Throughout my life, computers have always reigned supreme. The first was a Dragon 32, followed by a ZX Spectrum +. An Atari STE came next, then a 386DX-40. After that it all went a bit blurry, but there’s been several upgrades and new machines. Our house now contains a desktop PC, two laptops (one nine years old) and a very shiny and new netbook.
As a teenager the computer was primarily there for gaming. I was always a big strategy fan, playing games like Railroad Tycoon, Populus, Civilisation (I and II), Settlers, and a game I still get addicted to today, Transport Tycoon. I did also dabble with a bit of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, but it was strategy that always won the day.
After leaving university, things began to change. The internet changed the way I used the computer forever, although I’m sure moving in with Catherine helped. It’s not very social to go and sit in another room plotting improved integration between your bus and train empires.
But something changed lately. I bought a Wii.
It’s my first ever games console, and is taking its pride of place next to my TV set. I got it after playing a few games on some work Wiis (well our team did do the Wii iPlayer) and in friends houses, and decided there was something missing.
One of the reasons I slowly moved away from computer games was time constraints. Games were just too in-depth; too involved. I’ve had days off work when I got out Sim Tower again, aiming to play for an hour or two, only to find it was 6pm and time to get the tea on. There’s just too much other stuff to do.
That’s where the Wii came in for me. It’s a system with a plethora of perfectly dabbleable games, and ones that you can play with others too. When I’ve got half an hour or so spare, I can have a little zap around on Mario Kart, or get infuiriated by Wii Fit’s almost impossible balance games. Even Wii Play gets a good zap in the drive every now and then – they should make that cow racing into a full game�
Yeah, yeah, I could play games like that on a PC, but doing it on the sofa is much nicer than being hunched over a desk.
What most impresses me about the Wii though is that it’s cracked a new market. I’ve seen some gamers scoff at it, calling it underpowered and lightweight, but if you want hyper-realistic 3D games, you know where to go. People did.
But whilst Microsoft and Sony were busy fighting it out amongst the serious gamers, Nintendo went against perceived wisdom, and went with something simple and fun. And got a market of people who just wouldn’t buy games consoles.
I never owned one in my whole life after all until it came along, and I know others in the same boat. Nothing would have persuaded me to get an X-Box or PS3. But a few simple but very fun games and I bought a Wii.
They could have done the exact opposite, and the games market could have remained what it was. Instead it’s grown, and a whole new audience have been brought in. Lightweight console – one big buzz and no mistake.