Why readily discounting Wii graphics can actually hinder their potential


I’ve got a bone to pick with EA and/or third-party Wii developers in general. Perhaps even Nintendo. There have been some really poopsky looking Wii games up to this point because the entire Nintendo community — including developers — readily discount Wii’s graphics potential. Yes, they are inferior when compared to the competition, but that shouldn’t give developers a good excuse not to optimize the system’s aesthetics. By doing so, consumers get “ripped off” in the process. I understand the initial R&D focus of Wii games has been on the controls, and rightfully so. But there’s no excuse for the many GameCube 1.0 graphics gracing the face of several Wii games today. We paid for a GameCube 1.5, right? 🙂 Where’s the extra .5 effort?

So developers: take a little extra time to go above and beyond in the graphics department. Granted, I’ll opt to play PC, PS3, or 360 if I’m jonesing for some HD graphics, but I just want to know that you are pushing the envelope on Wii. Software has always been ahead of hardware in terms of scalability, so there’s no reason you can’t do more (both artistically and realistically) with the console’s visuals. Just because the DS uses a 10 year-old graphics engine, doesn’t mean I want developers to quit tweaking the looks. And there are some fine looking DS games. We should expect nothing less on Wii, or any platform for that matter.


  1. See, this is one of my biggest gripes with early Wii games too. I’m playing through RE4, a Gamecube game, and it looks better than a lot of Wii games. Granted, I think games like Elebits do actually force a lot on screen dynamically, which takes a big bite out of the power of Wii. It’s good to hear that they’re getting virtual displacement mapping working on Wii.

  2. Looks better than a lot of Wii games? Try all Wii games.

  3. Was that an editorial by Blake … on Infendo that I just read???

    I feel so proud right now… tear…

  4. I wholeheartedly agree. Also, if the hardware isn’t so different from the GameCube, some of the same optimizations should be possible when it comes to getting the most out of the Wii hardware.

  5. I agree 100%. The truth of the matter is… It will take Nintendo to set the new standard. So till games like MP3, Mario and a host of other high profile games release that truly show the world that Wii is not just an extension of the Wiimote then 3rd Party developers will continue to half ass the graphics for Wiimote mechanics.

    After Nintendo set the treat with great graphics and great gameplay… lazy azz 3rd party will have to start working on (stop porting PS2 graphics)new enhance engines for Wii to put out the best graphics presentation of their games.

    Metroid Prime 3, Project Hammer and Mario will set the bar for graphics on the Wii. Ubisoft and other better get their act together by then.

  6. I, too, must agree with this. It’d be nice to see developers go the extra mile (not counting Nintendo, who we know will deliver visually with the new Pokemon Wii game and Super Mario Galaxy). It’s nice to see that Konami, however, has already taken this into account, as Dewey’s Adventure looks like it’ll be a pretty game in terms of the Wii’s capabilities.

    Truthfully, if all of the games on Wii held up the the standards of Resident Evil 4, then I’d be happy.

  7. I read somewhere that Dewey’s Adventure was going to use a new rendering technique that could get around the fact that the graphics processor of the GameCube/Wii doesn’t handle bump mapping. It is a good example of how a developer can take advantage of the higher processing power of the Wii’s graphics chip, if they do their homework.

    And Blake is right: so far, many developers seemed to have taken Nintendo’s fans supposed disregard for quality in graphics as an invitation to go back two generations in 3D modeling. That’s one thing I hated about Rayman Ravin Rabbids: It seemed like Ubisoft didn’t even try, the graphics look worse than the Dreamcast’s.

  8. I have said this before and I’m saying it again. Just because the DS is successful without the need of PSP-type graphics doesn’t mean the Wii wil be successful without better graphics. The Wii hardware is obviously no more than just an slightly upgraded GCN, and it’s not meant to last the typical 4/5-years console cycle. Nintendo must be fooling itself if it thinks a mere GCN upgrade will get it through this new generation. Dont get me wrong I love my Wii, but I believe Nintendo was more than capable of putting 720 on the Wii and stil keep it under $299, but they chose not to just cause they didn’t want to be on the same MS/Sony league. That’s just a narrowed business mentality if you ask me.

  9. I think that the reason that most of the first generation games look so poor is the fact Nintendo gave developers boosted GameCubes as DevKits. Fact is, most of the games out at the moment were designed on jacked up GameCubes! I’m hoping that the 2nd and 3rd generations will be able to succeed the graphics that are being realized by current generation games. It’s embarrassing as a Wii owner to rave about your system and then get caught up in the graphics argument, because no matter how much you enjoy your system…everybody else is right when they criticize the graphics. It’s like having the most wonderful girlfriend in the world with a mouth full of rotted teeth and a hunch in her back.

  10. very true- do we need to wait for 1st party stuff to push the envelope? or can we hope E-i-wanna-be-#-2-on-the-wii-A will step up and ubisoft will get their act together?

  11. I demand games that look AT LEAST like the best games on Gamecube TIMES 2!

    I’m more than a little disappointed that most Wii games don’t match the graphics from Rogue Squadron or Resident Evil 4.

    While e.g. Zelda TP is OK but not great I think it’s the best looking Wii game so far?

  12. I agree the graphics on the Wii need to be better, this falls into Nintendo’s lap. Their QC has to start rejecting these games from 3rd parties who are just slapping PS2 ports together and putting motion control in them. Nintendo now holds the cards, their system is selling big and they can afford to start getting a little choosey and demand these 3rd parties start putting effort into the whole package. The Gamecube had a powerful graphics chipset, only a small downgrade from Xbox 1 actually. This is evident by games like RE4, Metroid, SMS, Battalion Wars etc. Of course it suffered with sloppy PS2 ports thrown together in a couple of months, Nintendo could not afford to say no way to those games or they’d just be cancelled. The Wii has a more powerful chipset than the GCN, although not comparable to the 360 or PS3 it still should pump out Xbox 1.5 graphics, with Doom 3 or Riddick quality. If you play the Wii on a HDTV use the component cable it makes a world of difference on games like Zelda, Madden. I played CoD3 on my Wii and felt the graphics were a minor downgrade from my 360 version and I’m a graphics whore btw, so I’m not trying to be Nintendo fanboy here. Its up to you Nintendo.

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