Appeal of Wii crosses generational lines 

The End Is Near: Even nursing homes love Nintendo's brilliant game controller

We have all seen it in the papers and on TV: The endorsements, the mudslinging, the downright fierce competition among the candidates.

However, in the end, there can be only one, and it looks like the winner might not need to wait for November to begin its domination of the world.

It's a Wii-volution, my friends, and as the Borg says, "Resistance is futile; all will be assimilated."

But at what cost? At what price, humanity? (About $300 retail)

It's getting hard to swing a dead cat without hitting someone with a story about how the slim unassuming case has infected, er, interacted with their lives. It crosses all boundaries; race, religion, nationality, age, sex, it does not matter. Like The Blob (no, not the remake, the 1958 one with Steve McQueen), the Wii simply shows up, is touched, and then proceeds to absorb anyone it comes in contact with.

Better yet, it's a Tribble — cute, cuddly, and multiplying at a frightening rate.

My own story isn't a pretty one. We were in Costco just after Christmas 2006, and in the true nature of fate (and the whimsical nature of finding things at Costco), we stumbled across a new shipment of Wii console packages.

We knew they were popular, so we thought we'd buy one and maybe sell it on eBay. If only we had stuck to the plan. Instead, out of sheer curiosity (I hear curiosity is what drove the boys on the Manhattan project, too) we opened it.

Sigh.

It was fun. It was simple and intuitive. We did not even have a second game for it, just the sports package it came with. We were bowling, boxing, playing tennis. This is not normal. My wife hates video games.

We were enthralled and a part of the horde. We had been assimilated.

The next day the Wii-vil started. We were sore. Elbows, shoulders, thighs, just sore. Even if you workout it doesn't matter, because it uses muscles in an ever so slightly different manner than normal. If only it had ended with bodily pains, but no. The Wii-vil spreads soul deep.

It happened that my youngest son, a diehard Nintendo boy from about age 5, had a birthday coming up in two weeks. He lives in Seattle with his mother, and no greater love has any man shown than when we agreed to send the Wii on its way as his birthday gift. I truly think it was the best gift an 11-year-old boy could have ever received, especially since they were still so rare.

Noble? Perhaps. I like to think so. However — I resent him now.

He took it. My precious. My precious.

The Wii is insidious by its very nature. It doesn't have the best graphics. The Xbox 360 beats it easily, and the Playstation 3 is even better. It does not feature a fancy HD-DVD player. It just has these stupid-looking controls, one a thin remote looking thing, and the other a blob attached by cord. And those are the weapons it will use to enslave the world.

It has started already. Nursing homes have Wii bowling leagues. They are our history, our senior citizens, and already they are lost. Rehabilitation centers use them to help those recovering from injury or surgery, making them susceptible when they are already weak and their defenses are down. It is even taking over the military as one of the most popular pastimes of soldiers needing to unwind.

Once it has the Army, who will stop it then?

Just last week, MSNBC's games editor, Kristin Kalning, conducted an interview with a decent 40-year-old father who, over the Christmas season, found himself running Wiis on eBay. He would visit little-known resources, buy them at retail, and resell them for large markups. He became one of the frontline dealers in the drug of a new generation, not even offering the first taste free. He didn't even have remorse for his actions.

Sure, some will try to hold out, especially those who couldn't get a Wii and settled for a 360 or PS3. They will tell you all about how great their machines are, not realizing they are a part of a dwindling species, sliding slowly to extinction.

Already it may be too late to stop the takeover. Last month, we went to a mac and cheese cookoff (don't ask). And there, after everyone finished eating, was a Wii, sitting quietly, its blue light glowing by the TV.

And we played. And we were sore. And I still resent my son.

I wonder if I can guilt him into re-gifting it for my birthday?


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