A Random Rant: Why Does the Wii Work?

Filed under: , by: Grundy the Man

Like many hardcore gamers, I own a Nintendo Wii. This is not my main console, but it is more of a distraction from my normal gaming habits. While there is not a game that I would hang my hat on as my favorite, there are many that I have mindlessly played for hours on end. Fundamentally, the Wii is flawed at every level. Which begs the question, why the hell do I even bother to play it?

First of all, the graphics look the product of a five year old trying to draw on a television screen with a magic marker. I have made better looking images on my broken down TI-83 calculator. Yet somehow, I have never heard a casual player say, "Wow, this looks like crap!" As a brief side rant, If I ever hear someone say that a game with ass-awful graphics, looks good because it has a cartoony aesthetic, I will scream. These are the kinds of people that should have been told to play in traffic as children. An artistic choice should not have to be forced on a game designer, because of a shitty video processor.

Next on my hit list is the gameplay. Everyone thinks that the Wiimote is revolutionary piece of technology, that has changed the way people play games. I completely disagree. The only difference there is between the Wii and an Xbox 360 is the position sit in while playing the game. For a traditional console you would play hunched over in your seat. A Wii game encourages you to get out of your seat, but there is always a way to cheat the system into thinking that you are doing things that you are really not. The biggest difference that might be made is the posture that you use, and that is a big might.

The biggest beef that I have is with people that say that the Wii has ushered in new types of games, never before seen on consoles. Lets just look back on what the biggest game of this generation has been, Wii Sports. How can these glorified minigames be considered new and groundbreaking? There have been bowling, baseball, golf and tennis games available for years. Hell, the way the graphics have looked, it just might be a repackaged version of one of those old games!

After much searching I think I may have finally discovered what makes the Wii work, social interaction. I am not talking about social interaction like Xbox LIVE or the Playstation Network, I am talking about getting back to the roots of gaming, couch play. This consists of a bunch of friends sitting around on the couch, normally drunk or baked out of their minds, passing a controller around, trying to beat each other's high scores.

I encountered this firsthand over the holiday weekend. My Father, yes the same father who thinks I waste far to much time and money on this futile gaming habit, spent several hours passing the controller around playing Wii Play. What is disappointing is that it wasn't even a good game, but that is another column for another day. Can you guess which game had our ire? Cow Racing, that is not a typo, freakin' cow racing.

This is when it had become clear that Nintendo has won this console generation. As I frantically knocked down scarecrow after scarecrow, racing my bovine at a blistering pace, I was realized that through social interaction, The Big N had created a new gaming experience that hadn't been enjoyed in games since the death of the arcade.

Bravo Nintendo... now get to work making a game that I actually want to play!

Below is a the cutest damn thing that I have ever seen. It is a video of a little baby that thinks that playing the Wii is the most hilarious thing ever: