In the meantime, Nintendo chose to take a different route with the Wii, announcing a campaign that focused on the inclusion of people from all walks of life. The Wiimote was extremely easy to use and unlike any other controller that had hit the market previously. Because of Nintendo’s decision to focus on ease of function over graphical superiority, they captured not only the general market and Nintendo’s dedicated fanbase, but also a demographic that had never played console games before. Gamers now had a console they could share with anyone from their kid brother to their grandmother. The system also made an impact on the elderly, brightening up many a retirement home with a previously forgotten sense of challenge and fun.
The competition at this point seems strongly in Nintendo’s favor; however, many Sony fans claim that as the PS3 sees more games it will ultimately be the winning system because of its capacity for longevity. Meanwhile, Wii continues to fly off shelves faster than retailers can stock it. As a retro gamer, it makes me realize that there is a big question at hand: What is more important to gamers? Graphics or playability? Microsoft seems to be straddling the fence with the 360, offering strong graphics and online play at a more affordable price point, but it seems the two extreme ends of the spectrum are PS3 and Wii – not to mention the ones generating the most buzz.
Since my experience with gaming was landmarked by the NES, obviously my love for it didn’t spring from amazing graphics (although when 16 bit hit the market, I thought my little heart would explode. It looked so good!). The games that made the greatest impression on me obviously possessed something more at that time that drew the love of millions of kids my age. Around the time of the PS3’s release, I clearly recall walking into a Gamestop with a PS3 display and an NES display at the counter with The Legend of Zelda in it. To say I was like a moth to the flame would be an understatement; even though I had never touched the PS3, I was perfectly happy to chase Octoroks instead, despite the fact I’d done it a hundred times before. What’s the secret?
It leads me to believe that while there are tons of gamers waiting on the next Halo or Madden to grace their HD sets, there are more than we realize looking for a different kind of gaming experience, whether it be retro, indie or just a totally different category altogether. The public has been complaining as of late that the Wii only offers “party” titles, which I would consider to be a mostly true statement with the exception of titles like Twilight Princess and Super Paper Mario. The Wii may be rapidly approaching its crossroads – if it doesn’t break the pattern, will people lose interest? Nintendo hasn’t welcomed a lot of third party titles since the SNES days.
On the other hand, this could be the fount from which Sony draws strength. PS2 had one of the most varied libraries in history since the NES, offering everything from Metal Gear Solid to Mister Mosquito. A Sony fan can’t help but hope that PS3 could have a similar future despite the long line of mishaps that have come with the new console’s launch. Here’s some food for thought: If you could be reassured that the PS3 would have the same future as the PS2’s past, would it be worth it to you to shell out the 600 bones to add one to your gaming shelf?
What is more important to you as a gamer – How your games look? Or how your games feel to play? Have we become shallow as consumers, only wanting the best looking games even if they’re devoid of solid content? If you could only choose to own one of these consoles, which would you pick?