I've pondered a lot of different ways to approach the same subject - the Wii. I've enjoyed the Wii this year more than I've enjoyed any console I've ever owned (...and I been playing since the Atari 2600s, so the list goes back a long ways).
I've considered doing an end of year post about the Wii games that really delighted me this year, but it feels like I'm talking to the wind. The common statement of Wiis gathering dust really makes me sad.
Recently there was an article on Gamasutra about gamers aging and how that would change some of the types of games that would be appreciated as people's tastes change as they grow old. The article was responded to with lots of comments stating that tastes don't change and how stereotypical the article was.
However, it's also full of truth, that's why stereotypes exist. In this case, the fact is that as people, men in particular, age, their testosterone levels drop, which has a direct impact on their desire for the things that desired as adolescents. Some people go on wanting shooters, but as Nintendo and others have seen, many don't and leave gaming altogether. It's really of no surprise that the comments were in large part from people whose tastes haven't changed...it would be expected that the majority of those whose tastes did change simply moved on. They're not commenting, because they aren't playing games. They're the majority of people out there, living as doctors and teachers, businessmen and janitors.
Nintendo and PopCap have discovered that they still like to play games and they are providing games that this group enjoys. Unfortunately, by the old guard of gaming (which turns out to be made up of mostly adolescents), these gamers are some sort of problem that is ruining them, and so hate instead of friendship rules and the Wii gets the hate.
Dust Free Wii
Which leads me back to the beginning. I've never had more fun with any console than I've had with the Wii. Over the course of this year I played well over 350 games. I played a couple hundred for the Mac at my day job (http://www.reflexive.com/), I played well over a hundred for my indie hobby (http://www.gametunnel.com/), I played a dozen on the DS, and I played a bunch more on the Wii (~50).
In the course of doing all this playing, I found a lot of games that I really enjoyed. It's lead me to wanting to share why those games were so great (and once I did share). I've tried to figure out why people don't seem to like the Wii. One thing that's become abundantly clear is that people aren't playing the games that they are complaining about. It's sort of anti-intuitive, but the same people who say every Wii game sucks at Kotaku, don't actually play the games.
The Wii has become an icon to hate.
So there is the real problem, hate. I've called it Wii Hater Bias (WHB) in the past.
How do you make someone stop hating?
It's a topic much bigger than this post or gaming. It floods through every aspect of our lives. I've praised the good in Indie gaming for years and years, and I've become used to people dismissing things without considering them. Though I'm used to it, it still gets under my skin.
When people care, they see the good. That is true in every aspect of life from your relationship with your significant other to the Wii.
When people hate, they see the bad. This is also true in every aspect of life. It's a part of what makes relationships fail and is absolutely why people keep saying there aren't any good Wii games.
It's not that there aren't good games for the Wii. There are. Lots of them.
It's that people hate the Wii to the point that they can't see the good. All they can see the is bad. (and there is plenty of that to be found in every aspect of life if you look for it)
When you look for the worst in people you'll probably find it.
The same is true here.
I find it discouraging and disheartening to think about, and it really makes me sad to think of all the people missing out on things they would like. More so, it just makes me sad that there is so much hate and anger. It's an emotion that doesn't make life better.
As 2009 starts, I hope we find a way to break through some of the hate, bias, and prejudice that keeps people from considering the world they are condemning.