The Nintendo Wii is by far one of the biggest surprise stories of gaming. From its unconventional name to its even more unconventional control scheme, few people believed that the console would take off. Fast forward 18 months in the future and the Wii is arguably the most successful system to come out this generation. Despite all the good things that the Wii has accomplished, that doesn’t free it from its faults.
Described in the jump are the five biggest faults of the Nintendo Wii.
5. Online Features
This is pretty common complaint among critics of Nintendo. I don’t necessarily think it is bad as some people make it out to be, but at the same time, when compared to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo is severely lagging behind in this space. While they are making small but meaningful strides in this space (Super Smash Brother’s Brawl as a recent example) they are not doing nearly enough.
First and foremost, the friend code system has got to be trashed. There are plenty of ways that Nintendo can keep their family-friendly image to all the Mom and Pop’s out there, while still providing gamers with an infrastructure to keep track of their online friends with more ease. Friend codes wouldn’t be so bad if there was just one set of codes for you and your friends to enter. But for whatever reason, Nintendo made the decision to have a friend code for your Wii system, and then have additional friend codes within online titles to be different. Perhaps in lieu of the recent “Xbox Live rape” scandal, people just can’t stop thinking about the children. What about the gamers, damn it!
The decision to not allow voice-chat in any of their slim line-up of online games isn’t as condemnable though. (And, like all the current complaints, are subject to change) Personally, I think that voice chat within online games is worthless unless you are talking to friends that you already know. Xbox Live (and PSN to a lesser degree) is filled to the brim with racists, homophobes and other general slimy characters. Who wants to talk to these people, exactly?
4. Raising Quality Standards
The amount of absolute steaming piles of shit that call themselves video games on the Wii console is astonishing. Let’s go over some of these games, shall we? Have you heard of Anubis II? Legend of the Dragon? Jenga World Tour? Ninjabread Man? Need I go on?
It used to be that the seal on quality on Nintendo’s boxes meant something, but ever since Nintendo laxes their standards, chances are you’re buying a $20-$50 box full of nothing. Think of the Mom and Dad that do not know a single thing about video games for a second; they’re looking at a Wii game to get for their child. This child is suffering from cancer, you see. They want to get a game that will cheer the little guy or gal up, and they decide that Ninjabread Man looks like it’s suitable for their child to play.
They plop the money down for the game and bring it home to their child. The child is already sick, and the absolute brutality of these types of games is crushing both his/her will to live, as well as mine. You don’t really want to crush our spirit to live, do you Nintendo?
3. New Franchises, Please
Nintendo has slowly allowed themselves to rely on a base of key Nintendo franchises for much too long. I love all of the Nintendo staples; Donkey Kong, (hell, how about a new Donkey Kong platformer?) Mario, Link, etc., but would it hurt to try and branch out and create a couple new characters that we can grow to love?
I know, Wii Fit, Wii Play and Wii Sports. Those are all new franchises that Nintendo has created within this console cycle, and they do play an important role for the development of the platform itself. This is about as close as you’ll see me get to criticizing Nintendo’s focus on casual games, since it is so easy to say “Blame Wii Fit,” for the lack of new “hardcore” titles. But those titles are not something that we as hardcore gamers crave as badly as a nice epic adventure, a new platformer, or maybe even a shooter. New characters and new worlds to explore is what we want more than mini-games, and we’re not getting them.
Can we get one, please?
2. Focus on the Wii Control Scheme
The Wii, more than either the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, has seen its fair share of innovative titles that have fundamentally changed the way we play games. However, it seems like Nintendo is the only company to fully take advantage of the unique control setup the Wii offers. (Well, Capcom, by all accounts, did a great job with Zack and Wiki.)
Sadly for the “hardcore gamers”, the casual games are cleaning up in this space. Wii Fit, Wii Sports and Wii Play are putting us in new situations, enabling us to experience new ways to play games. What Nintendo must do is to reach out to third-parties (and this goes hand-in-hand with quality standards) and work with them to create new ways to use Wiimote/nunchuk in their titles. Too many times when playing Wii games have I felt that I was essentially playing a PS2 port. Nintendo needs the maximum amount of innovation to continue to dominate this market, and they can’t do it alone forever.
1. Supply Issues
This is probably the most obvious of them all. I myself have not had to go running around town, calling up stores to procure a Nintendo Wii. I got mine at launch. Yet, we’re a year and a half into their console cycle, and I can count on one hand how many times I have actually seen a Nintendo Wii in a store shelf, just waiting to be purchased. I understand that the console is selling like hotcakes, but there isn’t one good reason that they cannot meet the demand for the system.
Outside of the unique control setup, the innards of the Wii is for all intents and purposes a glorified Gamecube. (Or, for an additional fanboy baiting comment, the Wii is a “two Gamecubes duct taped together”) So why can’t Nintendo increase production so that they can get a Wii to every person that wants it? Why the rat race?