State of the Wii

In 2006 when the Wii launched to the public, all skepticism was dropped, and everyone was immersed in the ability to control your player with a swing of a Wiimote.

By King, Posted 10 Jan 2010

Back when the Wii was first showcased everyone was skeptical about how it would turn out. Since gaming's beginning we have known the traditional set-up of a typical game controller. Sure we've had some peripherals that branched out with a new way to control a game, with something like Sony's eyetoy or the plastic Gibson that came with packaged Guitar Hero, but a console that used motion control as the main feature was simply unheard of.

In 2006 when the Wii launched to the public, all criticism was dropped, and everyone from a level 80 Night Elf Mohawk to 80 year old grandmas were immersed in the ability to control your player with a swing of a Wiimote. The Nintendo Wii became the hot item to have. Everyone wanted one and they were willing to pay well over the $250 price tag to get one off of eBay.

The early years were going better than planned. Now that there was a Wii planted in just about every home, people were still having a blast. The Wii had good games for almost everyone. The packed in Wii Sports was still among fan favorites, but casual gamers were eating up Wii Play, Mario Party 8, and the load of cheap shovelware games, while the so-called “hardcore” audience was content with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, and Metroid Prime 3. Plus for everyone looking for their fill of nostalgia from the NES, SNES, N64, or Genesis days the Wii's Virtual Console offered a huge library of classics to choose from.

Now into it's fourth year of existence the Nintendo Wii certainly isn't suffering in terms of popularity. Sales show that this past December Santa purchased over 3 million consoles to deliver to families across the globe, which is actually a boost from 2008 where the Wii moved 2.14 million units in the month of December. No, no, sales certainly aren't the issue. Soccer moms still think the Wii is the best piece of technology since TiVo was invented. But not everyone is loving the Wii like they were back in 2006. The Wii's humongous fan base is slowly diminishing. Over the last year or two the “hardcore” gamers have been fed up with the Wii, and recently I've even been hearing whispers from the most casual of gamers that they are getting bored of the Wii.

But what could be the problem with the console that's moved about 60 million units? In a short answer: games. The current generation of consoles has been around long enough by now that each system should have a decent sized library of AAA quality titles built up. So just how bad is the Wii's library? Continue reading and we'll discuss what the Wii games have done wrong, and what Nintendo and third party developers can do to make things better.

For starters, let's talk about some of the current games on the Wii. Some of the top rated exclusive Wii games include: Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3, New Super Mario Bros., Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Punch-Out!!, Super Paper Mario, and Boom Blox. I'll give some positive thoughts now. Super Mario Galaxy is a perfect example of how to make a game for Wii. It makes great use of motion controls without feeling gimmicky, and it's able to maintain an age old formula while introducing new ideas. SSBB is also a great job of transitioning one of the Gamecube's best games onto the Wii while giving us a great amount of new content. Even Metroid Prime 3 is suitable because it closes out a trilogy in a way that stays true to the series, but makes use of the Wii's capabilities.

But some of the highest rated games lack any innovation. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the best example of this. It's basically the same game that was released on the DS a few years ago but this time with 4 player co-op slapped on with some new, fairly uninspired levels. We've been playing side scrolling Mario games since the 80s, and hardly anything has changed except how good the backgrounds look. There's nothing wrong with a classic game formula, and NSMBW had it's moments, but I couldn't take a whole game that got by solely on nostalgic power. Mario Kart and Punch-Out are guilty almost as much as New Super Mario. Great things come from new ideas, and if Wii games lack anything new and addictive it doesn't stay fun for as long.

Have you noticed something about nearly every good Wii game? They're developed by Nintendo. Either third-party developers can't get a grasp for developing for the Wii's unique system, or they aren't inspired. The latter is completely understandable, because take a look at the Wii's better third-party titles: No More Heroes, MadWorld, Dead Space: Extraction, and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure. None of those games have sold particularly well. But with the right game and the right marketing a great third-party Wii game could sell. Remember what Rare was to the N64? The Wii needs a developer like that to step up and make some high quality titles.

SSBBNintendo, Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3, New Super Mario Bros., Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Punch-Out!!, Super Paper Mario, Boom Blox, Metroid: Other M, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Epic Mickey, Sin & Punishment 2, Endless Ocean, Moster Hunter, No More Heroes 2, Arc Rise Fantasia, Fragile Dreams

But no great third-party games, no big deal. Most gamers who bought a Wii were buying it for those classic Nintendo titles that every console of gets. Err....four years in and we haven't seen so much as a rumor of a Star Fox title. There's many big name Nintendo franchises that have been so far ignored. Fans are begging for a Donkey Kong, F-Zero, Earthbound,and Kirby among others. Now Nintendo does like to keep things secret, so we can pray that some of these might be shown off at E3, but if the Wii goes an entire lifespan without a Star Fox game, what a disappointment it would be. So far Mario, Samus, and Link have been running the show.

But why would any company feel the need to make something new and creative when other games are selling so well on the Wii? Let's take a look at some more of the highest rated and best selling games on the Wii: Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Okami, Metroid Trilogy, Resident Evil 4, New Control Pikmin 2, Bully, and a load of Guitar Hero games. All of these (other than the Guitar Hero games) appeared on a console from the last generation and were ported over to the Wii with little more than some new motion controls. Quick cash-ins for the win!...

Something else the Wii's gaming library is lacking is variety in genres. While stuffed with mini-game collections and what could I guess be classified as “adventure games” based on movie or TV licenses. Some of gaming's biggest genres still don't have a defying title on the Wii. First-person shooters crowd the scene on the PC and PS3, and especially the Xbox 360. Halo, Call of Duty, Resistance, Killzone, and Crysis are all good and popular shooting games. Why doesn't the Wii have games like this? Maybe because no one thinks it can handle mature games, or that it isn't powerful enough. But it definitely has the control scheme.

Shooting it Metroid 3 was some of the most fun I've had with a shooting game simply because the controls felt so right. The Conduit tried to be that big hit for shooting games on the Wii but ultimately came off as a generic FPS that would've gone unnoticed if it had been on anything but the Wii. Heck, the re-release of Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare Reflex proved that a good FPS can be achieved on the Wii. The game was just about every bit as good as it had been on the other consoles, with the only problem being that it was late to the party. But for anyone who hadn't already played the original, Reflex offered a solid single player campaign, with some of the best online shooting around. The game was good online and not just by Wii standards. Not to mention the control scheme still was excellent fun once you got used to it. Another Call of Duty game, World at War, also set a good standard for what a shooting game should be able to achieve on the Wii. The problem is, that not many outside of the Call of Duty franchise have been able to step up and make a good game.

The other big genre is sports titles. The Madden's, MLB The Show's, NBA 2K's, NHL xx's, FIFA's, etc. are some of the most played games around the world selling millions and millions with every yearly iteration. Now the Wii has had some good sports games, but not traditional ones. Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort are a lot of fun playing with the simple different mini-games that take full advantage of the motion control. But those mini-games start to feel repetitive and gamers want something more, like a franchise mode or the ability to play online. Tiger Woods 10 is the only traditional sports game I can think of that has taken advantage of making a sports game on the Wii. Paired with Wii Motion Plus the game made it feel like you were actually swinging a driver and striking a ball across the fairway. The game did gameplay right and had depth with superb online functionality featuring tournaments, and even good offline game modes.

Not to knock golf or anything, but it's not the most exciting sport. So saying that the only really good traditional Wii sports title is a golfing game is kind of like saying you're a Monopoly money. Madden has stopped taking the Wii seriously and dumbed itself down to be appealing to kids instead of being a real football sim. With Madden 10 they took away the (somewhat) realistic graphics for a more arcady look and the games selling points were based around party modes. I was glad in a way that they were treating the Wii like a unique system instead of just slapping a PS2 port with waggle controls but this certainly was the wrong route to go. NBA 2K10 was a step in the right direction because it featured a top notch Association mode and even the My Player mode that was included in big brother console versions, along with just about every other feature you could find in those games. Even the online was about on par with the 360 and PS3 versions. But then the ball was dropped because the gameplay was simply bad.

The third big genre that isn't being represented properly on Wii is the Role Playing Game. Nintendo consoles in the past haven't been this far behind in RPGs, as there is usually games like Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, Earthbound, some kind of Final Fantasy games, or a Mario RPG. The Wii really would be a great console for RPGs, and I'd especially like to see an open world RPG. Some people might think the Wii isn't able to handle a big map to explore freely, but the Wii is more powerful than the PS2 was. The PS2 was able to handle many open world games, including the mammoth of a map that San Andreas featured.

Online is also really holding the system back. No one, and I mean no one, wants to deal with getting a long, 12 digit friend code from someone they know with a Wii just to add them online. Then they'll have to get a separate friend code for every game they want to play online with that person. The “username” idea sounds a whole lot better to me, and it works on Xbox Live and PSN perfectly. I know it can help protect children from meeting strangers online, but come on, if you're that concerned how about you monitor the kid yourself and don't let them go meet at the Holiday Inn because there's a “video game tournament going on”.

Not to mention there aren't a lot of Wii games that make full use out of the system's Wi-Fi. Usually if a game even does support an online mode it's just something simple like quick play with a complete stranger. The whole friend code issue would solve half of that, but developers spending time making a good online mode would also take care of the issue. We can be thankful for the inclusion of Wii Speak as Nintendo didn't completely ignore the consumer's want of being able to talk to other gamers. Once again, games that actually use Wii Speak would make it even better, but let's be happy we even have a Wii Speak to be talking about right now. It's a step in the right direction.

Surprisingly I've been able to go this whole time without even mentioning the Wii's graphical capabilities yet. That's because they aren't that big of a deal. It's able to support decent 3D models and environemts, which while aren't close to being on the level with the other current gen systems, still provide playable games. If taken care of in the right manner, you could even get a game that looks really damn good. Super Mario Galaxy could have been on the PS3 and no one would've complained that the graphics were horrible. Nintendo pushed their console's power to the limit, plus having one of the best looking games artistically of all-time helped. A few other select titles have also managed to look pretty slick on the Wii.

Nintendo, Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3, New Super Mario Bros., Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Punch-Out!!, Super Paper Mario, Boom Blox, Metroid: Other M, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Epic Mickey, Sin & Punishment 2, Endless Ocean, Moster Hunter, No More Heroes 2, Arc Rise Fantasia, Fragile Dreams

Putting the roller coaster beginnings behind us, let's take a look at what is in store for Wii owners in 2010:

Metroid: Other M- Being developed by Team Ninja (responsible for Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive games) it'll be interesting to see how Other M fits into the venerable series. From what we've seen so far, it looks like the game will be in 2D similar to Super Metroid, but it also has sections that put you in First-person perspective like the Metroid Prime games. We don't have a true feel for what it will be like yet, but it definitely looks promising.

Super Mario Galaxy 2- This game fits in with the New Super Mario Bros. Wii discussion we had earlier. It doesn't seem like there's really much that's changed this time around, but the second installment just serves as an excuse to play more levels in the Galaxy gravity-based gameplay. As good as the first Galaxy game was it's hard to complain that we're getting more of the same great thing, but it doesn't seem like they'll be adding a whole lot, which is something I would've liked to see.

Epic Mickey- If we can get past the extremely cheesy title, maybe a good game will be found in Epic Mickey. The concept is definitely intriguing. You get to play as Mickey Mouse and choose whether he is a hero or you can explore the darker side of the Disney character. I'm not a fan of the screen shots that have been shown so far, but a game with such an interesting concept will be kept on my radar.

Sin & Punishment 2- It's been 10 years since the first Sin & Punishment was released in Japan, but the critically acclaimed rail shooter is getting a sequel that is coming to the States in 2010. I'm worried about whether or not the game will have any depth or replayability, but still, the game has gotten positive reviews and will be one to look out for.

Endless Ocean: Blue World- The game is very different but we talked about how going against the grain and trying something new can be a good thing, so the Endless Ocean series is interesting to me. The game is about being a scuba diver who explores the ocean. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Moster Hunter Tri- While the slow combat is a turn off to a lot of people, Monster Hunter is a hugely popular gaming franchise in Japan and now Americans are going to get the console experience with Monster Hunter Tri. With a Famitsu score of 40/40, I'm anxious to get my hands on this title and hunt some monsters.

No More Heroes 2- As fun as the original No More Heroes was, we will be in for a treat in just a few more weeks as No More Heroes 2 is releasing on January 26.

Arc Rise Fantasia- This is a JRPG combines great visuals with classic RPG elements. This could be an answer to the Wii's RPG sorrows.

Fragile Dreams- Another JRPG. This one is set in a post apocalyptic world and features cell shaded graphics. The Wiimote will be used as a flashlight. It sounds like it could be a sleeper of 2010.

I'd also like to mention that it's very possible for a new Zelda game to be released in 2010, along with another big game or two that Nintendo has up their sleeve for E3 this year.

We're right in the middle of the current gen lifespans so it's not too late for the Wii to regain momentum. All hope is not lost yet. It looks like the Wii has some potentially great games coming its way this year. There might even be a few games that no one was looking out for which pop up and surprise us. We can also hope for big announcements made by Nintendo at E3 in June. If one thing is certain, the Wii needs to change its ways because we would hate to see a system with such a great idea fade away and become irrelevant in the world of gaming.

Logan Smithson, Noobfeed

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  • Nintendo definitely needs to embrace more 3rd party support and add motion control to all their games just because the Wii is capable of doing so because some games go a little overboard with the motion control scheme and make the controls terrible and awkward.  

    Also I agree, they definitely need to step it up for their online support to continue being successful like adding some DLC stuff to games that would be excellent.

    I still have hope for the Wii but they just need to pay more attention to what consumers want.

    Posted Jan 10, 2010

  • I agree with you entirely. Even though my experience with Wii is limited (only in a friends place playing for fun). I agree with you about the lack of games they had in earlier period. Lack of variations as you've mentioned. I had the impression that Wii was a family fun tool not a console to support heavy gaming. But gradually my idea was proven wrong and they did publish some very good title. Though I didn't know the fact that all those good games were published by Nintendo. The answer can be simple. Motion sensor.

    And, I have to admit that his is probably the best article I've read on Wii so far. Amazingly deep and not boring for a single line. I was hoping to see you mention the upcoming games for Wii this year, and you didn't miss those too.

    Posted Jan 11, 2010

  • Totally spot on. Nintendo has to act fast in order to raise its gaming or it will see the fate of Gamecube. I dont understand why Nintendo dont like to work with 3rd party developers. They should have learnt their lesson during N64 and Gamecube era. Nintendo should realize that the number of their fanbase is decreasing. Compared to Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo is pretty weak on after-sales service.

    Posted Jan 11, 2010

  • Nintendo has always shunned 3rd-party support. But their first-party games have always been top-notch. For example, Zelda, Mario, Smash, Metroid, Fire Emblem, even Paper Mario, have all been awesome.

    The problem here is that while there are a number of amazing games in the Wii's library, it's completely saturated by casual games and games based off of kid's shows/movies.

    Posted Jan 11, 2010
  • avatar RON

    Very excellent feature. All I can say that Nintendo has done something which neither Microsoft nor Sory could do. Motion sensing isn't a easy matter to deal with. Specially at this stage of our tech race. By the time Microsoft and Sony will release their motion sensing devices, Nintendo will have decent amount of games in its bag. And, it's all going even for 3 of them in my opinion.

    Posted Jan 11, 2010

  • This is the best article on Wii I've ever read. My personal opinion on Wii is that they need more time. They are one step ahead of other consoles and the more 3rd party developers support they get the better they will become in future.

    Posted Jan 12, 2010

  • A lot will depend on what Nintendo shows in E3 this year. Popularity of Wii is going down and you can only blame Nintendo because of it. They should concentrate more into making Wii games than making a larger DSi screen.

    Posted Jan 13, 2010

  • There is finally somebody who can explain my true feelings for the Wii without sounding stupid... I definitely agree with this article. I do own a Wii, but I don't play it very much! I have only a few selected games that I play, but there isn't much to go back to. I'm sure if Nintendo gets their heads in gear, the Wii can really be the most cherished and loved system by all during this generation and sell more GOOD games.

    Posted Jan 14, 2010

  • Looks like a pretty long read....Ill try to remember it in the morning and share my thoughts then.

    Posted Jan 18, 2010

  • Finally got back around to reading this and I must agree with others that this is the best article I have read on noobfeed and possibly on any gaming site ever! I hear that the wii is getting some new big titles in 2010 though so lets see if it gets back on track and doesnt stick to the path you mentioned in this feature.

    Posted Jan 24, 2010

  • I think this is the first article I've read on the Wii that can explain perfectly how I feel I signed up for this site just to make this comment and let you know how much I enjoyed reading this.

    Posted Jan 24, 2010
  • avatar 313

    The wii is fun in bursts but as a stand alone console it fails. Excellently written article.

    Posted Feb 11, 2010

  • I also agree with what 313 said. And thats an awesome username man. Dont think Ive seen around you here yet. 

    Posted Feb 11, 2010

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Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed Editors
Genres: Artcile
Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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