Today's announcement that Wii Sports Club will be released for Wii U reminds me of the great early days of Wii. When every lunchtime at ONM towers would involve playing a game of tennis. When everyone who came to my house wanted to play a round of golf. When pretty much everyone I knew was playing on Nintendo's new home console.
I'm not talking about gamers here, either. I remember playing Wii Sports Tennis at a friend of my girlfriend's (now my wife). They'd never had a games console before but bought a Wii after playing Wii Sports. Sadly, the next game they bought was Carnival Games and while they enjoyed the initial buzz of Wii, it wasn't to last. Having exhausted all the activities on Wii Sports, they stopped playing on their new console, missing out on amazing experiences like Super Mario Galaxy 2, Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Nintendo will be hoping that Wii Sports Club will entice families to buy Wii U just as they purchased Wii all those years ago. Maybe the choice of the five sports (now in HD) will even bring back memories of the brilliance of the original for the same people who have given up on gaming. Will it work? Not on its own it won't. But combined with family-friendly games such as Super Mario 3D World, Wii Fit U, Wii Party U and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it might just stand a chance.
Nintendo has been targetting at the family audience this year. Of course, Nintendo's first-party games have always been family friendly but last year, before Wii U launched, the talk was of a console which could play all the big games that were being enjoyed on Xbox 360 and PS3. Assassin's Creed, Batman and Mass Effect. One of its big two launch games was an 18-rated survival horror game.
While fans of these games are still being catered for on Wii U (Batman: Arkham Origins, Assassin's Creed IV and Watch Dogs are all being released this year, plus Bayonetta 2 is on the way in 2014), Nintendo is actively aiming its console at families. People often say that they never see Nintendo adverts on TV. I say: "You don't want children's TV."
Not that I'd expect anyone without young children to watch Harry And His Bucketful Of Dinosaurs on the Tiny Pop channel but Animal Crossing: New Leaf appeared on every ad break between my son's favourite programme this summer.
Pokemon X and Y will be the next big game for Nintendo and its being released alongside 2DS, a console which Nintendo admit is aimed at children.
Is there anything wrong with this? For me, Nintendo is just playing to its strengths and, as people are arguing over torture sequences in GTA V, why not do something a bit different? The children's market is massive after all.
Of course, I'm not saying that Nintendo is only for children. Many of you reading this will be Pokemon fans who loved bumping into cute little Pikachu when you were children but now enjoy the competitive battling scene in your 20s. At the age of 36, I'm still a massive Mario fan and am looking forward to introducing my son to Super Mario 3D World later on this year.
Bringing it back to Wii Sports Club, even if it doesn't convince families to buy a Wii U this Christmas, I think Nintendo are releasing it in the right way. Those day passes are perfect for those who just want to play all the Wii Sports when their friends are over while it's great to be able to buy the sports individually rather than paying out full price for all of them. To be honest, I only ever played tennis so I'd probably only download that for £8.99 and maybe get a day pass if I wanted to play with friends. It's a great idea and if you are getting a Wii U for Christmas, you'd have great fun on Christmas Day if you downloaded Wii Sports Club and a Day Pass.
As already mentioned, Wii Sports Club isn't going to be s system seller but then I'm not sure there is such a thing as a system seller any more. Would you really spend nearly £300 for one game, even if it was Super Mario Galaxy? It's the breadth of games that convince and this Christmas, Wii U is looking like a great console for families.