Wiitirement

The Wii U is out.  This means all that’s left for the original Wii is the typical third-party shovelware that a dead system gets once its successor hits.  In the Wii’s case, this is known as the status quo.  I’m kidding.  Mostly.  But this really does mark the end of the Wii’s life cycle, as no major first or third-party titles are left for the system.  That makes this a fitting time to look back on a console that alienated hardcore gamers (even slobbering Nintendo fanboys) and ultimately collected more dust than your average Egyptian tomb.  And yet, even as sales of the system slowed, it retires having outsold its rivals by nearly thirty-million consoles each, and will go down as one of the most profitable video game consoles in history.  Take a bow, Wii.  Don’t worry, I won’t wedgie you.

Wii was controversial from the moment its controller was unveiled.  It looked silly, gimmicky, and went against everything thirty years worth of convention said gaming controllers should be.  People thought Nintendo had lost their fucking minds.  I did too, but in retrospect I’m not sure why.  Nintendo popularized the D-pad, shoulder-buttons, the analog stick, and rumbling controllers.  There have been missteps (Virtual Boy) but otherwise Nintendo tends to get these things right.  Then the name came out.  Wii.  We’ve all heard the jokes and bad puns, which I’m obviously not above doing as indicated by the title of this piece.  This irrational hatred all stems from the codename being Revolution, which people got attached to, with no consideration that the word “revolution” is practically taboo in large parts of the world.

And, of course, the Wii was vastly underpowered compared to other consoles of the generation.  People moaned that they had only made slight adjustments to the Gamecube and nothing more.  As if this is a new practice.  The NES was, more or less, a re-purposed Atari 2600.  Both consoles had very similar processors, but the NES had access to components and features that were price-prohibitive in 1976 when the Atari was being speced out.  I’m not excusing Nintendo for excluding HD though.  Then again, I’m not really admonishing them either.  This is Nintendo we’re talking about, a company that had an irrational phobia of disc based things and internet connectivity.  Do you know what Nintendo is?  Nintendo is my father.  Impressed, or possibly obsessed, with “high-tech” inputs, but terrified of actual technological progress.

Punisher makers take note: your game can be difficult AND fun. Donkey Kong Returns proves that.

I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of the system.  It would rank a distant third for me among seventh-generation consoles.  Fifth if you include the sublime Nintendo DS and the unsung workhorse that was the Sony PSP.  But saying the Wii was the straggler of this generation is like making fun of a bench player on a Super Bowl Champion.  This last generation was, and still is as long as the PS3 and Xbox 360 keep chugging along, the greatest generation in gaming history.  So I don’t really care if the Wii was the dumping ground of shovelware and half-baked ideas.  I wouldn’t really want to play third-party stuff on Wii anyway.  I would rather play them on one of the other consoles, with all the bells and whistles those systems provided, instead of on the Wii with gimmicky controls.

Wii gave me what I wanted: high-quality first-party Nintendo games.  That’s all I ever want out of a Nintendo console.  Anyone who expected otherwise obviously has problems with pattern recognition.  The Gamecube wasn’t exactly overflowing with third-party stuff that had a leg up on their PS2 or Xbox counterparts.  The Nintendo 64 certainly didn’t.  There might be a handful of exceptions, but the only reason any rational gamer would buy a Nintendo system is to play Nintendo games.  And the Wii had more quality first-party stuff than previous consoles did.  It’s not even close, in fact.  So why the hate?

I got into an argument with a friend of mine over this.  He felt Nintendo had abandoned “hardcore” fans.  This is a very common argument among Nintendo fanboys.  My short response: you’re wrong.  My long response: you’re all stupid, entitled, butthurt idiots.  And I can prove you’re wrong about Nintendo abandoning you.  Again, the only reason to own a Nintendo console in this day and age is for the first-party exclusives.  I know many of you cling to the era of the NES and SNES where Nintendo was king of the hill and had incredible third-party support.  Sorry, but those days are long gone.  They ceased to be in 1996 when Nintendo pissed off third-parties by keeping the cart format for the N64.  There were almost 800 SNES games released in North America, versus around 250 Nintendo 64 games, and around 400 Gamecube games.

Then the Wii became an unprecedented hit.  Nobody saw it coming.  It also was cheap to produce games for and Nintendo was much more modest with licensing fees than they had been in previous generations.  Suddenly, Wii is being flooded with hastily produced, low-quality shovelware.  This created a fogging effect that made the overall picture appear deluded.  Then Nintendo decided to really experiment with things like Wii Fit and Link’s Crossbow Trainer, and suddenly Nintendo fans felt like they were being ignored in favor of gimmicky, mass-market oriented stuff.

Huh?

Quick question to Nintendo fans: how many original Zelda games were on Nintendo 64?  Two, right?  How many on Gamecube?  Two again (three if you count Twilight Princess as a Gamecube game).  And how many were on Wii?  Um, two?

How many proper Mario games were on Nintendo 64?  You had Super Mario 64 and.. um.. that’s it.  On Gamecube, you had Mario Sunshine and that’s it.  On Wii, you had Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and New Super Mario Bros.

Not all first-party games were worthwhile. Mario Kart 7, Mario Party 8, and Animal Crossing were pretty big steps backwards in my opinion.

How many Metroid games were there on Nintendo 64?  Oh that’s right: NONE.  How many were on Gamecube?  Two.  How many were on Wii?  Two.

How many Punch-Out games were on Nintendo 64?  Zero.  How many were on Gamecube?  Zilch.  How many were on Wii?  One.  One really good one.

And talking about over-using gimmicks: how many Donkey Kong Country games were on Gamecube?  One, if you count Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, a 2D platformer where the controller was replaced by banging on a fucking BONGO to maneuver Donkey Kong.  On the gimmicky Wii, you used standard controls.

There was a very good Paper Mario title, a decent 2D Wario Land title, two pretty good Kirby games, and a pretty good Fire Emblem title.  And that’s just the franchised stuff.  My friend also complained about the lack of original properties.  I guess he missed Wii Sports (fuck all the haters, that game was fun), Endless Ocean, Fortune Street (making its North American debut), Big Brain Academy, the Art Style series on WiiWare, Sin & Punishment (and its Nintendo 64 predecessor that never made it stateside), and the way overlooked Fluidity on WiiWare.

And for you fans of paying for the same shit you’ve already paid for once and played a million times, you had the Virtual Console, plus “Wii-makes” of previous generation stuff like Pikmin, Metroid Prime, Resident Evil 4, etc.

This is abandonment?

Look, I’m not going to deny that the Wii was a disappointment, but didn’t most of that stem from ambitious but ultimately shitty third-party games?  Madworld, Conduit, Force Unleashed, and Epic Mickey spring to mind.  But that ignores some really neat smaller titles, like Elebits or Boom Blox that were a lot of fun.  While its true that my mind was never blown by anything third-party on the system, to say it was a wasteland of mediocrity is absurd.

I was quite fond of Zack & Wiki. It’s too bad nobody bought it.

Here’s one last thought on the Wii: if you were ten-years old, how much do you think you would like it?  I’m guessing the answer is “a lot more than you would have at age 30.”  Is it possible that your expectations were based on what Nintendo meant to you as a child?  Because here’s a newsflash: your beloved NES and SNES were overflowing with garbage that you would absolutely detest if you had never played it and it was released today.   I certainly would have liked Sonic and the Secret Rings a lot more if I was seven and the Wii had been my first machine, even though the game is not really that good.  Just like how I loved Crash Bandicoot at that same age, a game I would loath if I played it today.

No, Nintendo didn’t abandon you, the hardcore gamer.  They bent over backwards trying to appease you and keep you interested with the Wii.  But Nintendo has competition that can’t be beaten: your own memories.  The older you get, the more rosy those memories become, and the more insurmountable they become.  So instead of bitching about gimmicks, power, or shovelware that you wouldn’t buy anyway, look at what Nintendo did for you with the Wii and tip your hat to them.  Yea, my Wii sat unused for over a year before Skyward Sword showed up to disappoint me.  Yea, I probably played it a small fraction as much as my other consoles.  Yea, I would rather dive split-eagle on an electric fence than play 95% of the games on it.  But despite being a strange, often clunky, underpowered piece of shit, it provided me with many hours of fun.  I’ll miss it.  You should too.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

15 Responses to Wiitirement

  1. Argamae says:

    Oh, I will miss it alright. And I will remember it fondly. Then again, if I buy the Wii U, I probably won’t miss it that much anymore since the newest Nintendo console inherited all the relevant parts that made the Wii stand out as it did. And I get to keep the games, too.

    • CJ says:

      Man, I was expecting Wii jokes from you! Your posts here are funny. 🙂

      But to help you guys out, I loved my Wii! Then I sold it, because some guy needed it for a drug test. XD

      • Argamae says:

        Why, thank you! But honestly, saying my posts being funny is a wii bit exaggerating. Don’t fret though, the jokes are about to wiiturn. (Sheesh, I really tried…)

  2. Matteo says:

    I bought Zack & Wiki, and had a lot of fun with it!

  3. travis says:

    Agreed. I pretty much got it for the VC. For all those games I never got to play growing up. And you know what? I was dissapointed in 75% of them. Lost pontinal? Sure. Failure? Hardly.

  4. CJ says:

    And Cathy, NO MORE HEROES was a great game on the Wii too! That was my FAVORITE game! IMO, it made the best use of the Wiimote. Try the Wii version, then play the PS3 port. The Wiimote made bloody combat divinely fun and effortless. It NEVER got repetitive to me, because it was so much fun! The PS Move made the game unplayable after I played the Wii version, I HATED IT! I loved swinging my controller around, slicing people up! And the beam katana recharging!? Cathy, you probably won’t understand the recharging part, but every guy that I’ve showed NMH to LOVES that part, if not the whole game! It’s a guy thing. 😉

    Anyone who didn’t play the Wii version but played the PS3 version and didn’t like it, LISTEN! The game isn’t the same on the PS3. This is a special case, where the controls actually dictate how fun a game is! Play the Wii version, there’s a reason NMH came to the Wii first! Even if you didn’t play either version, go for the Wii version first. Rent it, buy it, STEAL IT, I DON’T FREAKING CARE!!! Play this game! Get it now! 😀

    • Justin says:

      I actually came into this comments section just to rave about NMH! Definitely my favorite new IP of this entire console generation. Such a brilliant, funny series. Any Wii owner who hasn’t played these games is missing out on the best the system has to offer. And yes, the Wii version of NMH is far superior to the PS3 port.

      • No More Heroes was just alright for me. Loved the combat and the missions, plus the raving insanity of it all. Hated how empty the world was. It felt like someone set out to create a GTA style world, laid out the landscape, created the driving physics, and then decided they weren’t up to the task and quit.

        And the sequel is shameful.

        • CJ says:

          Glad to hear you had fun with the game Cathy! 😀 Well, at least they did an alright job with the open world. I didn’t like it too much, because it took away from the awesome combat!

  5. must right the wrong 🙂

    d-pad – UPL 1976 (Blockade)
    rumble function – Sega 1976 (Moto-Cross)
    analog stick – Radofin 1976 (Interton VC-4000)

    shoulder buttons – on a console controller – nintendo

  6. Dave Voyles says:

    “In the Wii’s case, this is known as the status quo. I’m kidding. Mostly.”

    That’s the truth. The Wii, like XBLIG, has a few great gems hidden in the rough, but sadly they are hidden behind the trash that floats to the top of that system.

  7. My favorite Wii game is still Excitetrucks. If it’s beaten by anything, then it’s Excitebots.

  8. The Punch-Out!! remake was the only game I really enjoyed on the Wii. Muramasa The Demon Blade seems good from what I’ve played of it, but I also liked Odin Sphere by Vanillaware. Most of the first party games for the Wii seemed to be recycled formulas only supported because of franchise name value (Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Zelda, Metroid, etc). I still have The Last Story and XenoBlade shrink wrapped, but I groan inside whenever I think about charging batteries to use the Wii-mote to play an RPG. I do own the Wii “classic controller”, but it is complete stupidity that it must be plugged into a Wii-mote to work.

  9. Pingback: Wii Y? « Indie Gamer Chick

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