Excuse me... I have to Wii


Posted by Eric on Monday, November 29th, 2010 in Gaming Life / Rants

An article spun up over at IGN about Nintendo needing to up their game for the second generation Wii or Wii successor.

One question: Why?

Let’s get something straight real quick-like: The Xbox360 and PS3 are not direct competitors of the Wii. Nintendo is not in this game to compete, they’re here for entertainment. It just so happens that Nintendo’s knack for entertainment is making video games, and they do a pretty damned good job doing it. But to compete with something that’s not competing is like doing burnouts — the only one you’re impressing is you and your ego. Guarantee you, whether you like it or not, Nintendo will be the last game company standing. Let’s take a look at some numbers here...

Hmm.. let’s see...there’s the PS3 with 41.6 million consoles moved worldwide not far behind the 360 with 45.6 million units, and... what’s this? Oh! That’s the Wii stomping the absolute shit out of the numbers of the next-in-line. So, Nintendo, you need to step it up! Your sales are SUC-KING!

I wholeheartedly agree with all of the major complaints, but let’s examine some of the reasons this console blows for both gamers and publishers alike...

The Library
Games. Lots of games.

"There just aren’t any good games for the system!" says the non-Wii-owning hater. In the four years the Wii has been on store shelves, it’s already surpassed the number of games released for any of its predecessors in less than half the time. Relatively speaking, for the number of titles that are available for the console, I would venture to say that maybe five percent or less are even worthy of anyone’s time. This peripheral set seems largely to blame, as software isn’t limited to the normal methods of gameplay, which means everyone at Christmas dinner can eat food and have a go at their Wii. Everything from exercise games to discs that literally come with a few mini-games because their partial to a controller that’s motion sensitive, the Wii is preposterously plagued by a plethora of video games that don’t really deserve the "video game" label.

Now, on that same note, there is a logical reason for the ass loads of shovelware available. Games these days are way cheaper to make on the Wii, and the user base is far wider, so companies want to put what little money they’re spending on games toward the largest audience. That’s why we’ll rarely see games like Jelly Belly BALLISTIC BEANS! or Chuck E. Cheese’s Party Games for the 360 or PS3; there’s no way anyone using those systems would ever buy games like this, even with the $20 price tag they carry. (I guess none of these big corporations learned their lesson in the Atari days when you saw brands like Kool-Aid or even Purina (yes, the pet food distributor) desperately trying to cash in on the industry’s action by flooding the market with utter garbage.) But these games are bound to get picked up by grandparents for stocking-stuffers or for *GASP* themselves!

Power

In comparison with its "adversaries," the Wii’s technical specs are a pathetic joke to the industry. It’s not HD, it doesn’t play DVDs, it’s weighed down by a poor online interface, and the graphics suck to boot. But are we seriously still using these aspects to constitute a good game console? Not everyone has an HDTV, and if they do it may not be a television used primarily for gaming, especially a "childish" console like the Wii. It doesn’t play DVDs because that’s not a selling point for a game console today. When the PS2 came out in 2000, parents needed to justify the high price of the newest system, and what better way to do that than to pitch it as a DVD player that also plays video games or vice-versa? A home without a DVD player isn’t so commonplace anymore, so why sully the chassis with more parts for an extra feature no one will likely use?

I’ve mentioned before that the Wii is, in essence, a suped-up GameCube with a cool new control scheme. The graphics appear, at best, a full generation behind. Some of the best "looking" games on the Wii are on par with late generation Xbox or PS2 games. I think that’s where the biggest line is drawn, though. Port versions of multi-console games look like shit compared to their hi-def counterparts, but the games exclusive to the Wii often make better use of vivid art styles and are usually more visually stimulating without the dramatic increase in resolution or polygon count. It really goes to show you that a good game doesn’t necessarily have to break ground in the visual department to be successful.

Price

The price of the Wii is extremely debatable. There’s a revised 360 out with a sleek new design that costs the same price, and for just 100 bucks more, you could land yourself a PS3 with an integrated Blu-ray player. So why is the Wii still so expensive? Well... why not? Demand for the Wii only finally started to see a decline in mid 2009. The price came down 50 bones to its now-standing $199, and the console still sells at staggering rates, second worldwide only to its portable cousin, the Nintendo DS. Nintendo still makes bank on the console itself, too, which is unheard-of for two generations at Microsoft and Sony, and at the same time, the Wii is still an affordable solution to consumers. Put frankly, this system is a cash-cow, so why would Nintendo drop the price if it sells just fine where it’s at?

Controls

Another issue I’ve heard lately is that the controls seem "gimmicky," like a toy. I will definitely argue that the abilities of the controller are a bit over-exaggerated in the Wii’s marketing. Don’t get me wrong, it can do everything you see in commercials, but the limited capabilities of the controller become quickly exploited once you actually start playing. The accelerometer inside can detect changes in the overall angle of the remote, but can often seem delayed and only picked up by holding that position or through violent shakings. However, that all changes with the addition of the Motion Plus technology, which is essentially just another accelerometer attached to, or now built into, the remote itself. The fact that the controller is essentially broken in half can also give tactical games a pretty steep learning curve, which is a huge turnoff for the hardcore crowd. In the end, though, simplicity wins, and folks at nursing homes are much more apt to picking up a simple remote than a sexy 360 controller with all those buttons on the face: "This looks complicated. :( "

Wiimotes are simpler. Wiimotes are simpler. WIIMOTES ARE SIMPLER.
"Wiimotes are simpler. Wiimotes are simpler. WIIMOTES ARE SIMPLER."

So, by all logical sense, the Wii sucks. Hard. But guess what? The top five best selling video games of this generation belong exclusively to the Wii. So if it’s not the games and it’s not the graphics, it must be the motion controls, right? Not so much... all the consoles now support motion-gameplay (though at a premium), and in some aspects much better than the Wii, so that’s out, too. Then what the hell is it exactly that keeps this thing king of such a very tall hill?

One answer: Demographics.

The fact that Nintendo can sell this console to anyone without concern of a generation gap is HUGE, not just for Nintendo, but for gaming in general.Hell, my dad owns a Wii — the first video game he’s owned in I think... ever — and he bought it as his own discretion. People young and old enjoy the ease of use, and you’re bound to find something of interest in the overflow of applications. And it’s much easier and more appealing to learn how to flail your arms about with groups of friends than to study the controls and gameplay of an entry-level 360 or PS3 game.

Don’t like the Wii? Don’t play it.

  • Chris, my initial post was made, not only in jest to aggravate Eric, but to illicit responses to get the dialog started. Thanks for taking the bait.

    As for my real opinion...

    I’m not really sure why this topic is still being discussed or covered by IGN. Nintendo lost the console game. Though I am not sure they were in it to begin with. Their target audience was always the younger demographic and their selection of titles pretty much confirms that. As for the games you mentioned, yes Donkey Kong and Kirby were awesome. 20 years ago. I am sure they are still good, but I would hardly consider those titles innovative. Just like I wouldn’t consider the Wii console cutting edge either.

    But alas, who cares? Everyone knows that the Nintendo console is still better than the GayBox360 or the GayStation 3. :-)

  • Well-written, as always. I own both the XBox 360 and the Wii and they get equal play time from me. I really enjoy the FPS games on the XBox but for pure entertainment, I always play the Wii.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by wired.illusion, Spaghetti Oh. Spaghetti Oh said: http://spaghettioh.com/excuse-me-i-have-to-wii [...]

  • Jaime, did you even bother reading the article? In the first true paragraph it was clearly stated that the Xbox360 and PS3 are not direct competitors and not remotely on the same level. In fact, throughout the article Eric made points that clearly show the Wii is generally inferior to those two consoles. The entire point of the article seems to be to try to figure out why the Wii seems to be doing so well while it clearly has so much working against it compared to its competition. Perhaps you do need the ClickStart by LeapFrog so you can at least make it into the first paragraph before spouting off nonsense.

    As far as your distaste for the Nintendo, amusing. The last good Wii release? Ummm off the top of my head recently: Donkey Kong Country Returns, Epic Mickey, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. No doubt your immediate response will be "Those are simple kids games". Go play a few levels of DKCR and tell me a) it isn’t challenging, b) it’s not visually stunning, and c) it’s not a ton of fun. Just give it a shot. I won’t even get started on how awesome the Nintendo DS is. And for the record, this is coming from someone who primarily plays on the 360. I am not a Nintendo fanboy by any means; I didn’t even own an N64 or GameCube.

    No onto the article, I tend to like your assessments Eric. The biggest selling point of the Wii is clearly the wide demographic it supports and ease of entry into the platform. As a gamer, I would certainly love to see Nintendo push the hardware envelope and bring a system up to at least current gen standards... but at the same time, I don’t see a reason to for what they are looking to accomplish. Regarding games, while developers are clearly producing a load of shit, there is a lot of gold being created (primarily the Nintendo published titles). Do I play Wii games as much as my 360 or PS3 games, not really... but the games I do play are incredibly fun and some of them are more challenging than anything I’ve played on the 360/PS3.

    As much as I can’t stand a lot about the Wii, it is hard to deny that their strategy is working extremely well.

  • Though we typically agree, I have to wholeheartedly disagree with you on this one.

    Comparing the Wii to either the XBox or the PS3 is like comparing a Toyota Corolla to a Ferrari and a Porsche. (The Wii being the Corolla of course.) Sure they will all get you from point A to point B, but the Ferrari and the Porsche will not only get you there faster, but will make the ride more enjoyable and look good doing it.

    Nintendo has grown stagnant and has been riding the 8-bit, 64-bit, and Mario ride for a bit too long. Their hardware, though popular due to its low price and appeal to the young demographic, fails to even compete with real gaming consoles on a hardware or even games level. When was the last good Wii game release? Yeah, can’t think of one either.

    I think a fair comparison and competition for the Wii would be the ClickStart By LeapFrog. :-)

  • For the record, the Kool-Aid Man game for the Atari 2600 is actually fun.

Speak your mind!