I think it is safe to say that the GameCube has gone over smashingly well at my parents' house.
I got a call from my dad this evening, as I was out driving to get some dinner. He informed me that he and my mother had played a full 18 holes of Mario Golf the night before. My mom was up by 10 strokes, but she started to slump and my dad came back to win by a couple of strokes. He was extremely proud of himself. I wasn’t surprised to find out that he has been having fun with it, but I was surprised that he has roped my mom into it too. Not that I blame either of them. GAMES ARE FUN. We gave them some games without a punishing learning curve, and the simplistic GameCube controller, and they’re off to the races. The simple elegance of the GameCube itself, and the comfortable wireless WaveBird controllers, only help matters.
The two of them will be adding some racing games to their collection - Mario Kart obviously, and maybe something else (I’ll have to check the review scores to find something to recommend - any ideas?). I think my dad is also interested in getting a football game (there’s only one choice now - Madden - which thankfully has improved much this year).
Most importantly, I think the two of them are getting over the “fear” (“intimidation” is perhaps more appropriate) of new, high-tech games. Tetris and Dr. Mario may have been long ago, but there’s still simple enough games out there to play.
I will admit, I have come to appreciate Nintendo a bit more. Though their next console will still be the last one I buy (probably, though the lower price might help), I think there is plenty of need for simple games with low barriers to entry. I have been looking forward to the day where the game console world splits into more targeted markets instead of every console duking it out for the right to be everything to everyone.
And if anyone has any ideas of GameCube games that aren’t punishing to the player (ie. “failure” doesn’t equal death and a stop to gameplay), please share them with me. :)