Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This Guy is Stupid: What Wii Really Means

I read the three pages of this articulate, well cited article.

Quick Summary:
The tone of the article is a dismissive one. It attempts to show why the Wii's control scheme isn't really revolutionary (because, so far, we're really seeing the "same old games" with a new control scheme, forgetting the fact that the "same old" boxing game on a gamepad with buttons feels vastly different than the game with a Wiimote and Nunchuck) because evolutionary controls don't mean developers will make evolutionary games.

Well, duh. I don't expect 2001: A Space Odyssey from the new games, but I would prefer the new controllers to playing Fist Person Shooters with my thumbs.

Programmers should make New Games for Ancient Consoles?
Lastly, he says that the greatest asset the Wii has is its ability to play old gaming systems - such as the NES, Sega Genesis, and Turbo Grafix 16. Why? Because programmers could, in his mind, make games for little money and they would still sell because "These computers enthralled millions of people, people who were not merely biding their time waiting for better technology."

While that's true, given that the Wii has far less graphical fidelity than the XBOX 360 or PS3, it is not also true that flat, 2d graphics are more engaging to gamers than 3d ones. That was, after all, why games started moving in that direction in the first place.

The Personal Agenda that makes the whole article Wrong:
The last page really highlights that the author has a personal agenda: He loves old games. He loves nostalgia, and he would like to live in a world where programmers made new games for the 20+ year old Nintendo Entertainment System, and people bought played those games.

Given this, as accurate as he is about the notion that revolutionary controllers does not mean that revolutionary games will come out (it just makes it more likely, to a lesser extent as the onset of 3d gaming revolutionized games), the whole article is really a large, intelligent bend at an agenda the author has, and that's sad.

When good minds wrap themselves up in their feelings and then layer themselves in so much self-serving information as to believe themselves, when a few doses of the reality of how the world works tears it all down.

The Reality of the Author's Dream:
Wal-Mart has a great many "legacy style" game consoles in a controller that you can buy and put on your TV. Amazingly, my kids actually played these, but not very much. So while he's not entirely off his mark (folks can write simple games and people will play them) he's in the wrong market:

People who want games that simple will buy a $15 or $20 gamepad with a built-in console and a few games (that you can never add more to) and be happy, or put it on a shelf. People who buy a $250 or $400 or $600 console do NOT want these kinds of games, by in large, and their family members, having experienced what the Wii has to offer, probably won't care for the old push-button fests either, albeit the normal puzzle games may still apply.

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