Top 10 online Wii games; yes, it plays online!

Despite what you may have heard, that little white box in your living room does have wireless online capabilities built in, which means it supports online gaming…at least in some capacity. More developers are finally delivering online experiences to the platform, and with the Wi-Fi library growing — albeit slower than a seedling — we’ve taken a light-hearted look at the ten best online games the Wii has to offer.

And yes, there are more than 10 online games for Wii.

10. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Due to epic failure, Brawl probably shouldn’t have made the cut. But one time, I sent out a messenger pigeon in search of a Brawl match, a Wii owner’s most efficient means of connecting with friends online.

After only two weeks, a few friends got the message, logged on and pummeled me without a moment of lag.

Even the pigeon was surprised.

09. Endless Ocean

After being disconnected from Brawl a few dozen times, you’ve likely worked up a sweat. Rinse that frustration away with the cool waters of Endless Ocean!

Surprisingly, swimming with friends can be fun.

Sure, there isn’t anything spectacular about the game’s online features, but it actually works. Let’s be honest, that alone qualifies it for this list.

08. Mario Strikers Charged

Strikers’ online mode is simple but effective. You won’t find elaborate tournaments, but you can jump into matches against friends and random players almost seamlessly.

Strikers erases public statistics weekly, which is unfortunate, but it allows four-player matches — two players per console — with minimal lag and only a few dozen friend code digits.

07. Battalion Wars II

I hold Battalion Wars in the highest regard, but I’m not very good at it. Actually, I’m deplorably bad, and this impacts my personal feelings toward the game’s robust online component. As absorbing and reliable as the game’s several online modes are, they are much less enjoyable when I’m being blown up by my 11-year-old brother.

06. Guitar Hero III

Blake really likes this one, and as he gushed in March, “only the ditching of friend codes and VOIP would make it a better experience. Guitar Hero doesn’t make you reconnect to Wi-Fi like Brawl does, rather it maintains a constant connect. But the gravy is receiving friend invite alerts much like Xbox Live anytime you have the game fired on.”

05. Madden NFL ’09

No developer has taken the Wii online as aggressively as EA, and this year, Madden brings gridiron glory to Nintendo fans with an online component vastly improved from last year. Log on, and you’re greeted with bustling lobbies, a message system and stat-tracking. Friend codes, “sammiches” and the great city of Pittsburgh not included.

04. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008

PES 2008 boasts an online mode that almost stands toe-to-toe with anything you’d find on the 360. Matches against friends and strangers are flawless, and you can even play an AI-controlled version of your friend’s career mode team via WiiConnect24. This one goes deeper than Jerry Springer’s final thought. And yes, this is the Wii version.

03. Medal of Honor: Heroes 2

Online Wii gaming wasn’t very serious until this game kicked in the door — which was unlocked, by the way — with a broken cigarette dangling from its mouth and bullets spilling from its pockets. It shouted something about lots of modes and brutal 32-player online sniping sessions. I tried to run away, but it shot me in the back. Game over.

02. Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09

EA set an online Wii standard this year with Tiger Woods, a four-player golfing experience with countless modes, lobbies, messages from friends and much more. You take your shots without waiting, playing through while your friends are also shooting, and the game tracks all progress. Best of all, there is nary a single cumbersome friend code.

01. Mario Kart Wii

I’d felt it a few times before, but never quite as convincingly as with Mario Kart Wii. After mopping up the floor with some friends, lapping some teenaged Asian kid, testing my mettle against online ghost data and competing in a few tournaments, it hit me. This online component isn’t “good for being free.” This is online so good, it’d be worth paying for.

Agree? Disagree? Share your own list in the comments.