Some more light reading.

Today we are going to look at couple articles with differing points of view on the direction Nintendo is heading. The first comes from the venerable hardware site, Tom’s Hardware. (NB: I love Tom’s Hardware, a great place for hardware reviews. I haven’t read much in their video game section, but I’ll be keeping my eye on it now.)

Titled “Why is Nintendo Ignoring American Men?”, Christiaan Allebest (Tom Hardware’s video game editor) talks specifically of the future of the DS but talks about Nintendo in general. He, like many others, feel like Nintendo is ignoring the “mature” audience of us American men, video gamers who were brought up on Nintendo. After complaining about the lack of DS games that would appeal to the male gamer, Christiaan closes with

Nintendo needs to reach out to older American gamers, not with the gloved, 3-fingered hand of Mario and his balloon animal friends, but with titles that deal specifically with what fascinates American males most: shooting things, blowing $%#@& up, and scantily-clad ladies.

I like blowing stuff up, just like the rest of us males, but I just can’t agree with this completely. There’s more to gaming that shooting and destruction. For me, I’ve got to think about who’s sitting next to me when I play. I have to be selective of what’s on the screen. The next article explains why.

From PC Magazine (WHAT!? PC Magazine? Bear with me, it’s worth it) we get this article by Jim Louderback, titled “For Families, Nintendo Slams Xbox”. He’s talking about his gaming experience with his son. From the article

Very few Xbox games so far have managed to hold our attention, though. The only one of note: Shrek 2 from THQ.

Shrek 2? That can’t be good. He continues

I’m using my Xbox less and less these days, and playing the GameCube more and more. I love console gaming, and I’m really glad my son does too. Someday we’ll be playing Madden NFL, Halo, and the rest. But not today.

Microsoft would love for the Xbox to become the center of home entertainment. But if the company can’t get its family-games situation together, that won’t happen. And based on what I’ve been playing, they have a long way to go. Without a family-game strategy, the Xbox will remain the province of older boys and men. My solution: Buy Nintendo.

There’s the key, at least in my case. Nintendo has always been my system of choice, and it grew up with me, for a while. People are always saying that Nintendo didn’t grow up enough and embrace us older gamers. But here’s the hitch – gamers like us have grown up. And now, some of us are getting married and having kids. I want some fun, gory games like the rest of us. Resident Evil owned me for weeks. But that’s not the kind of game I would sit down and play with my kids until they are much older.

“Mature” games are an important part of the spectrum of gaming. But Nintendo’s kid/family-oriented games are, too. Games like Paper Mario and Animal Crossing are currently influencing gamers that are as old as we were when we played Super Mario Brothers for the first time. I know after a kid turns 13 it’s all about playing Halo 2, but up to that point they should be playing games that are less serious and more about fun. Like it or not, Nintendo has the section of the market cornered. In the process, Nintendo is building another generation of gamers who know Mario and Luigi and don’t really care about Leon and Master Chief.

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