Recent television commercials for the Wii have disturbed me. In fact, there’s something unsettling about the concept of the Wii for me, despite the fact that there are probably uses for which it is uniquely suited.
What worries me is that it seems yet another electronic tool-toy designed to encourage and increase participation in virtual life instead of participation in real life. For example pretend bowling instead of actually going to a bowling alley and playing with other people. Pretend tennis instead of playing on a real court with real people. Playing inside with people in home space who you already know instead of forging opportunities to meet neighbors and potential friends. (Growing up in the ‘Lou, we kids we had our “play-mamas” and “play-cousins” a title that indicated people we felt particularly close to, so close that we we’d give honorary status as an almost relative. We never forgot, however, that they were “play” and not the real thing.)
Hmmm. Why is it so difficult to go outside, meet other people, interact with them, and play?
Hmmm. Why recreate in virtual life what you can have and do in real life? (Perhaps there is a deep desire to create worlds/games/interactions that are neat, clean, controllable, and predictable – very different than real life)
For the record, I’ve played Wii – a few friends and family members have it. It was enjoyable but nothing about the experience made me add it to my “must-buy wish list”. Wii never took me away from knowing that I was not in fact playing a real game in a real recreational space. A virtual bowling lane is not at all like a real bowling lane.
Yes, I know some people use it for practice to heighten their skills for sports they actually play, but I would bet as many Wii owners do not. I can imagine children being reared with no actual interaction with other real children in their neighborhood. It is easier to play in home space than to make sure that every neighborhood has safe places – like clean, well-lit parks – for children to play.
There’s something so isolating and unreal about Wii and its ilk that it sounds all my alarms!!! FAKE WORLD! FAKE WORLD! FAKE WORLD! Wake up people.
Are we being conditioned for a time when, for whatever reason (i.e., violence, pollution, economic collapse) we won’t be able to interact with other humans?
Something about Wii, to me, ain’t right.