Back in the good old’ days, there were two kings of the ring, Sega and Nintendo. Every 4-6 years, each company would introduce their new, next generation marvel. Although things started long before, we will pick up our story with the Super Nintendo (SNES) and the Sega Genesis (…Genesis?) for the sake of time. These two rivals would compete to control the home console ring, each sporting their own system mascot, and would cater to slightly different audiences hoping to gain the edge in the industry. There is no question that Nintendo focused its efforts toward the younger generation, producing games of a cutesy nature such as Super Mario World. And while the system still supported cult classics such as Mortal Kombat, the images of graphic violence, such as blood were greatly toned down to a more appropriate level.
With each passing generation, Nintendo stayed true to their formula of family friendly gaming, creating iconic characters that will be remembered forever. Banjo Kazooie, Mario, Donkey Kong and of course Zelda have all captured the hearts of gamers round the world, carrying the company from generation to generation.
Over the last few generation changes, Nintendo has made some rather odd choices. I can’t say I agree with all of them, but hey, they’re Nintendo, who’s going to question their innovation right? Well, we are. Right now.
As the years continued and competition became more fierce, Sega and Nintendo began to see a new competitor enter the ring. Actually, several new competitors.
Panasonic created the 3DO, an interactive game center that attempted to bring real actors onto the small screen, with menu driven elements to interact with. Philips created the CD-I which no one remembers and more importantly, Sony introduced the Playstation. The trend around this time was all about CD’s, or compact discs as we techie’s called them. Panasonic, Philips, Sony and even Sega have embraced the format and had used the new technology to create stunning new games. Games that could show full motion video, CGI and graphics like never before.
Although all of the competition had moved to a more interactive format, Nintendo elected to keep the Cartridge format of old and introduce the Nintendo 64. Industry analysts and gamers alike questioned Nintendo’s decision, and when they were confronted with the question, we were told that it was still the superior format as load times are next to none, and it will not require extra peripherals such as memory cards. While the Nintendo 64 is widely looked at as successful, it truly was the first failure for the company.
While the N64 was able to produce some amazing games such as Mario 64, Killer Instinct and more importantly, Golden Eye: 007 the system lacked the futuristic abilities of its competitors, who were able to give real life animations and video streams. The 64 was capable of some great things, but no matter how you look at it, the system was best for Saturday morning cartoon style games, with bright colors and child like game play. With competition heavy, and Sony gaining momentum, Nintendo knew they had to make a change.
The next round of consoles gave us some truly legendary hardware. Sega produced the Dreamcast, which in all reality was the ‘Naomi’ main board made famous by Sega in the arcades, bringing games like Virtua Fighter, Soul Calibur and countless other games to life unlike ever before. Sony had introduced the cleverly named Playstation 2, with more than just gaming in mind, the new PS2 was capable of playing back DVD movies, not only that, but the games were now stored on DVD’s allowing for longer lasting games and even bigger environments and game play.
On September 14th, 2001, Nintendo, now realizing that CD’s were cool, decided to introduce the Nintendo GameCube, a sleek, perfectly square box, with a handle for easy transport. Being Nintendo, the need to be different grasped hold of the not-so-smart side of Nintendo, and they created their own, mini- DVD format which could store merely half what its competitors could. By electing to use the format, Nintendo was now able to catch up with CGI and video, but to the size restraints of the disc, they were still limited to the cutesy, child like graphics that have been a trademark of sort for the company.
Some time has passed, and Nintendo has learned a few lessons from its fellow console brethren. Their latest console, the Nintendo Wii, now harnesses a full DVD disc drive, allowing for larger games such as ‘The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess’ and Metroid Prime. However, with Nintendo’s arrogance and obsession with being different, they have made one major change to differentiate themselves from the competition. This time, the change came on the controller. The Wii system sports the Wii-mote, resembling a fat, vertical version of the original NES controller from the 80’s. The new control scheme incorporates and infrared sensor at the top of the controller, allowing you to point at the screen in light gun fashion and interact with games on the platform.
The launch of the Wii was more successful than even Nintendo could have anticipated. From the day the console was launched, it has been virtually sold out throughout America. It seems that the unique marketing scheme, along with a $249.99 price point (over $150 less than its closest competition) had caused quite a stir in the gaming community. It seems that the little Wii that shouldn’t, had caught what we like to call ‘Tickle-Me Elmo’ syndrome, thrusting the nation into frenzy for the little machine. How could this go wrong? Hehe…Let us count the ways.
Why did the Wii become so popular? What makes this console so in demand that grandmas are once again beating each other to get their grubby mitts on one? It’s not what you think. Our society loves innovation. With a national mindset of ‘get off the couch and do something’, the Wii struck home as the first truly interactive gaming unit. Things have been looking good for Nintendo, in the clouded eye of consumers.
For those of you who are Wii fanatics and can’t get enough, we kindly ask you to skip to page 6 of this article as you will not like what you are about to hear. The cold hard truths are about to be unveiled. The true gamer nation has been thinking it for over a year, and now, we are going to say what everyone has been thinking for so long. So, let the bashing begin...
The Wii is popular because society thinks its popular. Just like striped socks in the 80’s one person starts a revolution. The system does not necessarily do anything great for gamers; in fact, we feel it is hurting the industry just a tad. The interactive control scheme is a cool idea. Kudos for doing it first, however, you fail the gaming community for doing so. The Wii has given developers the mindset that they HAVE to use motion control for everything, from climbing a ladder, to masturbating soda cans.
There is not a game out there that does not use the technology to the worst of its abilities besides Nintendo’s Iconic games a la Zelda, Mario, Metroid and the like. And even those games use the controls a bit too much. The fun of gaming has been replaced with the joys of stupidity to a certain degree. The platform has been bombarded with cheese, leaving a total game collection just shy of 250 games, which only a handful of which (quite literally) are of any value to gamers. The rest is filled with molten hops and bong resin from under appreciating developers who think they can throw out crap on a system and be successful. The sad part is the consumers are proving them right.
Games like ‘Carnival’ and ‘Game Party’ are exactly the kind of rubbish you would expect to see in Ukraine, where gaming is just now beginning from the days of Pac Man. Have any of you played Nitro Truck? For those of you that have, is there a single race completed that didn’t F$*C@ on you at some point? It’s garbage, and yet people are buying it because ‘It’s on the Wii and the TV said its cool. Forcing development on a control scheme that is second rate is making for some really crap games. If Nintendo wishes to make a true name for itself this generation, they need to get together with the 3rd party publishers and explain to them how to use the controller properly or it could be an early end for the system.
Secondly, even though they incorporated the DVD drive, Nintendo has blocked DVD movie playback. Not that this is a crucial matter, but they need to keep with the times. We are on the brink of phasing out DVD and moving into the era of HD and all Nintendo can say is “at least it’s not a cartridge.”
Despite its short comings, the Wii does have something to offer.
Unfortunately, that something is in limited supply. So far, The Wii’s major lineup this year consists of two titles, Super Smash Bros. Brawl (out this Friday) and Mario Kart Wii. Both games have a huge burden of carrying their system through 2008 by themselves as third parties obviously can’t handle the load.
Since its inception, the Wii has done phenomenally well. Not because it is the best looking, or even the most innovative (hell, the PS3 has motion sensing technology, and gives developers the option to use it) but because it caught the eyes of the right people in the right place at the wrong time. Not necessarily a fact, but we believe Nintendo has been keeping supply on the Wii’s in short stock intentionally, not because they can’t keep up with demand, but rather to continue creating demand. They have done a fine job, and we hope they can continue the development behind the Wii to give it a nice long life span.
Nintendo, we love you here at GameRevolver, and we want to see you succeed. Change is great, but not always for the better. You have reached a new audience, but you are cheating the system by offering things that they don’t know suck. They honestly don’t know any better. Get together with Capcom, Akklaim and even some more Rockstar and let’s see what your machine can really do. Oh, and please (read….PLEASE!!!) get some online commo going, at least voice chat or texting between friends. Something simple is all we ask. May your journey be profitable?