All this talk about the Wii being the bastion of casual gamers is really starting to stick in my craw. And I didn’t even know I had a craw or that such a thing could get stuck in it, but whatever. What bothers me is that casual gaming has been around FOREVER and it has nothing to do with the Wii.
The Wii has drawn tons of new people into gaming, but these are not casual gamers. These are non-traditional or non-gamers disguised as casual gamers. The elderly, moms and dads who would otherwise never play a videogame have picked up the Wii-mote and are swinging away. My fiancee is one of these people. She has only played Sonic games for the Genesis, but she loves Wii Tennis and wants a Wii.
I don’t want a Wii. Not now anyway. Not enough games for the price to make it worth my while. I am trying to plant seeds that she will love Little Big Planet by going overboard on how cute Sackboy is (not that overboard, because let’s face it: that is one cute little bastard) and she seems to be responding, but she still just wants to wave a stick around at the TV. Imagine my excitement at that.
Nintendo has done well in getting these non-gamers to play, but they play games that really have no point. In reality, these games are just party games. Why do you think Nintendo keeps crapping out Mario Party, Mario Baseball and Mario Playing Some Other Sport all the time while keeping the good Mario games few and far between? Because those games are the point of the Wii. They want to get a ton of people involved in gaming by having them play games that barely qualify as such. Maybe in the next generation Nintendo will try to get those people to play REAL games, but somehow, I doubt it.
You want to know what a true casual gamer is? My future brother in law is the best example of a casual gamer I have ever seen. He has a PS3 and the following games: Call of Duty 4, GTA4, Metal Gear Solid 4, Madden 08 and Madden 09. If that doesn’t scream casual, I don’t know what does. He will buy every version of every Madden each year, no matter what. On CoD4, the only mode he ever plays is Team Deathmatch. He hasn’t touched the single-player mode or Search and Destroy or HQ or ANYTHING. I have tried to tell him how great the other modes are, but he is not interested. That is a casual gamer.
Not someone who plays Cooking Mama or whatever new pseudo-game they crap out this week. But someone who likes video games, but only plays them as a diversion or a light hobby. These people playing games on the Wii and DS that aren’t even games? Pseudo-Gamers. New term, just coined, I want a dime anytime anyone utters it.