Friday, July 6, 2007

The Nintendo Wii: Dumbing Down Video Games Since 2006

In this current generation of video game consoles, there's no doubt where each box stands as far as technological prowess is concerned. On the top end, you have the PS3. It's sleek, sexy, high tech, and very expensive. It's basically that girl in high school that wouldn't give you the time of day. In the middle is the Xbox 360. It's got some looks, it enjoys a lot of activities, and doesn't mind you playing with your friends. It's the college sweetheart of consoles. And on the bottom, there's the Nintendo Wii. It's hot, cheap, and loads of fun, but definitely not something you'd want your mother to see you playing with. The Wii is that girl in the alley you gave $20 bucks to for a good time.

Now I'm not saying that the PS3 is the best console on the market - it's simply the most complex and most expensive. And as such, it doesn't exactly attract the "casual" gaming market. That's where the Wii comes in and cleans up. Everybody and their grandmother are literally playing this thing. The problem is that grandma begins to get confused when she has to start pressing a bunch of buttons. And that's when EA's Family Play comes to the rescue.

It appears the guys at EA think that, at ten buttons each, the PS3 and 360 controllers are too much for a casual gamer's mind to master. So they've solved this problem by creating games that work with the mere 6 buttons offered on the Wiimote.

EA Family Play, to be implemented on Madden NFL 08, NBA Live 08, and FIFA 08, is a control scheme that gives the player only the most "essential" controls in a game, and let's the AI do the heavy lifting. This allows grandma, the foreign girl, and that kid who fell off the slide in second grade the ability to play games that would otherwise be too complex for their feeble little minds to handle.

Now, no one is saying that sports game are easy. Indeed, there are a myriad of controls that one needs to master. But that's the point of a game like that - to give the player the type of control that they would have in the real world. Otherwise, you may as well just watch a game on TV, since you're really not in control anyway. And I'm sure this tactic will upset a lot of serious gamers at first, but to them I'll only say this: you wouldn't be caught dead playing one of these games on the Wii anyway due to the crappy graphics, so get over it. And I'm sorry to break the news to you, but if the only console you have right now is a Wii, you're not a serious gamer.

Obviously, EA is just looking for a way to get more people to buy titles that are viewed as intimidating to the casual set. But honestly, the casual gamer has no business playing this type of a game. There are plenty of games on the Wii that suit casual players, like Wii Sports and WarioWare. And I just can't see the old folks gathering round the tube at the home to play a rousing game of NBA Live. Don't you know? Grandmas can't jump.

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