Core Gamers

The Wii has sparked a lot argument about the worthiness of the system due to the wealth of the casual games on the system. Many feel like there just isn’t staying power on the system due to the lack of core games. Because of this the system is largely dismissed as a system not for the core gamer.

Of course I personally feel I am more of a core gamer than other core gamers (as I’m sure all core gamers do) largely because I don’t limit myself to just FPS games (as many core gamers do). In fact, FPS tends to be the one genre I don’t even tough (largely because I’m not a huge fan of the first-person view which tends to give me motion sickness. The few shooters that tend to come out that aren’t first person I tend to enjoy. The few non-shooters that are first-person that come out I tend to not like (Elder Scrolls series tends to fall into this category really well, though a caveat to this is that older games like Might and Magics, I don’t mind as much, it is just when it goes live action). So I like a lot of casual games, and yes I like “kiddy” games, not because they are casual or kiddy but because they are good. I like Animal Crossing, I like Pokemon, I like Brain Age because they are all great games in and of themselves besides what they are.

I know plenty of gamers who won’t touch games like this because they are too cute or because they are so simple. But unfortunately for most gamers, these games tend to be the better games on the market (and not just from Nintendo either I must add). Casual games are largely more innovative and more enjoyable than most “core” games which more and more are looking really generic and really stale.

Another unfortunate fact for the core gamers is the very definition of what “core” actually means. The sad fact of the matter is that Nintendo is drawing in far more gamers than just the traditional core. And if you think that Microsoft and Sony aren’t desperate to try to catch a piece of that action, you are sadly mistaken (hence why both companies try to take the motion capturing, the mii idea, etc.) They see the dollar signs just as much as Nintendo does. And what is really happening is the definition of core is changing. What is currently called a “core” game is going to be a niche game in the future whether gamers like it or not. I remember when a lot of genres were core and are now niches (look at fighter games, flight sims, turn-based strategy, etc). I can’t help but laugh at people who are talking bout GTA 4, a classic game that is meant for the core…. yet even in its own launch can’t beat the sales of Wii Fit’s preorder… a game the core gamer despises for its casualness. Yet I’m not entirely sure what is new about GTA4 outside of prettier graphics, whereas there is nothing that is old about WiiFit.

I also find this odd desparity when considering some of the classic designers… Miyamoto himself has designed many of these classic games, Nintendogs for instance. And you really can’t get much more core than Miyamoto. If it weren’t for the original Donkey Kongs, Marios, Excitebikes, F-Zeros, Zeldas, and what not, gaming as we know it wouldn’t even exist. Then there is Will Wright, who between SimCity, SimEarth, and the Sims has yet to create a core game but is one of the most respected designers in the industry. Even Spore isn’t really a core game. After all it is cute, accessable to everyone, simple, and pointless… the very antithesis of what a core game tends to be these days.

Not that it even matters. The basic fact is, if you are a core gamer, you play games because they are good period. Not because they are “serious looking” not because they have super complicated controls that my mother couldn’t figure out if she spent hours studying a manual, not because they have in depth story lines. But because theya re good. Some of the best games in the history of the industry are not those games. And I think people need to just get over it and accept the industry for where it is going or get the hell out of it because you are getting left behind. And there is no room for artifacts in this industry. Both as a developer, and as a gamer.

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