Wii – Not 6

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 neighborhoodIt 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.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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6 thoughts on “Wii – Not

  • Jim

    I’m with you. I played Wii once on my son’s machine…bowling I think, can’t remember for sure. It’s like all the addictive video escapes that have shown up over the years, including TV itself. Eventually people put the screen aside for the real thing or they rot. It’s not my favorite form of entertainment and I can’t imagine getting addicted to it, but many people do. It’s one of those things that parents must control for the good health of their children.

  • joecab

    You worry about a virtual world yet and as your example you pick the console with the least realistic graphics and the most underpowered CPU? I love my Wii, but it’s the Playstation and Xbox that have that hi-res “realism” that get hardcore gamers excited. Lots of them shun the Wii as being too “babyish.”

  • Rick Umali

    It too sounds my alarms. My youngest brother recently played the Tiger Woods golf game for the Wii. He was explaining how cool it was to curve the ball left and right. I asked him if he had ever even hit real golf balls, and to my surprise, he hadn’t! He said he knew golfers (including myself) that could give some comparisons of Wii versus real golf. It was a pleasant conversation, don’t get me wrong, but I did stop myself from saying “you can probably go out there and experience it for yourself!”

  • Nordette aka Verite

    Coincidence but I used Wii in a poem tonight because the alliteration worked for me. :-) I’ve played pool and a couple of other games on the Wii. It was fun, but I confess I haven’t thought anymore about it nor have I seen a recent commercial. I guess I feel like it’s less sedentary than the video games the kids already play. However, like those, the Wii is also addictive, I’m sure. It would be great if it sparked an interest in the real activities but will it? If we believe Grand Theft Auto makes people want to steal cars, then …