Why I’m Happy with the Wii

Please enjoy this guest article by Rob Miles!  Thanks, Rob!

Negative stories about the Wii have been pretty common in the gaming press since before the system was even launched, but it seems as the system’s success grows, these stories have only increased.  If you follow many of the major gaming sites, you have no doubt read many articles and comment sections on either how the Wii is underpowered gimmicky garbage that is a gateway for shovelware that pollutes the pure waters of core gaming or how the system’s library leaves much to be desired with little more that waggle-infested minigames or atrocious PS2 ports.  Most of these comments express astonishment as to how the Wii can keep selling so well.

The consensus among much of the gaming press is that the Wii is failing gamers.

I disagree.

I am an avid gamer who is very happy with the Wii.  Before the concept of the Wii was even unveiled, I was looking to the next generation of consoles with dread, as it was the first time that the prospect of buying a new machine felt more like an obligation than an opportunity.  I liked the consoles I had just fine and didn’t really see what the next generation offered.  When the Wii Remote was announced, however, I got interested Nintendo’s “revolutionary” console.  Since the system’s launch, the Wii has reinvigorated my love of gaming with fresh ideas and library that just oozes with fun.

Listed below are five reasons that I’m very happy the Wii.  These are not reasons why you should be happy with the Wii if you aren’t, but simply an explanation as to why some people love their Nintendo console.

Here goes:

Colour

We are all aware that the Wii has far less under the hood than it’s next-gen counterparts, but there is much that can be appreciated in the Wii’s graphics department and it’s got nothing to do with horsepower.  Instead, it comes down to personal preference, and I prefer colourful games.

In 2006, the website Aeropause posted an article on on how the colour of next-gen gaming was primarily dull browns and greys by aggregating the colours from various 360 and PS3 game screenshots.  It was pretty depressing stuff for someone who likes a little vibrancy in his games.  The Wii, however, is largely a different story.  Games like Super Mario Galaxy, Sonic and the Secret Rings, LostWinds and upcoming titles like Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World and Fragile are games that are filled to the brim with beautiful, vibrant colours.  Heck, de Blob even uses colour as a gameplay mechanism.

So why is the Wii the home of colourful games when the 360 and PS3 can do anything graphically the Wii can, but better?  Probably, in part, due to the Nintendo’s desire to appeal to a broader audience, but I’m guessing mainly because the hardware limitations reward developers who employ a certain degree of artistic style over realism.  Gamers are far more forgiving of a lower polygon count on, say, Sonic the Hedgehog and his fantasy world than they are on a realistic jail-hardened gangster and a replica of a major US city.  Games that focus less on realism are free to take more liberties with colour, and make for some seriously beautiful games.

Remember the Blue Sky in Games Movement?  The Wii’s got that in spades, and I couldn’t be happier.

Time

I’m pushing 30.  I have a full time job, a spouse, mortgage payments to make, and all of those responsibilities that you’ve already heard other older games gripe about.  This means a lot less time for games and gaming sessions tend to take place in shorter bursts.  As much as I’d like to plow through Assassin’s Creed, BioShock, Resident Evil 5 and Prince of Persia, I can probably only get through one of those games every couple of months at best.  I picked up Okami in mid-August, and I’ve only got about 18 hours on the thing here in mid-October.  This impacts that types of games I’m actually interested in purchasing.

Rather than slowly claw my way through an epic adventure every few months, I’m more interested in those pick-up-play games that play well in short bursts: games like Boom Blox, Mario Kart, Mega Man 9, World of Goo and Zack & Wiki.  Upcoming games like Punch Out!!! should continue to fill this area quite nicely.  Do I still salivate over the epic games, where the other systems have the advantage at the moment?  Absolutely.  …but those types of games have dropped from about 80% of my game purchases during the 16-bit era to about 20% of my purchases now.  I still buy them, but I select them far more carefully.

Family

Gaming is big part of my life, and I’m always thrilled when I’m able to play with other people who aren’t normally into video games, particularly my wife.  For me, the ability to share my hobby with someone else makes it a far more appealing endeavor, as a big chunk of my fondest gaming memories involve those who I was able to play games with.  Until the Wii was released, my wife wasn’t really into video games except for the occasional game of Donkey Konga or Double Dash.  Once the Wii came along, I was getting requests to play together from her!  While we won’t be sharing any Zelda or Final Fantasy sessions any time soon, we are able to share experiences in toppling blocks, trading fists and powersliding our way to victory.

In fairness, these experiences can be found on the other systems, but not with the same variety and accessibility that the Wii offers.  This, by the way, is where motion control shines – not in attempts to simulate 1:1 swordfighting, but in simple intuitive gestures for simple and fun games that anyone can learn quickly.

Variety

The fact of the matter is that while the 360 and PS3 arguably have the most AAA titles (whatever that means), Wii has the greatest variety of game genres on the market right now, and this contributes to it’s wide appeal.  The Wii dishes out surgery sims, fitness games, point-and-click adventure games, puzzle games, cooking games along with all of the usual suspects of game genres like action, racing, first-person shooters and sports.  Yes, it lacks depth in some of these more traditional genres, but it compensates for this with the the new, quirky and untested.

Myself, I’m interested in trying new game mechanics.  I just tried World of Goo this week – never played anything like it.  I had also never played anything like de Blob or Wii Fit when I tried those games either.  For me, there is nothing quite like playing something that feels genuinely fresh, even if somewhat unrefined.  Do the 360 and PS3 offer this same feeling?  Sure, but not in such quantities.

The recent batch of quality games offered on WiiWare only further strengthens this variety by allowing new types of games to reach an audience without the costs of a retail release that would normally prevent such games from even being released.  The WiiWare service plays a more important role for the Wii, I believe, than PSN or XBLA, because it allows for new uses of the Wii Remote to be tested without the risk of the larger budgets required for a retail release.

These new experiences are only heightened by anticipating what developers will do next on the platform, which brings me to my final point.

The Revolution

I think it is pretty safe to say that without the Wii, this generation of consoles would be pretty boring to follow in the news.  If you’re reading this article, you probably follow gaming news pretty closely and have read piles of articles on the console wars, the impact of casual gaming, and debates on graphics versus gameplay ad nauseam.  Now, take this latest generation, and remove the Wii, and what do you have?  One HD console with a traditional controller and online play going up against another HD console with a traditional controller and online play.  Pretty boring stuff.  Now, both the 360 and PS3 are great systems, but frankly, I have trouble figuring about what Microsoft and Sony fanboys even argue about with one another.  Except for a (declining) list of exclusives, the libraries are largely the same.  The games look pretty much the same.  There’s not too much to distinguish them from one another.

That’s one of my favorite things about the Wii – the Revolution, for better or for worse, that it has started in the world of gaming.  The Wii represents a significant paradigm shift in the gaming world, and this new paradigm is a far more interesting opponent for any high-end console than another high-end console.

The Wii has kept me glued not only to my television, but also to my computer screen, as I read up on how developers, gamers and the mainstream audience has reacted to the system.  How have publishers initial reactions to the Wii, and its underpowered hardware and a new control scheme, changed in face of explosive console sales?  Why do the “hardcore” gamers hate it so much?  How will developers continue to apply motion controls in a way that is actually fun?  How much longer will Grandma want to play bowling?  Following the story of the Wii is not only fascinating in its own right, but also offers so many insights into the workings of the game industry.

Of course, the best part about the Revolution for me is seeing what developers will actually do with the Wii first hand, by being able to play the games.  I think we’ve had a pretty good run so far, and the future is looking even brighter.

So What?

So these are some reasons why I enjoy the Wii.  I am not trying to convince the haters that they are wrong and should dump their 360s and PS3s tomorrow.  I am merely trying to illustrate some reasons why some people are enjoying the system.  As previously mentioned, I am a vary avid gamer who is very happy with his purchase the new experiences that it offers.  At the end of the day, I am having a lot of fun, and that’s pretty much the whole point in the first place.

34 Responses to Why I’m Happy with the Wii

  1. TBlack says:

    That’s exactly how I feel about Patrick Swayze.

  2. peshue says:

    heck, I’m 22 and I don’t have to time play many long games. I don’t understand how people can get a new 40 hour game every months or so and still keep up with other coomitments.

  3. Nelde says:

    who what?
    anyway, i agree with you, i really enjoy my wii and wouldn’t trade it for a ps3 or even 4 😉

  4. GradiusFan says:

    @ peshue – My thoughts exactly. I bought the MGS IV PS3 a few months back, and I just don’t have the the time for it. I played Soul Caliber IV a bunch and motorstorm a little. But these days I mostly play my wii because of the Virtual Console and and WiiWare. World of Goo and now Tetris… I don’t play the PS3 much anymore but I can still bust out some Boom Bloxx and Mario Kart SSBB. I have about $500.00 bucks worth of downloaded content on my wii and sd card. Anyone who says they can’t see why the Wii is still doing so well has their head up their ass.

  5. GrumpyDavid says:

    Yup Nintendo dominance this generation is no fluke. It’s called sound business strategy and a nagging habit of making great games.

  6. Q says:

    I’m happy with my Wii. I DO with there were more games out for it; 3rd party developers seem to stick to the 360. Don’t even talk about how terrible the PS3 is doing. But ya, I’m content right now.

  7. Kannon says:

    Well said. I’m right there with you.

  8. daverage says:

    “Don’t even talk about how terrible the PS3 is”

    Right…and killing HD DVD was a failure?

  9. Davey1983 says:

    This article got why I like the Wii exactly. I can’t tell you how often I have come home from a long day and wanted to play but I can only play for about 20 min. Plus, my non-gamer wife will now spend those 20 minutes playing with me (she loves Mercury Meltdown Revolution, and I found out that she has been playing Zelda games while I am not home)!

    I finally bought Twilight Princess about two months ago, and I have only been able to play it for about 18 hours– I don’t have time to buy and play a new 40 hour game every month or so.

  10. Hunter says:

    what this article proves, and what most sites can’t get their heads around, is that there is now room in the market for systems with different features. It used to be that you would buy THE system. Now you get the system that is right for YOU. Friday night Boom Blox is gaming for me, I don’t like playing games alone and online has limited appeal. The Wii makes me smile because there are more games that can come out at parties.

  11. Rob says:

    I own a 360. Love it? Yeah, I do.

    How often do I touch it? Not very.

    I am 30 and have grown up with video games. I love my Wii. Even on those rare occasions that I can play a game all night, chances are I’m playing it.

    I’m going to be brutally honest with my opinion as to why so many seek to trash talk it and ignore it’s success.

    Narcissism.

    No matter how you spin it, it’s just plain narcissism as to all the negativity being given to the Wii and it’s fans. Well, maybe not in the case of Microsoft and Sony. That’s their competitor and they will compete how they choose too (remember the SEGA ads that implied that if you played gameboy that you were an idiot?). However the websites, fanboys, and so called ‘hardcore’ gamers… just plain narcissism.

    After all, if you don’t think like me… you are wrong and stupid. That’s the logic implied, isn’t it?

  12. daverage says:

    It has nothing to do with “narcissism”, its just the “elite liberal media.”

  13. Wii Wii says:

    “The consensus among much of the gaming press is that the Wii is failing gamers.
    I disagree.”
    So do I, to a degree.

    The Wii has created many new fans of gaming with its casual fun games such as Wii sports and Wii fit, and its absolutely great. I never expected to ever play a video game with my Mother, Girlfriend or even my aunt, but now I do. Its a great new era for games. And I am glad that the big N went in this direction while the “other 2″ continued to improve the more traditional forms of console gaming at the same time.

    However, as a so called ” hard core” gamer, I am very disappointed with all the shovelware , lazy a$$ed 3rd party garbage titles. Just because another popular system, such as the PS2 had a bunch of garbage last generation does not justify it happening again, this time on the Wii. Only a pathetic fanBoys would argue that it is ok because “hey-hey! the same thing happened before!! ” And they do. And they look stupid for it.

    Luckily, as consumers we have a choice.
    I choose to play my 360 and my Nintendo DS MUCH more often than my Wii. So ,when a great Nintendo game DOES come out, amidst all the lazy arsed watered down garbage ports with PSP graphics and piss assed poor online modes, I can pick it up and continue to enjoy my innovative little Wii.
    As for the rest of the time, I am more than happy to play my gorgeous HD online games on the 360 knowing that there are some great games for the Wii in development for me in the future.

    I suggest to ALL the gamers out there that constantly complain about the Wii being “crappy” to BUY a PS3 or a 360. It is that simple.
    Then, just like me, when a great Nintendo game such as Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Wii Sports and so on DOES emerge among all the rest of the total disappointing DUNG, you can enjoy your Wii once again. And the rest of the time spend more time playing the games you enjoy on another system ( PS3, 360) instead for crying about all the garbage on the Wii.

    My Wii Hardly gets played anymore. The DS and the 360 are where I have, by far, the most fun. But when I DO play the Wii, I am enjoying it for what it is.

  14. Joltman says:

    It’s great to see an article finally stepping up to the plate and really broadcasting what’s true nowadays: People love the Wii.
    It’s a great machine with tons of great games, including hardcore games.
    Excellent article. You’ve got it all correct. Without the Wii, there wouldn’t be anything really to talk about in the gaming world.

  15. C2K says:

    You misspelled “color”

  16. TBlack says:

    @ C2K

    Maybe he’s Canadian?

  17. Rob says:

    When talking about the media, yeah it maybe elitism. However, your average gamer on a web board?

    Pure narcissism and maybe elitism too.

  18. Rob says:

    Also, I don’t think you can really blame the console for the shovelware. It’s not a matter of it happening before. It’s a matter of, there will always be shovelware and nobody is making you buy it.

  19. Used Cisco says:

    @peshue

    “don’t understand how people can get a new 40 hour game every months or so and still keep up with other coomitments.”

    Most of the ardent hardcore gaming fanboys are teens and pre-teens. They are the ones hating the wii. It’s cool to hate stuff when you’re 14. At least it was 20 years ago when I was 14. Now I’m 34 and I really enjoy the Wii.

    This is, hands down, the best article I’ve read on the Wii all year. Period.

  20. ejamer says:

    Worth mentioning that the other systems are really good too! I love my Wii, but understand when other people love their 360 or PS3. This really is a great time for gaming in general. 🙂

  21. Verius says:

    i currently own the wii, ps3 and xbox360. the wii definetly gets the most hours played, especially when i have friends over. i am disappointed by the lack of good third party games that are out there for the wii right now but i will be looking forward to playing tales of symphonia: dawn of the new world when it comes out in november.

  22. Gausser says:

    I have to agree with the comments about the epic games. I just don’t have time for them. I still buy them, but they tend to sit unfinished or not even started on my shelf. Right now I’m hooked on Cubello. Great puzzle game and works well in short bursts. Just downloaded World of Goo tonight. It’s awesome, but again each level requires a small time commitment. Wii Ware is becoming my preferred way of getting new games. Now if I just had somewhere to store them.

  23. El Hajjish says:

    I am also really into WiiWare right now. Pretty much everything I’m into at the moment is a downloadable game of some time!

  24. Paolo says:

    I really understand now what Wii60 (or Wii3, to some extent) was all about: variety!

    If only PS3 and 360 were out there, gaming would be annoying, since the gaming experices are pretty much the same!

    The Wii on the other hand add up some variety on the games. A lot of variety is also brought by the new control scheme and how friendly it is to move into the Wii channels (another genius touch that is… no more complicated menus to deal with)!

    As for many others I just don’t have much time play HC stuff, maybe some games in a year. For every game I buy on the 360 I have 2 on the Wii.
    Then again I love the shorter games that are on Arcade and on VC/Wiiware (that channel is getting awesome!)…

    See? What I want ot point out is the variety we get on having different things! If the Wii was like PS3/360 it would be a boring world where only one of the 3 console would need to exist, the other 2 would be redundant!

    That’s why I love my Wii… and for many others that are too long to explain

  25. Refreshing read.

    I feel like Nintendo have made a most admirable sacrifice. They built this industry and turned it into the medium it is today. And then, with the Wii, they destroyed the convention that they originally birthed in order to rebuild and again realize the essence of this very powerful medium. This company doesn’t deserve hate, it deserves to be lauded in praise for having so much faith.

    Now if only other people would realize this.

  26. Farore says:

    It’s refreshing to find an article these days that actually uplifts one console without slinging mud hardcore at the others.

    I liked how they explained it, because the Wii is truly fun and that’s what it’s about, not necessarily how serious it can get- 360 and PS3 already do that, so why buy another of the same thing?

  27. samfish says:

    I have a Wii and a 360 right now (and a DS). I play the Wii a lot more than I play the 360, on average. When I do play the 360, it’s almost *ALWAYS* XBLA games. I’ve had more fun playing that Tenchu game on XBLA or Castle Crashers than I have playing any other 360 disc-based game (except Dead Rising, which I can’t play due to my copy being fucked up).

    But the Wii has the kind of games I like in spades. Lots of platformer and adventure-style games that do NOT feature licensed characters and 6 month development schedules, more Japanese games and more games in general with an emphasis on gameplay, rather than on story and narrative (not that I don’t appreciate a good story in a game).

    I like both consoles, but the Wii is a much better fit for me. I don’t think it’s the best console ever. Not even by a long shot. There are just too many things wrong with it (that Nintendo could fix, for the most part). The games library, as much as I find it enjoyable, still isn’t on par with the releases that PS360 get.
    I have a real hard to giving many Wii games, save most Nintendo developed ones, a rank of ‘A’. Most of them I could say are a solid ‘B’. I *LOVE* de Blob, for example…but at the same time, there’s just something missing. That little bit of magic that makes games like Mario, Zelda, Resident Evil 4 or Okami so amazing.
    I wonder if maybe it’s me…if my mentality is changing…but if I play those aforementioned games, I feel that awesomeness all over again.

  28. InvisibleMan says:

    This article really nailed it for me!

    I have a DS, a Wii, and a 360, and the gameplay time I invest on them go in that order.

    But lately the Wii has truly shined on WiiWare, and the XBLA games are getting smarter, too.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to get back home and download Cubello to my Wii. Or maybe I’ll get Portal: Still Alive onto my 360. I’m glad I have BOTH options! I’m not happy that I don’t have much time to play them…

  29. Fletch02 says:

    While enjoy my Wii, I can’t say that I am one hundred percent happy with it. I recently got a X-Box 360 and became just how behind the times the Nintendo Wireless Connection is. I’ll skip the rant about Friend Codes for now, but why oh why can’t can’t the Wii download stuff in the background? I really don’t want to watch Mario running for about 5 to 20 minutes.

    I will admit that as I get older, I too find less and less time to play video games, and I don’t even have kids or house payments to worry about. However, this is just as true with my Wii as it is with my 360, or my PS2, or any of the numerous old platforms I have.

    That being said, the disc-based software selection for the Wii is utter crap. I go to the store and all I see is either good games that I already own, and shovelware. Just because I don’t have time to play a lot of games does not mean I’m okay with the bad selection. Things look a bit better on the DLC front, but then you run into the storage problem.

    In the end, I don’t feel the Wii is overrated and/or destined for a fall, but I do feel the Wii isn’t living up to it’s potential. Right now it’s stuck in the same rut as the DS was in its first year. The difference is that the Wii is in this rut while making money hand over fist. I’m just afraid Nintendo isn’t trying quite as hard to get out of the rut as they could because of the money they are making.

  30. Run line 10 says:

    There are a lot of voices that are not being heard and this is one of them. He even brushes the shovelware aside as if it did not exist and to the real hardcore we don’t care about it if it is not for us.

    I love me some VC though and I can not understand what the current gamers have against so many classic games. It does not get more traditional than that.

    Some one above also said the MS and SONY took gaming in a traditional step forward which is not true they gave developer old PC hardware and told them to make the games at a certain resolution. Those are basically PC games which is why no one cares.

    PC gamers buy games for the same reasons….. looks. It’s about time the industry stops catering to just these pre-teens and new comers.

    Always make it a point to ask what people are playing that keeps them away from playing their Wii because there hasn’t really been that many big releases on the HD consoles where the hype lived up to the game play.

    I don’t have time to play long drawn out games but a good game makes you make time. That just doesn’t happen much any more. Which is why I end up playing the VC games more than any thing else.

    If you are a parent and your kids have not tried the VC games then you are setting your self up for an ever escalating price to support their gaming habit. Hand them some VC games and watch them struggle for months LOL. They will become more determined and start to understand practice does make perfect.

  31. Ady says:

    Great article. My only point of dissent concerns the alleged quantity of AAA games on the other systems. To my mind, they don’t have any more AAA games than the Wii, and may probably have less. Most of the “big” games on those consoles are just graphical updates of yesterday’s games (Metal Gear, Soul Calibur, Devil May Cry etc etc…), and those that aren’t are just variations of existing themes (Drake’s Fortune = Tomb Raider, Haze = Halo and so on…). That most of these titles are sequels is not really the issue; it’s the fact that they are sequels that offer nothing new except shinier graphics.

    I’d also like to add some points of my own concerning the Wii:

    1. Most of its detractors don’t even own a Wii, evidenced by the fact that most criticisms levelled at the machine by these people tend to be factually incorrect (e.g. no “proper” games).

    2. As someone else pointed out, most (but by no means all) of those fanning the fanboy flames(!) are fairly young. Conversely, this article and many of those who’ve commented appear to be a lot older. This is comically ironic as the Wii is often accused of being “kiddy” by those same youngsters who berate it in such a juvenile manner.

    3. Had the Wii not come out and the only choices were the 360 and PS3, I’d still be playing on my PS2 (the 360 is a decent machine, but I refuse to pay for a console that WILL break down).

    4. After TGS and Nintendo’s show last month, that anybody could still accuse Nintendo of “abandoning the hardcore” proves something I’ve suspected for a long time; most of the detractors want something to complain about, and will continue to do so even when the facts contradict what they WANT to believe true.

  32. AC says:

    perfect…..exactly.

  33. Luigi Kid says:

    I’m a preteen, and it is somewhat fun to hate stuff. But I hate FPS games and absolutely adore the Wii. If all the games in the world were given to me for free, I’d play the Wii. And why are they wasting their time complaining about the Wii when they have games they like on the PS360?It doesn’t affect you so shut up and play all those great games you say are on the PS360!

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