Friday, January 15, 2010



So Nintendo's saying that the Wii isn't going anywhere quick, and that's got a lot of nerdcore gamers up in a bunch. Presumably, they just can't wait until they get the chance to pitch their $200 system on the fire and buy a new one, demonstrating once again that electronics whores are just terrible people.

First of all, I call bullshit. The moment one of the big three announces the beginning of the next generation of hardware, they'll all be tripping over themselves and each other to get their shiny electric boxes out first. Nintendo is working on their next generation system. Right now. So is Sony, so is Microsoft. The only reason they're pushing this bullshit about ten-year lifespans is because 1) Sony and Microsoft need to recoup some of the losses they've made on their boxes and 2) Nintendo's still printing money with the Wii. When the Wii flags and/or the HD twins turn a profit, a bigger, shinier carrot will drop, and all the gamers will start chasing after it. Guaranteed.

But on the other hand, wouldn't it be nice if this was true? Why do gamers get so excited about their game boxes becoming obsolete and being forced to buy new ones in order to buy new games, especially when those new games so closely resemble the old ones, but with a shinier paint job and a bigger price tag? We live in an era of firmware updates. Our boxes can add new functionality whenever the companies decide they need it. Why do we need to buy a new one when we can just make the old one do new things?

Maybe it would be different if I gave a fuck about the kinds of games that you can't get on the Wii, but I don't. I'm a cheap bastard. I don't even like buying new games, much less having to buy a whole new system. A Boy and His Blob was the first full-price retail Wii game I bought for myself in forever, and the only reason I bought it at full price was out of a feeling of altruistic charity to the people who decided to make a hand-drawn remake of A Boy and His Blob possible.

I'm thirty years old now. In some ways, I'm exactly the audience that Nintendo has in mind these days: no time to play the fifty-hour epics anymore, with a fondness for old-school exuberance. And I'm tired of buying new boxes. If I'm the audience that Nintendo wants to court and they want to make it as easy for me as possible, they'll keep supporting the Wii for a long, long time.


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