You don’t have to like something to respect it. Sadly, many dedicated gamers seem set on drawing parallels.
You see, there are two types of non-Wii gamers. Let’s call them John and Mike. Both like video games and have played them for many years — well before motion-controls entered the mainstream. They may or may not consider themselves “hardcore” gamers.
John, the first one, may not like the Wii personally, but he still respects its industry-leading sales and its skillful designer, Nintendo. He doesn’t feel the need to discount what Nintendo has done with insipid comments because he knows his favorite games and genres can and will coexist on competitor platforms, maybe even on Nintendo systems once in a while.
John may have owned a Wii at one time before realizing it didn’t meet his expectations for whatever reason. In that case, he likely doesn’t brag about selling it. If he’s never owned one, he wouldn’t be opposed to considering its purchase once a game piqued his interest. I consider myself friends with many modern day Johns.
In short, John is to Wii as the author of this article (me) is to Pokemon: a game I don’t “get,” but one I know and appreciate as the best selling game of all time. For the record, I’ve never felt the need to belittle Pokemon players. But I digress.
Mike, on the other hand, has probably never owned a Wii or even entertained the idea (though he may have owned one before feeling buyer’s remorse, as is the case with any consumer product). He doesn’t like it nor does he respect the fact that 25 million others currently do, enough to warrant its initial purchase at least. He earnestly believes all 25 million have been duped. He has decried, ever since Wii’s launch in November 2006, that the motion-sensing system will fade; that it’s novelty will wear off. Eighteen months later, he maintains this belief, though his case is close to being thrown out in court.
The Wii’s industry-leading sales scares Mike. He feels threatened by the console because he thinks by some inexplainable way, all his familiar games will suddenly become extinct. As a result, Mike feels the need to degrade the system whenever and wherever he can, usually in the comments section of blogs and forums. Since he can’t aggress the system’s poor sales, which don’t exist, these trite phrases have become his mighty shield and sword of this generation: “I haven’t played my Wii in months,” he says proudly. “It just sits there collecting dust,” is another favorite.
Mike is convinced there are no games for him on Wii, even if there is. His unpaid PR efforts may also be the result of ulterior business motives.
Those are the two kinds of non-Wii gamers. I suspect there are way more Johns than Mikes out there. Nevertheless, I’m not sure the Wii will ever be respected as a gaming console by many long-time players, even though the system’s sales will likely become the PlayStation 2 of this generation. But I guess it doesn’t really matter. Nintendo will sell another 1.5 million worldwide units next month, and the majority of owners (not everyone) will likely continue to enjoy their refreshing, albeit underpowered console.
By all means, the gaming industry, enthusiasts, and Wii owners should vehemently continue to critique and probe Wii’s flaws, of which there are many (excessive ports, undercooked games, lack of lengthy single player titles, questionable third-party efforts, insufficient storage, and cumbersome online multiplayer quickly come to mind). But the same tired remarks by naysayers should be more targeted and intelligent if we wish to collectively implement change.
You may not take risks in your choice of games, but can you at least take risks when discussing them?