Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
12 August 2007
The Wii nine months later, good and bad
Things I'm disappointed with concerning my Wii:

  • Here we are approaching a year since the Wii's release, and so far Wii Sports remains the only game to use the message board, and only three games use Miis. This is a tremendous opportunity that's being wasted. Hearing about the problems EA had in getting access to the Mii feature for My Sims was troubling. It's not every day that EA even decides to try something new, to reject them for the attempt borders on criminal.
  • Staying on the topic, how amazing is it that even now, the Wii game I and my friends play the most remains Wii Sports? We started with bowling (and still play it sometimes), after that we moved on to baseball, golf, then tennis. The only game on the disk whose charm has mostly eluded us is boxing, yet it's possible to see us playing even that.
  • While I'm not as annoyed with "waggle" as some bloggers, it remains a fact that tacked-on remote functionality is a big problem. There is no reason that remote-swishing should block laser blasts in Lego Star Wars for the Wii, which isn't exactly a first-person game and was good enough as it was.
  • Although their system is more than capable over the internet (and they have, by far, the best web browser among the consoles), Microsoft still easily beats them in online features, and with Nintendo's downloadable games effort still shrouded in scaffolding the 360 has a huge lead over them in new software. Settlers of Catan and Championship Pac-Man are almost enough to make me consider getting a 360 by themselves and are available now, but we're barely even sure what Nintendo's got lined up yet. So far we only have two channels available for download that didn't have placeholders (or full channels) on the screen at launch, and one of them is just a fancy advertisement for Metroid Prime 3.

Positive things:
  • I'm more excited over Super Mario Galaxy than I have been over any game for a long time. It's good to see the series return to form. Smash Bros. Brawl is interesting, but we've seen little to indicate that it's going to be very different from Melee. That may be understandable, since in the end Melee was the most popular Gamecube game, but it's not exactly visionary.
  • What we've seen in the way of the channels Nintendo has produced have been, generally, well-made. While it was singled out for complaints right after its release, Everybody Votes has been my most-used non-game channel, since there's only so much room on the system for Miis, and for news and weather I generally turn to the internet and the window, respectively. One sometimes learns disturbing things there too: when the world-wide question asked users if they had dreams for the future, "yes" understandably far outweighed "no" in all nations except three: Germany, Austria and Japan, in which places the split approached 50/50. I'm surprised sociologists haven't yet pounced upon this data.
  • The Gamecube had a number of excellent games made for it that got dismissed out of hand solely because of the system's third-place position in the market. The second Paper Mario deserved so much better than it got. It is nice to see that, despite their lacking performance at the time, Nintendo is perfectly happy making sequels to those games. Super Paper Mario may not ultimately be the same kind of game, but it's got the same sense of humor and the same brilliant writing. Seeing it break a million units sold is almost enough to make me think justice has returned to the world.
  • Finally, the most awesome aspect of the recent firmware update wasn't the clock (by a long shot) but unannounced USB keyboard support. This makes for a big change from the usual Nintendo policy regarding hardware, namely, to make users buy highly-profitable first-party accessories whenever possible. Here's hoping that the Internet Channel gets patched for keyboards soon, and that Nintendo realizes USB drives are a lot more convenient as a backup solution than SD cards.

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--John Harris at 22:55
Comment [ 6 ]

Comments on this post:

I'm sure that the reason My Sims does not include Mii support is because Nintendo felt that it was a direct competitor to its next gen Animal Crossing game. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the 'September Surprise' includes some AC footage and a list of features both online and off.

Of course, my feverish dreams give birth to an announcement of 'Animal Crossing Network' a direct competitor to Sony's Home. With Mii integration and motion controls, Nintendo will build off the casual gameplay of Wii Sports and Play and introduce all manner of gaming in the central AC city. Challenge people to 9 or 18 holes of Golf, or just enter a tennis or bowling tournament with people from around the world, in a family friendly environment brought to you by Nintendo. With the mentioned usb keyboard support, chatting with friends who's codes have been entered will be possible and pre-selected dialog options will be available to those who are just meeting for the first time.

Then all you need is one porno scare in Sony's Home and folks will flock to the Wii and Nintendos family friendly image. With so many Wiis in homes already, somebody will know someone with a Wii and what a great family experience it is.

Of course, this is more than I could ever hope for. But its nice to think about.

By Blogger Braden, at 14 August, 2007 18:07  

I don't think Nintendo intends to compete with Playstation Home. Animal Crossing is actually a very different kind of thing compared to that, and it'd destroy much of the soul of the game to turn it into a limited Second Life knockoff. Anyway, the Wii's flash storage probably isn't large enough to support large-scale downloadable games. (I still hold out hopes that the surprise will be some form of larger-scale storage solution.)

By Blogger JohnH, at 14 August, 2007 19:17  

Well, I don't think that it'd be a direct Home competitor to the hardcore, but 'regular' folks will see it as much the same. The Animal Crossing I envision has something where each person has their main towns, much like traditional AC, but now the train will take you to the city or some such, where everyone can meet, converse, trade and play.

Players who have shared friend codes outside the game could visit each others towns, but not visit or be visited by strangers.

Anyways, my defense of my imagined version of Animal Crossing is neither here nor there, but I do believe that Mii integration was denied My Sims due to impending Animal Crossing.

I think the surprise will be some announced WiiWare titles, out by Christmas. I think, just like bigger Xbox Live titles, increased storage will follow after WiiWare has more titles and the success of the program has been proven.

I'm still waiting for downloadable demos for the DS, much like the stations at various retail stores.

By Blogger Braden, at 14 August, 2007 20:05  

You may be on to something with the MySims thing braden. It sounds like a Nintendo kind of move.

By Blogger JohnH, at 14 August, 2007 21:08  

Have you seen the developer demo for My Sims? The errands and house design really remind me of Animal Crossing.

By Blogger Braden, at 15 August, 2007 07:34  

My Wii question is this: how sweet is the controller, and what current game shows it to its best effect?

My wife is interested in the Wii, because the controller looks like something she might like, but you have to hunt around for a non-Gamestop that'll let you try out a game that isn't Big Brain Academy (point'n'click does NOT sell the controller).

Are there games that really use the controller in cool ways, or is turning it like a steering wheel basically as good as it gets?

By Blogger Bob, at 30 August, 2007 12:46  

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