I bought a Nintendo Wii a couple of weeks ago. Took me a while to get it all set up, what with the craziness of Christmas and the stinking hot weather, but now that I’ve got it set up, I’m having a load of fun. I don’t have many games yet, but I can play Wii tennis for hours, and something tells me that Wii bowling is going to be the next one that becomes an addiction.
Anyone who has seen or played the Wii Fit knows that the game not only measures your BMI (which we all know is a pointless measurement) but chastises you on not only your performance, but your body rating. And now Microsoft have applied for a patent for an avatar system that shames fat people, limiting their game play and in cases even banning them from playing.
What is with gaming coming down all judgemental on us? And why the hell are people buying these systems?
Maybe, just maybe, they’d a) sell more of their games and b) we’d play more hours of them if they made them a bit more bloody fun, and a bit less judgemental and moralistic?
The whole point of Wii, and especially Wii Fit, is that it’s a game that requires you to move your body. A fantastic technology that brings gaming to people who wouldn’t otherwise play (like me). In moving your body playing these games, you’re having fun, so you want to play more, which in turn causes you to move your body more. You’re getting exercise! But you’re also having lots of fun.
Then along comes this feature that tells you your BMI is too high, that you’re not playing hard enough. Or if Microsoft market their planned product, cuts you off from playing the game altogether.
What I ask is what’s wrong with just playing for fun? Why add the moralistic bullshit onto it? Surely if the game encourages you positively to play more, you will play more, you will move more, and get more exercise?
It seems to me that we’re being pressured to justify our activity so much that we’re not allowing ourselves to play anymore. Every activity has to be for some kind of purpose or “good”. Using the game consoles are not for just relaxing and having some fun – no, they’re for training us to be healthy and fit, by way of fat shaming.
Games manufacturers and marketers need to cut the crap with this stuff. Remove it or make it opt in if anyone out there really does want it. Instead of chastising and shaming players, how about making them laugh, cheering them on, encouraging them to have another go to beat their last score. I know I will play a game that I’m having fun and encouraged to play for many more hours than I would one that tells me that I’m a lard arse and shouldn’t be playing.
Time to get smart Nintendo and Microsoft, and all the other companies too.