I have to go Wii

By Shamus
on Nov 21, 2006
Filed under:
Video Games

Stipulated: The title of this post is hopelessly lame and grounds for a beating. My hope is that the effort required to track me down and administer said beating will discourage you from doing so.

Fledge has a post talking about why he plans on getting a Wii. Yeah. Everthing he said.

To which I add: The price of the Xbox and PS3 put them way, way out of my reach. The prices hover somewhere between comedy and robbery. I know they are packed with magical hardware that can make the best darn pixels you’ve ever seen, and I’ve heard one of them contains a Blu-Ray matrix reportedly stolen right from the holodeck of the Enterprise, but at the root of it the thing is still a toy, and I can’t think about spending that much for a toy.

He mentions the educational benefits of the system. I would add that the thing is also good for motivating kids to learn to read. We have a Gamecube now, and I’m very pleased with it. My girls (now six and eight) very much wanted to read what was being said to them in games like Animal Crossing. Many, many times I heard, “Can I get / play this game daddy?” to which I would reply, “Once you can read it.” My six year old will sit there for quite a while trying parse what the characters are saying to her in Mario Sunshine. She wants to read it, and she works a it of her own free will, and thinks of that as playtime.

Having a large library of family-friendly games helps as well. I’d rather she learn to read stuff like, “Press B to be my friend” as opposed to “Press triangle to perform a disembowel move.” Not that I have anything against games which engage in a little disemboweling. I have many such games like that which I enjoy very much. But if I’m going to get one of these toys I like to make sure it has games for everyone to play.

So, I can pay $600 for a toy for myself, or I can spend $250 for a toy for the whole family. There is just no contest here.

I worry that the PS3 and XBox will find themselves fighting over the narrow hardcore gamer market. Add to this the shortages of their systems at launch, and it looks like the Wii is ready to kick butt. I could be wrong, but either way it will be fascinating to see how these systems do over the Christmas season.

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12There are a dozen comments.

From the Archives:

  1. BeckoningChasm says:

    It’s interesting that Nintendo has finally seen the wisdom of backwards-compatibility (you can, apparently, download many older games). I still wonder why they didn’t stick a DVD player in there, but perhaps they figured everyone already has seven or eight of those anyway.

    Me? I’m teh suck at games, so I won’t be buying any of them.

  2. That reminds me, I should do a post about Hooked on Phonics. It’s astonishing.

  3. greywulf says:

    Shamus, I’m with you 100% on this, all the way. I don’t mind the lack of a DVD player either; I’d rather it do one thing well (ie, play games) than two things, poorly, and at a price.

    Shame about the stupid name though. “Nintendo Revolution” was much, much cooler than having people Wii-ing all over the place.

  4. Mark says:

    The now current generation of video game consoles is an interesting example of the free market in action. The Wii is technologically speaking the least powerful of the boxes, but it also has the most innovative gameplay and the cheapest price. It’s also the only one really courting families. The PS3 is the most technologically impressive, but it is laughably expensive (and reviews are mixed). The Xbox 360 is a sort of middle ground both in technology (though it seems awfully close to PS3) and in price (I’m betting that MS will reduce the XBox price considerably as Christmas approaches). The PS3 and XBox are going to vie for the hardcore gamers market, and I think XBox will win in that arena. I also think that the XBox and Wii can coexist with reasonably high market share, perhaps even with some overlap.

    One interesting thing about the PS3 and XBox is that the parent companies don’t care solely about video games (whereas Nintendo does). Sony sees the PS3 as a way to get Blue Ray into homes, while Microsoft sees the XBox as a way to diversify their business and get themselves into people’s living room (as opposed to their office).

    I honestly don’t know which one to get, though PS3 is definitely out (due to price and honestly, I just don’t like Sony very much these days – it would be nice to play “Resistance: Fall of Man” though). My friend recently got an XBox 360, and it’s pretty good. With the Wii, I need to make sure that controller scheme isn’t incredibly annoying before I can really consider it. It looks cool and sounds fun, but it also sounds like it could get old fast. Also, I don’t have a family, so that part of it doesn’t appeal to me as much (though I do have two nieces… hmmm).

  5. Pete Zaitcev says:

    It’s very easy to turn the economics of PS3 into old economics of PSX by taking out a loan. Then, you’ll have low up front downpayment and proportionally more expensive gameplay. Rememmber, you heard it here first.

  6. Shamus says:

    “That reminds me, I should do a post about Hooked on Phonics. It’s astonishing. “

    Huked on fonics werked fer mee!

  7. bkw says:

    I went to grade school and went through the hooked-on-phonics track. My wife went to grade school and was taught “whole word reading.”

    My wife is considerably more intelligent than I am. I read about 100 pages an hour (standard mass market paperback size). My wife reads less than half that rate.

    I credit huked on fonics!

    Also, voting yes on Wii, voting wtf on the name (but I bet it’s cuter in Japanese!). Although I’ll eventually have to get a PS3 when Final Fantasy 13 comes out. Preferably on the 2ndary market, so none of my money goes to evil rootkitting lik-sang slaying Sony ^_^.

  8. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Sorry, but I do have to say that the magical hardware of wholesome goodness that is contained within the PS3 will someday have to belong to me. Of course I do not have my own children so the gearing toward the whole family thing Ninentdo does does not usually hook me. Although I do want to disembowl some people with a katana using motion sensing nunchuku controllers. As for Xbox, I get enough Microsoft with a computer to deal with in any life time.

  9. Kaid says:

    Having been playing Wii for the past few days, let me say, Motion control is NOT annoying, as long as it’s been done correctly. I’ve been playing Zelda, Sports, and Excite truck, and it took a marathon session of full motion Wii Sports for me to feel it in the morning… but, oddly enough, NOT while I was playing.

    Zelda, I can play with the controller in my lap except when pulling OUT my sword and shooting things I cannot simply Z-target, although there ARE motion controls for more of it.

    Excite truck is also a “lap” game, where you tilt the controller to steer and hold down the gas button.

    Wii Baseball is the most tiring, Wii bowling always seems to curve to the left, (Unless you’re left handed, then it curves right…) and Wii Boxing is wild flailing, but all 5 games are playable except for Boxing.

  10. Deoxy says:

    Phonics was the default method of teaching children for years. the public schools abandoned it because it was boring (to THEM). Children began graduating high school UNABLE TO READ.

    There are libraries full of the data showing phonics to b the proper way to teach (with a very few tidbits of “whole word” stuff tossed in here and there). No other method even gets onto the SCALE with it.

    Schools that don’t use it are quite simply committing fraud. They claim to be teaching, they draw salaries to teach, yet they are not doing so.

    Oh, and I really hope the PS3 blows out the XBox – I deal with the Evil Empire enough already. Otherwise, I don’t much care.

  11. Somebody Else says:

    My first reaction was, “WTF??! A six-year-old who can’t read?”

    Then, I realized how much more convenient it is having a language where spelling and pronunciation are 85% alike. I recall the moment I learned to read and write, myself: I was sitting in the car headed for my grandparents’, and suddenly the Light dawned on me: “My God! M-E-L would sound like ‘Mel’ if they were put right next to one another!” I then went on to get some paper and draw boats, writing their names right next to them: “TITANIK” etc.

    Yeah, phonics is the best path to literacy. After all, that was what the entire alphabetical system was originally based on, right?

  12. Gilf says:

    Always great to look at these kinds of posts in retrospect, point at them, and just say “told you so!” I’m going from the beginning of the archives forward, so Shamus may well have done so already, but it’s hilarious to see something accurately predicting the future of the latest console generation (no, Kinect/Move don’t count as a generation to me) before it even happened. Even better is to see someone advocate the Wii, despite being a long-time gamer. Whoops, Yahtzee’d smack me for that. I mean person who plays games.

    I suppose Shamus has said all that needs to be said about the pointless hatred of ‘casual’ gamers (there I go again!), so I’ll refrain from making this comment any longer.

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