Nintendo Has Common Sense

Nintendo has announced the successor to Brain Age, Common Sense Training for Adults. I’m not going to mince words — this could be pure genius. Not just because it will (like Brain Age) be accessible to consumers of all stripes, but because it takes Nintendo one step closer to dominating a lucrative and untapped market: self-help games.

Most of you are probably aware (or could guess) that self-help is a multi-billion dollar industry. You can find a book (or ten) for every problem you can imagine, not to mention audio tapes, TV shows, etc. But not much in the way of mainstream games, with few exceptions.

So Nintendo is going to teach us “common sense”. If the game proves to be enjoyable and popular, maybe they’ll teach people how to stay in shape, next. (With the Wii, that would be incredibly easy.) Or maybe the next game will be a “romance trainer”, complete with built-in, network-enabled social networking functions at later levels of the game. (“Don’t just train to flirt, put your training into practice!”) Or maybe a negotiation game, with levels like “negotiate a purchase”, “negotiate a sale”, “negotiate a hire”, etc. The list of fun and useful possibilities just boggles the mind.

The Common Sense titles could include a “common sense in other countries” component. I bet people would get a huge kick out of experiencing these cultural differences in the context of a game. And it makes localization of the game much more interesting.  🙂

This topic really deserves more attention, but it’s 3am and I want to go to sleep. More in the future!

4 responses to “Nintendo Has Common Sense

  1. I, for one, would love to see a language learning game (say, Japanses for instance) for the DS. The combination of interactivity, voice recognition, handwriting recognition, and portability could make for one killer app. Extra points if it looks good and is fun. How does this not already exist? Or does it?

  2. I don’t think it exists, but yes, it should. 🙂

    Not exactly a “self-help” game, but hey — I’m excited about educational games in general, too!

  3. Gordon Fellows

    Absolutely on the language learning game. As I was scrolling down through the article I was thinking about posting exactly that when I saw it. I would love a portable “game” that I could just whip out to refresh my French, practice my all but deteriorated Japanese, or to just plain learn Spanish, Italian, or whatever other supported languages might turn up.

  4. One of the commercial language learning CD-ROM packages comes with a video game called “Who Is Oscar Lake?” It’s a mystery that’s completely in the language that you are learning, with the option of English subtitles. You can’t speak or write in it, but it helps with comprehension. It’s pretty fun, too!

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