Wii pre-launch: From start to finish

Have I seemed a bit grumpy and overly critical of Nintendo lately, especially during such a momentous announcement as the Wii one from yesterday? Maybe. But don’t view such judgment as a bad thing, just a culmination of scrutinizing Wii coverage by a Nintendo enthusiast for well over a year. That and a little last minute gamer doubt.

I have never followed the pre-launch of a gaming platform this closely. Ever. It all started back in March or April of 2005 on a pseudo daily occurrence right before Infendo was born. Though I had anticipated the launch of the GameCube back in 2001, it was nothing compared to how meticulously I’ve followed the Wii. If anyone where to ask me in the last 18 months what was going on with the console or its manufacturer, I could tell them in precise detail, quick-like. Heck, I should be on Nintendo’s payroll for all the evangelizing I seem to be doing.

I have played Wii (or at least a near-final prototype in May) and really enjoyed my limited time with the system. The controller made a believer out of me. The problem was I only played games in 20 minute chunks. So while I’m convinced the console will be a casual hit, Nintendo hasn’t completely sold me on the experience of comprehensive gaming, not that they won’t.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had my doubts about a Nintendo platform, though. I questioned the DS from the moment I saw it at E3 2004, and Nintendo proved me (and many others) wrong since then. Currently the DS remains my most favored gaming platform for the engaging casual and in-depth software it offers. I guess what this all boils down to is a gamer coming to terms with inevitable, unproven, but very promising change. Can I get a witness, or am I alone in Wii coverage burnout, inner-gamer doubts, and a desire to just play games?