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Obama vs. Game Play

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By Doug Thompson

I would argue that this former supposed messiah of young voters sounded like a stodgy President Eisenhower warning against the evils of television and rock and roll, except for one thing. I’m pretty sure that Eisenhower never said anything remotely this goofy.

It’s enough to make me wonder if the president of Change and Hope (note capitalization) is absolutely hell-bent on alienating the young voters who elected him. He’s saddled their generation with debt, has inherited an economy that’s absolutely bleak for the young and jobless and now decides to attack their pastimes with a lecture most of us wouldn’t expect from our grandmother.

I may not have a Nobel Prize, but I manage to hold a responsible job and be a father to four kids. Would the world be a better place if I’d stop playing Mass Effect 2 over and over again after my kids go to bed and focus on world peace? Yeah, probably; I’ll agree to do that when my middle-aged brethren agree to give up whiskey and golf.

What did this guy do with his campaign staff? Back when he was running for this job, he made some statement implying that maybe he had a Zune instead of an iPod. His campaign staff went into damage control mode. Zune wasn’t nearly cool enough for this candidate. Now we learn the guy doesn’t even know how to work an iPod. Good grief.

Enough about that; Let’s talk about gadgets.

And the winner of the next generation game console war is — the iPad?

Nintendo didn’t make as much money as it’s used to this past year. It’s comfortably in the black, but sales are down.

Rather than admit that Wii Fit, Mario and Rock Band have been milked for all they’re worth, the company blamed the onset of the iPad. There’s an excellent article about it in the Times of London’s website at http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article7118570.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=1063742.

Great games for the Wii console were always few and far between. The ones that did hit in earlier years scored massive sales, but there are only so many copies of Wii Fit that you can sell and only so many added gadgets that people will buy. Designers have hit the creative dregs after the play-along music genre finally maxed out with the swan song Beatles version of Rock Band.

I don’t deny that the iiPad and all are big factors in causing the first year-to-year drop in Nintendo profits in six years. I just want to point out first that wandering down a creative dead end didn’t help either. The best thing I’ve seen for the Wii anytime recently is the disc that lets me watch Netflix on it.

These iPads and iPhones are new, fun and far more practical than the Wii and the hand-held DS ever were. Apple’s history of letting independent contractors write apps for Apple hardware, while hardly inspired, looks like a great creative flowering compared to the Nintendo-centric policies for the Wii and DS.

I’ve never even been tempted to buy a DS for myself, though each of the kids has one. I doubt I’d carry the thing if somebody gave me one. However, I would use an iPad.

A buddy’s old computer went kaput. All his family used it for was web browsing. Rather than replace it or spend a considerable sum getting it repaired, he just bought an iPad. He’s very happy with it.

Industry figures show the iPhone has, indeed, hurt the DS, after it gravely wounded the Sony PSP, which clearly took the brunt.

Nintendo’s still making a profit. Sony just crawled back into making one. “Crawled” is too harsh a word, though. The cost-cutting the company embarked upon is very impressive. That spans the whole company, especially its flat-screen TV operations and such. Even Sony’s game division, though, is finally expected to turn a profit.

I’m still wondering how all this is going to turn out. I’ll let you know when I think of something.

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