A look back at the Nintendo Wii
Nintendo has already stopped production of the Wii in Japan and in Europe, and although the console is getting a sort of reboot (though likely temporarily) in the way of the Wii mini here in the U.S., the console is obviously at the end of its lifeline. So with that in mind, we asked a handful of staffers to gives us their fondest memories of one of the most popular consoles of all-time (the sales numbers back that up by the way), as well as anything they might have disliked along the way, while also touching upon their favorite Wii title.
For me, the Wii was one of the first signs of true innovation to hit gaming in years. This was simply Nintendo sticking with their research and development in trying to make fully interactive gaming possible. From the Power Glove to the Wii. Nintendo made good on their promise to revolutionize the industry, and at a fair price. While the PS3 Move and the Kinect have not really caught on, as of yet, one has to admit that those products were created in response to the Wii.
On the flip side of the coin, the Wii’s emphasis on the motion left massive amounts to be desired in terms of graphics. The games that were available were never really “next-gen” level and the worst part was that they never really grew to that level. In the end, what you end up with is a very nice, moderately priced party system. If you you were playing alone, or with a small sensor the Wii was the most frustrating system to try to dance around your living room, flailing your arms around like a mad man in hopes that Mario would listen and react to you. Ultimately, I am glad the Wii has been put out to pasture and Nintendo is focusing on the Wii U. Now give me my Fatal Frame on the Wii U.
My favorite game for the Wii is a personal one, Wii Sports. I have to admit, I have never really been a fan of the Wii gaming system, but my 50+ year old parents were. When I would make my yearly visit to my parents house, one of my dad’s favorite things to do is have an archery or bowling contest using the Wii. My dad and I never had a great relationship when I was growing up so for us to sit down together with the Wii and a 6-pack of Irish Red, it makes for some great memories. The graphics suck, the mechanics are sketchy but at the end of the day this was what the Wii and Wii Sports were created for, to bring family and friends together.
The Wii was a pretty breathtaking idea: lower the intimidation factor for gaming by making a system that everyone will know instinctively how to control. PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox all had controllers with multiple analog sticks, shoulder buttons, and face buttons…pretty hard to get new gamers to feel prepared to take on even a casual party game without feeling intimidated. The Wii did away with all that by creating a simple, easy-to-use controller that integrated motion. Thus the casual console gaming market was born.
My favorite and least favorite part of the Wii was its desire to cater to the casual gaming market. There’s no question that Nintendo’s magic-wand console combined with Wii Sports brought gaming to the masses, but the flood of shovelware and _____ Party games made the overall credibility of the system (and Nintendo) drop. Combine that with Nintendo dropping the ball on titles like Metroid: Other M and they lost the hardcore market, us gamers dedicated to our craft and willing to buy multiple titles. Without the hardcore market third-party developers made the move over to the higher-powered PS3 and Xbox 360, and thus the Wii U stands as it does – interesting, with select titles worth playing, but likely just a dust-collecting mantelpiece next to the Microsoft/Sony console being used.
That being said, I loved the Wii, its backwards-compatibility and motion-sensitive controls brought me hours of fun. But the game that really made me appreciate what the Wii had to offer was Super Smash Bros. Brawl; it’s not as good as Melee, but its wide roster, campaign mode, and approachability let me have tons of hours of fun with the system by myself and with friends.
The Wii was a strange console, I have one, I remember using it, but I can’t really tell you anything about it. I suspect a lot of people will have that memory of the little white cube. When it first released it was a super nova, and I remember using Wii bowling as an excuse to get together with friends and family, have some beers and hang out. The problem was that after the initial buzz of Wii Sports wore off, I never really found much to do with the Wii. I downloaded some classic games (Ocarina of Time) but the only time the Wii was ever used in my house is when my wife and her friends would play Just Dance, and I think even they’d admit that even that game seems more interesting with Kinect.
It wasn’t until the waning days of the console that I truly found a reason to love the little guy — Xenoblade Chronicles, which I bought so close to the end of my Wii’s life cycle and I played it almost exclusively on the Wii U.
As to what I liked least about the Wii, the nunchuck controller was a nightmare. There were no real Wii exclusives that I wanted to play, and any cross-platform title I’d just get on a different console to avoid having to use the Wii controllers. The only reason that I even took a chance on Xenoblade is because it allowed me to use the classic controller. Now that the Wii is no longer in production could someone please focus on giving me a reason to have a Wii U?
What I liked about the Wii was that from the beginning it was different and it managed to stay that way ’til the very end. It offered something else, a new and innovative way how to play games, and was easy to pick up. Thanks to its instant accessibility it was capable of appealing to a very broad range of players – from infants all the way up to seniors. On top of that, precisely for being an alternative to the PS3 and Xbox 360, it focused on its own path and tried turning its disadvantages (lower specs) into an advantages through a large catalogue of casual and user-friendly titles that may not have looked as sharp as their large counterparts, but in many cases were more fun to play and ideal for competing with family and friends on a daily basis. Many people have assumed over the years time and time again that Nintendo and the Wii have failed, but they have forgotten one thing – simplicity prevails. And so it has.
My favorite game was without question, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
My favorite thing about the Wii was the simplicity and how it could bring about a new way it can innovate with games and their experiences. What I disliked about the Wii was the amount of shovelware that came for the system as I felt that third-party developers should have taken the console more seriously. Finally, my favorite game had to be Xenoblade Chronicles that was developed by MonolithSoft.
What I liked most about the Wii was the simplicity of it. It allowed anyone, even non-gamers, to pick up a controller and play without a problem, something most consoles can’t do. However, their online strategy with the Wii was a killer. It was severely archaic in design and a pain to use. Honestly, the only game I tried it on, Smash Bros Brawl, was so disappointing that I stuck to local play.
Favorite game would have to be Kirby’s Epic Yarn. I loved the art style of the game and simplistic nature. It was a great game to unwind with.
As much manure (to put it nicely) that holier-than-thou critics shoveled onto the seventh-generation offering from Nintendo, the Wii rocked the industry more than fans and industry alike give the console credit for. Exhibits A and B: PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360. These peripherals (as in “add-ons”) wouldn’t even be a thing if people weren’t buying and enjoying the Wii (which had motion sensory built in). Unfortunately, it got tagged as a kiddie console, and wrongfully so. God forbid any games not have “Call of Duty” or “Halo” attached to it, or else they’re not for real gamers. Follow that statement with a heaping helping of eye-roll.
While the Wii had a lot of great games, my favorite was, and still is, Mario Kart Wii. It was only a natural progression that a racing series make the move onto motion controls. Even though the Wii Wheel was pretty useless except for a prop, the feel of actually driving the kart was an added level of fun, and quickly challenged Double Dash!! as my favorite entry in the series.
We’d love to now hear your thoughts about the Wii. What did you like most and what did you hate about the console? Finally, what’s your favorite title?