Casual "Grandma" Non-Games
I tend to go through waves of playing a lot of games, to not playing any at all. Last fall I was at the top of that wave in large part due to all the new systems. But by early this year I was back to not playing much at all, and it had little to do with the lack of games on these new systems. I just didn't feel much like playing. It took me over two months to beat Twilight Princess. Don't get me wrong, it's a great game, but I just didn't have much desire to sit down and play it. Then I discovered the joys of simple, pick-up-and-play games.
Really these beckon back to days gone by. Games used to be like this, then they got more and more complicated. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm not about to go on a rant that games are too complicated these days. I can still enjoy a 'real' game now and then, but most times the simple ones are what I'll play. Part of it is I just don't have the time. With work and other things going on in my life, when I want to play a game, it will be for maybe 20 minutes. Which makes games with save points 30 minutes apart tough to play.
So what have I been spending my time on? PS3? Wii? Nope. DS probably gets most of my play time. Sure the fact I can flip it on and relax on my couch helps, but games like Planet Puzzle League, Brain Age 2, and Picross are great fun. That's not to say PS3 doesn't get a lot of play either (relatively speaking), it just doesn't get a lot of PS3 Blu-ray play. There's been a whole slew of cool PSN games that I've spent a lot of time with. Calling All Cars, Super Stardust HD, LocoRoco, and my new favorite, Everyday Shooter (which is so good it inspired me to write this post). Seriously, if you have a PS3 these are the must have titles (which granted may be a bit of a knock on PS3's lineup, but still).
It also helps that all these games combined cost me less than the price of one Blu-ray game.
Metroid Prime Corruption is another great game that I really like, but I got that the day it came out (over a month ago) and I still have yet to beat it. (I really need to though.) Nintendo really needs to work on their 'casual' game lineup. On Wii I don't think they've quite figured out there is a difference between a pick-up-and-play game for the sake of being simple, and a game that's actually good. Just check out Wii Play for proof of that. A game needs character and style. Plus besides Wii sports, Wii is severely lacking a really good 4 player game (stupid Smash Bros. delay). I'm not sure how much longer we can keep up our weekly Thursday Wii nights at work... but that's not really the point.
The point is that the best thing so far this "next generation" is the emergence of downloadable games. I'm almost tempted to get a 360 just for that (though if PSN keeps me happy as it has been I'll be ok without one). I'm quite interested to see how well WiiWare works out.
The most creative games in recent memory fall into this category, and that's what makes them great. Not their simplicity in of itself. But their beauty in their simplicity and design.
In short, games that are just pure fun and enjoyment.