In 2001, Tim Smit started a country garden project with a difference. Inspired by the fascinating story of plants’ importance to man, he set about creating an environment where people could again explore:
Often acclaimed for its giant conservatory biomes, the Eden Project removed the usual boundaries and borders that kept the public away from the plants. Instead they provided enticing winding paths amoungst the undergrowth.
Art and information encouraged people to touch, smell and experience the plants in their natural habitats. For them, the problems this introduced was worth the results. They believed that a big part of enjoying and preserving something was to be invovled and connected to it.
All very well, but what has this got to do with games? After a recent visit to the Eden Project, it struck me that this vision has much in common with Nintendo’s hopes for the Wii.
The previous boundaries, like complicated controllers and complex games, that kept many people away from games have now been replaced by friendly wii-remote. Games that took hours to learn have given way to games that anyone of any age can pick up and play.
For Nintendo, the cost of compromising on complexity was worth it, if it meant bringing games to a wider audience. Their Wii (we as in us) monicer, highlights their beleif that we best enjoy games when everyone gets invovled. Not only are there more players, but our play interaction and mechanic benefits from the variety of perspectives.
Like the Eden Project, they are helping people explore man’s relationship with games.
And as Tim Smit was surprised by the success of his project, Nintendo also look like they might exceed even their own dreams of playing being believing.