While hundreds of articles related to the new Nintendo Wii and its scarcity proliferate the Internet, there doesn’t seem to be an article relating to the machine’s robust ability to entertain in any situation.


The Past

Ever since I could remember, there has been a stigma regarding video games, especially in any overtly social situation. Previous video games aimed seclude and required the complete attention of the player.

Enter Dance Dance Revolution. While DDR was (and still is) considered somewhat nerdy and “Asian,” it started wearing away at some pretense buried deep within my generation’s conscience. Being proficient at the game is still nerdy, but it piqued an interest as to a more social, universal, and exhibition-based gaming experience.

I will admit I bought my own DDR pad about three and a half years ago. My friends mostly gave me weird glances but eventually tried it out. I take credit for planting a few seeds of the revolution.

The Present

Allow me to reflect on my social life in the past two weeks. I’m particularly a party-animal; I’ll usually attend a “rager” or “facemelting” or what-have-you about once ever two weeks. The rest of the weekend nights is usually spent with around 20 friends at someone’s apartment.

A side note real quick: There were people playing Guitar Hero II at a bigger party (200 ) this weekend in one room. This room was not a very social room, just the entryway. Most people were near the keg or in the dance room. Not entirely prominent, but both sexes readily participated.

At these smaller parties, a Wii is sometimes present. This curious machine has the ability to make people move more than the latest Top40 single. No joke.

The Wii is not always the center of the party, but it definitely contributes to it. There are usually two sections at these parties, a social section and Wii section. People migrate back and forth, usually to see what someone is screaming about in a heated match of Wii Tennis.

Wii

This past weekend, the residents of one of our usual party places purchased WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Wow. That game is so much fun. And we had only unlocked the single player mode. The details of the night are a little fuzzy, but it seemed like everyone at the party gave the game a go without any second thought.

The stigma is gone.

The Future

Many hardcore (and antisocial) gamers are dismissing the Wii as a one-trick pony. I’m letting them.

My experience with the Wii has been exactly what the system aims to be: a plus in a social situation but not a staple. Our parties do not depend on a video game system to have a good time; and no party ever should. The Wii definitely adds to the atmosphere and energy of a party.

As more social games like WarioWare: Smooth Moves get released, the Wii will grow as a social system. Even with only three social titles (Wii Sports, Rayman: Raving Rabbits, and Smooth Moves), the Wii is prominent at parties. And it probably will be for another few years.

This truly is the beginning of a new era in video gaming. The stigma is gone. And I have still yet to meet the person that has turned down a game of Wii Tennis.