To Wii or not to Wii…

About two weeks ago, my wife and I bought a Nintendo Wii. Since then we’ve wavered back and forth on whether we should keep it or return it.

For me, I’m not much of a Nintendo fan. I haven’t been for a long time. Their policy of consistently introducing brand new console systems that were completely incompatible with older systems turned me off of them.

For example, I bought the NES–with my own money, I might add–when I was about 13. Five years later, I was again spending my hard earned dollars buying the SNES and its games when they suddenly introduced the N64.

As a teenager who didn’t have a lot of money, it angered me that each time I had finally earned enough to buy one system and some of its overpriced games, Nintendo introduced another system which rendered the one I had just bought obsolete. So, I haven’t put any more dollars into Nintendo since the SNES.

For my wife, though, she’s just not much of a video game person.

She first played the Wii at her sister’s place and loved it. She liked the exercise aspect of the system (Play a round of Wii boxing with her and you’ll know what I mean.)

But she’s also happy just playing the game which comes with the Wii and not buying another one … ever. That means I either go crazy playing just Wii Sports, or I buy some new games and forget about playing them with her (which kind of renders my reasons for buying the Wii–spending time with her–useless.)

The other major issue I have with the Wii is that it just doesn’t stack up to the other console systems on the market when it comes to game quality or performance. I have played games like Medal of Honor and quite honestly, the control scheme and graphics suck.

At the same time though, the Wii does offer a pretty wide group appeal to almost everyone who plays it, which is something that most console systems can’t replicate.

So, now I’m trying to figure out, metaphorically speaking, if I should Wii or not Wii. Should I keep the system … or send it back. What do you guys think?  Give me your thoughts. (Rick, I totally expect to hear from you on this.)

(Update – I know I just posted this blog today, but it’s amazing what kind of information can come up through wordpress related to the topic you just wrote on. This article, Nintendo Gamers Were Bored Before Wii, is a perfect example of when a console maker gets a little to big for its britches.

For those of you not interested in reading the article, the gist is that Nintendo basically believes their Wii revitalized the gaming industry and helped gamers shed their “boredom” with standard consoles. Now here is what I have to say to Nintendo:

First, absolutely, sales of the Wii did very well compared to Microsoft’s XBOX and completely shattered the PS3, but at the end of the day, that was due more to the innovative gameplay and unique Wiimote controls. Once the interest in those die down–and trust me, they will–then what?

Second, its pretty common knowledge that no matter who you are and no matter what system you buy, you will eventually get bored of it. People in general have short attention spans, and gaming is no different than anything else in keeping us entertained for a short time.

Third, Nintendo needs to take a good hard look at the harsh realities of its system. Yes, the system is unique for its game style and control method, but

1. the games suck for the most part. The majority of them are dedicated to family style gaming and not to real gamers;

2. the graphics suck completely, no matter what game you play. I’m sorry, but pixellated, cartoony graphics died out with Dragon’s Lair.With the quality of the games coming out nowadays, Nintendo’s “Wii-eak” console power just doesn’t compare;

3. the controls suck if you are trying to play any game that works better with a gamepad or mouse and keyboard (the aforementioned Medal of Honor comes to mind); and finally

4. Consoles like the XBOX and PS3 may offer up standard fare for gamers, but they add to their value by providing add-ons like DVD players, Blue Ray, WIFI, etc. Nintendo’s console gives gamers no additional bang for their buck, so when the novelty of the Wii wears off then what?

I know I’m not a fan of Nintendo, so my criticism likely comes off biased, but in the end, Nintendo shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking their system is the Holy Grail for gamers. Rather, its just one more toy to play with until the next best thing comes out. At least with the PS3 and XBOX, they give gamers other features to keep them coming back, even if its not to play a game. Anyways, thanks Nintendo, you helped me make up my mind. I’m going to go get my $400 back.)

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9 Responses

  1. Even though I hate the Wii’s stunning lack of good games, I think it’s worth it that you buy some old Gamecube games that you missed out on.

  2. Tough call man. I think the Wii is a fantastic system with lots of innovative and fun games. It’s a system you use socially.

    Because the controls offer so much, there are lots of games you would probably never consider (and on the surface, probably look like they’re just for kids). That said, if you have a few people to play with, they’re a lot of fun.

    The last time I played Wii, a friend had rented Rayman: Raving Rabbids. It’s an example of a goofy and fun party game that anyone can enjoy. Same with Wario Ware: Smooth Moves.

    If you’re not going to try the more creative games that emphasize wiimote gameplay over graphics, take it back and get an Xbox360 or PS3.

  3. That is a very legitimate question. I have owned the system since release day and I would have to say that the most attention the system has ever had was within the first 6 months. After that, it has essentially accumulated dust for the past year or so. It’s a great system but the game selection is generally lacking. If it is ever used, it’s pretty much when guests want to try it out and even at that, it’s Wii sports. The novelty does wear off and since it is only a game system and nothing else, it may end up collecting dust on your shelf.

    You are correct in saying that it just doesn’t stack up to the other consoles. The PS3 and 360 are more multi media stations than just game systems so they are much more versatile.

    But that’s just my 2 cents.

  4. Oh Joe, what to do!!?

    Well, I will offer a somewhat bias opinion as I do not really like nintendo games. That being said (I may get shot for this), I think these games are the reason the world is full of obese children. Not only are they ridiculously expensive but they result in anti-social behaviours and laziness. In your post you mentioned that the technology is always changing and therefore so are the consoles. How does one keep up? Not to mention new games and other add-ons.
    To be fair, I really like the Wii. It was fun and interactive and actually got me sweating. But after you play the games for a few hours you are probably bored with them. Like any other new toy you play with it for a while and then forget about it. Your better off renting the console for a weekend when you’re having friends over, or better yet, find friends that have it and use theirs (that’s what I do).
    If you are determined to get a gaming system then I support the Wii 100 per cent, but if you’re looking for something to kill spare time or burn off some calories, I suggest taking a different route.
    Sorry for the negativity to all the game lovers out there. I had NES and SNES growing up. I even had a game gear at one point but it really ends up being a waste of time and money.

  5. Hey Megan, thanks for being part of the conversation. I actually somewhat agree with you. I do think that gaming is a waste of time; though I am sure many hardcore gamers would disagree.

    However, I also feel that a little wasted time is actually good for us as humans. It helps us relax, it gives us a break from the stresses of our day, and in many cases, it improves the hand-eye coordination for many people.

    That said, I do also agree that console gaming plays a big role in contributing to child obesity. But it’s not the only cause.

    In fact, I think the bigger blame for children playing video games all day and not engaging in more physical activity lies squarely with parents. It’s up to them to ensure that video games are a temporary distraction; not a permanent babysitter.

    Maybe I am wrong, but it always seems to me that the children who are obese come from families who don’t know where to draw the lines or set the rules.

    In terms of changing technology, I agree that consoles are constantly changing and that something new is always coming out.

    But, most console makers are cognizant of their audience and want to retain their customers and keep them happy for the long haul. That’s why so many systems offer up some sort of backwards compatibility with older games.

    Until the Wii, Nintendo had never done this. That’s why I lost interest in them; and its probably one of the reason’s they never (again, until the Wii) were a major competitor against titans like the PS2 and XBOX.

    In terms of my Wii, I returned it. It wasn’t a good investment at this time. Perhaps I might get it again in the future, but more likely, something better will come out from one of my preferred console makers.

  6. S.M & Gil,

    Thanks for your guys input. I did eventually make the decision to take the system back, but it was nice to get your varying points of view.

    S.M., I did check out the possibility of buying up some GameCube games, but in the end decided against it, as it would likely also require the purchase of a controller, memory cards, etc. More money wasted.

    Gil, your comment resonated with me cause it proved my point. Once the initial fascination with the Wii died down, it would start to gather dust on my video stand and with nothing else to bring me back to it (like a DVD player), eventually it would only be used when friends wanted to try it out. Again, more money wasted.

    I returned it and haven’t regretted the decision. Looks like it wasn’t just buyer remorse on my end. Thanks again you guys!

  7. Rick. Thanks buddy for the advice. I did take the system back and have posted some of my reasons for doing so in the other comments.

    I agree with you that the Wii offers up a host of options for gamers, but unless you consistently buy or rent new games every couple of weeks, the console does not offer any lasting gaming experiences for most gamers.

    To me, having to constantly buy new games–or invite friends over regularly–just to keep myself interested in a console system is a waste of money. Nintendo tricked me with that tactic in my youth. They won’t get me so easily now.

    Systems like the PS3 and XBOX 360 may not offer the unique gameplay or control scheme that Nintendo has, but they do offer better games, graphic quality, game play and longevity of use. These are things Nintendo can’t compete with … yet.

    Perhaps I may buy the Wii again, or more likely, I will pick up a system that will offer me more bang for my buck. Thanks again!

  8. I’m glad that my 2 cents was helpful in your decision making process 🙂

    I’d just like to comment on the idea of “a waste of time”. It’s an extremely difficult argument because it is so subjective. I consider gaming a form of entertainment just like watching sports or going fishing. Anything that you do during your own personal time out of your own choosing is not wasted.

    If your comment about wasting time is good for us because it relaxes us and lets us essentially forget about the hard days work, then no longer is it a waste of time. There is purpose to it.

  9. Hey Gil, thanks for your refreshing perspective on comment about video games being a waste of time.

    You’re absolutely right. No matter how a person chooses to spend their downtime, that should not be considered a waste of time. I take back my comment. 😉

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