When I think about the 7th generation of consoles, I think about Playstation grills, FPSs, the colour brown, the rise of the “casual” and the “hardcore” gamers and the attempt of companies to cater to both. Do you know what I won’t be remembering the last generation for though? My Wii gathering dust.
The consensus around the Wii that still seems to linger is that it was the casual console and it had no games. It was something your grandma played and no self respecting HARDCORE gamer would be caught dead playing that childish machine. Despite the stigma and the initial rush of: “Ha ha it’s called the weee” jokes, I never felt ashamed or even disappointed that the Wii was the one console I chose to buy. It not only managed to stick around for the entire generation *cough* Red Ring *cough* but it gave me something the other consoles couldn’t. A variety of unique games that were fun to play.
I mean seriously, what other console exclusively gave me a quality point-and-click adventure game? Or a game where you go painting things as a blob of paint. Throughout the entire generation, there were very few games that the competition had that piqued my interests. When you consider the games that also came out on PC there were fewer still. The games that were left, games like Bayonetta, Lost Odyssey and The Last of Us weren't enough for me to ever consider buying an entire console just to play those few games.
It all Started With Wii Sports
Wii Sports paved the way for motion controlled gaming and it did a marvelous job. Gamers won’t look fondly back on it now but to me it epitomised what the core of playing games is about. FUN. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Wii Sports, won Nintendo the 7th generation. The game’s motion controlled simplicity spoke to people at a base, instinctual level that allowed everyone to have fun with it.
It was when games first started pushing the complexity that we all realised how flawed motion-controlled gaming was and still is. For a while there, it seemed like we got nothing but mini-game collections and there was a sense that no one really knew how to make games for the system. Then Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Super Mario Galaxy came out and everything was okay. It was at this point in Late 2007 that a slew of great games were being released. Hot off the heels of Galaxy and Corruption were the releases of Zack and Wiki and No More Heroes. All four of these games I enjoyed immensely and each one belonged to it’s own unique genre and style.
As I continued to buy games for the Wii, I realised that the games consistently gave me new experiences. Even if the games were mediocre, they at least gave me something fresh that elevated them above that mediocrity. Deadly Creatures for example is a very average game in respects to it’s combat and how obviously rushed the last part of the game is, but it had such a unique perspective on our own world that it felt great to explore. The perspective also gave the story a fresh twist as the silent protagonist angle made sense and the nature of being such a passive element in it was refreshing. I would probably lump Madworld and No More Heroes into this list too and what elevated these games above mediocrity among other things, was the motion controls. I don't think these games would have been anywhere near as satisfying to play if the finishing moves didn’t require me to physically execute them. It just felt so much more visceral than a button press and utilising the motion controls for only somewhat occasional input was a decision that made them feel more satisfying.
OK The Conduit, unfortunately, was legit mediocre in pretty much every way… So… Yeah, we'll just ignore it won't we Shiggy? Moving on!
Can’t do a memorium on the Internet without a list! So I’ll cap this part off with my personal top 10 games for the system.
1. Super Mario Galaxy
2. Super Smash Bros Brawl
3. Zack and Wiki
4. Xenoblade Chronicles
5. No More Heroes 2
6. Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn
7. Donkey Kong Country Returns
8. Tatsunoko Vs Capcom
9. A Boy and his Blob
Thanks for the Memories
I remember the spectacular hype train that was the Smash Dojo, the spectacular un-hype train that was Wii Music and the friend code debacle. I remember Project H.A.M.M.E.R, the vaporware of Sadness and Nintendo taking months to localise anything for the PAL region. I remember all the smashed TVs, the Wii-Remote condom and Wii-Fit telling everyone they were fat. I remember playing endless hours of Brawl with my mates tweaking the many options and assigning our own rules to keep the game enjoyable (ALL Ganondorf and you can only use specials). I remember the resurrection of PunchOut!, A Boy and His Blob and Donkey Kong in their own fantastic games, oh and Kirby is made of yarn. I remember discovering that the Wii-Remote was the umbrella, Mario skating on lava and hugging your blob.
I remember the fight for Nintendo to localise three awesome looking JRPGS: The Last Story, Pandora’s Tower and Xenoblade Chronicles. I remember wandering around on the surface of a titan and seeing the glowing eyes of another in the unreachable horizon. I remember how surprised i was that Tatsunoko Vs Capcom would be released to the west and that I would kick some ass with Tekkaman. I remember the backlash of Metroid Other M and thinking that the game was still pretty good, the unfulfilled promise of a Metroid Dread which still saddens me to this day and the majestic Metroid Prime Trilogy being released in a single disc.
From the slow strategic battles of Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn to the frantic Hack and Slash of Muramasa the Demon Blade. From the inside of the ring in Punchout! to the beautiful wide expanse of the world of Xenoblade Chronicles. From the down to earth realism of Deadly Creatures to the utter absurdity of No More Heroes. From one game world to the next, the Wii gave me so much to experience, explore and first and foremost enjoy. There is a lot that I will remember and take away from the life of the Wii and indeed the generation as a whole. However, the one thing that I will never forget, the ONE most important moment that perfectly encapsulates EVERYTHING about my thoughts on the Wii’s library of games is right here:
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About Chimpomageeone of us since 3:20 AM on 09.08.2013
I am just your average gamer with aspirations to enter the gaming industry. I live in Australia and as such get raped by technological pricing and policies by the idiots who run the country and various other backwards thinking organizations. So yeah...I have to buy a lot of lube...
on a lighter note, why is this not Australia's National flag?
Anyway, my favouritest thing in all the world is good design. Not just in video games but in the real world as well. It baffles me in so many ways how badly some things are designed and how so many people will overlook/ignore these problems. This is probably why i am deeply cynical in regards to the human race and spend so much time in escapism. However, good design just kicks ass.