Following NintendoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s press conference last week at E3, there seemed to be a ubiquitous grumble in gaming circles that Nintendo had abandoned the hardcore gamer, in lieu of catering to the casual crowd. Even Nintendo faithful dissented as they claimed E3 a missed opportunity to prove that the hardcore gamer was (still) important to the Big N. I guess I watched a different press conference, because, while not the flashiest, NintendoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s conference seemed (to me at least) to confirm to me that Nintendo was catering to everyone, in general.
One of the most debated points of the conference was Wii Fit. Semi-announced through upcoming games lists as Wii Health Pack, Wii Fit was formally announced during NintyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s E3 press conference. A game that involves using a balancing board to help the user do fitness related activities, gamers scoffed at Miyamoto being proud of what they saw as glorified exercise equipment that had casual written all over it. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll tell you right now, if at all possible, I will be purchasing this Ã¢â‚¬Å“titleÃ¢â‚¬? on day one, and I would consider myself a hardcore (whatever that really means) gamer. Ã‚Â
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand why the gaming community doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see this as a product for them as well as Ã¢â‚¬Å“nongamers.Ã¢â‚¬? I think some of it has to do with a general tendency toward jadedness among gamers today. Sure we can play Halo 2 for 23 out of the 24 hours of the day, but scoff at those who would give 30 minutes of their day to a fitness game. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not knocking gamers, as I firmly believe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a valid hobby, but do you think gamers felt let down by Nintendo when they released World Class Track Meet with the Power Pad peripheral? Well, from personal experience, I was blown away. It was a completely new experience, one that led me to explore other gaming options. Why is it necessary to take an elitist approach to any title that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put a gun/sword in our hand our produce mass amounts of blood/havoc? I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think this title needs the Miyamoto stamp on it, but the fact that he is backing it has to make you at least slightly rethink your attitude.Ã‚Â
It’s a Mi…yamoto!
Miyamoto has challenged the gaming community several times to reevaluate their concept of what a hardcore gamer is vs. a casual gamer. In his 10 questions with Time feature, he was asked about this very subject and replied that Nintendo tries to just consider one group: gamers. However, a comment he makes in response to a question about the future of video games seems even more relevant.
How do you see video games evolving in the future? Ã¢â‚¬â€Dave Barnhardt, FORT ERIE, ONT.
In the past, video games had a more relevant place in pop culture. What we are trying to achieve with devices like Wii and Nintendo DS is bring gaming back to that relevant role not only in pop culture but also in society in general.
I think thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of truth in that , and it seems the reason that videogames were more relevant to pop culture when they were first introduced was because there were games that were more accessible that everyone could enjoy. The hardcore gamer (as he existed in the beginning) beat Blaster Master (speaking ofÃ¢â‚¬Â¦VC!), and taped the entire playthrough via VCR, but the nongamer enjoyed taking a shot at it as well, and then the two had a good time playing a round of Duckhunt together.Ã‚Â It really ties in with Wii Fit kind of bringing the Power Pad full circle. NintendoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s philosophy with the DS mirrors that original excitement that games brought to pop culture, and the Wii is following suit. In fact, I think most would agree that video games in general haven’t received this much mainstream press in a long time
Lite’s future looks brite…er, bright
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve conversed with aÃ‚Â hardcore gamer that has felt Nintendo has abandoned them on the DS, even though some of the big name titles this fall start with animal Ã¢â‚¬Å“xÃ¢â‚¬? and end with a Ã¢â‚¬Å“z 2 (IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m looking at you Ubi).Ã¢â‚¬? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because those games are coupled with titles like:
Dementium: The Ward
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Rune Factory: Harvest Moon
Drawn to Life
Heroes of Mana
Donkey Kong: Jungle Climber
Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword
and countless others.Ã‚Â
With a few (inevitable) minigame titles coming out this fall, why are gamers choosing to turn a blind eye to the equally or even more so impressive list of upcoming Wii games?
Mario Strikers: Charged
Metroid Prime: Corruption
Battalion Wars II
Nights: Journey of Dreams
Zack and Wiki
Soul Calibur: Legends
Super Mario Galaxy
Medal of Honor: Heroes 2
Super Smash Brothers: Brawl
Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
This article isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t about E3, if you couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t tell. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about a generally negative banter about all things Nintendo ever since the release of the Wii, claiming that Nintendo has chosen casual over hardcore, but why are there only two options: Casual or Hardcore? Why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it be both? It seems pretty self-explanatory that everyone involved benefits from an expanded market. Developers/Publishers have more cash for more staff/projects/promotion/etc.; the big three have a larger install base meaning more 3rd party support/more people to play with/etc.; and gamers probably benefit the most as gaming becomes more mainstream(socially acceptable)/more games to play(choose from) and more stringent competition for their dollar meaning lower prices in general.
Whether you disagree or not, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll personally be touting the title Ã¢â‚¬Å“gamer,Ã¢â‚¬? without any further qualification.