You all know the Grand Theft Auto series. Many like it, some hate it. But one thing is for sure, it is one of the most popular sandbox-style shooters. Let us take for example GTA: San Andreas, the latest title for the PC as of now. You start playing some gangster who comes back to his old home and finds his gang having lost all the former glory and now you have to rebuild your reputation. You can play the story, slowly completing the game, getting kicked around by policemen, gangsters and other beings, finding every hidden item until you finally see your achievement: 100% score. And then what? The game is over, you have done everything. Or you can enter BAGUVIX, FULLCLIP and PROFESSIONALSKIT and start blasting everyone. The former might keep you entertained through multiple 7-hour-sessions, but once you are through, you are through. On the other hand, the latter, which can also be done after you have “beaten” the game (and without requiring some of the codes), might only be good for half an hour or maybe a full one, but is entertaining whenever you try doing it. Welcome to Wii Music.The first style of playing is the orange: You work hard throuh the entire game, always achieving small victories, until finally scoring the satisfaction of having overcome the entire game. The harder the game is, the more frustrating it is to play it, the more likely you are to give it up, but the greater the satisfaction when if you beat it. The longer the game is, the more will you experience the progress through the game. This is the “hardcore gamer” way of playing a game. This is what franchises like Zelda or Metroid are about.
The latter way is the apple, you do not work to overcome a challenge, you just… play. You do whatever you want, only to have it entertain you. GTA has often been praised for the sandbox gameplay that allows just this. This is a more casual play of a game. This is how Nintendogs, Wii Sports and other entries in the new expanded audience lineup are played.
But while we are still comparing apples and oranges, Miyamoto is already serving the grapes. Wii Music goes even further away from the classic gaming challenge and closer to some casual playing. Just so many perfectly fine forms of entertainment are simple toys without challenge, but so far, none have entered the video game world. Wii Music is no game you play for a week 3 hours a day, but something you just pick up and play once in a while. If we judge Wii Music in comparison to a traditional game, we will not get any satisfying results, because it is nothing like a traditional game. A traditional game would evaluate your performance in conducting from “sloppy” to “accurate” with a percentage bar in-between, but the Wii Music scale goes from “passionate” to “methodical”, assessing the style without evaluating it.
If you want to judge Wii Music, you have to open your mind to new forms of entertainment instead of adhering to the traditional mindset. Wii Music is different, but that does not mean it is bad.
BTW, Battletoads is a lemon, Wii Fit is a pear and Mario is a water melon.