Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nintendo Wii: Revolutionary or Gimmicky?

Luke's Take:

Well, there are over 25 million Nintendo Wii systems all over the world. That's a lot. I got mine the day after Thanksgiving in 2007. I woke up at 3 in the morning on that Black Friday, went to Meijer with my sister, and we scored ourselves a Wii. Since then, I've played a few games on the system, many of which have that boy-kissing Italian plumber in some sort of starring role. I've heard statements that the console is changing the face of gaming by sparking the interests of people that had never picked up sticks before. Indeed, the Wii has rocked PS3 and XBox 360 because of imagination and why do I play 360 instead?

Answer? I'm not 8 years old anymore. It's sad but true. As an example, let's take Super Mario Galaxy, by all professional accounts the Wii's best game to date and the title most archived in the spank banks of reviewers listed on They flat out love this game. I would cite some reviews, but good lord, they're all the same. I'll sum it up: Mario is in space, and it's the best platformer ever.


Naturally, I got suckered in. I'm the guy that checks reviews before seeing a movie or buying a game. I'll skip movies like Hancock and see Hellboy II instead because Rotten Tomatoes told me to. I'll tell my friends to rent The Lookout and say pretentious things like "Yeah, I understand if you've never heard of it. It's not too well known."

So after reading review after sparkling review of Galaxy, I bought it. And I played it. First I tried to play it with peers. We'll pick up the conversation 5 minutes into our transcendent gaming experience.

Me: Isn't this awesome?

Them: Not really. I thought you said this was a two player game.

Me: It is! What, you're not having fun? Remember Mario 64?

Them: Yes. I also remember being 12 years old.

Me: Oh, come on. Give it a chance!

Them: I did, and it's not fun. And also, it's not a 2 player game. All I do is wave this stupid little remote around the screen in order to snag those star things. What are they, anyway? Are they alive? It looks like they have faces. And this music belongs in Orlando. Let's play Halo. I wanna shoot some faces.

So we played Halo. Later on, newly embarrassed to show my friends how good I was at twirling Mario around and making him squeal like the Dough Boy, I played Galaxy alone. And around the 55th star that I collected, it hit me.

This is kinda gay.

Yes, the game is a marvel of programming and design, and it builds upon what was so great about Mario 64 and blasts it into space. But when I play it, I can't help but think that if I were just a little bit younger, or a little bit newer to the video game industry, I'd be enjoying myself more. And that's the Wii's downfall. It's completely innovative, progressive, and fantastic, but it's geared toward kids and noobs. I play sports games and shooters(just like most of the people my age), and those two genres bite the big one on Wii.

That's not to say I'll never play it again. The games that actually support 4 players at a time(SSB Brawl, Mario Kart Wii) are kickass and a whole lot of fun to play with friends. But when I'm by myself, it's pretty likely that I won't turn its power button on. It's the social system. Wii is for everyone! It's for moms, dads, toddlers, and grandparents! And that's why it's my second fiddle.

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