2.12.2009

Wii Will Be the Downfall of Gaming


by Phil Kehres

Nintendo’s Wii is ruining gaming.

Ever since their release, Wiis have been flying off shelves and are harder to find than fratboys in an opera house. It’s become the new must-have toy for people that have no idea how gaming is really supposed to work. It is the MacBook of video game consoles — shiny and trendy, and easy for stupid people to use while lacking the superior quality of its competitors.

I don’t get the obsession with Wii. If I wanted games with graphics that look ten years old I’d play my Playstation One. The games are largely tripe — cutesy, so-called innovative garbage aimed at attracting soccer moms and girls who want to impress their boyfriends by posing as gamers. Any geriatric can swing a wand at a TV and pretend to be awesome, but it takes REAL SKILL to snipe Nazis from halfway across a map while 12-year-olds scream high-pitched obscenities at you over a headset. People who play Wii just don’t get it.

Plus, Wii is mean. I once tried to play Wii Fit, the exercise game that’s all the rage with self-obsessed yuppies and baby boomers alike, and the thing told me I was obese. So I’m a little soft in the middle, sure, but obese is a stretch.

And everyone and their mother, literally, seems to have or want a Wii. Usually, these are the same people that act like they’re too good for real video games and make fun of HARDCORE gamers like me. The world’s most vapid people own Wiis, and they always spout trite garbage like “oh, I don’t like video games but I love my Wii!!!” This is the technological equivalent of the lifelong Democrat who voted for George W. Bush in 2004 or the sorority girl who hates beer but LOVES Corona with lime.

Anyway, my point is this: I hate Wii. I hate its name, and its smug little design. I hate that it detracts from the technological achievements of other systems by appealing to the lowest common denominator. I hate that it steals market share from superior consoles. I hate that it helps cement video games as a silly, escapist party favor rather than a serious art form.

Also, I hate that I don’t have an extra $200 lying around so I can pick one up.

(Phil Kehres also is the co-author of Excuse Me, Is This Your Blog?)

(The photo is by Jessica Driver via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)






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6 comments:

Mike said...

Ok, let me get this straight...

You hate the Wii because you think it's better to live alone in a fantasy world of hi-res graphics rather than just have fun with real people.

You hate the Wii because it called you fat, despite the apparent evedence that you only ever exercise your fingers.

You think "it takes REAL SKILL to snipe...". Erm... no, it isn't real skill to press a couple of buttons at just the right time while ignoring a noise - to hit a REAL target with a REAL gun while allowing for REAL wind and the likes, as with most REAL sports, takes REAL skill.

I enjoy the Wii because it is a quick and basic outlet for the drudgery of the day, a little simply escapism from a day debugging enterprise wide web applications (oh yes, I have an honours degree and write software for a living, which rather removes me from your "stupid people" demographic, doesn't it).

I like the Wii because you can just pick it up and play... with other people... and when you've hit a few balls or driven a few circuits or even skiied a few courses, you can just put it down and get on with real life - quick and refreshing.

No, I think you really hate the Wii because it is showing you up as antisocial and fanatical, lacking the social skills to operate in the real world with real people; because you jumped on the wrong band wagon and have spent your money on the betamax-equivalent of a console and because... you think that being a "hardcore gamer" is something to be proud of!

Get a (real) life.

Turk said...

Wow, Mike, I didn't think anyone could out-rant me, but you take the cake. Only difference is, my piece was completely tongue-in-cheek.

I enjoy how you peg me as a typically dorky, ant-social gamer, yet it appears that with all your social prowess, you are completely incapable of detecting sarcasm.

Actually, I enjoy Wii quite a bit, for many of the reasons you outline. But I have two counter-points to your... um... argument? First off, the idea that Wii is the only console you can play with friends is absurd. Perhaps I'll get you in touch with my (real!) friends, who often enjoy coming to my place for a night of unwinding and gaming on my Xbox 360.

Secondly, you have highlighted my biggest complaint about the Wii. Wii is a wonderful console that con be enjoyed by both casual and hardcore gamers alike. However, by virtue of its accessibility and mass appeal, it allows people like you to get on your high horse about people who take video games more seriously. I submit that both forms of video game enjoyment are valid. You, on the other hand, seem to suggest that anyone who plays video games for more than 20 minutes is the typical mom's basement-dwelling, pimple-faced dork. I'd be glad to meet you and assure you that that is not the case.

Funny that by criticizing my sarcastic piece, you've thrown yourself out there as someone who *truly* believes the unsubstantiated generalizations you spout.

Who's the antisocial one?

Mike said...

Ah yes, the good old "sarcasm" defence... "I was only joking, honest!".

Yeah, right... perhaps you should should check your sarcasm detectors because they don't seem to be working very well. Re-reading your article even now, I can find very little sarcasm, if any - it still comes across as a very heart felt and serious piece expressing your inner-most feelings about the Wii and those who like it. Looking at some of your other articles too, they all show the same passionate intensity as this piece - so either you write nothing serious or this represents your true feelings.

As for the generalisations I've portrayed, these are based entirely on your own text - the "12 year old kid on the headphones" in particular for the age demographic and behavioural trends. Your subsequent "who often enjoy coming to my place for a night of unwinding and gaming on my Xbox 360" only helps to reinforce the stereotype you are presenting in the article.

The title "Wii Will Be the Downfall of Gaming" seems rather at odds with your subsequent "I submit that both forms of video game enjoyment are valid." - again I hold that your piece shows no sarcasm, until perhaps the very last line, so you are rather arguing against yourself aren't you.

As for getting on my high horse about serious gaming - I don't object to the fact that you take gaming so seriously, what I do object to is the fact that you deride those of us who don't.

I object to your stated belief that people who play the Wii are "stupid" and "vapid" and incapable of understanding "how gaming is really supposed to work" as if it is some dark art that only the chosen few are allowed to know - it is insulting, deragotory and incorrect, pure and simple.

It appears to me that most "hardcore" gamers simply object to the fact that the world of gaming is evolving and they are no longer seen as being as niche and elite as they were, quite the opposite. You label yourselves "hardcore" to try to distance yourselves from the mums and dads and sisters and grandparents and girlfriends (perhaps) to whom the games console is no longer some dark, terrible secret but a simple tool for entertainment.

I acknowledge that there are people who play computer/console games for significantly more than 20 minutes at a time, many to the exclusion of other activities, but I do not accept that it is necessarily a healthy lifestyle and your own experience of the Wii Fit only goes to support that. Since the unit only requires your age, gender and height, coupled with the weight that it measures itself, to determine your BMI - if it says you're obese then that is a fairly accurate indication that you are, at the very least, seriously overweight and certainly in need of doing less sedantry activities and more exercise.

The Wii Fit is surprisingly accurate in this respect for adults and ours correlates with our personal trainer's finding very closely. So unless you're too young to be measured accurately stop deluding yourself, you're not "a little soft in the middle", you're overweight or worse and need to do something about it - playing button mashing console games for a night does not qualify.

I also find it interesting that you don't try to counter my skill criticism of your piece, but then again, I think you wouldn't have made such a silly claim if you played real sports which required real skills.

Antisocial? If taking the kids to, and participating in, a variety of sports at the weekend; swimming in our pool most evenings (we have them in Oz); horseriding at the weekends and going OUT with friends makes me antisocial then I don't want to be social - I haven't the time.

So, to conclude, if the article is a genuine piece or humour/sarcasm, might I suggest you change your writing style to make it more obvious that you are just poking fun; if not, perhaps you should look a little closer at your lifestyle choices and do something about it, before it's too late.

Turk said...

Mike, you've officially crossed the line from critique into insult. Your comments add nothing of value to the conversation and serve only to degrade the dialogue.

I'm not even sure where to start, or if I should even bother, rebutting your rant. First off, if you've read my other pieces, I'm not sure how you failed to recognize the sarcasm. My line about "12 year olds on headsets" actually falls in line with your way of thinking... nobody enjoys hearing a little kid scream obscenities over the microphone... it's one of the downsides of gaming. It might surprise you that I identify myself as a casual gamer. Many of the things you would rail against are pet peeves of mine... the words and phrases in ALL CAPS in my column were intended to be obvious sarcasm. If you'd ever read any of my other pieces, you understand that my writing is nuanced enough to not need to rely on such an obvious crutch to emphasize a real point. I intended exactly to come off as a stereotypical "hardcore" gamer, and judging by the offense you've taken to my piece, I succeeded greatly. I don't intend to change my style to accommodate people who read what they want to read without thinking.

I'm also not sure what you're implying by pointing out that my friends occasionally come over to play video games. So what? Those same friends also accompany me on nights out, in athletic activities, going to sporting events, volunteer activities or in playing music (REAL guitar, not Rockband, as I'm sure you'd assume). Like you, I'm a man of varied and unique interests, of which video games are small just one part.

As for your not-so-subtle inference that I am obese... you not only crossed the line here, but you're dead wrong. Perhaps you should put your "honours" degree to use and look up the definition of body mass index. You'd see it doesn't take muscle into account. I am not an Adonis, but am by no means obese. I also quite enjoy athletics; in fact I spent last weekend playing tennis, basketball and working out. Not that I should even need to defend myself from such an insult, but again, if you knew anything about me in real life, you'd know I'm nothing like your gross stereotype.

I thank you for reading my work, Mike, but I encourage you to give it more time to digest next time, and put a little more thought into your analysis in before you spout off.

JZ said...

Aren't software writers (software programmers for those who want a cooler sounding title) also fat, dorky, pimply faced nerds who live in their parents basements and have absolutely zero social life? Oh, wait, that's just a stereotype... I forgot.

Learn the finer points of sarcasm, obviously this article (along with all of Turks other articles) is riddled with it, to the point where I find it hard to believe someone actually took this blog seriously and on top of that, offensively.

Also, betamax was a superior product to VHS, the sole fact that Sony didn't allow porn to be mass produced on their product is what ended up killing it in the consumer market. To this day, most television stations use Beta format tapes (though now they are digital betas formats) and will continue to use those products for years to come.

Further-more, it takes real... excuse me, REAL skill to do anything well; be it playing lacrosse, football, baseball, basketball, jerking off, playing video games, or coding and debugging web pages (which some people could say is not a REAL job, because where is the REAL skill in typing in lines of code? Why not go out and fix a car, or build a house, or something that is REAL.) I digress though, anything people do, be it work or entertainment, that takes some sort of brain function is real and takes some form of skill to do it well.

When was the last time anyone used, "to conclude," to actually conclude their argument besides in grade school?!

In conclusion, spend less time writing ridiculously long ranting replies to something that is trivial like a blog and go out into the REAL world and do something constructive.

DJ said...

If you carefully pay attention to the world around you, I think you will find that usually when people are joking (sarcasm included) they are actually telling their true real feelings.

Therefore, I agree with Mike's comments.

Also (and related) it's become a very trendy thing these days to put out strong (and real) opinions as sarcasm, with that exact idea in mind that if anyone objects or comments against it, you can always say "wow man! chill out! it was just sarcasm!" making the other person look dumb. But in fact, the sarcasm and comments originally posted, were most likely that persons true feelings.

Thanks for your time. Have a great day!

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