I grew up with the original Nintendo. I was a fanboy back then just like the rest of us, long before “fanboy” meant what it means now. Nintendo could do no wrong during that time and depending on who you ask, that’s still true today, but I beg to differ. The NES turned me into a gamer and Nintendo would again define me as a gamer 20 years later with the Wii. For the last five years I’ve been living with “Wii Regret” but it’s not for lack of trying. I had the highest hopes for the Wii but it was a struggle right from the start.
Just when my gaming reached its darkest time
When the Wii was announced I was excited about gaming again. After going hardcore with the NES, the PC and the Playstations over a 15 year period, I was burned out. I wanted something new. The Wii gave me an excuse to get excited about gaming again. I was all about the “get up and play” experience that the Wii promised. I played the demos in the stores and in early 2006 a Wii was mine.
For once I was a part of the cool crowd. The Wii was the first console I had purchased at launch. I usually waited until the first price drop to buy a new console but I was itching to enjoy games again so I got up early one morning and found a lonely Wii at Meijer. From that day on for the next nine months I was a Wii addict. I hit more tennis balls and bowled more strikes than I care to remember. I downloaded a few WiiWare games that were fun but after 14 months or so the Wii had fallen flat in my house, but why?
Unless you like Mario, you’re out of luck
There was certainly no shortage of Wii games. Regardless what you consider a “good” game, there was a large collection of titles, but it just so happens that 75% of those titles were first-party Nintendo titles like Mario, Zelda and Metroid, and I quickly discovered that…well…I just don’t like Nintendo games. Prior to the Wii, the last Mario game I played was Super Mario Bros 3. I hadn’t played any Zelda titles since 1987 and I never got into Metroid. I was not a fan of the core Nintendo franchises and in the case of the Wii, that’s about all there was to play if you wanted any quality.
Since the last Nintendo I had prior the Wii was the NES, I was expecting a lot of good, third-party games. Given that the Wii had some cool controls and more features than any previous Nintendo console, why shouldn’t it be host to a ton of great games? Even with the few games I enjoyed, the whole Wii experience did tell me once and for all what games I really liked playing, and they weren’t Nintendo games. The only hope the Wii then had was the WiiWare and Virtual Console. However, thanks to emulators, I could play any old console game for free.. Furhtermore, the WiiWare titles didn’t have demos and I do my best not to buy a game sight un-played, even for $10. After the novelty wore off, there wasn’t much redeeming value in the Wii.
I’m just not a Nintendo kid anymore
After three years of disappointment from the Wii, I got an Xbox 360 and it did what I thought the Wii should have done; deliver great arcade gaming experiences. The Wii’s failure told me indefinitely that I am an arcade gamer. I wanted short bursts of intense gaming action, and unless I wanted Mario, Zelda or a mini-game extravaganza, the Wii was not going give me that experience. Believe me, I tried to make the Wii work for me. I wanted to see my investment succeed but no matter how hard I tried, it just didn’t satisfy.
For better or for worse, the Wii exposed me for the gamer I was in light of the gamer I thought I was or the gamer I wanted to be. In the end, if that’s all the Wii has given me then I guess I should be thankful. I thought the Wii was going to be a different Nintendo, but I should have known better. Shame on me. The Wii may have broken sales records and is responsible for bringing a new audience to gaming, but this is one gamer that the Wii lost and Nintendo will probably never regain. If it’s all the same to you, I’ll just stick with my NES and keep trying to finish Battletoads.
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