Farewell Wii

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Apr 10, 2007

Filed under: Personal 36 comments

I’ve been looking forward to getting a Wii since Christmas. I think it’s easily the right console for our family. It’s cheap, it’s fun, it’s backwards compatible, and it has a solid collection of titles. We’ve owned a Gamecube and the kids love it, so getting a Wii makes sense.


Readers may remember the trouble from last year where my daughter was in the hospital after having a seizure. It has turned out to be an ongoing condition for her. She just can’t play console games or watch television for any length of time without getting dizzy and nauseous. She does much better on the computer, which I can only attribute to the higher refresh rate. It flickers less.

So we can’t let her play Gamecube for any meaningful length of time. Her younger brother and sister can’t play while she is around, for fear of making her sick. This is a rotten setup for everyone, and so the Gamecube has been more or less gathering dust since January. Heather and I realized getting a Wii would be a waste of money.

Instead we traded in the Gamecube, a wireless controller, the original controller, a mini controller, the bongo controller, three memory cards, and ten games. In exchange we got a (used) Nintendo DS and a (used) copy of Animal Crossing. It seemed really crazy to hand over all of that accumulated hardware and get such a small thing in return. I was sorry to see the ‘cube go. My girls practically learned to read on that thing, and there were a few cherished titles I’ll really miss. I know we could have got a better deal selling the stuff over eBay, but neither of us has the time for that. Still, the deal is done and my little girl has a DS of her own. She can play it and the screen is small enough that it doesn’t give her any trouble.

We already owned one DS, and we were thrilled to see how easy it was to get them working together. It was effortless, without needing any extra cables, adapters, or other stuff. Now the kids can play together. Everyone is excited. Thanks Nintendo.

In the end I took what little was in the Wii fund (less than halfway to the price of a Wii) and picked up a refurbished Playstation 2 and a copy of GTA: Liberty City Stories. (The PS 2 will go in my office and will be off-limits to the kids.)

Now I have the PS2 all set up. Works great. I forgot to get a memory card.


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36 thoughts on “Farewell Wii

  1. Henebry says:

    If refresh rate is the source of the problem, couldn’t you eliminate the problem by shifting to a flat-panel LCD TV?

  2. Corvus says:

    Some of these were cross console, so you may have already played them (not sure what other consoles you may own), but you should play Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Psychonauts, Okami, Katamari Damacy, and Beyond Good & Evil. Not necessarily in that order…

  3. Strangeite says:

    I was going to suggest the same thing as Henebry. Wouldn’t a HDTV solve the problem because of the higher refresh rate? I hate to see you miss out on the fun of the Wii. Especially since it gives the kids so much exercise.

  4. Shamus says:

    I’m not sure about the refresh rate. (I shouldn’t have said I can “only” attribute to refresh rate, as there are many possible reasons.) It might be the size of the screen. Or the on-screen activity. Television and games tend to flash and blink a lot, much more so than (say) your average web game on the PC. It’s messy and difficult to really test this. Every person is a little different, so we would need some trial-and-error to work out what really sets her off. In the process we could make the condition worse, which isn’t a risk I want to take.

    Thanks for the suggestions. It really is difficult having a kid who can’t play games in this household. It’s like Mr. Holland’s Opus, where the father who adored music ended up with a son who was deaf. I love sharing my hobby with my kids, but for Rachel the thing is just too dangerous.

    Hopefully we can teach her to love books. I hear those are good.

  5. LethalSpoon says:

    It seems that everyone forgets the memory card. Sony should do something, like you know, include it. But that’s just a Walgreen’s “If the world was perfect…” commercial.

  6. JFargo says:

    Hopefully we can teach her to love books. I hear those are good.

    You could always get her ~books about video games.~ That’s like sharing your hobby with her, right?

    You know, you could always ~test~ the HDTV thing. Just buy it, and tell your wife it’s to help your daughter? She’ll go for that. I don’t know her, but it sounds plausible, right?

  7. Shamus says:

    I agree that the mem card should be included, since the machine is pretty useless without it. Just one big enough to save ONE game would be enough to get the player started while still getting them to go and shell out cash for a real memory card later.

    I am surprised the guy at EB Games didn’t suggest it. That sort of thing is almost reflexive with those guys. Maybe he was new.

  8. MasonK says:

    This is a good time to get kids a DS. In twelve days, you should get each of them a Pokemon DS–they will love you forever.

  9. Hal says:

    That really is a shame. The Wii has a lot of games out there that are great for groups of people and are family friendly at the same time. Maybe someday, right?

    In the meantime, there’s always board/card games. Some of my favorite games don’t come on a console.

  10. Zonga says:

    I had a similar problem after fainting with a seizure (they wanted me to play in bright lit rooms with an EYEPATCH on so the depth perception wouldn’t make me nauseous/cause a seizure) and it about killed the short time I had an XBox (Did manage to complete Jade Empire, though). I still find playing the GC somewhat nauseating if I play longer than 45 minutes to an hour. But, in playing a friend’s WII, I had much less of a problem, because I was more actively involved than sitting and staring for a long while. There were other factors trying to get attention in my brain, and I wasn’t staring from the same spot all the time. Something to think about, but of course, your daughter’s safety comes first. Maybe let her try it somewhere and see how she reacts?

  11. Marty says:

    That truly is a suck situation. My kids love video games, they love watching each other play video games…I just can’t imagine telling them they couldn’t play any longer.

    (But now that you have a PS2, might I recommend Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II? True hours of gaming goodness there…)

  12. Sartorius says:

    On the other hand, where would you have even found a Wii to purchase if you’d wanted one?

  13. Being confined to portable gaming is much less sucky than it used to be. The DS has enough juice to run some interesting and innovative stuff. My house is currently PS2 and DS only, and I have minimal desire to upgrade at this time. (The Wii intrigues me, but I’m willing to wait for the library to fill out first.)

    I just picked up Puzzle Warriors, which is rapidly becoming a cult classic. That has no flashing per se, however when there’s a cascade of several matches in a row that may trigger something, depending on the nature of the seizure trigger.

  14. Shamus, thats a wise decision on your part. I am intrigued by your comment though that your kids practically learned to read on the gamecube; can you suggest some titles that you thought were particularly helpful//educational etc?

    I wish I’d known you were going to sell; I’d have bought your controllers and games for use with our Wii. Ah well…

  15. *shocked* did my comment just get posted without getting caught in moderation limbo? :)

  16. Shamus says:

    Sartorius: I live in low-tech western PA. In partticular, in my town I think the median age is a couple days short of “stone cold dead”, so I usually don’t have to compete for titles and systems that are in shortage elsewhere. This town is more or less built around the Steel Mill, and those guys just aren’t buying Wiis. I can walk into EB Games, Target, or Game Stop right now and get any of the new consoles. Maybe there was a brief shortage around Christmas, but as of right now I don’t have to worry about supply problems.

    This is a good thing about living in low-tech areas and telecommuting: Property is cheap, the commute is instant, and folk ’round these parts are still excited this newfangled “wheel” thing they keep hearing about.

  17. Kevin says:

    I think for my money I might push for the board games or even card games. The DS is great and a wonderful compromise, but it’d be loads of fun if you could find something the whole family could get together on, and then when the whole family wasn’t available the girls could play on their own.

    You’ve obviously put some thought into your situation and know it better than we do, but I think that maybe the real goal is sharing interests and time with the family, even more than sharing video games per se. In any case, I hope everyone has fun!

  18. Shamus says:

    Fledge: Animal Crossing is a great title for reading skills. It’s fun for kids & adults, and you could even argue it teaches other valuable lessons as well. I can’t do the game justice in just a few paragraphs, but there is a lot to love about it. (Although the DS version is far superior to the ‘cube version.)

    The Zelda games are pretty good as well, although my girls never got very far in the game. (My son is only five and can’t read well enough to make sense of the game yet.) They played the first few hours of the game over and over until they got bored with it. It think the whole “quest” business missed them entirely. They just wanted to explore and play little mini-games for the most part. Fighting evil just isn’t on their agenda.

  19. Telas says:

    Whatever you do, don’t take her here!

  20. Kevin says:

    Oh god, that’s awful! LOL!

  21. That’s too bad about the Wii. I’ve had one for about a month and it’s an incredible amount of fun. But no amount of fun is worth that kind of trouble, I agree.

    I just bought a DS myself, and am all set to be confounded by it…

  22. Shamus, you can get $100 per Wii system on ebay atpresent. If you see them on the shelves, my advice is to snag them and resell. You wont have any trouble finding buyers, and you’ll actually be doing people a favor. Friends of mine have said they’d pay as much as 400 for a Wii. Say you resell just 5 units, thats serious money.

  23. phlux says:

    Shamus is right about low-tech land. That has long been my strategy for acquiring new consoles, ever since I was the only kid on the block to have an NES, because my parents bought it at a drug store in Miller, SD where my grandparents live.

    If you can’t find a Wii…go to Google maps and plot yourself a course to the nearest town of about 1500 that has a “general store” type of outfitter. Even if they don’t have any, they’re usually willing to order one from their supplier and hold it for you. You’ll get it within a week.

  24. Cymru Llewes says:

    The problem with the telecommuting jobs is finding them. :-p My husband had one from July 2000 to August 2001 and then everyone except the guy with the lowest salary got laid off (he lived in New Mexico, the others were scattered between California and Australia.) It was great. He’d get up and go work in the home office for a few hours then we’d make lunch and run errands then come home and he’d work for another few hours and we’d make supper and then before bed he’d check to make sure the compiles/tests would be okay overnight. That company got a lot more work out of him than just 8 hours per day.

  25. MissusJ says:

    “I am surprised the guy at EB Games didn't suggest it. That sort of thing is almost reflexive with those guys. Maybe he was new.”

    He might have been. In their defense, they’re required to make it reflexive. (I used to work at a Gamestop.)

    At least she can play a DS. She can still share in some of the gaming. And so much has been rereleased on the DS, so she can play some of the greats as well. Perhaps she could even play other portable systems as well…. if you could find them. (Sorry, I just remembered how bad it can be to find/get a NeoGeo Pocket.)

    I feel your pain. My toddler has a dietary restriction, and it’s already hurting that I can give things to her baby sister that I can’t give her- and she’s still too small to really understand. :(

  26. Polk says:

    My sister has (among many other handicaps) a seizure disorder. We’ve had her on some medication for many years now (at least 15) and she’s only had two or three seizures in that time, previously she would have one on a weekly basis. Just a heads up that there are some very good meds out there that help immeasurably.

  27. Polk says:

    As an aside, I live in eastern PA. Philly is *so* much better than Pittsburgh.

  28. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Oh oh. Although it is a shame for poor Rachel there is still a bright side to the world. You once again have a ps2 in the household and can purchase yourself Final Fantasy 12. I would say its better than 10 and I know how much you like 10.

  29. Shamus says:

    PolK: My sportsteam of choice is superior to your sportsteam of choice. :-p

  30. Woerlan says:

    Dude, the DS rocks. It’s no Wii, but it’s not a bad purchase at all.

    And no matter how many people are screaming to go next gen, the PS2 was arguably the best console of its generation. With the next gen transition, the games will only become more affordable. Okami, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 3, Final Fantasy X and XII, Psychonauts, God of War 1 and 2, GTA, Guitar Hero 1 and 2, Katamari Damacy… You’ll be playing games for a long, long time.

  31. Marty says:

    It also occurred to me that the main culprit might be the CRT tv tube, as compared to the LCD on the computer. Since LCDs refresh differently, this may be why she has less of a problem with the computer.

    In any event, I don’t know how old your kids are, but my friend’s pre-teen has really sunk her teeth into Settlers of Catan. It’s surprising how kids can pick up on strategy that some adults completely overlook — possibly because they’re mcuh more open to changing course in the middle of the game whereas we seem to cling to a failing stratagy hoping the dice will “come around”.

    Board games are one of the great family entertainments, and they’ve made quite a come back in the last decade.

  32. Darkmage says:


    My sympathies to your daughter. My wife has epilepsy and I know from hard experience that seizures are no fun. You’re doing the right thing and experimenting with what might trigger a seizure is a dangerous business while she’s still developing. The good news is that childhood epilepsy is a condition that children can grow out of in some cases.

    However… pay close attention to what she says. If she comes home from a friend’s house all excited because the flatpanel in their living room didn’t give her a seizure, you two just might be in luck! :)

  33. Justin says:

    PolK: My sportsteam of choice is superior to your sportsteam of choice. :-p

    Got that right. How are the Flyers doing in the playoffs? Mwhahaha.

  34. Ian says:

    Wow, that sucks. It’s terrible that she has such an affliction at an early age, too. :( I can’t even begin to imagine what my computer-dominated childhood would be like if I were prone to seizures.

    At least you were able to find a fine substitute. The DS is a very nice little system; I’ve gotten a great deal of enjoyment out of mine (and will no doubt get a lot more when the next generation of Pokémon games are released!).

    “As an aside, I live in eastern PA. Philly is *so* much better than Pittsburgh.”

    This is madness! This is blasphemy!

  35. Zonga says:

    I live in low-tech western PA. In partticular, in my town I think the median age is a couple days short of “stone cold dead”

    You’re not in Warren County, are you? That’s about as low-tech as you can get! (I used to live in Sugar Grove.)

  36. Christian Groff says:

    I’m so sorry the Wii is bad for you, but hey, maybe you can all play Pokemon Diamond and Pearl! I have those games and they are great. The bad news is that you can’t play wi-fi unless you have some router(or a Wii, which you said won’t is death, because you’ll never experience the glory of Pokemon Battle Revolution…)

    Anyways, I guess you’re a Sony fanboy for life, and the only Nintendo allowed is crappy DS. Sad. (Sorry about bashing you, dude, but it really sucks to have a family member with epilesy. That evil condition nearly killed Pokemon – and it killed any chance of Porygon-Z from being in the anime.)

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