Off Wiis and Men

March 21, 2007 by Tim

So I’ve had my Wii for, I don’t know, a few months now. I think I’ve had it long enough to have formed an opinion on the state of the system so far as it relates to the hierarchy of my gaming domain.

The Wii is a party system for me.

That is to say, the Wii will get most, if not all, of its use when I have a friend or three over to hang out. Right now, it’s not a solo system. It doesn’t have any system sellers for me. Let me dig into that in-depth for you.

At first I thought the Wii was too gimmicky. And now I still think it’s gimmicky. But not gimmicky in a bad way. I mean, anybody but a fanboy can plainly see that Nintendo rolled the dice here and opted for a gimmick over cutting-edge graphics, in an attempt to sell systems on the fun-factor. Well, it worked, people ate it up, and now that gimmick has transcended “gimmickry”. It has been justified as a viable feature. And a good thing, too, because if it had failed, the Wii can’t make pretty visuals to stand on.

That’s not to say Wii games are ugly, because they aren’t. But they aren’t “next-gen” as the kids these days say. But the Wii does deserve to be called next-gen because its taken fun to the next generation.

Now, when I say the Wii has no system-sellers for me, I mean this: the Wii doesn’t have a single game that made me say “Yes, oh robot-messiah, yes! This is why I needed a Wii!”. All of the games I own for the system are entertaining. They have all provided me with some fun, to whatever extent I’ve played them. But none of them stand out to me, on their own, as a game I would have bought the system just to play.

Twilight Princess is pretty much out for me, on a couple of factors. I know that it’s a great game. I know this, because it’s Zelda. I’ve never not enjoyed a Zelda. But I don’t have the time to get into a big game like that. To compound on that, it is very much a Gamecube game, visually. An attractive Gamecube game, but a Gamecube nonetheless. Poor visual quality would not be enough to stop me from playing the game, if I had the time. But we’ve already established that I don’t. Some of you may argue that the graphics aren’t all that bad, but put it on a 62″ television, and then tell me what you think. Even small pixelation is painfully noticeable on that scale.

Rayman: Raving Rabbids is fun. But for a party game. Storyline mode interests me for no other reason than unlocking the games for multiplayer modes. My first impression of this game was less than stellar, actually. The second mini-game I played after I got the game was the cow-toss. Allow me to describe it for those of you that don’t own the system.

You swing a cow on a chain by swinging the Wiimote in a circular motion. You release the cow by pressing a button. You want to throw the cow in front of you. The problem is this: the swinging motion of the cow on-screen does not sync with the swinging motion of your Wiimote. So your natural instincts tell you to release when your hand is at the forward-most position of your swing. However on-screen, the cow may be at the backwards-most position, because nothing is synced. If you can understand what I’m saying here.

So, for me at least, it became just luck of the draw for when hit the button to release. Because my hands (what I felt the Wiimote doing) and eyes (what I saw happening on-screen) were betraying eachother. This left me with a bad taste in my mouth concerning the motion controls, which I had already been hearing were loose and sloppy for the sake of allowing the elderly and toddlers that Nintendo displays in their ad campaigns to enjoy the Wii to the same extent as anyone else.

Regardless, I eventually gave Raving Rabbids some more of my time, and got to the other mini-games. Some of which are good, some not so much. But as I said, it’s best played with other people.

Metal Slug is the closest thing to a system seller for me, and we’re talking about an arcade port here. And once again, best played with a friend.

I like the Wii, I just want to be clear about that. However, like the PS3, I don’t think it’s lived up to it’s full potential yet. And also like the PS3, I believe it will, eventually. For now, for me, the Wii is a fun party system, with some neat mini-games to play with friends. But no real solo-meat.

We’ll see. When the first Star Wars title comes out that lets me swing a lightsaber with accuracy, or some games that aren’t just little wii-mote inspired mini-games, then we’ll talk. If they can start putting out some good stuff like that, we’ll have a system seller on our hands.

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