Experienced Points: Wii are the Champions

 By Shamus Feb 27, 2009 45 comments

I own a Wii. (I mean I have one of my own. There is another Wii in the living room, used by the rest of the family.) I never play games on it. I basically use it as an exercise machine with the “help” of WiiFit. But I am glad the machine exists. Even though the platform doesn’t really feature games that suit my taste*, I think the Wii will have a larger and more lasting impact on videogames than either of the other two consoles, and I think those changes will be for the better. And so I feel compelled to take the critics of the machine to task.

Now, I expect most of the Wii critics are simply Xbox / PS fans who don’t like that their chosen platform isn’t justifying their purchase by way of sales numbers, and so I’m probably selling garlic to vampires with this one. Still, I think it needed to be said. I’m content to do all my gaming on the #2 and #3 platforms knowing that the seeds currently being sown on the Wii will probably pay off in the next generation.

*Madworld looks pretty exciting, though. I’ll probably be grabbing that one.


20205Feeling chatty? There are 45 comments.


  1. Mythin says:

    I will count myself as a Wii critic and also explain myself.

    I don’t particularly consider myself a fanboy of any console. I own a Wii and an XBox 360 from the current generation. I almost never play the Wii, and when I do it’s to play GC games and virtual console titles. The games for the Wii are almost completely bad. I like Super Mario Galaxy and Super Paper Mario, and Wii Sports is fun, but after finishing the above and getting bored with Wii Sports, I just haven’t found anything on the console worth playing.

    I will agree that, in general, the Wii is more innovative. Unfortunately, I’m afraid the impact isn’t going to be that great when third party support for the system is pretty bad.

    I think the Wii, as a system, is a really nice piece of hardware. The problem is, without a good library, it just isn’t worth turning on.

  2. Sydney says:

    It may not be worth turning on for you. But Grandma’s going to buy it and play Wii Tennis for the next three years. For her, the Xbox360 isn’t worth turning on, because it doesn’t have a single game she wants to play, whereas the Wii has one.

    I’m reminded of an old Trading Card Game dichotomy. Do you want to have as many cards as possible in hand, to make many options available (the “Bill” method), or do you want the perfect card in hand to make the perfect option available (the “Computer Search” method)?

    The Wii seems to belong to Camp Two. A few games that open up a new market – which the other consoles aren’t touching at all. Having “the perfect card in hand” has created a Nintendo monopoly on casual console gamers.

  3. Games I’ve played lately on the Wii include Endless Ocean and No More Heroes. World of Goo was apparently better on the Wii than on the PC. Other recent releases I really want to try out: Lit, the Strong Bad games, De Blob, Wario Land: Shake It… I don’t play video games fast enough to keep up with the Wii releases.

  4. JKjoker says:

    I find pretty easy to differentiate retards from casual gamers, casual gamers have low tolerance to failure (like my parents) they pick up a game, play one level (if they managed not to flee after seeing the menus) and the second time their die they put the control down and never play again. Retards take a different approach, they go play a game like doom/quake/fear/nolf, they pick the “impossible” difficulty setting (because they are cool!) and as they get their ass handed back to them by the first superpowered demon/cyborg/zombie/ninja they say “this game sucks!”, but since they make a huge part of the holy console market what happens is that in new games there is no longer an easy option, now its called normal, and hard is the old normal setting, and thats it no more challenging “very hard” or “impossible” settings, the retards just can’t handle them.

    The achievements have made this even worse, now with the e-cock revolution if “they” cant gather the achievements easily “they” won’t play your game, i couldn’t believe reading things like “Shellshock 2 sucks! but its so short and you can get the achievements in a few hours” so we no longer play for fun, we play to enlarge our e-penis, man, i picked up gaming to escape from the real life penis waving competition, can somebody tell me why do we need a virtual one ?

  5. Magnus says:

    I got out of the console market when I sold my Sega Megadrive, but the Wii intrigued me, and I managed to get one a while back.

    At first, I found the use of the Wii remote new and exciting, but after a while, I felt that although it is a great idea, it fails in practice.

    It doesn’t fail because of what it is, but how it is used, and in some respects, how it isn’t.

    I felt it was poorly implemented in some of the games I tried, with the requirement to wave the remote around to perform an action a particular annoyance of mine.

    It works best when the movements correspond to on-screen movement, and when used as a mouse-like pointer.

    At times, it almost felt like continuous quicktime events. Pro Evolution Soccer was a particular disappointment to me, especially as I enjoyed the initial novelty.

  6. Robert says:

    I bought myself a PS2 a couple of years ago, played Gran Tourismo a few times but never really got the hang of it, and then it sat there gathering dust. I bought a Wii for Christmas, and use it nearly every week for a few minutes.

    I don’t want a game that will keep me engrossed for hours. I want a game I can play for a few minutes to unwind. Wii Sports, Wii Play, Wii Fit, and LEGO Star Wars suit me perfectly. (I’m dithering over Wii Music, too.)

  7. Mark says:

    Shamus, have you checked out the Virtual Console and WiiWare releases? There’s sure to be a thing or two to strike your fancy in those… assuming you haven’t played ‘em, that is. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Paper Mario, which is eight bucks on the thing (or, perhaps, the sequel).

  8. karln says:

    I feel somehow compelled to sneak in a quick ‘me too’ on the issue of we longer-running gamers finding precious little to play on our excitingly new and different, gameplay-over-graphics Nintendo machines. Mythin, I whole heartedly recommend Okami, Metroid Corruption and Twilight Princess if you want more Wii games, but that’s where I run out of steam too. (Unless you count Eternal Darkness from the Gamecube library. Which you absolutely should. It is amazing.)

    I read some speculation somewhere (could have been a link from Shamus for all I know) that this situation is merely phase 1 or 2 of Nintendo’s strategy for the Wii, and that they are planning to introduce more and more complicated, ‘hardcore’ style games as time passes, when they feel their new userbase is becoming ready for them. I pray that is true. Someone probably knows the link..?

  9. Julian says:

    The main reason I don’t like the Wii is because most of the games that are on it don’t appeal to me. I’ve completely divorced myself from Nintendo’s usual suspects such as Mario, Zelda, etc, because it seems that every game they make is essentially the previous one with some minor enhancements (I would say “like EA does with sports games”, but that would be unfair to Nintendo). There are a few games that I really kill to have, like Fatal Frame IV and Okami. Okami I already own for the PS2, and it’s the perfect Wii port. Fatal Frame IV, however, is a Wii exclusive, and I won’t buy A Wii just for that game.
    I’ll admit that having a friend who has a Wii is loads of fun, because since you don’t play on it everyday, it always feels like something novel. This friend in particular plays, for instance, Wii tennis and just half-mindedly flicks his wrist, whereas the people who go to his house to play are very enthuasiastic, and swing perfectly as they would in a real tennis match.

  10. Bill says:

    The point about the Wii is that its control system forms a very low barrier to entry and therefore it has a much broader appeal.

    A case in point: My Dad’s a 67 year old technophobe. Engineering he understands – but anything electronic is just a box with a demon inside, he finds using a keyboard a trial and doesn’t own a PC. But when my 10 year son showed him how his Wii worked last weekend it took him about 10 seconds to grasp how to use the remote and spend the rest of the afternoon playing with his grandson. By the time he went home we were half-seriously suggesting he get one of his own.

  11. nilus says:

    Nintendos strategy is to keep printing money. They figured out that they can sell a system cheap, with a gimmick(a good gimmick) and then just sit back and let the money roll in. I would venture to guess that 90% of people who own Wiis only own Wii Sports, Wii Play and maybe Wii Music(or Wii Fit). I don’t see them making any awesome hard core games anytime soon because they have no need too. and I am gonna wait to see how Mad world is, No more heroes was suppose to be the hard core messiah of games for Wii and it was okay but still not as good as Twilight Princess, which was a release game(that was really just a port of the Gamecube game). Sadly my Wii sits collection dust, I might start trying to use Wii fit, if I can get over my fear of actual exercise. But I doubt I will be playing any games on it any time soon.

  12. RichardB says:

    I’m a PC gamer at heart, but the Wii was the first console that ever caught my interest, as it immediately struck me as doing things that a PC just can’t do.

    It won’t ever displace my PC for “serious” gaming (for want of a better word meaning “I’ll be in my den for the next n hours playing the latest Hall of Fame NWN module from the vault”) but the Wii is just brilliant fun when friends and family of all generations come to visit — some of whom would never otherwise have understood how much fun I get by playing computer games and now get it.

    Never in a million years could I get my parents (aged 80-something and 70-mumble but still very active) to touch a PS3 or XBox game, but they immediately loved the golf in Wii Sports. We all have a great time with it, and my parents don’t feel at all shy about competing with the 10-year-olds in the room. When I tell my parents that I’m coming to visit they now immediately ask if I’ll be bringing the Wii.

    And if the older generation has declared a siesta, we can break out Lego Star Wars and have a riot with the kids.

    Basically, I just *love* that the Wii can be used to break the ice between three generations, and between gamers and non-gamers.

    @3: Another vote for Endless Ocean. A great Saturday morning game for kicking back, slacking out, and maybe learning a bit about marine life.

    @5 and @8: Yes, the Wii has many crap games and one needs to be selective about buying them. For challenging gaming I second the recommendations for Metroid Corruption and Twilight Princess, also Red Steel if that’s your thing.

  13. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I got a Wii because it had Metriod Prime 3, which is a Metriod game and therefore flawless.

    After finishing that, I had a go with Mario Galaxy and No More Heroes, but now my Wii is really just my Gamecube, except it can play Brawl as well as Melee, and has new games coming out, a fair number of which looked pretty damn cool (Deadly Creatures is a very interesting looking game, I’ll have to give that a go soon)

    Personally, though, I’m still waiting for LucasArts to rerelease all their PC adventure games with new Wii-style controls; maybe if Sam and Max do well enough, they’ll considering throwing us a bone.

  14. Abnaxis says:

    I don’t remember if it was you who post the article about Nintendo using the disruption strategy, Shamus, but I can certainly see it at work here.

    The reason gamers criticize the Wiiis because it wasn’t built to cater to gamers. It was built to bring in people who aren’t gamers (who vastly outnumber gamers), and slowly transform them into loyal, gamer customers. Give it another year, and you will see less people complaining about interface and library issues, because Nintendo will address those issues (you can see it starting to do so even as we speak), when they think their hard-earned audience is developed for it.

    For my part, Nintendo has won my undying loyalty as long as they keep producing innovative Metroid titles. The interface for Metroid Prime on the Wii was absolutely awesome, extremely intuitive and a vast improvement over any other platform I have used, even a computer.

  15. Sam says:

    MadWorld does look awesome. It’ll probably be the first Wii game I purchase since Smash Bros. Brawl.

    Oh, and another well-written article. The Wii is the only current-gen console I own, mostly because I am cheap and the 360 and PS3 seem like colossal wastes of money. And while I will admit that the library of titles is fairly small, the games that get it right are some of the best games to come out in years. I still play Wii Sports on a regular basis, and if I had more money, I’d buy a few more (Wario Land, deBlob (or however you spell it), among others), and I enjoy this sort of return to the wonder years of gaming. I grew up on the NES, so I’m not a noob when it comes to gaming. But the years have made video games needlessly complex. So having the Wii somewhat bring me back to 1992 is a great feeling. It gives me a wave of neo-nostalgia when I use the Wii Remote and play a Virtual Console game like Wonderboy in Monsterland or Kirby’s Adventure, but it’s also really nice to have relatively simple control schemes for the more recent games. I would much rather have four buttons and one control pad than 37 buttons, 12 triggers, and nine control pads/joysticks in order to play the next installment of Madden or Call of Duty even more realistically than the last 17 iterations.

    I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a Nintendo fanboy. I just think that Microsoft and Sony’s business plans don’t coincide with my idea of what a good gaming business strategy should be. Maybe with the next console generation MS and Sony will learn something from the Wii and accept new gamers with open arms instead of shunning them because they don’t play Halo 98 on Ultra Intensive “Why are you playing the game this hard?” difficulty.

    I realize I’ve rambled a bit. Take it or leave it, your choice.

  16. Khizan says:

    We’ve clashed here about the Wii before. I don’t think casual gamers are the death of gaming. I’m not a hardcore fanboy. I don’t think the Wii is ruining gaming as we know it. I just don’t think the Wii is a very good console.

    In terms of power, the console is subpar. It’s a gamecube. Moreover, it’s a gamecube with a gimmicky controller and bad games.

    Yes, I know graphics aren’t everything. But all things equal, good graphics are nice. And the Wii just can’t compete on the same field.

    Yes, I know that the controller is interesting and new and it really is revolutionary in how it will affect gaming. Outside of the Wiisports and such, I just don’t think it adds that much to gaming. I don’t think it tracks well enough to lend itself to the kind of precision I want in a game. Hell, Wii boxing is enough to tell me that. Why would I want to play a sword fighting game on the Wii when it interprets a left jab as a right hook? Or when a backhand in tennis swings itself twice really really fast? It lends itself to gimmicky things like fishing in Zelda or maybe games where the difficulty curve is lower than I care for. In the non-Wiisports games I’ve played for the Wii(admittedly not very many), I’ve found that the Wiimote is jammed in there just for the sake of using it, and it doesn’t add much to the game. I have no objection to the style of the control. Hell, I’d love it. If it tracked accurately enough.

    Yes, I know bad games is a personal judgement, and that it differs between people. I like FPS games. I like games like GTA. I like fighting games(Street Fighter, etc).

    Basically, I don’t like the Wii because it has nothing at all to appeal to people like me. It’s great if other people get into video games because of the Wii. I hope some of them move to the other consoles and start playing my kinds of games, but it can only do good things for video games to get more people playing them.

    To me, the Wii is an amazing console for people who aren’t already hooked on video games, and a mediocre one for many who are because it caters to a different audience.

    Still, I’d love to play a Jedi Knight game, even if they can’t get the remote to track perfectly. I spent enough time as a little kid flailing around stupidly with a pretend lightsaber, so it’s nothing new.

  17. Zaghadka says:

    The Wii! It burns us! Oh how it buurrrrrns!

    On a lighter note, I have detected a 300% increase in violent imagery involving things like woodchippers. It made me laugh.

    As a Wii owner, if you’re a fan of Galaga, you can’t go wrong getting Galaga 90′, from TurboGrafx-16, on the VC. It’s a great little pick me up any time of day, and has surprising depth for a space invaders game.

  18. Zaghadka says:

    @SBB, #13

    If you want Lucas games, and you’re willing to download Homebrew Channel, it has ScummVM as an option, and I think you can copy your PC game data to an SD card and play any Lucas Game you still have in mothballs.

    If you’re willing to risk bricking your console at a future date, that is. If that warning doesn’t scare you off:

    http://hbc.hackmii.com/

    I double-checked, and ScummVM is in there.

  19. JB says:

    10:Bill> But when my 10 year son showed him how his Wii worked last weekend it took him about 10 seconds to grasp how to use the remote and spend the rest of the afternoon playing with his grandson.

    That’s the power of motivation, and it really made me smile.

  20. Wil K. says:

    @2: The Pokemon TCG reference is very welcome!

    @11: I’m not sure that’s a great business decision. IIRC, most consoles are sold at a large loss, with the idea that profits are had by the main company publishing it’s own games (which is normally a good thing for Nintendo since they’ve got Mario, Metroid, and Zelda as standby franchises). Unless they sell tons of the system, I can’t imagine profiting just on the system alone.

    —————————————

    As for me: I’m a controller guy. That’s either what I have to interface with every time I play at my place, or what I have to interface with whenever I play on someone else’s system. What this means is that I actually own NONE of the current gen consoles because all of them have, IMO, terrible controllers. The PS controller still feels like the same old “1 billion arcade buttons textured on in rigid fashion” controller, which makes it difficult to navigate the controller, as all the buttons feel the same (and many of them look the same). The 360 controller consists of weirdly placed buttons, though I guess is better since it’s no longer the size of a large breadbox, and thus occasionally those odd buttons can be reached.

    The Wii controller is just a bad idea. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine idea for progressing interface technology (as exceedingly rough around the edges it is), but I mean that it’s a terrible idea to base a system around. It is a gimmick, plain and simple, and I’m reminded of that every time I see it serving the purpose of ‘move the mote around to perform [move]!’ The problem is that the new set-up essentially requires every game to use the Wiimote’s motion sensing capability – otherwise, why are you putting the game on the Wii? (Answer: you’re Nintendo making Brawl) A the problem with that is twofold – not every game needs stupid minor mechanics based on the motion sensor or pointer; and the Wiimote’s motion sensing is pretty gosh-darn awful when it’s intended to be a major mechanic. The remote does not respond naturally to motion like you’d expect it to, so you (well, at least I do) find yourself fiddling the mote about trying to get the game to understand what the hell you want it to do. As bad as it is as an in-game tracker, it’s also a bad pointer, being overly sensitive in that mode. the selecting icon shakes around a ridiculous amount, and flies off-screen constantly. Perhaps I just have shaky hands, but when it takes forever to just click on the ‘start game’ icon, I start feeling like I should apply for an Accessibility permit. Of course, the controller itself is pretty crappy, with a weird trigger button that makes the controller impossible to hold comfortably in the side position. A d-pad instead of what I’d consider a more friendly and more useful control stick is just a weird decision – just look at the games that use the nunchuck attachment for regular play.

    Like I said, though, I think none of the consoles have good controllers. The PS3 and 360 ones are as unnatural as ever, and the Wii one is a barebones controller + shoddy motion sensor, which doesn’t even do well the one thing it naturally should (move in the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey way a computer mouse does). So I’ll stick with my extremely organic feeling Gamecube controller any day.

    —————————————

    As for the Wii and casual gaming hating: imagine you go to a Bill and Ted’s Excellent Pizza every day, and eat tasty gourmet pizza there. A lot of new food-uninformed people start hanging around outside the cafeteria, looking hungry – so Ted gets the excellent idea to entice them to come in by offering them shit pizza. They’ve never had pizza before, so to them the experience is new, and the whole idea of serving things on flattened dough intrigues them. As this new crowd gets larger and larger, Bill and Ted’s starts producing more of the shit pizza and less of the good food. Naturally, you and your fellow regulars are pissed.

    So the regulars are gamers and the newcomers are non-gamers in the process of discovering gaming, via casual games (in the example, shit pizza). I think it is natural for gamers to get mad when the companies they’ve expected to produce games they like instead spends their time on what are essentially useless games. The problem, as you point out, is that the regulars have decided to hate on the newcomers, rather than hate on the shit pizza. We should be mad that Bill and Ted’s has decided to push its shit pizza market, not at the new customers. Showing the new customers (ina friendly manner) that what they’re eating is (literally, in the example) shit compared to what we’re eating will push them towards the gaming side, and will deplete Bill and Ted’s market of shit-eaters – so the faster regulars convert newcomers to good pizza, the harder Bill and Ted will have to focus on making good pizza if they want to keep those new customers. Hating on casual gamers themselves will just drive them away from ‘real’ games – there will still be lots of newcomers to play the casual games, and so game companies (naturally wanting to profit) will produce more and more of the casual games (being gobbled up by the populace) and less and less of the ‘real’ games (“our new market doesn’t respond at all to these money-wasting games”). That would be a Bad Thing(tm), so we as gamers need to encourage new gamers to graduate from the shit pizza they’re satisfied eating to the actually filling stuff we already enjoy. (Or do what I do and just play ‘old’ games.)

    [That was probably my longest post ever.... I'm sure it still pales next to wall-of-text-fu of others.]

  21. Marmot says:

    That totally reminded me of this video that you have no doubt seen before…

    Hitler gets banned from Xbox live
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfkDxF2kn1I

    “But sir, what about getting the Wii!”
    “Who the **** do you think you are?”
    “But sir, think about the bowling game!”
    “**** the ******* bowling game!”

  22. Lebkin says:

    @Wil K.

    “I’m not sure that’s a great business decision. IIRC, most consoles are sold at a large loss, with the idea that profits are had by the main company publishing it’s own games (which is normally a good thing for Nintendo since they’ve got Mario, Metroid, and Zelda as standby franchises). Unless they sell tons of the system, I can’t imagine profiting just on the system alone.”

    This is where you are wrong. The Wii is profitable. Not only that, it has ALWAYS been profitable. All those crazy launch sales? All profitable. That is why the Wii is only a step up from the Gamecube, rather than being a leap forward in power and graphics like the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Nintendo learned from the Gamecube, which was sold at a loss, and didn’t sell despite its power. The whimpy PS2 sold the best. So they decided they would make money on every console, then it wouldn’t matter how many they sold. This lead to their cheap price, which combined with the casual appeal, has caused them to be simply rolling in money.

  23. Gerard says:

    I’m a Wii critic, but it’s not because I need the market to validate my purchase of a 360 (and probably eventual purchase of a PS3). I’m a critic of the Wii because I was extremely excited about it pre-launch, and I feel let down by the inaccuracy of the motion detection, the annoying use of shaking the remote to do something that could work just as well (better, even) as a button press, and the shortage of games that appeal to my tastes. I literally haven’t turned on my Wii for months, and that disappoints me.

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I wonder what flight simulator fans think about these new gamepads.”Oh,so they have 16 buttons now,those n00bs!With that you couldnt even toggle your wheels while adjusting flaps and lowering speed at the same time.Pfeh!”

  25. Krellen says:

    Khizan, @#16, wrote:
    Yes, I know graphics aren’t everything. But all things equal, good graphics are nice. And the Wii just can’t compete on the same field.

    Respectfully, sir, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Good graphics are not always better. Often, low graphical quality is as much the part of the experience as anything else. Slapping good graphics on top of something does not make it automatically better. Looney Toons in 3d are actually worse than Looney Toons in 2d. A hyper-realistic Mario is far more jarring than a cartoonish Mario. Changing Fallout from an isometric, turn-based graphic engine to a high-res 3d real-time engine did not improve its game play (and, in fact, hurt it.)

    This drive for “Better Graphics” is what is ruining the gaming industry, not the Wii, not new gamers, not the “casual” market. The fact that Crysis sold on the back of “look, awesome graphics!” is the sum whole of what’s wrong with the industry.

    Could X-Com use more variety in its sprites? Absolutely. But there are limits to where that can go. Changing X-Com to a 3-d engine would completely ruin the game, no matter how much effort went into making it play exactly the same. And if you don’t need to render high-resolution 3d textures every second of every game, you don’t need the “power” of the 360 or the PS3 – and there exist thousands of titles and entire genres which should not be rendered in high-resolution 3d textures.

    Just about the only genre that “requires” it is the First-Person Shooter – and Wolfenstein and Doom did quite fine without it.

    I have never been turned off from a game because of its “bad graphics”, and if you have, sir, then that is your flaw, not the game’s, not the console’s.

  26. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @Krellen

    Well,there was the X-Com afterilght,and it has 3d graphics.It is a good game.It has nice atmosphere,it has variety of ennemies and techs.What it lacks,though,is the fear factor.But thats not because it has shinny graphics,but because it has a setting that has no life.You have just a bunch of settlers on mars and thats it.No vilages with screaming humans,no boats attacked by aliens.Just a barren wasteland that makes you wonder if its worth greening.

    And fallout 3 wasnt that bad because of its graphics.In fact,it was quite immersive once you went out of the vault and went trough the wasteland.It felt quite real.Until you made contact with humans.

    Good graphics are a powerfull tool,and you need to know how to use it to get the most out of it.Where developers usually fail is to dump all the resources just in this field and hope that it will work out fine,even though they didnt learn all the new tricks that the engine can offer.Just compare half-life 2 with its episodes and see how much experience can do to improve it.

  27. Krellen says:

    @Daemian:

    I guess I didn’t notice much difference between Half-Life 2 and its episodes in that regard. However, I did see a huge difference between Half-Life 2 and VtM: Bloodlines, which was made with the same engine but by a team with a lot more experience in crafting story, dialogue and character, so that might make your point for you. Or not: this is the same team that made Arcanum, which is just as compelling and immersive without the fancy 3d graphics engine.

  28. Mari says:

    The newbie friendly interface is the appeal for a lot of people. My mom, a 68-year-old technophobe had so much fun playing on my niece’s Wii that she’s asking for one now. This is a woman who last voluntarily played on a console back when I was a wee thing just out of diapers and my big sisters enticed her into playing Grand Prix Racing on our Atari 2600.

    And I understood part of it last night. My husband and I were talking about a game I’m playing right now and a trick I found to beat a challenge. I’m using two thumbs on the d-pad of the controller because I haven’t, after a solid 20+ years of gaming, overcome that urge to lean my body the direction I want my character to go. I’ve often heard that described as a trait of newbie gamers. The Wii encourages that.

  29. Michelle says:

    As a long term console gamer (Pong anyone?) I’m going to disagree with a lot of you.

    I have a Wii, and a ps2 set up. I play them both constantly. I exercise on the wii, I play games that are just fun and I download old favorites I want to play again but can’t because my tv doesn’t do coax. Wii is fun. Great graphics are fine, but not worth the pixels they take up if the game isn’t fun. Wii has made gaming fun. I don’t online game because I can’t devote my life to that. I don’t have an xbox because I choose to buy the wii, I don’t have a ps3 because who wants a system that expensive?

    Sorry, I love me my wii, I generally get the xbox games I want when they are released for PC and I’m happy with my ps2. I’ll play anything fun…looks are secondary and shallow.

  30. Wil K. says:

    @22 (Lebkin): Alrighty then. I guess that explains *why* I’ve heard that the Wii hardware is essentially 2 Gamecubes taped together (here I thought it was just that they spent all their time on that mote). Good business decision then. Sad for gaming, perhaps.

  31. R4byde says:

    Just to play the devil’s advocate here. Wii? I don’t need no stinkin’ Wii! I have Little Big Planet, and four people to play with! Hacky-sack people are COOL! :)

  32. @Wil K.: Your “shit pizza” metaphor is, frankly, ignorant and naive.

    I recommend people take a quick peek at the history of the tabletop wargames industry: In the ’60s, wargames were huge. They were on the cusp of breaking big.

    But then the leading wargames companies made a mistake: Their method for receiving customer feedback (magazine questionnaires) favored the extremely dedicated fans of wargames. In response to that feedback and the designers’ own proclivities, wargames became ever more complicated.

    The result? There were no introductory games for new players. As a result, new players didn’t join the hobby and even more casual players were slowly pushed out. The wargames industry withered and died.

    Sound familiar? It should, because that’s what the computer gaming market was heading towards. Online games and the Wii have both reversed that trend. And done more than that, because they’re pushing innovations in gameplay which appeal outside of the old school “challenge ‘em until they die and then make them do it again” school of thought — which means that games are appealing to a wider and broader audience.

    Not every computer game needs to be Advanced Squad Leader. It’s like arguing that every book needs to be War and Peace. And that’s not to say that ASL or Tolstoy suck (quite the opposite) — it just means that you don’t throw a new wargamer at ASL; a new reader at Tolstoy; or a new computer gamer at Crysis.

    (For a similar issue, take a peek at D&D: When I got into D&D, there was a boxed set that contained a complete game. It was a simplified version of the game that was far more accessible than the extremely detailed AD&D. That type of product hasn’t existed since 1991 — TSR and then WotC decided to replace it with a teaser that you paid for. People talk about this, that, and the other thing being the reason for D&D not being as popular as it once was. I still point at the complete lack of an introductory product as being the most likely culprit.)

  33. Zaghadka says:

    @Michelle, #29

    I can’t find a link to quote for you, but I remember reading that Nintendo did a lot of research into attracting the old school gamers, pre-Famicom/NES stuff, and integrating it into the Wii to bring them back into the fold.

    I think the idea was that the market had lost more gamers than it had gained by stratifying into awesome level, and elite level, followed by pro level. No novice games.

    The first thing I noticed about Wii Play was that it felt like each game was an Atari 2600 console cart.

    My first console was a pong player too, and the Wii stuff brought all that fun and wonder right back. I’ve had a very good feeling about it ever since.

    And I use a PC to get my elite awesome stuff. I don’t want to buy a gimped PC, with no mouse pointer, and no ability to upgrade. Not being made of money, I have passed on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

    It was definitely the right choice for me.

  34. I doubt this will be read, but I have a Wii also. My wife was really excited for me to get it. So I did (as part of a “buy fiber internet access and get a $50 off coupon for a Wii” thing) and … We haven’t really used it. I was using it for Wii Fit fairly regularly, but I quit because it kept calling me fat. In Japanese. (I live in Tokyo.) And I don’t really need that.

    So I’m just staying fat on my own. In English. I don’t need both my wife and the Wii yelling at me.

  35. T-Boy says:

    My argument is starker, blunter, and generally more unforgiving than yours: I don’t want yet another hobby of mine to turn into a ghetto full of fat unwashed shut-ins and cat-piss-men.

    I saw it happen to comics in the nineties (I’m so happy that Marvel and DC are trying to reach new audiences, even if their attempts cause me to turn away from their product lines in disgust).

    I saw it happen to tabletop roleplaying games; I have a hell of a time trying to convince people to play tabletop RPGs or wargaming. It doesn’t matter how cool the game is, and how ‘accessible’ the content is now — you still have to convince people that sitting around a table pretending to be someone that you are not is not geeky and a ‘waste of time’.

    I don’t care if all you play are casual games that are shallow and overly simplistic. I’m okay with that; as a matter of fact I am happy, because even if you don’t get my love of Dwarf Fortress, you can see where I am coming from, because you yourself have found yourself lost for hours playing Online Sudoku or Bejeweled or Wario Ware: Smooth Moves.

    But I can’t talk to you about how awesome Burning Wheel or D&D or Truth and Justice is, because you don’t know how to relate to it. And it’s sad, and a god-damned shame.

    And fanboys: you want to make sure that only “experienced people” are the ones only allowed to play videogames? That the bar for entry into my hobby should be set so high that people like my father and my wife decide that hey, I have better things to do with my life rather than try to understand how Prince of Persia works?

    Come here so that I can stab you in the eye. I hate you. You are the enemy.

  36. Teppesh says:

    The one problem I have with the Wii is not that it’s a bad system (far from it, in fact, it’s a very good system with many innovative aspects to recommend it) is the lack of titles that interest me. A large part of this is due to the lack of third-support for the system, mainly due to the fact that most developers that aren’t Nintendo are making games for the other systems, which are more expensive to develop for, but also don’t require you to fundamentally alter the way the game is played. Porting to and from Xbox 360 to PS3 is a relatively simple matter of handling graphics, whereas porting from one of those systems means also toning down the graphics, but also finding a way to integrate the Wii’s motion-sensitive controls into their existing game-play. Oftentimes, this is more of an afterthought than anything else, which is a shame because the game-play options presented by the Wii are absolutely amazing. The net result is that whereas other systems have large numbers of third party developers making pretty decent games for them, the Wii has really only one developer that really gets the capabilities of the system to the point where they can make games that you would actually play for a significant amount of time, and that developer is Nintendo. In order for a game to work on the Wii, it has to be designed from the ground up for the Wii, and most third-party developers just don’t want to take the time and/or money to make something like this work. As a result, the gold/crap ratio is disappointingly low. Meanwhile, there are a few games that generally ensure that regardless of what other systems you have in your household, when you have a bunch of friends over, you’re probably going to get the Wii out and have a blast. It is in these social settings where the Wii really shines. The Wii was never intended to replace your PS3 or XBox 360, but rather to give you something to do when you have friends over.

  37. Sharon says:

    Wii are the champions! That is so clever. I wanted to say brilliant but thought my prejudice for the writer might be in play. Really, they should steal it from you-or hire you or something.

  38. Unary says:

    I am a Wii-vangelist, bringing non-gamers into the fold.

    I have a Wii, two small children (who love to play World of Goo and Monkey Ball), and parents (and in-laws) who haven’t played video games since the Atari 2600.

    I have many friends whose only use for their televisions was reality television, and their idea of technology was “Oo, yeah, I am on MySpace/Facebook too!”

    I have convinced all of them to try games on the Wii…and many of them have purchased their own. It’s inexpensive and simple to learn…essentially, a gateway drug.

  39. Daimbert says:

    Wil K, your analysis isn’t accurate. Let me recast your analogy to make it more applicable.

    You have Bill and Ted’s Excellent Italian Restaurant, which makes great Italian dishes including great pizza. But since that pizza’s relatively easy to make, they decide to open up in a small, nearby spot Bill and Ted’s Excellent Pizza, and only offer the pizza at it. You can still get pizza anytime you like at the restaurant, but you generally prefer the real Italian dishes yourself, and so you keep going to the restaurant, only buying pizza occasionally.

    But you notice something. Some people who were only at the restaurant for the pizza are now finding the pizza place more convenient, because since it only does pizza it’s better equipped to get it in and out to customers well. Maybe it even delivers the pizza. So those people stop coming to the restaurant and only go to the pizza place. And since it’s more convenient, they’re able to get people who don’t like Italian food but who like the pizza to join them for the pizza. So the pizza place flourishes and the restaurant loses customers.

    But you don’t like the pizza that much, and worry about losing your preferred dishes because the money’s all going to the pizza place, and the lack of customers at restaurant might cause it to close.

    So, you’re the hardcore gamer. The people who mainly liked the pizza are the casual gamers. And the people who are going to the pizza place who don’t like Italian food are the non-gamers.

    See, this gets around the whole notion that casual games are bad games. Some are. But there are attributes that a casual game has to have to be a good casual game:

    For a good casual game, it has to be the case that you can play for 1 – 2 hours and be entertained and feel you can do something.

    For a GREAT causal game, it has to be the case that it’s a good casual game AND you can also play it if you have a day free for several hours and not be bored or feel it’s repetitive.

    The people talking about Grandma or Grandpa picking up the Wii aren’t talking about casual gamers. Those people aren’t gamers; they’re non-gamers who are having fun with the Wii as well. This is in the same sense that someone who breaks out Monopoly when friends come over isn’t a board gamer. But all the consoles aimed at markets beyond gamers, and the Wii is aiming to be the one for general usage for the entire family (hence Wii Fit, for example). It seems to be working. This may force other commpanies to create more casual games, or to remain with their strategy of multimedia generality — DVDs, music, AND games — to expland their markets.

    I don’t have a Wii, but my comment on the Wii has always been that while the Wii doesn’t seem like the best system, it currently seems — to me — to be the one that’s the most fun.

    But right now I’d buy a PS3 in an instant if I could get one that was PS2-compatible. I get flashes of wanting to buy a Wii, which generally quickly pass.

  40. Wil K. says:

    @39 (Daimbert): That’s probably a better wording of the analogy. My analogy was specifically aimed AT ‘hardcore gamers’ who are spewing hatred for these newcomers. My point was that if they want the restaurant to keep selling what they like, then they need to take these new gamers into the fold of gaming, by being accepting of the people. Hate the games, not the gamer.

    Of course the Wii and casual gaming are very profitable. That’s kinda the problem for these ‘hardcore’ gamers. If times get harder, what are game companies going to cut? These newfangled casual games that just roll in the dough, or ‘hardcore’ games that take up precious development time and funding without getting large-scale appeal? From a purely business perspective, the choice is ever-leaning towards the former.

    ((To qualify my statements, I don’t consider myself a ‘hardcore’ gamer. You won’t catch me dead playing an Xbox or PS3 (though mostly for controller reasons), and I honestly can’t stand playing an FPS (the stereotypical genre). (I believe I’ve played 2 I liked – Goldeneye (which I was bad at, but man Oddjob was fun) and .kkrieger. That’s right, the procedural generation “example” that I first learned about from Shamus. I enjoyed that, because it was a philosophically different game that was simple in execution.) I’ll take Paper Mario or Snowcraft any day over the typical fare.))

    But I think it’s important that ‘hardcore’ gamers stop rabidly attacking the new gamers, ’cause in the end they’re just stabbing themselves in the back.

    In summary: I like Daimbert’s version better :P

  41. Miral says:

    @Wil K (#20):

    If you’ve got a jittery pointer on the Wii controller, there are two easy fixes:

    1. Close the curtains — make sure that the Wiimote doesn’t pick up stray infrared light from outside.
    2. Increase the sensitivity, or sit/stand closer to the TV.

    There’s a calibration screen in the Wii settings menu that’ll show you effectively what the pointer is seeing; you should see two dots that move as you rotate the controller. If you see more than two then you’ve got another IR source (like the sun) interfering; if you don’t see both (or they’re blinking) then the sensitivity is too low or you’re too far away.

    A little tweaking and it should all be good again.

  42. DaveMc says:

    @Julian (#9): “Okami I already own for the PS2, and it’s the perfect Wii port.”

    You’d think so, wouldn’t you? I got Okami for the Wii after starting and not finishing it on the PS2, and I was actually rather disappointed with it on the Wii. You’re right, it seems like the brush-fu ought to be a perfect match for the Wii, but it turned out to be a major pain in the neck to do simple things like drawing a straight slash, which is a fundamental operation that used to be pretty easy with the PS2 controller. On the Wii, you have to *really* make sure your hand doesn’t wobble in the slightest, or it’ll reject your line as insufficiently straight.

    There are things to love about the Wii, but with great power comes great opportunity for epic failures. I’ve seen a number of games (Okami and Marvel Ultimate Alliance spring to mind) that became unplayable on the Wii because of unwise use of the motion controls. That’s only to be expected, though: being new means that there are whole new categories of failure to be explored.

  43. JT says:

    Now, I expect most of the Wii critics are simply Xbox / PS fans who don’t like that their chosen platform isn’t justifying their purchase by way of sales numbers

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that there are people like that. These are the same folks who vote for a political candidate just because they already think he’s going to win – they want to be able to say they voted for the winner.

  44. Yar Kramer says:

    @JT: I don’t think that’s exactly what Shamus was talking about. I think he’s just talking about the equivalent of people who’re mad because the guy they voted for didn’t win. … which, um, isn’t a good analogy, given the direction I’m taking it in, because the Wii’s profits doesn’t prevent anyone else from playing the PS3 or the 360.

    Hmm … PC gamer here (my newest console being a broken PS2) … And I’m somewhere in the middle. I like first-person shooters, or at least Valve’s offerings, but I stay on Easy whenever possible (as an aside, I think Enter The Matrix is the only game I’ve played with any success on all difficulties), and I dislike games which are “difficult for the sake of difficulty.” If I could afford a Wii, I’d probably be happy with it.

    On the subject of graphics: I wish developers would figure out that graphics aren’t everything, especially when you’re going to waste them on levels which are more or less uniformly black, brown, stony grey, and gunmetal grey. Also because I literally can’t play games (other than Valve’s offerings) which are newer than, oh, I’d say around the time the Xbox 360 and its ilk came out …

  45. Vladius says:

    I have to criticize the Wii here. Yes, it attracts many people into gaming. But I think you’re being a little too optimistic about them learning which games are shovelware, and which exactly 8 or so games are any good. I don’t even play any consoles – I just have a PC. As it turns out, almost every port to the Wii has to be dumbed down, broken, or just not as much fun in some respect. The Wii may have gotten people into something that’s fun… just not as much fun as it could be. The Wiimote is also very inaccurate sometimes and is not really that revolutionary. That is, until the “Wii Motion Plus” dilly-bob comes out.

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