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  1. #1
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    Rebuttal to Ben Heck on Wii

    Ben Heck, uber console-modder (maker of the Wii laptop, among other things), dedicated slightly less than half of his last podcast to the Wii, and mostly, why it's a "flash in the pan" and why, if it isn't, it could ruin gaming. He's got some good points, for instance, on why online is necessary, not optional, but there are other points he doesn't get.

    ben heck podcast 17 (not for kids, strong language)
    Why the Wii isn't a passing fad.
    The last console I owned was an NES. I'm not a non-gamer, or even a casual gamer, but I walked away from consoles. RTS has always been my preferred genre, but back in the day I loved a good Zelda style RPG, I played all the Mario Bros, and I even sometimes played fighting games and shooters with friends. But the emphasis of gaming of late has been obsessed, obsessed with hardware sapping gfx, sadly, to the exclusion of gameplay.

    The best example is Morrowind's transition to Oblivion. Morrowind (especially the user-modded PC version) was tops in gameplay and gamer-friendliness, letting the gamer make the rules and set the pace, choosing where to go and when, telling stories and leaving it up to the player to find it out. Much was transfered to Oblivion, but in the end, Oblivion's only selling point was its beautiful vistas, good looking, true, but focused on to the exclusion of keeping Morrowind's elements or improving them. The game featured voice-acting, a useless "immersion" endeavor that added little to the game except a bunch of people saying a bunch of the same things, nice for the important NPCs, but at great cost to the rest of the system. Even RTS games are going overboard on gfx, I think Red Alert 2 is better than Generals, and I suspect it's better than Tiberium Wars or Supreme commander. Games like Alpha Centauri, now almost a decade old and turn-based rather than real time, are playable far longer than the flashy games released today. I view the PS360 as following that pattern. Good if you like it, but not for me.

    I noticed in the age thread, there were some other nostalgia gamers here, but I wouldn't have bought the system just for it's emulation ability (though it does give me access to 4 Zeldas I never got to play), and it's GCN library gives me many more bargain titles to fill my library with. But with all the progress the Wii has made, and with all the potential the system has for gameplay centered gaming, it's my only choice for a console. I'm not buying it (soon as I can get one) to the exclusion of a PS360, but as an alternative to nothing. I am back in the console market because of the Wii.
    Why the Wii isn't a PS360 killer
    Part of the reason Ben's so down on the Wii is that he's afraid his precious high-end gfx games are going to be replaced with an all-pokeman lineup since Wii games are less expensive to develop. First, he claims it's not possible for the Wii to win, then he talks about how low-res gaming would end PS3-type consoles and high-res gaming. Such confidence.

    "Why should gamers be worried about [the Wii]?" This he asks "confidently" after spending a lot of podcast time worrying about it. They shouldn't. Some "gamers" will have a Wii along with their system, the Wii60 or the PSWii combo, but the sales that will keep the Wii alive, competitive and growing are the new ones. People who make the gaming market bigger and people who have been ignored by console makers for the better part of a decade.

    The thing is, the high res gaming market was already covered when the Revolution was on the drawing board. Nintendo didn't eliminate good looks from their system, but they did choose to emphasize gameplay and controls over vistas and polygons. They brought back gamers who've been gone (people who talk about the "64" and mean the commodore).
    Why the Wii isn't just for kids
    For all their complaints about the Wii being just for kids, the people who are most obsessed with the appearance and individual moving hair and grass and maximum distance views are 15 year old kids, not 30 year olds (visit the oblivion forums and judge for yourself). Many people who remember the old console days remember when even the unpopular 2nd and 3rd string games were fun to play--they looked like 8-bit crap, but they genuinely fun, and those people want companies to spend more time working on gameplay and less on cramming a few more polygons into a game. Teenagers are distracted by shiny gfx more than seasoned gamers.
    Why the Wii is being hyped
    He's not wrong, the news is over-hyping the Wii--which is good for us, because there's a serious Nintendo problem--you need console sales to get 3rd party dev, and you need 3rd party dev to make consoles sell. Part of the reason the Wii came as a surprise is that the GCN was an also-ran. If not for some hype, it'd be difficult to attract as many 3rd parties as have come around, in recent times EA has upped dev, other 3rd parties have increased their Wii budget, and Jet Black (former EA programmers) is all Wii.

    The up and coming MK title reports, via IGN, their Wiimote moves made MK more accessible to more people than complicated button combinations, yes casual gamers and "non-gamers", but likely non-fighters as well. A lot of the investment that started from October to present isn't going to show up another 6-12 months, but it will show. If the Wii delivers online in the meantime with a title like Metroid Prime, the hype will have been self-fulfilling. The Wii has more potential than the other two consoles, and is on the cusp of fulfilling it. Not at the other two console's expense, as I explained above, but by creating a new console market where once there was none.

    They complain about game selection on the podcast--validly so, there aren't that many games present that are worth even the Wii price of 50$, some having already been slashed in price, but several big titles are coming and a lot more investment is to follow, 2008 promises to be a good year. Sadly, some 3rd parties, having been caught off guard, have taken to simply doing rough and dirty ports to make a quick buck, Ben calls it shovelware, claiming that's all the Wii has. Wii fans do have several good options, with more on the way, including, MK (a special port), Spidey 3 (also more than just a port) SSBB, MP, consideration from Namco for another Soul Calibur (rumor), and for gamers like me, who have sat out for several console generations, a whole library of GCN titles, N64, SNES as well as favorites from the NES. Plus, before it was shovelware ported to Wii, it was ported from something else, so it was crap from the PS360 library. All consoles have them, none of the 3 have only shovelware. The only way you imagine your competition in such a Strawman position is if you can spend 15 minutes 'worrying' about the Wii and be insecure enough to claim with hubris moments later "why should gamers worry about it?" Not all developers are making great use of the system, but some are. That's enough.
    Why the Ben Heck isn't ahead of the curve
    For all the hype, there's plenty of negativity. I didn't hear any complaints from him that I haven't heard from other PS360 fanboys.
    Why the Wii needs online if it's going to have gamers over the age of 24
    This was his best point of the podcast. In school, and even in college, getting your friends together for gaming was easy enough. But once you're done and everyone moves in different directions, has different jobs, and schedules are assorted, you need more multi-player options. If Soul Calibur, my favorite arcade fighting game, and the only one I ever really liked, does come to the Wii, I'm going to need to recruit competitors from outside my area because i don't have that many people I can play it with. The same is true of MP.

    Everyone's becoming accustomed to the joys of on-demand entertainment--TV on demand with on demand cable channels, Tivo and even networks streaming their own content, on demand music with iPods replacing portable radios, on demand movies beind downloaded straight from Amazon to your home, because we're too busy to even stop by blockbuster, and even on demand game competition. If I wake up at 3am and can't fall asleep, there's going to be some people online in a different timezone, or in the same situation out of millions of gamers. But if I call my buddies for a Halo tourney at 3am on a weekday, I'm gonna get capped.

    If Nintendo doesn't do well with online soon, the hype will become a problem. For now, Nintendo is in a honeymoon stage with the gaming press (part of what Ben is reacting to). They didn't expect anything from the Wii prior to E3, it was destined for last-place. After E3, they received it warmly, but even now, new higher standards are being set in place that Nintendo will have to meet in order to stay in the press' good graces, and that goal-post will move with every success. Online ability will need to be followed up with better means for finding other players of equal ability (so you don't waste your time), which means rankings and leaderboards will be important. Better yet, grouped leaderboards, so that communities like Wiichat.com and even just groups of friends can set up their own scoreboards and their own competitions, will increase how satisfying the online experience will be. Accessories like those expected from Logitech (per Wiifanboy, possibly wireless keyboard), will be needed to make interacting/grouping easier thru the Wii.

    Once they've pushed past 10 million consoles and have a larger library, they won't need a press honeymoon. But for right now, the hype is helping to drive 3rd party dev and console sales, it's helping keep the Wii in an unexpected lead over its competitors, and the longer its there, the better its long term viability is.

  2. #2
    ...yea... My god the Wii owns...'s Avatar
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    I completely agree with you. I got to his site every day, mainly for the forums, but I can't stand how he has such skills but is against the Wii and Nintendo in general. I'm glad you did this.

  3. #3
    shiftfallout.com Shiftfallout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiinter
    Ben Heck, uber console-modder (maker of the Wii laptop, among other things), dedicated slightly less than half of his last podcast to the Wii, and mostly, why it's a "flash in the pan" and why, if it isn't, it could ruin gaming. He's got some good points, for instance, on why online is necessary, not optional, but there are other points he doesn't get.

    ben heck podcast 17 (not for kids, strong language)
    Why the Wii isn't a passing fad.
    I agree and dissagree. The Wii is a lot like those lights or built in wheeles in those shoes you see kids running around in. It brings something fresh and flavorful to a market that was becoming stale and repetative.

    The comparision between Morrowind and Oblivion doesnt work unfortunately, because its not the graphics that did it in. It had nothing to do with graphics. Bethesda made the game first for the xbox360. Thats what killed it. They made a CONSOLE centered game and ported it over to the PC. Where Morrowind was a PC game ported to the consoles. This is really a console vs PC debate, when referring to morrowind and oblivious..er oblivion. The other focus was on hardcore gamer vs casual player. They viewed consoles as being pick up and play systems, thus, they wanted a game that you just pick up and play without thinking. A lot of RPGers like to work hard to achieve goals and strength, Oblivion went after the casual player that does not want that. To be able to achieve anything at any level and to pump out repetition as a form of gameplay. The gameplay mechanics are not suited for anyone who has patience or time to work towards character developement. Thus fast travel, item and mob scaling, universal properties..ect Oblivion could have easily been a better morrowind if they didnt focus on the Console market (wii,ps3,360) and stuck with a PC gamer focus.

    The thing about the PS3 is that its very mod friendly, modders will probably like this. The 360 is the only normal system on the market to be honest. A new generation of console gaming is coming, and right now its in an akward state of peuberty.

    Why the Wii isn't a PS360 killer
    The Wii isnt a ps3 and 360 killer. Because its a completely different product in my opinion. Its like food. The consumer wants food, that is the general product. The Wii, ps3 and 360 share the general focus of gaming. Like food is for eating. But heres the difference. The Wii is like a dozen eggs, its cheap, affordable, in high demand, and great for breakfast. The PS3 and 360 are fighting over being a lunch or dinner meal. Sirloin steak, its more expensive, a lot more too it and a lot more thought has to be put into buying it.

    Higher egg sales will never kill the lower steak sales and vice versa. They are food, but they are also completely different products.

    The Wii shares the same relationship with the 360 and PS3. You will find quite a few gamers will get the wii and an additional gaming system. There is no real competition between the wii and the ps360.


    Why the Wii isn't just for kids

    Oh its not for kids, its for EVERYONE. Just like rated G movies. The best way to make a game for everyone is to make it good for kids. Its a wierd dynamic.
    Nintendo markets towards children, they always have. Their reasoning is that once those children grow up, they will stay fans while nintendo continues to recruit new consumers (aka, the next wave of children). Theres nothing wrong with this strategy, but in order for it to work, prices will always have to be low thus equalling accesability.

    I was one of those kids they marketed to back in the 80s with the NES. I started losing interest in nintendo since they didnt try to keep me as a consumer, but thats partially because i went where the good rpgs were. Playstation, then to PC gaming. I will now always be a PC gamer before anything else, but the Wii has me interested again, but mainly for games that use motion sensoring. Any regular games tend to be kinda junky.
    Why the Wii is being hyped
    Very hyped, word of mouth and clever marketing has always kept nintendo alive. This will never change, because thats how nintendo opperates. Theres nothing wrong with this either, its all part of the business game.
    Why the Ben Heck isn't ahead of the curve
    Hes a person like us, So his opinions unless backed by facts are just opinions. We can only agree or dissagree, but if we do, we have to do so based on logic and reasoning. Not fanboy brand filtering.
    Why the Wii needs online if it's going to have gamers over the age of 24

    I agree whole heartedly. In fact the future of gaming has often been discussed by the professional developers. The three biggest topics and claims made by these professionals is simply, Multiplayer (networking, online gaming), User based/generated/made content and customization (community support), and finally enhanced interactivity. Its up to the system makers and developers to keep up when this all slowly evolves into a common place requirement.

    Just added some of my 2 Cents

  4. #4
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by My god the Wii owns...
    I completely agree with you. I got to his site every day, mainly for the forums, but I can't stand how he has such skills but is against the Wii and Nintendo in general. I'm glad you did this.
    I found the podcast while looking at his very cool ps3 controller in an xbox360 control casing via endgadget. I'd love to have a wavebird in one of those, it looks like it would be a lot more comfortable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiftfallout
    Just added some of my 2 Cents
    I disagree on some points, notably the downfall of oblivion, but I'm willing to concede the console focus had an impact without detracting from my earlier point. I see gfx focus (something related to it's xbox360 development--where gfx expectations would be high) in more than just that example, and I'm still convinced that contributed to decrease in playability, and is an example of games and consoles moving in the wrong direction for people like myself. Still, well said, thanks for your input.

  5. #5
    Game Wiizard WiiZero's Avatar
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    Wow a lot to read

    Why the Wii needs online if it's going to have gamers over the age of 24

    I agree whole heartedly. In fact the future of gaming has often been discussed by the professional developers. The three biggest topics and claims made by these professionals is simply, Multiplayer (networking, online gaming), User based/generated/made content and customization (community support), and finally enhanced interactivity. Its up to the system makers and developers to keep up when this all slowly evolves into a common place requirement.

    Well I'll discuss in parts I'll start with this. Personally I am upset that FPS is dominating the market there is not enough variety I mean Halo 3 will be one the best games ever but I would not put it in my top 50 and FPS are the main genre for online

    I'll take Zelda for example it's the best game out there for any nex-gen console so far (GoW is close) and it doesn't have online and many people over 24 love it

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  6. #6
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    I'll take Zelda for example it's the best game out there for any nex-gen console so far (GoW is close) and it doesn't have online and many people over 24 love it
    It's also my favorite game, and one of the reasons I'm buying a Wii (to get the past 4 games I never got to play: OoT, MM, WW, TP)

    If Zelda were a game that focused on multiplayer (like shooters and fighters, where AI can become predictable and boring) instead of a single-player focus (With puzzles and a deeper RPG-like world), online interaction would be more and more necessary. But it isn't about which games older people will like, it's about which consoles they will like, and since some games are going to beg for online capability, for the reasons listed above, people who like those games are going to want a console with good online multiplayer ability. Some who are post-college/grad school will be an exception, for whatever reason having enough gaming friends nearby with similar schedules, but they ultimately prove the rule.

  7. #7
    shiftfallout.com Shiftfallout's Avatar
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    wait you dont even own a Wii yet and you gave that big response? That doesnt quite work.

  8. #8
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiftfallout
    wait you dont even own a Wii yet and you gave that big response? That doesnt quite work.
    Why not? I've done my reading, I've done my searching, and I've made my decision to buy a Wii (once I can get one) based on a lot of the factors above. I don't do impulse buys. I probably would not be willing to buy if I didn't believe there would be strong 3rd party support, or great potential for gameplay focus--I happen to believe I'm not alone in wanting more than just great gfx engines and more buttons. I could be wrong, but owning a console wouldn't make me more right.

    As a gamer who's been out of the console market for 4 generations, but has been drawn in by the Wii, I think that makes my insights meaningful. At the least, it was shorter than a 30 minute podcast by two non-Wii players. You may, of course, disagree.

  9. #9
    WiiChat Member Skorp's Avatar
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    Also being someone who never thought they'd buy another console the wii has me excited again. But also being someone who has played online games for the PC for years, if the wii doesn't deliver with good online I will be very disappointed.

  10. #10
    Audentes fortuna iuvat Wiinter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skorp
    Also being someone who never thought they'd buy another console the wii has me excited again. But also being someone who has played online games for the PC for years, if the wii doesn't deliver with good online I will be very disappointed.
    Exactly. I've been to 16 player Halo-fests, I've played Allegiance online, and it's a great experience. It isn't required for every game, but for some games, humans are just much better competition. I don't have a 'home theater', so split screen isn't all that inviting. Since the DS has a VOIP-like system (I read) one would think you'd have something like that on the Wii, wireless headset so you can trash-talk your buddies while shooting at them. If online play doesn't charge a premium fee, all the better, but I'd be willing to pay for the right games.

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