The Wii-cap

By Frank L. Ocasio


You look.... confused, my friend. Or wait--curious? Well, G-POP articles can't read emotions anyway, so instead I'll ask you what brings you here and then pretend you answered me a la Legend of Zelda. Observe: 

What brings you to this article, web surfer?...Curiosity about the Nintendo Wii, eh? Yes, I know all about it and would be more than happy to impart my knowledge to you. For there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to purchasing the ever elusive console we know as the Wii. As with any creature of its ilk, there are features to discuss, comparisons with its peers to be made, and things to know about the gaming experience it offers... Pay me? Heavens no! Just blog about this article on the G-POP forums later and we'll be squared away, yes? Now, ask away to your heart's content. 

And let's... Wii-cap... shall we? Ah heh. 

Follow the links:     

Is the Wii really the gaming phenomenon everyone says it is?

How does the Wii compare to other systems?

What Wii games do you think players must own?

Are there any upcoming Wii titles that gamers will absolutely need to own?

Cool. Are there any other titles to look forward to?

Alright... Well, you look like there's still something on your mind though.

What does that mean?

So... why are you writing this article?

Is the Wii really the gaming phenomenon everyone says it is? 

The only honest answer a Nintendo fan like myself can give is... maybe? Here's the deal: the Nintendo Wii is definitely revolutionary in the sense that no other gaming system has attempted anything else like it--completely changing the way we play games. Even so, there is a problem with the phenomenon. 

Namely, that problem is the applications the Wii Remote has been put to so far, a problem that ties into other issues. Ya see, the Wii Remote has not been put to good use in most games. More often than not, we see Remote gestures replacing button taps in ways that don't really matter. In Mario Party 8, for example, you jerk up your Wii Remote to make your character jump when and only when its your turn to roll your Move Die... Yay.  

On top of that, it seems like there are already lots of games that ask gamers to use their Wii-motes to complete moment-long mini games--Mario Party 8, Wario Ware, Rayman: Raving Rabbids.  

And the rest of the games in the Wii market? Countless games that just act as cute little alternative-gaming showcases for what your Wii-Remote can do (Cooking Mama, and Trauma Center, for example). These are usually sequels to DS games, by the way. Yeah, can you say Elite Beat Agents for the Wii next year? I know I can. 

It's not that these games aren't fun though. The problem is they're a completely different experience from the ones gamers have grown up with. A much shorter, less engaging experience. An experience that even grandpa or your anti-gaming girlfriend can get into. After all, getting everyone to play the Wii was Nintendo's initial idea in the first place. The thing is, this has created a divide; now there are "hardcore gamers"--who have grown up playing Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Megaman, and everything else they could get their hands on--and there are the other kind of gamers (I guess I'll call them "casual gamers"). Casual gamers are those who never really cared about gaming at all but enjoyed plopping a quarter or two into the occasional arcade while out on Saturday night with their high school friends. These are people who have spent their time doing things other than devoting hours to leveling up Materia. These are people who didn't get that reference. These are people who own Wii's because it's fun to play Wario Ware when Josh and Megan and everyone from home room comes over. And there's nothing at all wrong with that--the point is, casual gamers aren't looking for the same experience that hardcore gamers are looking for. And thus, the divide. 

To put it simply, the Wii is a great system for casual gamers, but so far, it's not the best choice for hardcore gamers. Why? Because Nintendo is screwing up the controls on games that could be just what hardcore gamers need. Games that hardcore gamers expected. Example: Super Paper Mario fails to use the Wii Remote to its full capacity; you switch to 3D and you still use the Wii-mote like an old Nintendo controller, which completely misses the point of the game. And aside from Nintendo either dropping the ball on hardcore gaming experiences or continuing to invent new experiences for casual gamers, other developers either don't give the Wii Remote as much attention as they should or aren't bringing their big name titles to the Wii, although they've expressed interest. 

So, if you're asking if the Nintendo Wii is the video gaming phenomenon everyone's been raving about, the answer is yes and no. Yes because it has revolutionized the gaming industry with the Wii Remote and has brought the gaming market to a new audience who's all for it, but also no because it definitely has not yet delivered the experience hardcore gamers were expecting and has, in fact, been ignoring the needs of hardcore gamers altogether for quite a while.



How does the Wii compare to other systems? 

Well, there are a few categories to consider: Specs, Innovation, Features, Price, and Games. 

Specs: In case you didn't know, the Wii isn't all that more powerful than the Gamecube was. So far, developers have made absolutely no attempt to match the Wii's peers (the 360 and PS3) in terms of graphics. At first, I didn't care about this at all, but in all honesty, it actually is a big deal. The PS3 and 360 set standards that make the Wii look incredibly last gen, which also makes you feel like you're playing a Gamecube with an awesome controller... But then... it's a really awesome controller. 

Innovation: By leaps and bounds, the Wii slaughters the competition in terms of innovation. This is simply because the Wii brings the whole fabulous arcade experience home. The Wii Remote truly does change the way games are played, and even if you've sneered at it before and clutched your stupid PS3 controller to your breast at the sight of someone playing Wii Sports, you'll laugh like a school girl too the moment you throw your first bowling bowl down a lane in Wii Sports. 

Features: I've played all three systems, so I'm familiar with Dashboard and whatever the PS3's lame system is called--I call it stupid. In all honesty, the Dashboard has a much more professional feel than the Wii's Channels. By the chain rule, that would mean the PS3 also has a more professional look to it. In contrast, the Wii has a few pages of blank Channels that are filled with new Virtual Console games or WiiWare--new Channels you buy or download (the Internet Channel and Everybody Votes Channel, for example). These blank Channel slots, however, can totally run out before your system's memory runs out... Or your memory can run out before your blank Channels are all full... Hmm. Interesting approach, but not the very best execution. Still, it's got style and charm. 

As far as I know, only the PS3 and Wii have web browsers to begin with. Because Sony has advertised their PS3 as a computer system and not a game system, I feel the internet browsers on the Wii probably isn't the very best out there.  

However, the Nintendo Virtual Console decimates the 360's Virtual Arcade (because trust me, I've seen both in depth and the Wii easily devastates the 360 in that respect--especially because a lot of the 360's Virtual Arcade games, like Symphony of the Night, look absolutely horrible and others are simple little mini-games or miniscule computer games reminiscent of Windows' 3D Pinball--different only in that you pay for them before you play them for two seconds and forget they're there forever). And the PS3 doesn't feature a Virtual Console at all from what I know.  

Like both systems, the Wii features a friend messaging system. The difference with the Wii however is Miis. Yeah, believe it or not, creating your own Mii and sending Miis to friends or sending emails with your Mii's face as your tag is easily fun enough to eat up your first few hours with the Wii. In fact, it's so much fun that it single-handedly inspired Sony's Home network, which is apparently going to allow you to create realistic and detailed avatars who will roam around a large lounge area and interact with other avatars... Somehow, that doesn't sound nearly as fun at all to me. 

And the Wii has other Channels that are convenient and fun as well. There's a Picture Channel, which allows you to edit pictures, do picture puzzles, and create slide shows that you can play with music from your SD Card (which surprisingly makes the Wii great for presentations and, if you're smart, good for parties even if you have no games). And there's also, for another example, the Weather Channel, which is just what it sounds like. And sure, you don't need this. Chances are though that it's your best bet for finding out whether or not you need to bring an umbrella with you to work, because you won't have to take ten minutes out of your hectic commute to listen to your Wii laugh with other Wii's with their sparkling white teeth and pressed, designer suits while you simultaneously try to put on your socks and brush your teeth, only to finally get a short and ridiculously inaccurate weather forecast. I mean, it's not like the Wii is a portable weather satellite or anything, but at least you won't have to deal with that whole mess. 

Anyway, the Wii does not play DVD's, CD's, or stupid Blu-ray Discs. If this matters to you (if you have a huge DVD collection but no DVD player, or already started a Blu-ray collection to replace your DVD's with), then by all means, consider it. To me, the entire system playing DVD's thing was kind of useless anyway. But then, I've always had a DVD player right over my PS2 and Xbox (a DVD player designed solely for the purpose of playing DVD's), so it's always seemed completely unnecessary to have a game system that froze--I mean skipped--no, I mean played DVD's. 

Lastly for features, the Wii is compatible with SD cards, much like the PS3, which is compatible with a whole bunch of different memory cards and pretty much anything else you can plug into it. Both destroy the 360's now seemingly ancient, 360 Memory Card interface. Because the PS3 can employ so many varying kinds of memory units, it definitely takes the cake here. 

Price: Obviously, the Wii beats out its competitors in this respect. It's still $250, but it's still a lot cheaper than its peers. 

Games: Again, this is kind of hit or miss. For casual gamers, there are no games to buy except for Wii games. For hardcore gamers though... Well, the Wii isn't exactly the console to hunt down. Not yet anyway. 

The Final Scores: 

1st        PS3
2nd      Xbox 360
3rd       The Wii

1st       The Wii
2nd      PS3
3rd      Xbox 360

1st       The Wii
2nd      Xbox 360
3rd       PS3 

1st       The Wii
2nd      Xbox 360
18th     PS3

1st       Xbox 360
2nd      The Wii
3rd       PS3 

Them's the beans, and if you add up the totals, the Wii still wins. I'm not saying to run out and buy one now, but I am saying to check it out, even if you are a hardcore gamer, because there are good hardcore games for the Wii that players must own.



What Wii games do you think players must own? 

Wii Sports 

You'll be getting it with your Wii anyway, so expect it. Also expect to be honestly blown away by how fun it is. I thought it would be cool to play it for a few minutes before turning on Twilight Princess. I didn't expect to still be playing it with friends and solo... to this day.

 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 

You probably saw that one coming. That considered, you should already be aware of why you should buy this game; it has all of the awesome gameplay you'd expect from a Zelda game (actually, it probably has some of the best gameplay of any Zelda game, in all honesty) coupled with graphics that are (sadly) still some of the best you'll find on the Wii. And, on top of that, to this day it has some of the most inventive Wii Remote controls of any Wii game, and so, is closer to what hardcore gamers probably expected in the first place. Swing your Wii Remote to slash! Push your Nunchuk forward while blocking to shove enemies back with your shield! It's way better than steering a poorly drawn car in yet another driving mini-game. At least as far as hardcore gamers are concerned. 

If you have the Gamecube version, you won't really need to own this masterpiece of adventure and social suicide, but if you don't, you'll want to make this launch title one of your first purchases. It's just that good. 

 Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition 

Even on the Gamecube, Resident Evil 4 was the winner of a bunch of Game of the Year awards. I don't care how anti-Resident Evil you are--when you play RE 4, you'll understand just why it's been called a masterpiece. Especially if you purchase this Wii version. It has added content that the Gamecube version didn't have, flawless graphics that the Playstation version didn't have, and absolutely awesome, revolutionary controls that neither of those two last gen versions had. We're talking controls that revolutionize the way FPS's work. Don't you want to experience that? Don't you want to get a Wii game that makes good use of your Wii Remote and that's the video game equivalent to crack? Then you need Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition.

 Super Paper Mario 

Even though it didn't use the Wii Remote to its full potential, Super Paper Mario is still an amazingly innovative game that's as fun as it is fresh. If you love RPG's, like Mario a lot, and want to experience a great adventure that's as near to a brand new genre as we're gonna get, you'll want to check out Super Paper Mario.


Are there any upcoming Wii titles that gamers will absolutely need to own?

 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption 

If you've played either previous Metroid Prime games, you should know that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is going to be a must have. Aside from Twilight Princess and Resident Evil 4, it seems like it's going to be the only game to put the Wii Remote to the kind of use hardcore gamers have been waiting for. There won't be any balloon inflation to accomplish by pumping your Wii Remote, and there won't be any drawing shapes on your screen in this next gen powerhouse. No, sir; Retro Studios, the makers of the Metroid Prime series, are way too awesome and genius for that.

And after all, Corruption is going to be the first must own Wii game that's actually going to look next gen; aside from Super Paper Mario, which still shot for a graphically unsophisticated look because it focused on a certain style, the games on the current list of must-own games are all last gen ports. However, when Samus jumps out of her ship for the first time and you see her shiny Chozo Armor and a billion other details and hear voice acting--voice acting--you'll realize that you're playing a Nintendo milestone that'll hopefully inspire others of its kind.

 Super Mario Galaxy

Galaxy won't deliver the voice acting, but if you've watched any videos for it, you know that it will actually deliver the graphics and it'll be an amazing experience. If you haven't checked out gameplay videos of everyone's favorite plumber in space, you should head to Gametrailers.com and look up Super Mario Galaxy. Like all of Mario's adventures, this one is bound to be one you're going to at least get a kick out of. Especially because this time, Mario doesn't have a stupid water pack. Whoo!

Mario Kart Wii

Wow. I really hope that name changes, but even if it doesn't, you can expect a great game. Why? Well, I think it's another example of how Nintendo's realized not to screw with the formula. They messed with Mario by giving him a stupid backpack that sprayed water and somehow solved all of the plumber's problems. Bad idea; Mario Sunshine didn't hardcore suck--it was possible to still get a kick out of it--but it definitely wasn't a champion. Likewise, Mario Kart: Double Dash wasted a ton of time on it's buddy system where two drivers took to the track on one kart. Bad idea; no one was impressed. If anything, we wondered why Nintendo did it. And then, we cried.

Well, it's alright now. The nightmare's over--the kart's a one seater again and this time, you control it with the Wii Wheel, an arcade-esque driving wheel into which you stuff your Wii Remote. Sound like a good game? Eh? Well, it does to me, because I remember that pretty much ever Mario Kart game since the beginning of time has been gold.

 Super Smash Bros. Brawl

You've played Super Smash Bros. before. You must've. If you haven't, then you're my brother... who everyone agrees is the single weirdest gamer on the planet because he can't play Super Smash Bros.

Seriously, if I need to try convincing you that Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a soon to be must-own, you can't be convinced. Because everyone who already can be even slightly convinced... already loves Super Smash Bros.


Cool. Are there any other titles to look forward to?

 NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams

It's been over ten years since NiGHTS  was released for the Sega Saturn. Now, after waiting so long that NiGHTS fans were sure they would never get a sequel to the first excursion into the freaked out dreams of two kids, Sega has unveiled NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams for the Wii. Now, I loved the original NiGHTS--it was amazing, and many others agreed--but I didn't put Journey of Dreams on the sure fire list because not everyone gave the original NiGHTS a chance (if you check out the hyper-campy E3 '07 trailer Sega released for Journey of Dreams... you'll probably understand why). Even so, seriously, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams is at least worth a rent and will more than likely be as fun, original, and engaging as its predecessor.

Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn

If you like strategy RPG's a lot and you don't want to drop cash money for Final Fantasy Tactics A2 for the DS or Final Fantasy Tactics: Lion War for the PSP (especially considering that you've already played Lion War if you've played the original Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSone), you'll be excited to know that Fire Emblem is a strategy based RPG... You still have no idea what Fire Emblem is, do you? It's the game that Marth and Roy from Super Smash Bros. Melee originally came from. It's also a game that's gotten the Final Fantasy translation treatment; Fire Emblem for the DS, the first Fire Emblem game to be released in the US, is actually the seventh in the Fire Emblem series. What does that mean? If you like RPG's and you like strategy, Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn will at least be worth a rent.

Alright... Well, you look like there's still something on your mind though. What's up?

Well... alright. I'll just give it to you straight. I'm worried. About Nintendo. Like I've told you, the Wii isn't a great system for hardcore gamers. But what I've told you about here are all games that hardcore gamers will enjoy. They're also Nintendo's biggest hitters.


What does that mean? 

Wha--I wasn't finished! Come on! Geez. Look, if the majority of the Wii's market is becoming casual gamers... then these titles won't really interest the majority of Wii owners. And the people they will interest--hardcore gamers--they'll be flocking to the 360 for the experience that they actually want. All of this seems to point to Nintendo's slow downfall into the same pit they were in with the Gamecube. 

Look, I'll be honest with you. I had a Wii. Yeah, that's had. Even though I've always been a huge Nintendo fan, I admit that I sold my Wii. Why? Bills. And the fact that as a hardcore gamer, I hadn't played my Wii in months. My friends, who are also major Nintendo fans? Of the lot of them, two own a Wii--the others have yet to see anything that interests them enough to shell out a meager deuce and fifty. And all of us, if we had the funds, would probably get 360's. Not because the Dashboard is way cooler than Wii Channels or because the 360's Virtual Arcade has better games than the classics the Wii's Virtual Console offers. No, I'd buy a 360 because I want Oblivion and Lost Planet. Because when my friends get Halo 3, I'll get it to just so we can play some online multiplayer without having to meet up. I'll get it for Resident Evil 5 and--hopefully, some day--Metal Gear Solid 4. I want games that I can spend a lot of time playing. I want games I can lose myself in for an hour or more. I want games that give me something new. I want a game with a new protagonist and a new mission. It upsets me that three out of the four titles I just called future must owns feature Mario. Princess Peach can stay in Bowser's castle, dammit! How many times do I have to rescue her anyway? It's to the point that Nintendo doesn't even try to tell stories anymore--they just rely on our love for these old characters to get us going. They rely on us to fill in the blanks or understand that there is no story at all. Link is fighting Fox and Captain Falcon because we're in a kid's fantasy world where that can happen. Mario and the others are racing because there were karts and they got in them and just plain forgot that they were all trying to kill each other yesterday. Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog are at the Olympics... somewhere, because they just... are. And meanwhile, on other consoles, Solid Snake is using his brand spanking new OctoCamo to stop Liquid Snake in a war run like a business transaction. Chris Redfield is being hunted in Africa, trying to escape the masses who are going crazy for a reason he'll have to unravel. Emperor Uriel Septim VII dies in front of you and you're pushed into an adventure that will take you to the gates of Oblivion. 

And what's happening on Nintendo's end? Mario's running around, doing everything. Like always.

So... why are you writing this article? 

Because I love Nintendo! Because the Wii is an amazing, revolutionary system! Because I'd buy it again for the games I've mentioned but I'd be afraid that when I finish the last of them, when I beat Metroid and Super Mario and Mario Kart--again--I'm afraid that this time, when I turn off my Wii because there's nothing else to play for it and I turn to my 360 for another 10 hours of Oblivion, I'm afraid that this time... I'm going to be very tired... and it's going to be Game Over.


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