Why I love the Wii.

Posted: December 24, 2008 in Games
Tags: , , , , ,

So I confess, I do not own a Wii.  I have rarely played a Wii.  In fact, I hope to rarely play a Wii, but I can not help but love them (it). 

The Wii is everything that the other game consoles and the PC is not.  It is easy to get, easy to play, and easy to understand.  It communicates to everyone who doesn’t really like games exactly what is awesome about games.  Now the whole family from grand-ma, dad, little jimmy and you can all play the Wii together in harmony!   You can play Wii Sports and Wii Sports and Wii Play and Wii Fit and Wii Sports again.  In fact, you can even play fishing when you get bored of playing Wii Sports.  Of course, if you were a gamer before, you bought and loved Zelda and Mario, but let’s be honest, the Wii Sports has pwned Zelda in all sorts of Ugly (the canonical ugly) ways.

Now, I believe this to be grand.  Finally, people understand why video games are fun.  Even if you have to reduce it to using a television remote control that you make random movements with and you see ‘awesomeness’ happen on your screen.  Now, for some, awesomeness takes the form of a nondescript peg-board piece that vaguely looks like your second cousin (a Mii) that can hit a similarly shaped baseball bat and run around the familiar form of a baseball diamond.  The Wii has shown us that people like sports simulations! 

It’s also shown us that people like bowling, table tennis, boxing, golf and other such pursuits.  And it only took using a remote control and a television to show us. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that this was done.  The industry needed a reminder that they’d gone way too deep into fan-boy land.  As much as I love Portal and Braid, they’re about as inaccessible as the prom queen is to a goth nerd.  The Wii has shown us that games, as a medium, need to include others.  Point taken.  Needed to be done.  It also showed us that ultra-photo-real graphics don’t sell video games.  Point Taken.  So, I’m glad that most of you probably have a Wii, with dust on it, with that Wii Fit that you were so going to use everyday that is sitting in the corner of the room because it showed us, the game makers, that we were wrong in making games just for us.  Point Taken.

Now, there’s only one small problem.  The Wii tackles no other hard problems other than the hardware / controller / market problem.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a hard problem(s) to solve, but they’ve been amply compensated for this.  What about the hard problem of where to take video games next?  How do we get more emotion and interesting things for people to do?  The answer is going to be on the PC, or the iPhone or the Xbox360/PS3 because while ‘next’ was mass-market in 2005, we’re here now.  There’s only so much game design archeology you can do to dredge up old fossils of game design, throw a Mii in and call it Wii Sports.  There’s only so many word games and brain trainers you can do before people catch on to the fact that you don’t know where to take your games.  Sure, you’ve got Mario and Zelda but in all honesty, beyond the fan boys, the actual gaming ‘hard core’ is leaving you behind.  The MMO space is kicking ass and taking names, the PC is on the up swing, flash gaming is all about innovation, the downloadable console games are mushrooming and the occasional block buster console title wows us.

So while it would be awesome if the Wii opened up a little, and let other people sell on their console that weren’t Nintendo, but  it’s not likely to happen.  Nintendo consoles are for Nintendo only.  The cake is a lie so to speak.


For posterity:


  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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