But not any more. Now mind-numbing violent shoot-ups featuring flesh-eating zombies and scantily-clad women are becoming yesterday’s news, supplanted by games that are actually good for your physical and mental well-being. Cynics might ask: ‘where’s the fun in that?’ – but games companies are getting excited about a whole new audience.
The most successful exponent of this trend has been Nintendo, the Japanese games maker, whose Wii console apparently overtook Microsoft’s Xbox 360 this week to become the world’s biggest-selling next-generation games machine.
Nintendo has not been top of the gaming pile since its glory days of the early 1990s, when Super Mario 4 and F-Zero were the pinnacle of gaming sophistication, and a large part of its recent revival has been its ability to tap into new markets. Take its DS console, a handheld device that has already shifted 14m units worldwide. Its biggest selling title is not a Mario 37 or Zelda 426, but the puzzle game Kawashima’s Brain Training.
The Wii’s wireless controllers are helping it to win even more converts. News emerged today of an old peoples’ home in Edgbaston where residents are apparently addicted to the machine, regularly locking horns over the Wii’s tennis and golf games. (Whatever happened to bingo?)
Next on the hit-list for Nintendo is another lucrative segment – young women. New yoga game Wii Fit is aimed squarely at the kind of woman who might otherwise be forced to buy a dance workout video released by a former Hollyoaks star after an appearance in Celebrity Fame Academy.
It is all part of Nintendo’s cunning plan to turn your whole family into casual gamers. Who knows – you could all be doing the ‘downward dog’ together before too long…