Wednesday, May 02, 2007

So What's the Deal With Nintendo WII?

I haven't owned any game consoles - unless you count the Nintendo DS - since the Sega Dreamcast. Maybe I was just getting tired of having my game machines stolen (I lost a DC and an N64 this way), maybe the games themselves didn't appeal to me anymore. But I've always had my eye on Nintendo Wii. Whatever it's strengths or faults, it has the hook, the "give me a shot" quality.

It appears that I wasn't the only one. Turns out Wii is still sold out nearly everywhere. I don't plan on getting one in the immediate future - I just moved to a new apartment, so all my money is going to be spent on furniture and stereo speakers and whatnot - but it's still the only new games console I'd want to buy. Maybe two or three months from now, after I've saved up enough for that big-screen tv. Maybe.

But I'm still amazed that the darned thing is still sold out everywhere. Nintendo clearly didn't anticipate this level of demand. No one did. But is that a surprise? The games business has been steadily focused on that smaller and more fanatical group of hardcore nerds who obsess over the minute details that most normal folks never care about. You end up with games that cater to them more and more, while leaving the rest of us out. Whatever happened to, you know, videogames? Remember those? The ones you put quarters into back in the '80s? The ones you could play for five minutes, and then go on with your life? Yeah, those.

Perhaps we were wrong to criticize early Wii titles like Wii Sports for being too simplistic. You'd almost need to be, considering the control scheme which reinents everything. 20 years of game design are wrapped around the concept of a controller with more and more buttons. Now you'll need to rethink everything from the ground up, rethink the whole idea of interaction. That means simpler, more intuitive games that grow in complexity and subtlety over time.

So I don't really mind the Wii library at this point, nor do I worry about that post-launch dry spell that affected every games console in existence. Except Dreamcast, of course, which wasn't allowed to live long enough to have a dry spell. There's already more than enough good games to try out, enough games that take advantage of the controls, even if they're the likes of Wii Sports and Wario Ware and Elebits. Fine.

Tell Nintendo to delay Mario and Metroid as long as they want. Give me quality. Give me something new. But don't give it to me now; I can't afford it. I can't even find the damned thing in stores yet.

1 comment:

Gabriel said...

200% agreed, that was exactly what i was telling a friend of mine the other day. I went to his house and he got an xbox 360. There were some boxing game and a racing game. It's the same old stuff with a prettier look. That kind of gameplay originated in the ps1 and it's still around. The gameplay for wii may look simpler, but i bet it feels completely different than normal videogames, yet so intuitive. I was amazed by the possibilities just by watching some youtube videos. The goal of making a console that even my mom could start playing instantly is so daring, i can't figure out how many gamers don't realize it. Maybe they just can't step in someone else's shoes.