I bought a Wii a few weeks ago and I’m sitting here trying to figure out why. I’ve always been primarily an Xbox gamer so needless to say over the last decade I’ve been playing a lot of first person shooters – I’m thinking that had something to do with my decision.
I think the whole shooter formula, pop out from behind a wall, aim, shoot, explosion, cut scene, was just starting to get boring for me – I needed to return to the video games that first got me interested in gaming. As a kid, I spent hours playing. Zelda: Ocarina of time From the first time I put the game in my N64, I knew it was special – that level of exploration in a 3d game had never been achieved before. A lot of my childhood was also spent playing older Final Fantasy titles on the Super Nintendo and old classic Mario titles on the NES. Basically, Nintendo was a large part of my life when I was a kid, I spent countless hours playing games on their consoles.
So I haven’t really explained my reasoning for buying a Wii yet, I’ve just talked about the video games of my childhood – the two are intrinsically linked together. Nintendo games have a level of personality that other companies, at least for me, have never been able to match. It’s linked to that nostalgia factor. When I play the new side scrolling Super Mario Bros, I can’t help but have flashbacks to Super Mario Bros. 3. To me, other than some exceptions on the Gamecube like Super Mario Sunshine, Nintendo has always kept their franchises fresh.
A perfect example of this is Super Mario Galaxy 2. I haven’t played the first title, but the sequel is the only game I have played in years that has actually surprised me with it’s ingenuity – a feeling I probably haven’t felt since I played Ocarina of Time as a kid. I’m only part way through the game but the drill ability and planet jumping mechanic is borderline ingenious.
When someone asks me why I own an Xbox and not a PS3 I always have a simple answer… it’s about the games. Yes, I have to pay for Xbox Live (I still think I get what I pay for – the service is great), yes, right now the console’s lineup of exclusives looks pretty dismal and no, I can’t play Little Big Planet 2 on it. But Xbox does have the games I want to play, Halo and Gears are the most notable titles. The same goes for Nintendo’s Wii, I need a change of pace and it’s time for me to go back to the games I used to want to play a decade ago.
I’m not really totally sure what brought me back to Nintendo’s kid friendly land of video games but I think it had something to do with the current kind of games that keep coming out on mainstream consoles. Everything seems to be shooter based, don’t get me wrong, I’m a self professed borderline Halo fanboy, but sometimes I just want to jump up and down on some koopas – basically I’d like to play a game that isn’t a shooter. Just because Nintendo’s games aren’t mature, doesn’t necessarily make them bad games. So far my time with my new Wii has been a blast.
For instance Donkey Kong Country Returns, although insanely challenging at times, still manages to bring back the charm that made the original Donkey Kong Country so endearing. The level design is ridiculously original and the two player game play is probably the best co-op I’ve played in years, although at times the game is way to difficult for its own good.
My experience hasn’t been perfect, I find the graphics of most games pretty underwhelming. I’m amazed that IGN nominated the Goldeneye remake for graphics of the year under the Wii category – I felt it looked pretty bad even for a Wii game. I’ve also noticed that a lot of games seem extremely blurry on my flat-screen TV. Of course, this is probably because I don’t have a high definition cable for my Wii yet, I have a VGA cable on order – I do most of my gaming on my monitor – so that will solve the problem if it ever comes (it’s been almost 3 weeks). I’m also not thrilled with the motion game play, I’m a lazy gamer, I don’t want to move around to play my games. Some of it seems really cool but a lot of it seems gimmicky – like in Donkey Kong Country, I totally don’t want to have to shake my Wiimote to open a treasure chest.
I realize we are a very PS3, Xbox 360 centric site. I’m hoping to change that with some extra coverage on Nintendo’s often overlooked console. I still worship the church of the Masterchief but I’m going to try post more Nintendo related content. I’m not sure how long my love affair with the Wii will last but right now it has the type of games I want to play.
Oh and I had a $280 gift certificate for Future Shop burning a hole in my pocket. You might be wondering how I managed to get that much store credit, I’ll answer that “hoarding” related question in my next post.