Bad-with-naming-them-but-still-undeniably-legendary-videogame-designer Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed to USA Today that the forthcoming New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be first to incorporate a special "help" feature, otherwise known as "demo play". What this comes down to is whenever a player so chooses, they can pause the game and let it essentially play itself, then resume control whenever he or she chooses. While superficially this sounds like it's turning interactive videogames into passive entertainment no better than television, as someone who sometimes gets impossibly stuck in games and doesn't like to use cheat codes, I can see this being a useful feature. This is also one of those "so obvious, why hasn't someone done this before" type of deals.
While I support the concept, I can't help but feel a bit "icky" about the whole thing, just like I do with cheat codes. Certainly the whole idea of this is to continue to make videogames accessible to everyone, from the very, very young to the extraordinarily uncoordinated, but wouldn't dynamic difficulty adjustments or even - at its simplest implementation - having more selectable difficulty levels at the beginning address this issue just as well, particularly for what is ostensibly an action game (i.e., no difficult puzzles to figure out, just hard jumps to make)? What do you think of this new design wrinkle that will surely make its way into lots of other games?