the complex graphics and gameplay of the XBOX 360 and PS3, the other two “seventh generation” home video game consoles, the enormous sales and popular welcoming of the Wii show that it outshines its seventh-generation brethren in, at the least, bringing more people to the gaming table.
As a kid, I begged my dad to play video games with me. He obliged, but overall, didn't enjoy himself. But as I watched my mom the other night, bowling strike after strike on Wii Bowling, I couldn't help but think of the times we could have spent. Instead of sitting on the couch, watching TV, we could have been swinging our arms around like maniacs, laughing at and with each other, and playing games together. Even though we live in a society where spending time in front of the TV in general is looked upon as a waste, the Wii has shown me just how much video entertainment can do to bring people together. That's what is making the Wii rise to the top in the new console war: bottom line—it's a fucking blast. And you won't hear anyone but hard-core gamers say that about the 360 or PS3.
Uber wants you to touch his wii.