Let me start off by saying I’m a hard-core Xbox 360 fan and just finished Gears of War. I’m a little less addicted to achievements and points than Scoble discusses (more on that later). What shocked me this holiday season was how we became a two-console household literally overnight.
Some friends of ours had a large tree hit their house the night of the windstorm and we decided to have them over for a pizza party. We made fresh pizzas on the Big Green Egg, and they brought over their Nintendo Wii. My in-laws were here too, from the heartland, they had little interest in gaming. I was concerned this was going to be too geeky for them.
I was wrong. Again.
In what started to look like a tupperware party for the new millennium, from the first time the Wiimote was “thrown”, a crowd started gathering. The kids at first, then… my wife, who on only two occasions with pleading has ventured beyond casual games in Xbox wanted to create a Mii caricature with the older kids of herself.
Then my father in law wanted to play bowling.
Then my mother in law tried tennis.
I then KO’ed my neighbor in boxing.
Which led to my father in law challenging my wife to a boxing match (she won).
Which led to my wife telling me she wanted a Wii for Christmas, and my father in law noting he wanted to get a Wii as well.
In my case, I didn’t really mind the lower video quality- the gameplay made up for that. This is what Nintendo does so well. The Xbox 360 largely stays turned off during family events and parties unless used for showing home movies, pictures, music etc. via Media Center. The party game aspect just isn’t there and with a 3 year old in the house, there’s precious little time when I can boot it up and play games around him. Sure, arcade is fun, but Nintendo has a lock on the natural interaction model with the Wiimote and Nunchuk, the titles have less depth (so far) but fun and engaging.
So last week I did the unthinkable and stood in the cold at 6am in front of Fred Meyer with others to get a Nintendo Wii. Since then, we’ve had one small party and again it was a huge hit. My son is getting good at bowling too.
Would I play Call of Duty 3 on the Wii? No. That’s the kind of game that for me requires the visual impact and cinematics the Xbox 360 does so well. But there’s space in my home for the Wii for all ages. We’re trading Mii caricatures of famous people with friends.
Now my sister, a Doctor at the CDC called to rant that a second Wii I happened on was sold (at retail cost) to my Uncle and young cousins. Apparently she wanted it. She doesn’t play video games.
Kudos to Nintendo for bridging the generation and gender gap in this release. Their commercials are spot-on. There are some things I don’t like about the Wii, but more on those after I’ve had it a few more weeks. (I’ll post my Wii access code shortly).