Wii and Foosball

When playing the Wii, especially Wii Sports, one can't help but wonder how stupid we look playing this game. Here we are, standing in front of a TV, flailing about in an attempt to play some silly game. I'm sure people watching someone play on a Wii think it's really lame. It takes about five minutes of actually playing it to get past that, but getting someone to try that first five minutes might be a little difficult.

The other thing I've noticed is that Wii Sports is really only fun when you're playing with a bunch of other people. I can play the single player games for about a half hour before getting sick of it, but when other people are around, time simply flies. Hours later, you start to wonder why your arm is so sore. When you think about it, this isn't that unusual. Most games are social affairs and would be no fun by yourself. It wasn't until video games came along that single player games became so common. I think a big part of that had to do with the inherent limitations of video game hardware. A lot of early games had capabilities for multi-player, but the really fun multi-player experiences didn't happen until you got to the 1990s, and even then, it wasn't as big a portion of the industry as single-player games. Things have been getting steadily more social as time and hardware (and networking) has gotten better, and I think the Wii taps into something that a lot of the latest games and systems don't. Again, this isn't that unusual. Games are meant to be social, and in some cases the mechanics of the game are irrelevant when compared to the social value. For example, Steve Yegge explains one of the main pastimes at Google:
Anyway, until then, the main pastime, other than researching how the Romans managed to eat several meals at one sitting, is Foosball. This is a game I've been introduced to since I came to Kirkland. I've seen it before, and always thought it looked kind of lame, but that just shows you what I know. Foosball is a way of life around here. Which makes it... not lame, see?

I can't quite figure out whether it's popular because it's the only thing to do other than stuff your face (except on Mondays when you can poll the massage calendar hoping someone will cancel) or if it's actually fun in its own right.
There's something similar going on with the Wii. When you're watching other people play, it seems kinda lame... but then you start playing with your friends and all of the sudden, it's 3 am and you feel like your arm is going to fall off. Wii becomes not lame because everyone has so much fun playing, even if they do look like idiots while doing so.

Now all they need is Wii Foosball and we'll be all set.