Next Stop: Maturegameville?
Just when we were all getting accustomed to everyone’s taunts about the Wii being a “casual gamer’s system” or worse yet, a “kid’s toy”—developers (and by developers, I mean SEGA) have gone and put out some solid “mature” content. I’m looking at you House of the Dead: Overkill and you too, MadWorld. But, is this right road for Nintendo?
Now, let’s be clear. Dropping an F-bomb here and there does not a mature title make. And no matter how many times (many, many times) HoTD: Overkill assaulted us with said bomb, that isn’t why we loved the game. Not that I am complaining, but the game was mature because it was aimed to please those of us who don’t spend our time playing pick-up sticks with little Bobby from around the block. Hell, even those who are parents of little Bobby got a break from the kid because we actually got a chance to let our inner zombie killer loose while the kids slept. It was, in two words: simple relief.
I’ll be honest with you. I own a 360 not because of the UBER AW3ZoME GRAfiXX!!11 (Isn’t that the cool way to speak?).
It’s a nice plus that my screen displays the sweetness of HD splatter. But the real reason I bought the 360 was so that I could come home at night, after a particularly hard day at the office, and just lay waste to a horde of locusts in GoW2. And, for those of you out there who have done the same know that taking a Lancer to an unsuspecting Grub is a great way to just let it all out. And that’s the beauty of these mature titles.
You see, innovation is all good and well. And I applaud Nintendo for attempting to change things up with the Wii. And I love the emphasis on unique puzzle games (World of Goo, Boom Blox) and simulated “living” (Animal Crossing My Aquarium). And despite its somewhat pail-o-fail debut, I even appreciate Nintendo’s attempt at Wii Music.Because, well, let’s be honest, that’s what Nintendo does. It attempts to set itself apart from your every day FPS machines.It tries to go another way. It attempts to reach those areas and those people that otherwise have been left out of the fun that is video gaming. And yes, that is great achievement.
But, here’s the thing. I know we have all heard it. And my goodness did we EVER hear it after E3. But, Nintendo hasn’t forgotten the “core gamer.” It’s just that the core gamer used to mean the gamer who appreciated hours on end of Mario 3. That’s always been Nintendo’s core gamer. The core gamer to Nintendo is the gamer who loves Zelda (and yes, even Celda). The core gamer (to Nintendo) is not Marcus Fenix. And it never has been. So what is it that we are asking Nintendo not to forget? If anything, we are asking Nintendo to better recognize. Better recognize that even Moms and Dads need a break from building blocks and shaking wiimotes.
And so now, we are getting there. Developers take note. Look at our hedgehog developing friends over at SEGA. They understand that at the end of the day, sometimes all you want to do is swing a chainsaw into the bad guys jugular. And, the best part is, on the Wii, it just feels SO MUCH BETTER. It is satisfying. And, when done right, it is better than any button mashing on any other system could hope to achieve. If you haven’t played through Godfather: Blackhand Edition, you are missing out. Nothing says “frustration solved” than physically picking up a mobster and actually swinging him into an electrical output box.
Nintendo, this is the right road. While you, yourself, might not find yourself traveling down it, at least recognize that it exists and support it. Let the developers work around the friend codes (thank you Conduit). Open up the storage space. Let’s get some real voice chat. And come on, let’s work out those bugs with online multiplayer. I understand not abandoning the core of what Nintendo stands for—but let’s pave the road for the other crowd. Help get that word out to your audience (Good job with the MadWorld ad on the Nintendo Channel). Because, in the end, we as gamers need an excuse to toss a guy onto a train track, send the kids to bed to shoot some mother*** zombies in the head, and just really, let loose with our little white box.