Saturday, October 12, 2013


All Good Things

I'm not ready for the Wii to be over.

Sure, you can make the argument that no console ever really "ends".  As long as you own it, as long as you're still playing games, it can live on forever.  But it's undeniable that parts of the Wii are gone forever.  No more news and weather.  No more Nintendo Channel.  Nintendo Week, with Gary and Allison and Dark Gary, all of its glorious, corny weirdness -- gone.  Check Mii Out, the channel that gave Wii Sports Resort such flavor with its random celebrity Mii appearances -- gone.  The online shop persists -- sometimes there are even updates -- but you know that even that won't be profitable forever.

The Wii charmed me in a way that very few consoles have managed to do.  Like the NES and the Dreamcast, it made games new for me again.  Say what you will about the motion controls, but wasn't it cool, that first time you played Wii Sports?  Wasn't it great how the fun came out of the TV and into your living room, and it felt like it was all around you?  Our living rooms became playgrounds.  We could jog around Wuhu Island, take in a quick three holes of golf... There was even that obstacle course game in Wii Fit Plus.  We could be a video game character.  All without leaving our homes.

Maybe that couldn't last.  Maybe there are only so many ideas you can wring out of that setup.  That was certainly the impression you got playing the games, wasn't it?  Developers didn't seem to really know what to do with motion controls.  They'd try to use gesture recognition as some sort of fancy replacement for a button press, but the controls weren't really up to the task.  And when a game was really motion-intensive, you got those long breaks in the action where they had to patiently explain to you how you were supposed to hold the controller for this particular part and what motion you were supposed to make.  Eventually they just went with the normal buttons, maybe adding a special function if you shook the controller.

Maybe it was just an idea that was ahead of its time.  Maybe it'll come up again someday when we have a better idea of how to join game space to real space.

Until then, this is it.  If you need me, I'll be on Kawawii Island.


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