I took my first swing of a virtual tennis racket three months ago. While I haven’t played Wii Sports as much as Zelda or WarioWare, it made a lasting impression. The first time you get your baseball bat ready for a pitch and it matches each and every movement you make, a sense of awe comes over you. Now that I’m used to the Wii, it’s controller, and all the extra channels, it’s time to decide what I think of the console. It’s not too surprising; I love it. The weirdest thing is, I feel like I don’t get enough opportunity to play it. And that’s the biggest impression of Wii with me .. I like it so much that I feel guilty when I don’t have time to play it.
Let’s hear what some other Infendo writers have to say about it. And please share your impressions with us in Comments!
Wii has met my expections if not surpassed them. I’m am thoroughly pleased with how enjoyable Wii Sports is still is to this day (especially training). I believe Nintendo has already prooved that Wii is NOT a gimmick as the company did the DS before it. I do feel Wii can outsell the DS moving forward, but I have my doubts if hardcore gamers perhaps would get left behind in the process and/or if Nintendo can in fact branch out to a significant number of non-gamers. Not just semi-non gamers, but non-gamer actually buying the product not just having fun while we gamers push it on ’em.
Can Nintendo look back at the last three months and realize there is still some room for improvement? Of course. More third party support would be nice, and there’s no reason all Wii games shouldn’t have graphics as good as the most graphically-impressive GameCube games. And while it would be nice to have some of the big first party titles come out sooner than summer, Sonic, SSX Blur, Cooking Mama, and Paper Mario within the next couple months is hardly a drought. But if you look at the big picture, Nintendo has actually succeeded at satisfying its fans while attracting all new gamers, including those who have never even played video games before. The unique controls combined with Miis, the Wii Channels, and the brilliant Wii Sports (who would have thought this game would have winded up being one of the most important games of the past decade?) have all added up to give Nintendo some well-deserved respect from the media, developers, and most importantly, consumers. While Microsoft made the most hardcore system and Sony made the most powerful console, Nintendo made the most fun one. While it’s far too early to crown the company as this generation’s winner, in a short three months, Nintendo has done something I wouldn’t have thought possible a year ago: its established the genuine possibility that it may claim the #1 spot this generation. Well played.
My 50-something year old dad is still jonesing for a Wii for my family, and has recruited me to buy one and get reimbursed by him if I can find one. That alone answers several of the “questions and concerns” that are starting to pop up from lazy columnists trying to find gaming stories to write. What does it address? A) Non-gamers interest is still piqued by the Wii (the fact that it is still sold out is also a testament to this). B) Demand still persists, and the “gimmick” criticism has yet to materialize.
The combination of new IP, ports and Virtual Console games has been the perfect trifecta so far for the Wii. I’d wager that those people worried about a “drought” right now are those, like us, who are reading about gaming every day. We, unfortunately, are the minority. A vast majority of Wii owners and aspiring owners are having a blast or are wishing they were, like Blake, training with Wii Sports and playing Kid Icarus.
This also leads me to online play — people don’t care as much as we think they do. The standard, Xbox Live — what’s the % of 360 owners that have subscribed? How about Sony? Does anyone even talk about Sony’s online play anymore? Nintendo will get to online when it starts to affect their bottom line. Just because the small vocal minority — us — wants online like nobody’s business means very little to the big picture. Wii will survive just fine on the cutesy Wii voting channel, Wii shop channel, new and weather, etc. Online will drop someday, but for the immediate future don’t be too worried that it’s not here. Some co-op online River City Ransom or any of the other great NES games of old would be killer online though — so little power or memory would be needed!
Lastly, the Wii and Nintendo have found success without one of the staples of the last generation: mass advertising. I surf the Net and watch a bit of the ol’ telly, and I see maybe one Nintendo ad a week. What Nintendo is riding right now is what they generated with those Wii Parties from 2006 and those Conon O’Brien type segments on the news. Word of mouth, user generated reviews, etc. These carry far more clout than some advertiser TELLING you to buy a product because they know what’s good for you. There’s really no way for “words” like graphics and “CELL processor” and “SIXAXIS” to compete with the image or video clip of a celebrity or family or gamer engrossed in Wii Sports. No way whatsoever.
And this trend speaks volumes about the quality of the product that Nintendo has released in the Wii (and of course the DS). The competition is all about TELLING you what to do and expect in this next generation. Nintendo SHOWED a bunch of people a product and let them decide for themselves. You couldn’t stop that kind of momentum with all the crying baby ads in the world. My personal bias aside, it’s Nintendo’s game to lose this year.