Stay with me here folks, I’m ranting..
There was a time in my life when I genuinely thought I was too old to play games that were ‘aimed at kids’. I thought I was too cool to bother myself with games that weren’t interested in tasking me with shooting everything in sight, or asking me to put the sports ball in the sports net. Like many, this time came whilst I was a teenager; a time when ‘I knew everything’ and certainly didn’t have an ‘attitude’. Like most people however I grew into my twenties, and naturally sort of grew out of it. I like to think as a 29-year-old I’ve got a means to evaluate things that aren’t exclusively designed for me.
To cut a long story short, after I posted my Wii U Ranked list last Friday, a friend on Twitter reached out to me and made a comment that I’m still struggling to comprehend 4 days later. Now I’ll start by saying he’s a positively nice bloke, and I have no grudge against him in at all. It’s just this comment, or the accumulated 15 years worth of comments on the subject (from other people) that have forced me to this point today.
The offending tweet wasn’t nasty, it wasn’t even argumentative, but it’s one I’ve heard hundreds of times before, and I think I’ve finally reached braking point. His reply to my list was (paraphrasing in 5..4..3..2..1) ‘How can you rank a list of Wii U games when they’re all aimed at children’.
My initial response was to ignore it, to let it slip through the void. He’s entitled to his opinion, just like I am. However I found myself thinking about it for the rest of the day; clearly it had rubbed a nerve. You see, I’ve heard it many times before. Mainly when I was at school, trying desperately to explain why the Gamecube was such a cool system to a group of friends who only wanted to play GTA3 and FIFA.
I’m a firm believer that Nintendo doesn’t make games for children; they make games for children, adults, boys, girls. They make games that can be enjoyed by anyone from any race, of any geographic location. They make games that any person can play, regardless of skill level as a gamer. They make games for anyone who fancies playing them.
They make games with colourful pallets, of worlds that look inviting; fantastical even. They make games with bubbly looking characters, not because it’s childish or immature, but because they want to; because it’s fun to design characters and their worlds around more than just the boring realities of the real world.
If you think all of that constitutes a game that’s aimed at children then I genuinely feel sorry for you. Games come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are hyper realistic first person shooters, some of them are ridiculously cute town simulators and some of them are nothing more than lines on a black screen.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there aren’t games exclusively designed for children to enjoy. And I’m not saying that as a fully grown adult you’re wrong for skipping them, I would too. I just feel that for too long some people have assumed that because Nintendo (and others) make games that aren’t brown and realistic that they’re kids games. The same way I cringed when I hear people say Ghibli, Disney and PIXAR make ‘kids movies’ because they’re all animated. It’s just not true.
There’s nothing wrong with playing your 12th FPS of the year, but shrugging off an entire library of fantastic games because you deem them too colorful for your adult tastes is silly and a little sad. And at the end of the day, the only person you’re conning is yourself.
So whilst you’ll continue to ignore games that don’t immediately appeal to you, I’ll be over here, throwing myself into the game where you play as a plumber with a water cannon on his back and a mayor with a graffiti problem.