Hardcore Gamers Soften Up | Gaming | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It

Hardcore Gamers Soften Up 

Game On: "Carnival Games," by Nintendo Wii


Are you turning into a casual gamer?

Sure, you've played "BioShock" and look forward to "Halo 3" as much as the next joystick jockey. But when you get most excited about a new family game for the Wii, you know something has changed. Today's hardcore gamer is as likely to feel a serious passion for easy-to-learn, easy-to-play titles as he or she is to sport a "Legend of Zelda" tattoo.

The shrinking divide between the focused fan and the part-time player shows up clearly when you look at a set of new games for the Wii - "Carnival Games," "Brunswick Pro Bowling" and "Tiger Woods PGA Tour '08."

At first glance, you'd expect gamers to clamor for "Tiger" on the motion-sensing Wii, or go giggly for a pro bowling experience. It turns out that a basic carnival challenge with a chance to win digital kewpie dolls provides the most fun of the lot.

Want to play a little Skee-Ball? Move your hand forward as if you were rolling a little wooden ball, and your on-screen character hoists the orb up a ramp at on-screen targets. Simple. Want to shoot ducks? Just aim the Wii controller and pull the trigger. Easy. Up and down the midway, "Carnival Games" has every amusement covered, from a skill crane and dunk tank to coin tosses and towers of milk bottles. The only things missing are cotton candy and chili-dog stains.

"Brunswick Pro Bowling," by contrast, wants you to bowl like a pro. Seriously. Where the "Wii Sports" bowling game kept it basic, "Brunswick" tries to make it more real, and more complicated. The extra detail in the character models, the bowling alleys and even the ball and lane physics don't do much more than make a mindless pastime into something somber. It's not a terrible game by any means, but it leaves you wishing it had nailed the strike.

Likewise for "Tiger." If there is any real point in pretending to play a sport, it's that you can feel like a top-flight star. On the Wii, "Tiger" bristles with potential. But after you've duffed a dozen putts, you'll feel like throwing your controller into the nearest water hazard.

Difficult games and serious simulations have their place in gaming. As the quality of more casual titles continues to improve, though, developers have started to figure out that one sign of a top title isn't how much fun players could have, but how much they do have. "Carnival Games" won't keep you up until dawn trying to reach the next level. Then again, when company stops by, you can't expect them to jump into a game of "Killzone."

In the future, we won't divide the gaming classes by how much players love their games, but by how much trouble they'll endure to have a little fun.


"Carnival Games," $39.99, Nintendo Wii, E for Everyone

Who's It For: "Carnival Games" for the Wii won't change the way people think about video games. But start the game up at your next cocktail party, and it just might change the way you entertain.

If You Like This, Try That: "Wii Sports" and "Wii Fitness" stand as two great examples of casual fun that never seem to wear out their welcome on the console.

Best Part: A prize system that lets you swap smaller prizes for bigger loot makes it easy to get ahead in the game, regardless of your skill level.

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by David Thomas

  • Game On
  • Game On

    Game On: "John Deere Harvest in the Heartland", "Master of Illusion", "Cooking Mama 2: Dinner With Friends", "Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations", $29.99 Nintendo DS, E for Everyone/ "Phoenix Wright" T for Teen
    • Jan 16, 2008
  • The Good War
  • The Good War

    Game On: "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare", $59.99 for Xbox 360, PS3, $49.99 for PC, M for Mature
    • Jan 9, 2008
  • Hits and Misses
  • Hits and Misses

    Game On
    • Dec 19, 2007
  • More »

About The Author

David Thomas


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Latest in Gaming

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation