The Wii, the ‘hardcore gamer’, and the other consoles
One of the regular arguments we see these days on the interwebs is about the value of the Wii and the contribution it makes to gaming. Many self-proclaimed ‘hardcore’ gamers seem to despise the Wii and some of their points are quite true – the Wii is home to a great deal of ‘shovelware’. That is to say that a great many games produced for the Wii are not likely to excite many people, sharing more similarities to a free online Flash game than a ‘proper’ console title paid for in cash. Also, some of the Wii’s features are lacking in comparison to the Xbox 360 or PS3. The graphics are poorer, it lacks true HD abilities, and its online features are not nearly as advanced. In addition, the Wii’s chief feature – motion controls – tends to be used as little more than a novelty in many cases and often feel like a tacked on addition in most games, cheapening the experience.
That being said, in my humble opinion, the Wii is a great system. Why? It achieves what it sets out to do: it is fun.
Don’t get me wrong: if I am going to sit down for a few hours by myself to play a game, I’m unlike to reach for the Wii remotes charging nearby. Instead, I’ll plug in a much deeper Xbox 360 game. I find that the Wii does have too much shovelware, and the majority of games aren’t worth the time (Mario Galaxy and Zelda are the only games that I really spent a significant amount of singleplayer time with). The Xbox 360 boasts an impressive library of very deep immersive games that continually expands.
However, when I have a few people over, the Wii is an unmatched experience. Again, because it is fun. Multiplayer is where the Wii truly shines. Other consoles have gotten into a habit lately of forcing people to play online. It seems we are discouraged from gathering around one television with some buddies for an afternoon anymore. I don’t want to play online with my friends when I can have them plop on my couch for a few hours. Social contact is a good thing, after all. The Wii disagrees, and is bold enough to encourage this behaviour. Games such as Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart Wii (both of which have online components aswell) are so easy to get some people together and play.
It doesn’t matter how much experience someone has had with the game to enjoy it. For most XBOX 360 games, half of learning the game seems to be figuring how to interact with the controller in the way that particular game wants you too. The Wii always has a more dynamic feel to me and I’ve found it much simpler to introduce new people to its games – even people that have never really been interested in a console. The beauty is that most games allow you multiple control schemes. I mentioned Mario Kart already – that game allows you to either use a Wiimote, a Wiimote with a wheel, or a gamecube controller to play. This lets everyone of different skill levels enjoy the game without being increasingly frustrated when faced with more experienced players. I may be a more skilled player than someone I have over, but we can still both play it and have fun. This lets everybody play: together. That is something special, and which is why I enjoy the Wii.
And hey – you can’t argue with those classic (and new) 3D titles. The public has spoken: 2D beats 3D.