On Games and Giving

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Gentle readers, I was raised Catholic, by a mother who believed that you could pray all you want, but if you weren’t going out and actually doing good work, then your faith was half-hearted, and that half was the easy half. Now, that’s just an opinion, and it may not be shared by all reading this. But since Sundays were the day we went to church, they were the days also devoted to charity and volunteerism. I wasn’t always psyched for it, and for much of my childhood I wished that I could play video games instead of volunteering. As it turns out, you can do both! So today I’d like to tell you about some good deeds being done at the intersection of gaming and good intentions.

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Boston Wanderings and Wii U

So I was in Boston for a week in August on a business trip, and in the evenings I would wander around fairly aimlessly. One night, I discovered Faneuil Hall, which is a sort of street fair, and there was a giant set of booths set up by Nintendo promoting Wii U and some of its many games. In general, the setup was poor, so I didn’t get to observe all of the games; in fact, I couldn’t tell you how many there were. Here are some of my opinions about the games that I did observe—I didn’t get to play any, sadly—that night.

wii u2In general, it seemed that gameplay for most of the games was too confusing or complicated for younger kids. While the kids (seemingly) ten and older had no trouble playing games without the assistance of one of the many Nintendo employees, everyone younger had at least one helper lending him or her a hand. This wouldn’t bother me if this was Sony or Microsoft who generally make games for an older, adult audience. But Nintendo prides itself as a family-friendly company making games that anyone at any age can play. With the new system, that doesn’t necessarily seem to be true.

Now on to the actual games that I spent significant time with:

Batman Arkham City

This seemed like a truly awesome game. While I didn’t get the chance to play it (it had the longest line), it seemed like the most fun. It was the only game that had a wide appeal to different audiences; it had everyone from little kids to adults playing and having a good time. The only complaint I had from watching was everything seemed about the same color. The graphics themselves were great, but the coloring was so monotone that it got hard to differentiate between some of the backgrounds and some of the characters.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Now before y’all go throwing a hissy fit, I want to reiterate that I did not like this game nor its graphics. If you’ve forgotten my opinion, go refresh yourself here. With that out of the way, the graphics of Wind Waker HD looked effing amazing. Since I had just gotten a refresher from my Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert (post on that is forthcoming) of the original Wind Waker’s graphics a couple days earlier, I could make a comparison without too much trouble. Original Wind Waker’s problem was that the graphics resembled something from Nintendo 64, seeming a step backward. HD, however, was crisp, colorful, and elegant. I feel that this was what the original Wind Waker attempted but really did not accomplish. This is the game in particular that demonstrated how difficult it is to play Wii U. The little kid playing looked confused as hell. I felt sorry for him, because the Nintendo employee tried to explain it and he still couldn’t get it.

In short, Wii U looks promising. For me, it is not worth the high price tag, but I’d consider looking into it when/if the price drops.

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