Five games that should be on the Wii

Wii gamesThere are a lot of games in the Wii library that don’t belong there. There are also many games out there that aren’t on Wii that seem like a perfect fit. Nintendo has created a console where many different types of games can be enhanced, but there are some genres that are absolutely ripe for the picking. Here’s a list of five games that are a perfect fit for Wii, either because they match Nintendo’s design philosophy, or because they would work beautiful with Nintendo’s unique input systems.

1. Okami

Existing Platform: Playstation 2

What it is: A Zelda-esque adventure game with a thick creamy coating of Japanese mythology. If you thought it was fun to play as the Wolf in Twilight Princess, best to strap on your paws for the long haul. This 30+ hour game has many of the same traits you find in modern Nintendo games, including an acute sense of style, and rock solid platforming. The game uses a unique ability system; you use a giant paint brush in the sky to paint a brush stroke, and your character will launch into an attack, or a spell. A quick horizontal stroke is an attack, and a circular strokes can make items appear.

Why it would excel on Wii: The problem with the above system is that it requires stopping the game, and fumbling with the analog stick to draw a shape. For a quick line, that’s not a problem, but more complicated symbols make the game more difficult. This problem is two sided – the symbols get more difficult to draw, and as a result, the symbols never get all that complicated. This creates both frustration and less interesting design. Both of these problems are instantly fixed with a simple application of the Wii Pointer. Using the Wii to create brush strokes would feel natural, and make the game flow much more smoothly.

Will it ever get there: Clover studios, which designed the game has now closed, but Capcom is the publisher, and they could certainly decide to bring the game over to Wii. Rumors have circulated here and there, but as of now, Capcom has denied any interest in the project.

Chance of arrival: 30%

2. Orange Box (Half Life 2, etc)

Existing Platform: Xbox 360 / Windows PC

What it is: In 1998, Half Life took the PC gaming community by surprise, and took Game of the Year honors. It was the story of an ordinary scientist, who works in a very unordinary underground laboratory. One day he shows up late to work, and has hell to pay for it. The game was a benchmark in storytelling and AI, and it had a killer cliffhanger ending. That cliffhanger was finally resolved in 2004’s Half Life 2. A technical achievement, the game did everything the first one did, and it did it better. It was released for the original Xbox console in late 2005. The Orange Box is a re-release of Half Life 2 that is bundled with expansions “Episode One”, “Episode Two”, and “Portal”, an all new single player game using the Half Life 2 engine. Multiplayer game “Team Fortress 2” is also included.

Why it would excel on Wii: With Metroid Prime 3, Nintendo has now shown what it can do with FPS control. The problem, however, is that MP3 is not a FPS. It is an adventure game, hiding in FPS clothing. Assuming that the technological hurdles can be leapt (the hard disk being the biggest), the Wii control scheme for Half Life 2 would be dead on perfect, a vast improvement over dual analog sticks. More importantly, with the Orange Box coming out for Xbox 360, it would be an opportunity for a Wii game to go head to head with a 360 game, to see which one is more fun to play. The Wii already has Medal of Honor coming, but WWII games have saturated the market for a very long time, and it’s time for a fresh, single player FPS with solid controls to grace the white box.

Will it ever get there: It wouldn’t be the first FPS to show up on the system in a post MP3 world, but if Medal of Honor can sell copies, and publishers begin to find that there is a market for the well-made FPS experience on Wii, Half Life 2 might be on the list.

Chance of arrival: 25%

3. Pikmin

Existing Platform: Gamecube

What it is: A quirky real time strategy game that blends humor with… ah, never mind. You know what Pikmin is. I have very fond memories of playing both the first and second games in the Pikmin franchise. This is probably the Gamecube franchise that I hold nearest and dearest.

Why it would excel on Wii: The clumsiest part of the control for the GC version of Pikmin was trying to tell the game where exactly you wanted to throw your Pikmin. With the Wii Pointer, this becomes simple – point and click. On the Wii, I imagine Olimar being controlled with the nunchuck analog stick, and the cursor being controlled with the Wii pointer. When Olimar wants to throw a Pikmin, you shake the nunchuck. When Olimar goes to pull a Pikmin out of the ground, a quick flick of the wrist would be a fun way to bring the player into the game. The multiplayer mode in Pikmin 2 was a fun, but underutilized portion of the game. Taking this online would be a blast, and could introduce new players to the franchise.

Pikmin was awesome on Gamecube. It would be even better on Wii.

Will it ever get there: Here’s what worries me: Nintendo, to my knowledge, has yet to even so much as drop a vague hint about a new Pikmin title. The first two were not the best selling games on the Gamecube, but I would hope that this wouldn’t deter Nintendo from continuing this enormously fun franchise.

Chance of arrival: 75%

4. Bionic Commando

Existing Platform: NES/Gameboy

What it is: Bionic Commando is one of the most unique sidescrollers in the NES era – it’s one that disallowed jumping. Every major platforming game of the day, and even since, has made jumping from platform to platform a major part of the gameplay, but not Bionic Commando. Your hero has a mechanical arm that extends out in front of him, and grasps platforms above, in the vein of Spiderman. Swinging from platform to platform, our hero gets all manners of weapon upgrades, and communications devices.

Why it would excel on Wii: On Wii, we would have a fast 3rd person game with a behind the shoulder camera. The original game had an espionage flavor, but a game like this is better off not trying to compete with Metal Gear and Splinter Cell, so while the communication and wire tapping should remain, it shouldn’t have an ultra-realistic flavor. The game would remain colorful, and be humorous. To use the Bionic arm, the player swings the nunchuck forward, similar to when Samus uses the grapple in Metroid Prime 3. The Wii pointer would be used to aim and free look around the screen. In this vein, the game might actually play more like a first person shooter than a third person shooter.

Will it ever get there: In a day in age when everyone is looking toward their archives to reinvent an IP, I’d say there’s definitely a chance.

Chance of arrival: 40%

5. Four Swords

Existing Platform: GBA/Gamecube

What it is: Nintendo decided to try something very different when it attached a major franchise to it’s overzealous “connectivity” campaign. They took a game concept originally developed as a way to add value to a GBA rerelease, and fleshed it out into a beautiful, top down 2D Zelda game. The problem? In order to really get the full experience, you needed three friends with GBAs, connectivity cables, and free time. I owned the game, but as a primarily solo gamer in a post-college, new city world, it wasn’t possible to get everyone together to play it as intended.

Why it would excel on Wii: Online Play. With a little voice chat magic, you and your friends could play the game online together using the DS as a controller and a microphone. This could be a masterpiece of wireless technology. The DS connects to the Wii and downloads the software, eliminating the need for messy cables. Then, you use the DS as a wireless controller, communication tool, and voice chat tool that communicates with the Wii, which in turn communicates with the players across the Nintendo WiFi Connection. For the players who don’t want to get into voice chat, the game could include an option where you can scribble notes on the touch screen and send them through the Wii to the other players.

Will it ever get there: When Nintendo announced they were making a Zelda DS game, they said it was a sequel to Four Swords. Later, this was scrapped in favor of the imminent Phantom Hourglass. Maybe they were holding off until the install base of the systems got higher, or maybe they moved on from the project entirely.

Chance of arrival: 60%