I love video games. I have been around them as long as I can remember. The first video game entertainment system that I can remember playing was the old CalecoVision. The memories of playing Donkey Kong Junior, Dig Dug, and especially Carnival are engrained in my head. Next comes the classic Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Playstation, ultimately culminating with the Xbox 360 and PS3. If you are a gamer now, you are living in good times. There is just sooo much out there to play.
So, why am I ranting about video games? Well, in case you haven’t noticed, there has been a recent revolution in the video game industry called “Casual Gaming”. Sure, casual games have been around for a while, but since Nintendo’s introduction of the Wii, video games are finding themselves infiltrating in the most unlikely of places. I mean, why was I thrown off seeing a Nintendo Wii sitting next to my grandmother’s T.V.? Nintendo has done a fantastic job of marketing video games to traditionally non-gamers. Wii Sports in itself is a revolution. No wonder Nintentdo’s code name for the Wii while it was in production was “Revolution”.
Now, as more people are carrying around iPhones, games have become more common. Ever wonder what those people in suits at the airport are doing on their iPhones at the terminal? Reading emails, nope. Reading business spreadsheets, nope. Playing Doodle Jump, YES! And I must admit, when I first got my iPhone, I was hesitant to consider it a good device for gaming considering there are no buttons to use. But as time went by I found myself playing more and more of these small, casual, pick up and play games. Now I am afraid I am addicted to it. Yep. i am an iPhone gaming junkie.
Apple may not have realized it, or maybe Nintendo didn’t realize it, but these two companies are competing for the same demographic of gamers. And now apparently Nintendo has thrown down the gauntlet and is ready to start a war with Apple. In a recent post in Mac Rumors, Saturo Iwata, Nintendo’s current president, stated that Nintendo is preparing to “unleash the full force of its development and marketing artillery against Apple”. Uh oh. You better watch out Apple. If there is any other company in the world that is as secretive, obscure, and ready to push the boundaries of how we interact with technology, Nintendo is it. I might be going too far in saying that Nintendo is the Apple of Japan given the fact that they are inherently different company’s as far as their products go, you must admit, you can draw some similarities based on the way they do business. Think about it, Apple does whatever it wants and people eat it up. People asked for a tablet laptop and Apple decided to release the iPad, not a tablet computer in the traditional sense. When people were clamoring for a camera on the iPod Touch, Apple gave out a big NOPE and put the camera on the Nano Gen 5. Same thing with Nintendo. When all other gaming systems were going HD, Nintendo decided that HD wasn’t necessary and went ahead and made the Wii in standard definition. When everyone else was using traditional controllers, Nintendo decided to nix that whole idea and go for a motion controlled interface. And what happens next? Microsoft and Sony are attempting to enter the casual gaming market and are developing motion controlled interfaces for their consoles (think of Microsoft’s Project Natal and Sony’s Move).
So what does mean for us gamers? Nothing but goodness! When competition heats up in the gaming business, we see great games being released, new ideas being introduced, and sometimes lower cost in games. Competition spurs creativity.
Yep, its good to be a gamer. Now more than ever.