Just Good Enough to Play

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Sneaklemming:
The Nintendo approach of "barely acceptable", is well to the general public, "barely acceptable"

It's an approach that leads to nowhere, and is grounded in greed.

Mediocrity should not be celebrated.

Question: By "general public", do you mean the actual general public, or the general public of that group which calls itself gamers? If the latter, perhaps you should qualify it with "in the eyes of true gamers" or some such nonsense. I ask because all signs that I have seen point towards Nintendo being considerably more than "barely acceptable" to the actual general public.

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:
The Nintendo approach of "barely acceptable", is well to the general public, "barely acceptable"

It's an approach that leads to nowhere, and is grounded in greed.

Mediocrity should not be celebrated.

Question: By "general public", do you mean the actual general public, or the general public of that group which calls itself gamers? If the latter, perhaps you should qualify it with "in the eyes of true gamers" or some such nonsense. I ask because all signs that I have seen point towards Nintendo being considerably more than "barely acceptable" to the actual general public.

Ok fine; swap general public with consumers.

Sneaklemming:

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:
The Nintendo approach of "barely acceptable", is well to the general public, "barely acceptable"

It's an approach that leads to nowhere, and is grounded in greed.

Mediocrity should not be celebrated.

Question: By "general public", do you mean the actual general public, or the general public of that group which calls itself gamers? If the latter, perhaps you should qualify it with "in the eyes of true gamers" or some such nonsense. I ask because all signs that I have seen point towards Nintendo being considerably more than "barely acceptable" to the actual general public.

Ok fine; swap general public with consumers.

Define "consumer", please. I'm having trouble believing you mean anything other than "true gamer".

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:
The Nintendo approach of "barely acceptable", is well to the general public, "barely acceptable"

It's an approach that leads to nowhere, and is grounded in greed.

Mediocrity should not be celebrated.

Question: By "general public", do you mean the actual general public, or the general public of that group which calls itself gamers? If the latter, perhaps you should qualify it with "in the eyes of true gamers" or some such nonsense. I ask because all signs that I have seen point towards Nintendo being considerably more than "barely acceptable" to the actual general public.

Ok fine; swap general public with consumers.

Define "consumer", please. I'm having trouble believing you mean anything other than "true gamer".

you want a meter by which I'm taking my assumptions. Then I'll go with societal view. Those who put across those views are called the media. In this case, as in TV and Movies, we call them critics. In gaming they are game journalists.

Sneaklemming:

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:
The Nintendo approach of "barely acceptable", is well to the general public, "barely acceptable"

It's an approach that leads to nowhere, and is grounded in greed.

Mediocrity should not be celebrated.

Question: By "general public", do you mean the actual general public, or the general public of that group which calls itself gamers? If the latter, perhaps you should qualify it with "in the eyes of true gamers" or some such nonsense. I ask because all signs that I have seen point towards Nintendo being considerably more than "barely acceptable" to the actual general public.

Ok fine; swap general public with consumers.

Define "consumer", please. I'm having trouble believing you mean anything other than "true gamer".

you want a meter by which I'm taking my assumptions. Then I'll go with societal view. Those who put across those views are called the media. In this case, as in TV and Movies, we call them critics. In gaming they are game journalists.

So, by "general public", you're actually talking about the critics and journalists? Why didn't you say so in the first place?

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:

Graustein:

Sneaklemming:
The Nintendo approach of "barely acceptable", is well to the general public, "barely acceptable"

It's an approach that leads to nowhere, and is grounded in greed.

Mediocrity should not be celebrated.

Question: By "general public", do you mean the actual general public, or the general public of that group which calls itself gamers? If the latter, perhaps you should qualify it with "in the eyes of true gamers" or some such nonsense. I ask because all signs that I have seen point towards Nintendo being considerably more than "barely acceptable" to the actual general public.

Ok fine; swap general public with consumers.

Define "consumer", please. I'm having trouble believing you mean anything other than "true gamer".

you want a meter by which I'm taking my assumptions. Then I'll go with societal view. Those who put across those views are called the media. In this case, as in TV and Movies, we call them critics. In gaming they are game journalists.

So, by "general public", you're actually talking about the critics and journalists? Why didn't you say so in the first place?

I guess?

The wii is the biggest pile of crap going. I thought it was the games at first but even good games get ruined by its hardware. For example House of the Dead overkill is ruined by its horrific framerate and awful graphics.

I dont know anyone that plays wii anymore, and if someone says they play one its usually follwed by a chorus of mocking laughter

Who's celebrating mediocrity? My Wii is fun -- and useful.

Each day I use it to grab the weather and some pertinent news headlines. I'm trying to lose some weight, so I use the Wii Fit as my scale -- it's more engaging than a regular scale so I'm more likely to come back to it, and therefore more likely to keep up with my exercise program.

Dr. Mario is a great little time killer while my partner gets ready to go out or is on the phone. Raving Rabbids TV Party is hilarious fun when a friend is over. And today we decided we'd blow away a lazy Sunday, so spent a few hours playing Lego Batman on it and laughing like loons while making The Riddler goose-step across the levels.

Besides, we each have decent gaming PCs. When we want the adrenaline driving, OCD enducing experience, we play on those. When we want just pure fun? We play on the Wii.

Celebrating mediocrity? What's mediocre about something being a perfect fit for your lifestyle?

when two fight, third one is laughing(making prices low, selling high). But where are the third ones on PC hardware scene?

I don't think anyone can credibly argue the Nintendo DS is "just good enough". It's a fabulous piece of hardware with long battery life and good enough processing power to get the job done with some serious gamery games.

Oh wait, I see what you mean.

Only I don't believe similar reasoning applies to the Wii. The Wii is not "good enough" as a games machine, and in fact is not sold as a game machine at all. The Wii was a marketing success story, a way to promote a machine that allowed people to do things they used to do outside, like tennis and bowling, inside. It's a "good enough" sports simulator, if you will.

But for "gamers", it takes perhaps a few hours to see all the swinging as a gimmick (Yahtzee's point on force feedback comes home) and realise that there's nothing inherently satisfying to a gamer about the Wii. It doesn't have "good enough" online games and it doesn't have "good enough" onilne distribution, and it certainly didn't have "good enough" third party support.

Personally, I am a big believer that the Wii will see much better games in the future. When it first dropped, most software companies had Nintendo pegged to lose the console race, and probably didn't spend a whole lot of time sweating what games to make. Once the Wii was widely adopted, the demographics of it meant that the non-discerning (non-gamer) Wii owners would probably buy based on branding and uninformed decisions rather than reading game scores etc. Which isn't a problem, except for the fact that ultimately its gamers (the committed ones) that float the companies.

Bottom line, Nintendo is retreading the Path of Atari, and although they're the biggest boy on the block, they have to make sure that people keep playing their Wii, rather than pullingit out of the closet only occasionally. Otherwise, come the time for a Wii2, Nintendo will have found itself making casual games machines for a casual market, while Microsoft and Sony are selling you an machine that gives you music, tv, film and games for a little bit more.

At which stage, the Wii won't be Good Enough.

'fwooooosh'
That's the sound of a very well written article going right over the heads of a biased fan-base, which is disappointing because usually The Escapist is more open-minded than that. Usually it's for expanding ideas through discussion and not shutting down articles because they said the 'Wii'-word.

F1ak3r:

So basically, I'm saying I appreciate how Nintendo is refocusing the industry on gameplay - the thing that actually matters - instead of graphics. Sure, a lot of Wii games may not be everyone's taste, but no-one's forcing you to buy them.

At least we have Flak3r to hold some sanity.

The Wii HAS done EXTREMELY valuable things for the gaming market because of it's lo-fi accessibility and nobody can take that away from them. And that is what this article is pointing out.

There's one thing to have the hardware and graphical stuff be "just good enough". I'd actually applaud such an approach. But much of the Wii games also seems to take the "just good enough" approach when it comes to the gameplay itself.

Games like Wii Sports are "just good enough" for the casual public. Empty gaming calories that are just good enough to be fun for half an hour and entertain the non-gamers, but pieces of crap to most gamers.

Not saying that's all they do, because even the Wii does have quality games, but it's without a doubt what many of the Wii games are aiming for. Catering to the lowest common denominator with the least possile amount of investment. It may be a good way to make money but it's a bad thing for 'us gamers'.

The_Deleted:
It's true, the Wii has potential, but by the time it's realised, if ever, gamers will have fucked it off and the non-gamers will be onto the next fad.

I know this is a point Yahtzee and others like to hammer home a lot, but I feel this is based more on wishful thinking than any facts. If there's a "fad", it's the whole "casual gaming" phenomenon, which goes back to Dance Dance Revolution and PopCap Games (or maybe as far back as those crappy Tiger LCD games) and is making its way onto smartphones. The Wii & DS are just the biggest splashes in that growing pond.

I'm not speaking as a Wii fan (haven't owned a Nintendo system--not even a Gameboy--since the NES, but sometimes enjoy Wii party games at a friend's place), but I guess my point is: Nintendo might loose the "hardcore" gaming crowd, but if they lock up the casual gamers, they'll probably make out fine. I'm pretty sure the market for people willing to dish out a couple bucks here and there for a few minutes/hours of amusement while waiting for a train, or during a slow period at work, or on a bored Saturday night, is quite large. How many people drop $10-15 to see a two-hour movie, for example? How many office drones were addicted to Minesweeper and FreeCell?

The next platform might have to change to a downloadable delivery system to make it affordable, but I think it's only a matter of time before all consoles (and music labels/film studios, for that matter) get away from physical storage media anyway.

For a debut article, I have to say it's a poor piece of journalism. I'm having a hard time telling if it's objective or not, as there's some gross oversimplification and one might even say glorification. I sencerely hope Game People tone down the colouring and get some facts instead. While saying one thing is all well and good, you need to check your facts.

To come with some constructive examples:

The opener: 'I'm a greedy gamer. I love to chase the next audiovisual high or high-impact feast, but as I hurtle towards the next generation of consoles I wonder if I have too much of a good thing.'

Again, being a debut article, we do not know you. From what it appears, you are more than one person, a whole community infact. As seen by the various comments already posted, claiming to be a gamer holds no merit, as everyone has a different opinion about what a gamer is. Gamer, being the buzzword that it is, does not validate or grant authority.

Which in itself is one of my main griefs with this article. You see, I am a Gamer, and have worked with games for a living inside the industry, not as a journalist. Does this grant me any authority? it shouldn't. You see, I very much disagree with the entire article, and I certainly do not think of Nintendo.

'But then, while Sony and Microsoft were releasing hi-spec machines, Nintendo came to market with the DS and Wii - hardware that lagged behind a generation.'

The Nintendo DS had it's launch in 2004, two years prior to the Wii. At it's time, the Nintendo DS was infact the leading handheld console after the failure of the N-Gage. The DS did not lag behind a generation, it was the generation. The Playstation portable, to which i'll go ahead and assume that you're comparing it to, due to the making of the article, was released half a year later in the US, and 10 months later in Europa.

Addendum: To that sentence, I suggest you look up the technical differences between a PS2, Gamecube & Xbox. Once done, look at the release dates.

'...this was a revolutionary approach that would deeply affect the games I held dear.'

This needs clarification and examples. Aside from a new Metroid, I cannot recall a Nintendo-stable game that was completely rebuilt from the scratch up to fit the Wii, though this might be my own lack of oversight.

'Nintendo understood this. Wii Sports was a system seller because it proved the Wii could deliver simple, accessible gameplay.'

This. What were you thinking. So Pure/Lego: Batman are system sellers as well? Since you can get them with every new 360, for free.

'Grand Slam Tennis, Tiger Woods Golf and Boom Blox are all games that offer control schemes that simply aren't possible on other systems.'

I have to nitpick on this as well. While I've heard favorable things about Tiger Woods Golf with the new Wii-motion sensor plus, the series' has been around for a decade. It didn't need a different control scheme. That and Boom Blox would be no different if played with a mouse - none.

I'll stop here, since I feel that the point has been made. I'm not really sure what your aim was with this article - If for provocations sake, then I'm sure you've succeeded, but as far as journalism goes, this by all standards is blog material. A very secluded blog.

~ A fellow gamer.

If the whole "just good enough" philosophy applies to graphics, then I agree. Graphics can only go so far. There is no "hyper-real" there is only "real." It's like a level-cap or the speed of light. A boundry that can't be crossed; a value that cannot be exceeded. And then there's different art styles to consider. Sure, you can make things more and more detailed, but eventually you're going to reach a point at which it is no longer worth the effort.

It seems to me that Nintendo knows this, and took a sharp turn off the dead end road. They've elected to explore different ways of interacting with a game, a field that doesn't have many limitations at all.

Great debate. I think tmujir955, BrotherRool, Stubee and domicius have a strong comeback about third party games. And it's true there aren't a huge number of successes. But if you dig around there are still some great experiences to be had, even without the latest visuals and sound.

I'm thinking of games like Sega's House of the Dead Overkill, Monolith Soft's Disaster Day of Crisis, Grasshopper's No More Heroes, EA's Boom Blox and even Arika's Endless Ocean. I have also been impressed by how the move away from visuals has forced some very different sports games, from EA in particular. For me, Madden, Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods all mean I don't want to play these sports without motion controls.

These were all strong experiences, but of course the question remains whether the casual gamer can be attracted to these more hardcore experiences. Bottom line, do they sell enough? It feels a lot like developers like Sega have been testing the water, and remains to be seen how committed they are going forward.

I like UltimatheChosen's comment about older games being a better case for 'just good enough' technology. I love the idea of a really cheap, and updated, GBA hardware that brings its back catalogue to the masses. The GBA Micro was a good effort, although maybe a little ahead of its time for a lot of casual gamers to realize what it was, and is also hard to get hold of now.

Like Cerity, F1ak3r and Kwil I really enjoy hearing stories of how the Wii validates a whole new group of people to call themselves gamers. I'm with bakonslayer and Beowulf DW and their take on the Wii's lo-fi accessible gaming that sidesteps graphical limitations.

But perhaps the biggest question for us is how Nintendo managed to sell their 'just good enough' technology at such a high price. 'Just good enough' thinking should mean that they need to drop the price to hit their casual audience, but somehow they managed to keep it pretty high - especially if you add up the cost of their controllers.

This is all like asking what is the better pet between a dog and a cat?
For the sake of argument, we shall presume that all of us old school gamers are dog loving people - while the new school gamers (or the "Casual" gamers) are the cat loving types.

Both pets (and consoles) are completely different and come with their own Pros and Cons and are better suited for a particular lifestyle.

If you favour boisterous games with death, blood and mutilation - then an X-box / PS3 would be right up your alley. But if one prefers gentler games, then the Wii would be their best friends. (I myself should show my colours as an X-boxer at this point.)

I guess this all boils down to the individual gamer. If their console fits in with their lifestyle and it makes them happy - why knock it?

Treblaine:
The stand alone sales of Wii Sport have been incredibly low, very few people have seen wii-ports on the shelf and bought it.

Do you not think that maybe, just maybe, this has something to do with what you said one sentence ago:

because it was BUNDLED WITH THE CONSOLE

El_Moss:

Treblaine:
The stand alone sales of Wii Sport have been incredibly low, very few people have seen wii-ports on the shelf and bought it.

Do you not think that maybe, just maybe, this has something to do with what you said one sentence ago:

because it was BUNDLED WITH THE CONSOLE

My point still stands that people should not read too much into the success of Wii Sports as no one or very few ACTUALLY buy it. There is nothing particularly special about Wii Sports, only how the masses are drawn to the novelty of the Wii yet people interpret this via sales figures as them "voting with their wallets" for Wii Sports.

It is utterly flawed reasoning to justify shovel-ware and shows a monumental misunderstanding of basic statistics to try and figure out what it is that Wii Sports does right to explain it's success. The ONLY explanation for it's success if because it is bundled with unique hardware!!!!

The same applies for Wii Play, the second highest selling Wii game only that is because every single Wii-remote that is sold separately COMES BUNDLED WITH WII PLAY!

No one should interpret the high sales of Wii Play as indicative of what the market wants in terms of software... it ONLY indicates their taste in HARDWARE, that 25 million Wii owners wanted as 2nd Wii-mote. They may settle for the bundled software.

This is like saying that Windows Explorer is the best web browser... but that's just because it is bundled with every copy of windows, the most popular operating system.

I disagree with Nintendo's starring role in the article. All-new hardware to support a gimmicky new controller and playing "retro" games? That's robbery. Wii was like a $300 hula-hoop for everyone I know that bought one. It was fun to watch people fumble with it for a few weeks, but after the silly controller got tired (as a gamer, I felt like it really under-delivered on its potential) the whole thing was in a closet gathering dust while a real game machine (new, or retro) pwned the living room.

Despite the higher price, the spectacular graphics and games on PS3 felt like I bought *something* with my money. Oddly enough there's no shortage of $5 and $10 retro-games with "good enough" content and mind-blowing graphics (graphical awesomeness is free with every game now that I own a current-gen machine) and PS1 titles with great story and "good enough" graphics.

Treblaine:

El_Moss:

Treblaine:
The stand alone sales of Wii Sport have been incredibly low, very few people have seen wii-ports on the shelf and bought it.

Do you not think that maybe, just maybe, this has something to do with what you said one sentence ago:

because it was BUNDLED WITH THE CONSOLE

My point still stands that people should not read too much into the success of Wii Sports as no one or very few ACTUALLY buy it. There is nothing particularly special about Wii Sports, only how the masses are drawn to the novelty of the Wii yet people interpret this via sales figures as them "voting with their wallets" for Wii Sports.

It is utterly flawed reasoning to justify shovel-ware and shows a monumental misunderstanding of basic statistics to try and figure out what it is that Wii Sports does right to explain it's success. The ONLY explanation for it's success if because it is bundled with unique hardware!!!!

The same applies for Wii Play, the second highest selling Wii game only that is because every single Wii-remote that is sold separately COMES BUNDLED WITH WII PLAY!

No one should interpret the high sales of Wii Play as indicative of what the market wants in terms of software... it ONLY indicates their taste in HARDWARE, that 25 million Wii owners wanted as 2nd Wii-mote. They may settle for the bundled software.

This is like saying that Windows Explorer is the best web browser... but that's just because it is bundled with every copy of windows, the most popular operating system.

Hmm... Seems justified. But as I'm bored I might start a forum about this. :P

On a side note, I have 4 Wiimotes and I NEVER got Wii Play! DX

You know, I dropped my penny on the Wii. Eventually, though, I asked for my penny back. The Wii and Wii Sports are a little more than a happenstance of popularity. Or to put it more bluntly, a fad. A dying one, at that.

When the grand scheme of things looks back on this time in say 10 years or so, motion-sensitive controls will be remembered as a novelty. Because they were only well designed for use with one game, the game that came packed-in with the Wii. A game that defies the concept of being entertaining for more than an hour or so. Nintendo may think it's riding high, because it sold a lot of Wii systems to grandmothers, middle-aged women and six-year olds. But look outside of Wii Sports and software sales tell the true story. No one buys games for the Wii, and why would they want to?

Go to a Gamestop and take a look at the Wii shelves. 95% of the games that are on display are crappy, tie-in shovelware games designed to make a quick buck. True third-parties won't touch the Wii because it's under-powered and needlessly difficult to design games around the Wiimote. Nintendo itself isn't even making real games anymore, as much as it concentrates on pointless accessories and designs flimsy offerings around them.

The Wii is no revolution, it's a fad. Like pet rocks, mood rings, beanie babies and Barack Obama; it will tire the public and fade into the recessive memory. True innovations stand the test of time, the Wii will not.

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