Me and the Wii

(Or should that be the Wii and I?)

I was really excited when Nintendo announced the Wii, or the Revolution as it was back then. It’s the only console I have ever purchased on launch day. (I usually wait until a machine has got a decent back catalogue.)

I’ve not got a long history of Nintendo console ownership. My first Nintendo was a Game Boy Advance SP on which I played games like WarioWare, Advance Wars and the Pokémon series. I put off getting a DS until there was something interesting to play. It wasn’t until the first Christmas after Nintendogs came out, here in the UK, that I thought it was worthwhile upgrading. And yes, I purchased the virtual canine as well.

I still really love the DS. I thought it would never win out over the PSP but it just goes to shows that good games, and a decent control system, can make a system successful, no matter how powerful the opposition is. My DS, a slightly battered original “phat” model, is mostly being used by my wife at the moment to play Picross and Professor Layton and the Curious Village. (I’ll post more on DS and other handheld stuff another time otherwise this entry will become even more bloated.)

During a particularly obsessive Pokémon collecting phase I picked up a second hand Gamecube really cheap (it was just before the Wii came out) to obtain some of the rarer critters from the disc-based titles. Grabbing a version of Pokémon Box from Ebay was also a good investment as it allowed me to move the poket monsters between cartridges. I also took the opportunity to check out some of the Nintendo exclusives that had always interested me, such as Pikmin.

Anyway, back to the Wii. After launch, it was as my main console for several months and I was ready to wear my alligeance to the Nintendo flag. In addition to the innovative control system, the console featured so many nice little touches like the Miis and the different channels. I saw absolutely no reasons to even consider getting a PS3 or Xbox 360.

What turned me off the Wii, back then, was the lack of any decent games to play.

Sure, Wii Sports was brilliant. Everyone in my family who played it, loved it. Especially my parents. If there had been any systems left, that first Christmas after release, they would’ve definitely gone out and bought themselves one on boxing day. I wonder how many potential customers were lost back then?

I got a fair way through The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess but the game just didn’t really do it for me. I thought the control system worked well but the shadow sections totally annoyed me. To be fair, though, I think it was the wrong time to attempt this sort of game. Looking after a newborn baby daughter and playing long, immersive games don’t really mix well.

Excite Truck was a game I loved, though. You could fine me regularly playing it at 3am in the morning, with a sleeping baby balanced on my chest. I’ve never been much good at driving games but the Wii controls really helped. The controls certainly didn’t work in Marvel Ultimate Alliance which, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I couldn’t stand on the Wii and traded in virtually straight away. I only enjoyed it when I bought it for the Xbox 360 much later.

So, it wasn’t a very long love affair with the Wii. During the past year or so, especially since getting my 360, it has only been turned on a few times.

One of the reasons is that the Wii is always being put away for security and it takes a real effort to go and get it back out. It would take a special game to pull me away from the PC and 360. It says something that when the Wii is turned on that the first thing that my wife and I do is load up the voting channel and the Mii Contests!

During my time away from the system I’ve apparently missed out on some great games. Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario, Mario Party 8, Mario and Sonic at the Olympics Games …who says Nintendo are a little too Mario orientated? I’ve not even tried the latest Metroid Prime.

I finally decided to get the new Mario Kart the other day and bring the Wii out of retirement. I’m not a big Mario Kart-er. I’ve only played the DS version and, while I enjoyed that version I don’t see the Wii release adding much that’s new.

I’ve not yet got my head around the bikes. I’ve tried the different control systems and, at the moment, I prefer the good old-fashioned Gamecube controller. I’ve played quite a few online matches. I’m totally rubbish online but the games are fun and I think that’s where any real enjoyment from the title will come.

Although I’m not one for chatting over Xbox live, the lack of voice support does leave me feeling a little disconnected from the whole multiplayer experience. The spinning globe that shows where all your opponents are is a really nice touch, though.

So, how long will the Wii stay used?

Maybe a bit longer now than before. I’ve got Wii Fit on order and I’ll be interested in playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl (just not online!). I’m also going to try and swap a few games in order to check out some of the other releases I’ve missed out on.

I won’t buy anything for the Wii that is also available on the 360, but if something unique comes along (which really takes advantage of the control system) then I’ll probably give it a try.

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