Silly Fanboys Wii U Is For Adults
I may not be old, but I do have enough years under my belt to wax nostalgic about my younger days. In said younger days, there was little I enjoyed more than sinking my teeth into a nice meaty engrossing gaming experience and diving into a game as deep as I could go. I caught all 150 Pokemon, took out Ruby and Emerald weapon, five starred Guitar Hero 2’s entire setlist (except Jordan… damn you Jordan), learned the moveset for every Soul Calibur 2 character inside and out, found every discovery in Skies of Arcadia, earned killtaculars in Halo on a regular basis, found every last note in Banjo Kazooie, and devoted a downright obscene amount of time to perfecting my Smash game.
Times are different now. I have a full-time job, I’m working towards the dream of making it as a game journalist, trying my hand at stand up comedy, and trying to earn my master’s degree. With all that going on, many of my games are lying around half finished, and when I can finish a game, I can rarely dive deeply into its extras. My online skills have sadly waned due to lack of practice, and sometimes a week may go buy without my PS3, or X-Box 360 being turned on. I love gaming, and I try to squeeze as much of it into my life as possible, but like many adults, I just don’t have as many hours in the day as I’d like. Sadly, I’ve come to the realization that this trend isn’t reversing itself in the near future.
With limited free time, time spent gaming often means less time spent with my friends and family, many of whom are not gamers. As much as I love gaming, I have to keep my priorities straight. In a perfect world, I’d be able spend time with friends and family while also enjoying some quality gaming time. That’s why I, along with any other adult gamer trying to juggle things, should be eagerly anticipating the Wii U’s launch.
The Wii Effect
I’ve played many games around non-gamers on many different systems. When non-gamers see me play games on an X-Box 360 or PS3, they rarely show any sign of interest. As stunning as Battlefield 3 may be, the shiny graphics don’t garner any attention from those outside the hardcore sect. Even people who grew up on the Indiana Jones franchise show little interest in the adventures of Nathan Drake. Sports and racing games tend to draw a little more attention, but ultimately the complex controller used for those games scares non-gamers away from partaking in the festivities.
With the Wii, the situation is different. Whenever I play New Super Mario Bros, everyone in the vicinity wants to grab a controller and stomp on my head. My younger sister never showed much interest in platforming, but when she saw Epic Yarn’s arts and crafts world, she wanted to try it out. Only a few of my college roommates were willing to spend hours playing Halo, but everyone was up for a game of Mario Party. In the first 20 years of my life, my mother never showed any interest in any of the videogames I’d played, but when I brought home the Wii, she literally grabbed a Wiimote from my hands to try Wii Sports. When I first brought home the Wii, I had a five year old little brother. He wasn’t quite old enough to chainsaw through monsters in Gears of War, but we were able to bond over Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, and Kirby.
The Wii U looks to provide this same experience, and even improve on it. Nintendo is betting heavily on the Wii U’s asynchronous multiplayer, and this feature should be able increase the Wii U’s potential in terms of multiplayer gaming. Nintendo Land is an experience that truly has to be played to be understood. Seeing how quickly a group of four strangers became a well oiled Mario hunting machine in Mario Chase was the moment the Wii U really clicked for me. The Wii U has the potential to provide a complex challenge to experienced gamers while simultaneously offering a simpler experience to newer gamers. The potential here is through the roof if Nintendo could capitalize on it.
Rayman Legends was another game that made me see the potential of the Wii U. Rayman Legends is a fairly difficult platformer that would likely scare off casual gamers. With the addition of the Gamepad, Rayman Legends suddenly becomes incredibly accessible. Will my girlfriend be willing to go through the duration of the game’s campaign with me? Most likely not. Will she hop in for 30 minutes to tickle enemies and help me search for Lums? Yeah, probably.
Won’t Somebody Think Of The Kids
I’m starting to think about starting a family, and I’m sure that many readers are way ahead of me in that regard. Those guys and gals who grew up on Super Mario World, Final Fantasy VII, Goldeneye, and Pokemon Blue are spawning little gamers of their own. I’m sure there are plenty of devoted gamers who already have kids somewhere between the ages of 5 and 13, and I’m sure those moms and dads are looking for ways to spend time with their kids. For people in that situation, the Wii U will be an absolute blessing.
Nintendo has always had that magical Disney like quality. They’ve managed to make games that combine child friendly simplicity with enough depth and charm to appeal to older gamers. Games like Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, and Pokemon have found success with children who enjoy the games on a basic level and devoted gamers who have thoroughly exploited every glitch, studied frame data, and learned the secret science of IVs and EVs. Nintendo needs to keep this trend going with the Wii U while getting third parties in on the action. Games like New Super Mario Bros U, Rayman Legends, Nintendo Land, and Scribblenauts Unlimited should do a great job of providing an experience that parents and kids can enjoy together. This area is one of Nintendo’s biggest strengths and may be a reason for gamer parents to choose a Wii U over a PS3 this holiday season.
Silly Fanboys Wii U Is For Adults
If I were ten years younger, I might view the Wii U differently. I might be dismayed that I didn’t see the graphical leap many gamers hoped for. I might be frustrated with the lack of “hardcore” exclusives coming to the Wii U at launch. I might be upset that Nintendo is still following a different path from its competitors. However, as a time starved gamer trying to squeeze in as much gaming time as possible, I need Nintendo now more than ever.
I’m sure I’ll still make time for the occasional 50 hour RPG with amazingly realistic graphics or the occasional hours long FPS session, and I hope that the other next gen systems that I’ll inevitably purchase will provide those experiences. However, at this particular point in time, the promise of a great multiplayer experience that can be enjoyed with gamers and non-gamers is far more tantalizing than even the highest resolution textures. Being able to combine friends, family, and gaming is a dream come true, at least for this gamer.
Am I alone here, or are there other adult gamers who see the Wii U as a great way to game and spend time with their loved ones? If you agree (or disagree) let it be known in the comments section.