With the growing prevalence of smartphones and tablets, it seems more and more people are learning to enjoy video games. Who knew that all it took was sliding your finger across a screen for people to get gaming?
The strange part of embracing this mechanic is realizing how repetitive gaming commands are. If you use a controller, there are only a finite number of buttons and combinations. All that changes is what you’re controlling on the screen.With the casual games, you don’t get that luxury. Fruit Ninja just throws up different combinations of fruits and unlockable backgrounds. Zombie Swipe is the exact same game with minimal ragdoll physics thrown in to replace unyielding fruit. There are countless others that anyone can pick up and play. It opens up gaming to a wider audience–there’s almost always a free version and a paid version, so everyone can access it–while showing how the joy of gaming comes in the whole experience rather than the mechanics.
Enter the Wii U. The Wii pushed itself as a casual gaming console for better or worse. The motion controller made it so anyone could play with minimal button pushing. The Wii U goes further, adding a touch control tablet into the middle of a console gaming experience.
E3 is showing off the benefits and limits of the approach right now. Nintendo has developed mini games where you can swipe your finger across the screen to throw ninja stars or swing a Wiimote over the screen to hit a golf ball. As intuitive as the approach is for a casual gamer, can the Wii U actually hold the interest of a more experienced gamer? When the novelty wears off, it will come down to the quality of the content.
If the developers get on board, this invasion of the casual touchscreen mechanics could be a great addition to the world of console gaming. If it’s just treated like the freeware version of a Zynga game, however, it will quickly gather dust on shelves all around the world.
What do you think? I love the idea of gaming becoming ubiquitous in society so long as the iPad “play for two minutes and put it down” gamer is not the only targeted consumer. There’s a wide enough market to target all sorts of gamers. How about you? Sound off below.