“So, hey, umm… what are you doing tonight? How’d you like to come over to, uh, my place and we’ll play with my, uh, Wii?” Out of all the Nintendo pick-up lines that we’ve come up with on the Zelda Informer forums, I can’t say I’ve tried any of them – that one included. But, I’m sure something of that sort gets tossed around these days as some sort of throwaway line. After all, everyone loves a bit of a play with some Wii don’t they?
Out of this generation of consoles, the Wii has by far outsold its competitors in the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3. Of course, people will attribute this to the wider audience that the Wii targets, and use appalling phrases such as “casual gamers”. Regardless of how you look at it, the Wii has something for everyone. The range extends from cult followed games like Zelda, to difficult games like Monster Hunter Tri, right through to laid back games like Wii Party, or games like Super Mario Galaxy that everyone can enjoy. Research suggests that up to 1 in 3 US households has a Wii, and that players range from a couple of months old, right through to a 103 year old Wii fanatic from the UK.
The Wii has almost become a part of our culture. Everyone knows what Wii Sports is. Gamers, non-gamers, game-a-holics and game-haters have all at the least had a toss at Wii bowling. There’s nothing weird; nothing odd about having a Wii. Throughout society they are seen as genuine entertainment machines for everyone. For individuals, couples, families, cliques, families or a group of any size really. So then, why is it that the Wii’s closest pal, the Nintendo DS, as far as society is concerned, isn’t as widely accepted?
Have you ever heard of someone trying this pick up line: “Wanna come over to my place and play some wireless DS?” Didn’t think so. Society is familiar with the Wii, but the DS is different. In people’s minds, having a DS would place you in the “hardcore gamers” category, if you wanted to resort to such generalization – which society does. To the general community, playing Wii Sports is very different to having some wireless Mario Kart DS races. Wanting to trade Pokémon or items from Dragon Quest IX automatically makes you that little bit more obsessed with gaming and “strange” to society. As much as I rue these two words, society has made the Wii the “casual” console and given the DS the impression of the “hardcore” handheld.
And perhaps it is understandable to a degree. The DS has a lot of cult classics like Pokémon and Dragon Quest, where it’s all about trading and becoming consumed in the world. The DS has by far outsold the Wii, largely due to its massive success in Japan, and that’s a key point. Japan has a culture of gaming – to most westerners, the Japanese are strange in that regard. It’s a shame really of these preconceived ideas that people have in our society, because the DS offers just as much as the Wii. It has the largest amount of games of any console, ranging from Brain Training, to the Marios, Zeldas and Pokémon’s, but also The Grand Theft Autos.
Both the Wii and the DS have days, weeks, months, even years of fun in them. I just wish that people would stop judging before they give things a go. I wish that people would forget about the notions of “casual” and “hardcore” games – Super Mario Galaxy 2 showed how pathetic such categorization is. People need to stop focusing on which console is more widely accepted. Gaming exists for one simple reason – entertainment. For fun, and that’s what people need to take from their gaming more often, regardless of how much experience they have had. Nintendo’s consoles are about bringing people together, not dividing them into groups of separate gamers. In a way, people need to stop taking games so seriously, stop looking at them with preconceived ideas and just give them a go. Both the DS and the Wii have endless ways to provide anyone with a great time. If everyone approached gaming with an open-mind they’d find something they enjoy. Otherwise, they’ll just have to keep on missing out.