June 16, 2007

Everybody Praises The Nintendo Wii

When the first Nintendo craze broke out, I was in elementary school, and it seemed that every kid I knew had an NES console. But we didn't. My family didn't exactly see the benefits of adding yet more reasons for us to sit in front of the television for hours on end, wearing our thumbs raw to kill the imaginary "bad guys" in the video game, rescuing the princess, or finding the hidden warp zone that would take us to the next level.

One morning, my mother, who taught one of my classes at school, asked my classmates why they thought she should buy us a Nintendo. The classmates were helpful, saying it helped hand-eye coordination, strategy, and could serve as an incentive to get chores done around the house or homework. Besides, it was fun. Eventually, she caved, letting us get a Nintendo, the caveat being that we couldn't have any games that showed actual violence against people. That meant no first-person shooters, no Mortal Kombat, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, and the like. But we were fine with the standard Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, and Metroid fare, battling against my brothers for gaming superiority.

Nearly two decades later, Nintendo's Wii is again the flagship gaming console, surprisingly thumping the much-hyped Playstation 3 and Microsoft's XBox 360. Despite not having the best graphics, and an undeniably weird controller, the Wii's quirks have drawn new people to the platform who wouldn't be there otherwise. I'm now growing used to grown men discussing the benefits of the Wii Sports game pack, and how they're actually getting real exercise from the included Tennis, Baseball and Boxing games. Instead of the more macho war simulations or Grand Theft Auto episodes, I hear people laugh about how their kids can handily thump them in tennis with a flick of the wrist, and strategize how to best project the Wii in their home, yet retain accurate hand-eye coordination.

Though I'm now in my 30s, and haven't had a game console since the first Sony Playstation while in college, the unqualified praise from multiple friends is almost enough to having me consider bringing in yet another entertainment-focused time waster into my home. I know I'd be all over the baseball game, trying to swat home runs and dive to make every outfield catch. I know I'd be finding yet another excuse to not got work done around the house or finish business tasks on deadline. And I know, that this time around, it would be my wife trying to talk me out of getting one, instead of my mother years ago.

Should I plunk down a little bit of cash, and add the Wii on top of the TiVo, Apple TV and start becoming an unknown international sports star in my own mind? Can I stay professional yet geek out on this gaming? It'd be great to learn your take or if you've picked a console to keep you entertained.