June 07, 2007
We're a Nintendo Family
Posted by Christine Hurt

Wiiplay As someone who grew up a few months too soon to be in the video game generation, I'm a little embarassed to say this, but I think my family is a Nintendo family.  Last week I was reading this NYT article on how Nintendo is killing Sony and Microsoft in the video gaming industry right now, and it dawned on me that the article was about my family.

Part of the reason for the success of such products as the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS, according to the article, is that Nintendo finally realized that many families didn't want high-level geeky games created by high-level geeky gamers.  Although many families have one person that these games attract, the games don't universally attract all family members.  Voila!  The Wii.

I completely agree.  A couple of years ago, I broke down and allowed an X-Box into our house.  But the games are too complicated and not kid-friendly.  The Lego Star Wars series, while a really fun concept, is created for 30-somethings who love Star Wars, not the kids looking at the "E" for everyone.  I don't consider it fun to have to look up on the Internet hints and secret codes for getting from Level Whatever to Level Better.  When my son tries to play it alone (without Paul), he often asks me to help him, but there is literally nothing I can do.  But all this is changed now.  Two weeks ago, we bought a Wii!

First of all, you can hook up a Wii in 5 minutes.  Then, you create your "Mii," and you can play in about 5 more minutes.  (My kids think the creating the Mii part is the best game so far.)  The Wii Sports games that are pre-loaded and the games on Wii Play have very steep (short, fast)learning curves.  Without investing time in honing special skills, mom can jump in, friends who come over can jump in, even grandparents can jump in.  For our family, this is a much better game.  Although complex games may sharpen problem-solving skills, blah, blah, blah, for our family, having something that everyone can play is much more important.  "Game night" doesn't have to be Monopoly anymore!  (On our wish list, Mario Party 8.)

We also have a Nintendo DS Lite for our daughter.  Although she's not video-game crazy either, she really likes Nintendogs, a game the article points out is one of few marketed to girls.  So, I guess if we have to concede that Nintendo is winning the gaming wars by marketing to the low-brow, low-tech masses, that's at least half our family!

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