Everything and nothing.
That's it, column over.
What? There's still 1, 484 words left to fill?
Oh. Okay. Let's go a little more in-depth, then.
Wii Fit has caused more than its fair share of outrage and bile since its grand unveiling at this year's E3, where the Nintendo developed software was seen as the latest attack on hardcore gamers' market share, patience and pride. After a lacklustre conference, the company's coup de grace of a health-based title which not only boasted a wealth of *gasp* mini-games but also a new peripheral was just too much for some, who went on to declare Fit was the anti-christ and a clear harbinger of the End of Days.
She can smell your fear, Halo fiend.
Casual gaming: serious business.
Wii Fit: It will kill you and all you love. While you sleep. With fire.
I remember the first time Luigi's Mansion and Pikmin were unveiled on GameCube, and remaining distinctly unimpressed (even if the graphics were nice); and I wasn’t the only one. Pikmin? Pah, I already played Command and Conquer, thanks. As for Luigi's Mansion, well if Nintendo thought this was to satisfy my longing for a Mario game, the company had another thought coming. Were these titles really what Miyamoto was working on? Where was MY Zelda? MY Mario Kart? MY StarFox? MY F-Zero?
Understand that I'm not directly comparing Wii Fit to Pikmin or Luigi's Mansion. They're obviously different in many ways. However, each one of those titles exist to help push beyond what is established for their relevant format and ideals, extracting resources and talent from one aspect of development that we often take for granted, and moving them into another. The reactions now are far more diverse to what they have been years ago, but it's because we had titles that pushed those envelopes, even a tiny bit, that we have such a large and dedicated audience to disparage the likes of Fit et al in the first place. Risks are necessary to any medium, regardless of success or not, and in six or seven years time when another set of games become relatively new, those who grew up on the likes of Wii Fit will probably be saying something similar to what we're saying now. Because everyone starts off a casual gamer, yet not everyone has the time to become a hardcore one. It's nothing but divisive to exclude someone when they just want to enjoy what we do, albeit to a different and arguably less time consuming degree.
Earlier this year I read a Nintendo World Report interview with Silicon Knights President, Denis 'Eternal Darkness'/'Too Human' Dyack, where he said something that inavertedly related to all this: "the film industry went through a very similar thing where at first… all the movies that they did would be like trains running into cameras and just the whole spectacle. It was very spectacle-driven. People wouldn’t even come in at the beginning of the movie because there was no story, they would just come in to see the spectacle and the technology of these moving pictures. They were enamoured with it, it was the biggest thing. But then after a while, when people, the technology levelled out and people started becoming more critical and started saying, 'What am I getting out of this? Why am I going to this? I’ve seen trains running into cameras'. People actually started telling stories and it really started to be considered an art form."
Hardcore gamers' kryptonite. Apparently.
Of equal significance, Wii Fit will provide a healthy shot in the arm to gaming's overall PR, offering a stark contrast to the relatively unfair and frequent attacks garnered via titles such as Manhunt 2. Whether the medium needs such a fix is really not the point – anything which broadens the appeal of gaming and helps break down the misconceptions and barriers to what the close-minded think of our hobby is a good thing. It may not be an immediate effect by all means, but it's certainly a step in right direction and the more people converted, the less sensationalistic "Nintendo killed my son" headlines we'll see. And barring any "Nintendo turned my son into a frenzied fitness freak" front page replacements, isn’t that something as gamers we can all benefit from?