On November 19, 2006, the day when the Nintendo Wii was introduced to the world, video games were changed forever. The characteristics that defined the success of past systems, such as graphical capability, analog control, and online play, the Wii seemed to intentionally ignore. Rather, Nintendo gambled that people were ready for something different, and that bet has been responsible for bringing countless people into the world of gaming who normally wouldn’t bother.
As a result, it is very possible that the gaming community has never been as diverse as it is at the present moment. And these newfound players have had the surprising and welcoming effect of increasing creativity among developers. Indeed, it seems that just about anybody can find something to like in a video game these days, whether it be conducting an orchestra, cooking, increasing brain power, playing guitar, or exercising.
But the Wii has not been the only system in the current generation to push gaming to new levels. XBOX 360 continues to be the best console for online gaming, while the PS3 still strives to become a machine that meets all your entertainment needs, whether it be playing games, watching movies, or surfing the internet. Also, the signature games of both systems largely follow the traditional path toward becoming interactive Hollywood movies.
In many ways, the amount of choice offered by this generation is truly a miracle to behold. Alongside the realistic portrayal of war presented in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 stands the cartoonish fun of New Super Mario Bros. The rise of musical games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero has been matched by sports games like Wii Sports andWii fit. For every new installment of Final Fantasy or Halo is an Alpha Protocol or Bioshock. And then there’s games like Let’s Tap which try to create a new gameplay experience altogether. The industry is currently as diverse as the people playing its video games. I wouldn’t want it any other way.