Sunday, September 19, 2010

A short look at where I'm at with the Wii.

I want to like it. I do. And I love Muramasa - to the point where it may end up being among the... let me think, here... five other games I have that demanded owning two copies - but Muramasa remains the only Wii game I've actually finished.

I keep trying. I really expected to like Super Mario Galaxy more than I do - but I'm shocked to discover I just don't give a shit about Mario any more. I don't. Mario, beloved childhood friend, went off to college, grew up, got cozy with 3D and now he's just a very different guy. The fact that he's Mario isn't enough to compel me to care about that game. Perhaps, like a good JRPG, the more time one puts into it, the more one grows to love it, and I just didn't give it the required time.

You'd think the fact that it's a (mostly) solid platformer with lots of character and more than a dash of zaniness would be enough - but it's not. Why do I care more about Sly Cooper than Mario?

Twilight Princess fared a little better. I probably put twice as much time into it as Mario Galaxy, but I think there's two reasons why I put that aside, as well:

(1) Motion control sucks.
(2) Wii graphics suck.

The game has pretty damn good character animation and great art direction and (often) good design, but it hasn't managed to compel me the way a classic Zelda title would. I think it comes down to hating the bloody motion controls and the fact that it is, comparatively, an ugly game. Not just ugly compared to the HD consoles, but pretty unimpressive when compared to other Wii games as well.

Does that make me shallow?

I can't imagine it's just the graphics. I have no issue enjoying much less impressive-looking games on my PSP. Either way, this is a surprise, to me. Three months ago, I said
Despite my somewhat tepid response to Galaxy, I have a huge amount of faith in Twilight Princess's ability to deliver the expected and the surprising. I don't know why I believe this, but I'm operating under the impression that once I fire that disc into my Wii it will be weeks before I take it out again.
I was wrong.

I'm hardly condemning the Wii - seventy four million people can't be wrong, can they? (Yes. Easily.)

I have to think I simply haven't invested the requisite time into it. On the other hand, that metric is how we judge our consoles and our games, isn't it? Not how much they can be played, but how much they demand to be played. How much time we invest in them, as opposed to all other available options.

...going by that measuring stick, I have to say I am pretty disappointed in my Wii - although admittedly, I knew what I was getting into. The console had one game I absolutely had to play, and a half-dozen titles I really wanted to try.

Perhaps Kirby or the new Donkey Kong Country will reignite my passion for Nintendo's tiny juggernaut.


  1. Remember back around E3--maybe a little before, maybe a little after--when Nintendo said they were no longer competing against Sony or Microsoft and that their new, very dangerous rival was Apple? Yeeeaaah.

  2. (Industry analyst) Michael Pachter said he expects Apple to release a pure gaming device in the next five years - but that would require a lot of developer support.

    Now, a lot of devs make stuff for the iPhone and iPad, but it's an attractive pursuit because you don't have to put in much capital to end up with a decent game. If Apple tries to compete with Sony, Microsoft and PC gaming, they're going to have to put together their own stable of first and second-party developers.

    Perhaps that's one of the reasons I'm so fond of the PS2/3. Sony's first party (Sony Santa Monica, Team ICO, Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch) and second party (Insomniac) devs are just awesome.

  3. The last thing I want is another console. I've been waiting for someone to go out of business.

  4. Agreed. I don't even have time to play all the PS3 and PSP games I have/want. I can't imagine splitting my time between the PS3, 360 and Wii - nevermind an Apple product.