Over the past two years the Wii, and by extension Nintendo, has enjoyed immense success. Massive sales, new avenues of consumer adoption, grannies boxing grannies, and soccer moms getting fit on a video game controller–it’s all here, and the impact is undeniable.
Why then, I ask, am I still so annoyed with this amazing machine?
Before I jump headfirst into flame land, however, here’s a brief explainer about what’s NOT on the list, and why.
First, shovelware. Like the PS2 and DS before it, the Wii is seemingly inundated with crappy titles, but that’s not going to be in this top 10. Why? Because no one is forced to buy shovelware. However, you are forced to endure the Wii Home screen load animation, and so it is on the list. Ditto for HD graphics, because I play the Wii for games, not movie experiences. Besides, Nintendo never advertised the system as an HD machine, so it would be selfish and exceedingly stupid to be annoyed about something that was never promised to me in the first place.
But enough about me, let’s bash the Wii, shall we?
10. Returning to the Wii Menu Screen.
Pack a bale of breadcrumbs, fellas, because this is going to be one long, confusing journey. Will the menu screen load up quickly, or should I make a sandwich? Honestly, sometimes when I leave the weather channel, or return to the main menu after a round of River City Ransom, my system hangs for a little while before those little black and white Wii rectangles cascade across the screen and return me home. Only the length of a Metal Gear Solid 4 cutscene is worse’but just barely. I thought one of those firmware updates from a while back was supposed to supposed to speed things up? No? Is my Wii too dusty?
9. Entering my CC details every time I add Wii Points.
Come on, Ninty. I realize this is the safety system, but I am quite sure the majority of the American populace is comfortable with the idea of having a web site saving their personal info. This is especially true if the system in question resides in my own house! I don’t *entirely* mind typing things in with the IR pointer, because I make a little game out of it (I live a sad, sad life, my friends), but I’ve been told by the powers that be that this is something that needs a fix, STAT.
8. Sunlight keeps raining on my IR sensor parade.
Does that even make sense? I think it borders on a horrible mixed metaphor, but who cares’I want my Wii to work in the early morning hours, when the sunlight pours into our bay windows! Is there a firmware update in the works that gives my Wiimote some sunscreen protection? Seriously, this was an issue that was alluded to in the days before the Wii launched in 2006, and it’s still an issue now. If you have a sunny gaming room, you’re going to have wonky IR pointer controls. Don’t bother playing Zack and Wiki between the hours of 9 and 5. Free advice: Invest heavily in dark curtains, and go goth. Your IR pointer games and menus will thank you.
It’s AA hell at my place, once a month, which is kind of like a period in that they both deny me something. Sorry, too offensive? Well so is having to trek to CVS every month to buy a big ol’ batch of AA batteries. This isn’t the future, Nintendo! Go back in time and give me something similar to the Nyko recharging station from day one, in the package, for the same $250 price point, and I’ll forgive you. I guess I’ll have to, since you were time traveling and all, and I’d never know the difference.
White is hip. I get it. But I think the gunk that accumulates in the crevasses of my Wiimote is about as cool and hip as a tall glass of AIDS. This leads into another point–where the heck are the alternate color schemes? I’m not about to dress my Wiimotes up in some cheap GameStop-branded controller cover knock off, but an official Nintendo line of official new colors is tempting. By extension, this gripe also applies to the Wii Balance Board, which I affectionately call Pig Pen now. And this isn’t because I’m some sort of slob. No, in fact, I am actually quite American Psycho clean, and yet I’m still there, every other week, digging out grime from my controllers, the Wii itself, and the Balance Board.
5. Returning to the menu screen, continued.
This gripe is applicable to the Nintendo DS as well. Every tried to change the menu settings on that portable and then return to the menu? You can’t. The system makes you turn it off. Pointless. Just like changing the channel on the Wii. “It’s like the Wii reboots every time you do something on it,” said Infendo’s own managing editor and podcast ninja, David. I agree, but I’m not sure this is easily fixable’if at all.
4. Lack of graphical efforts (by third parties).
There’s just something about Nintendo systems that stifle third party developers for the first two years of their existence. It’s like their secret developer decoder rings are set to A=B when Nintendo is set to A=C. The slight discrepancy is just that, slight, but it means the end result is a disaster. Nintendo is an incredible developer/publisher, but the complaints from 3rd party developers can only go so far. Time and time again Nintendo has proven that great graphics are entirely doable on the system, and yet we still get half-assed ports. Since 3rd party games are a large part of any console’s ecosystem, we are stuck with this, so it made the list. Here’s hoping Conduit and other ambitious efforts represent the turning tide we know is coming, thanks in part to the history of the DS and Nintendo’s own first party efforts thus far.
Having an SD card slot does not a fully-capable, pick-up-and-play system make. This topic’s been done to death over the past 6 months, especially after WiiWare’s big splash in May, so I won’t dwell too much on it here. In short, there’s more to it that just what “geeks and otaku” say, and I imagine this will be addressed in some way, shape or form at E3. I hope, because I’m not entirely sure Nintendo understands this issue as much as it thinks it does.
2. No DVD case for Wii Sports.
In a household where the significant other thinks it is acceptable to store the previous DVD in the system bottom-side up on the TV stand, lacking a case for Wii Sports is an insult to injury. While Wii Sports launch is now but a distant memory, the lack of a proper DVD case for it is like an niggling back injury that flares up randomly for the rest of your life. It’s annoying, forced upon all American Wii owners without explanation, and hence, makes the list. Well, I suppose it’s environmentally sound, but whatever. Look, something shiny!
1. The mess.
Accessories, accessories, accessories. And no where to put them. This one is a love-hate relationship item. I like the Wii Wheels I own, and the Balance Board, and the Classic Controller and nunchucks, but I’m having trouble keeping them untangled and neat, as my OCD personality requires. It would appear the days of my neatly coiled NES rectangles are long gone. The era of accessories is upon us (right, EA?).
Bonus Round!!! Cue the airplane scenes from Jaws on the NES…
0. Friend Codes. ’nuff said (but here to stay)
-1. The news page time-outs.
You don’t check your news every day, like a religious little Nintendo zealot? Well, too bad then, because the system can’t be bothered with keeping the scrolling headlines up to date. You’ll have to log back in and endure a loading screen. At least that cute little cat makes an appearance, and by the time you’re done reading his useless little tip, the loading is over. Too bad I hate cats.