A few weeks ago, I was in an electronics store, more to just browse around than to buy anything. I saw an inviting booth to check out the Xbox 360, so I decided to sit down and try it. After about 20 minutes playing or rather trying to memorize the A-for-this, B-for-that mapping, I gave up. A couple of 10 year old boys who were watching my effort, took ever, started playing the same game, and gave me one of those what-is-the-fastest-way-to-commit-suicide moments. Video game consoles are never going to be my thing.
The irony is that my wife works in the game console industry. She brought a Nintendo Wii home this weekend to play with. I wasn’t too thrilled to try it at first, but I was blown away once I did. The “wand”, which is a simplified remote/controller that you actually “play with” (so in a tennis game, you actually pretend that the wand is a tennis racket) is amazing. I could master it in a couple of minutes, and within 10 minutes, I was even winning (OK, I set it at the lowest possible skill level, I have to build up my self-esteem, right?) My father-in-law, who is 63, tried it, and he could do play passable tennis too. In fact, I got so sucked into it my hand started hurting after some time, because of all this waving this imaginary racket around. May be it detected that too because it gave a helpful “Time to take a break?”
Nintendo Wii is product strategy executed right. Rather than getting beaten in the ultra-cool-graphics pissing contest, they have focused on getting non-gamers into the market. From the first appearances, they have succeeded admirably. Great show, Nintendo.