Hello, Big Daddys and Little Sisters!! Welcome to Tuesday Truths, my name is Lacey, the mystical blue fairy to your heroic adventurer. LISTEN!! This week's subject of controversy is the idea that, from one console to another, certain demographics may be lost or gained. Also, I'd like to give a bit of a look at video gaming from the perspective of a casual gamer; I.E. the ones who haven't gone 4 days with a catheter in for the release of a new game.
The realization came to me this last New Years Eve: I was having a dorky-fun night of rhythm games, fighting games, and karaoke with my adult friends, and few teenagers for good measure. Every console in our house has its own basis for being popular, and not all of them appeal to everyone. After hearing the joke about the female Xbox (stop me if you've heard it 6 billion times,) i realized that all my tabletop gaming street cred. gave me nothing on video gamers. I'm still the little girl who played F-Zero because it was colorful, and Super Mario Bros. because it was upbeat and challenging.
My video gaming background is rooted in Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Playstation. My parents were not really that big into gaming (though my dad happens to love fishing games,) but they knew enough to give us a chance to play. We only had a few games, and since i was born in 1985, i wasn't old enough for the classic age of video gaming: i didn't go down to the arcade and play until i was in my 20's. We got a PS2 when it came out, and were astounded by the massive amount of games available for the system. BUT, to this day, i have not owned a console of my own. (If i had any shame, i'd walk away right now, but i don't, so....)
My roommate Amanda is far more of a video gamer than i am, and has been her whole life. Our living room tells an epic tale of the console wars: sexy PS3 standing above all the game cases, silly little Wii keeping company with metro/slim PS2, and the hardcore beauty of an Xbox 360 holding her own. She also owns a smattering of handheld consoles, which my parents never really put any stock in. (Back off guys, she's mine.) Since meeting Amanda, she has taught me more about video gaming than i would ever have picked up on my own. And, as much as i hate to say it: the gender divide is very real in video gaming.
It isn't something that they meant to do; on the contrary, every game company has been searching for that one game that will sell to females as well as to males for 30 years or more. I don't believe they've achieved the holy grail yet, but the era of party gaming has been kind to the less game savvy of us. I know grandmothers who navigate the Wii games with as much ease as small children. When it comes to party gaming (more than two players, or as a social activity,) Wii wins the race, almost by a head.
Though Microsoft and Sony have been quite adaptive in the race to appeal to a wider audience, Nintendo has cornered the market for the cute and colorful. As much as i hate to say it, the typical female gamer doesn't want to sit alone in the dark fighting both storyline ghouls and speed records the way some males do. The statistics and logic both say that Wii has brought in more first time gamers than any other console in modern times. Sony's Guitar Hero plus all of its successors in the rhythm game category (and Konami's Dance Dance legacy) still stand the best chance of competing with the Nintendo giant.
That being said, i still have a love for Xbox 360, but its for the little things: the shape of the controller, the smoothness of the menu navigation, and the story-based RPGs like Halo 3 and Fable 3. My interaction with the PS3 has been a bit more limited, but i enjoy the environment of PS Network, the familiarity of the controller, and the Blu Ray capacity. There are games for each console that i enjoy, but there is actually no console i couldn't live without. After much debate among the inhabitants of my apartment, we have decided that both Wii and Xbox 360 are essential for any gamer of flexability. PS3 is a luxury, but if you have the money, it's great.
My advice to first-time gamers, and the underconfedent, is to first research the games that look fun, then consider the capacity of the system. What matters most is that you find something entertaining and encouraging. Ask a gamer, if you are still unsure. To all you boyfriends and girlfriends of nongamers who want to get the partner involved, let them decide, but make the information accessable. Cooperative gaming starts with patience and curiosity, and continues with time.
Until next time, remember that gaming is for everyone.
Racconcityangel 20:22, January 2, 2011 (UTC)