Nintendo Wii is an amazing system. Nintendo wanted to ban the stereotype of the couch-potato gamer by making us do boxing, tennis and even hula hoop, by putting motion sensors in the controllers. The games were much cheaper than those of the competitors and one of the most charming Mario adventures of all time release on Wii: Super Mario Galaxy. Though the motion controls are sometimes a bit funny, and the graphics were bad, the console was a worldwide hit: a hundred million Wii’s were sold, a record for Nintendo. A success like that and the fanbase that goes with it, results in several trends, some of which I would rather forget…
Friends that do not use the arm strap
Many gamers in the Wii era spent time checking out YouTube vids full of broken tv’s. Not because the tellies would have some broken pixels, but because their screens were totally broken. Why? Cause that is what happened when gamers were too cocky, thinking they were one with the controller; gamers that were too stupid to put the little strap around their arm. Very funny on YouTube, but not in your living room. That is why you always had to tell tough friends that wanted to do it strapless that there was a house rule: “No strap, no play.” Nerd.
In Holland Imagine was called Laura’s Passion, which is funny because my name is Laura. Laura was a journalist, a baby sitter, a cowgirl; she had so many passions, that I could not handle them all. They were already there before Wii, but after 2006 it was a much heard term: casual games. On Wii it meant games like Imagine and the famous Petz-series with Catz, Dogz, Horsez and even Monkey Business (without Z’s, why?!). The same goes for dancing games: multiple developers thought they would make easy money by making a dance game like Just Dance, which resulted in dance fans having five dans carpets at home just for Wii.
Plastic not so fantastic
Adding to those casual games and dance carpets, there were all these plastic add-ons for your Wii remotes. All of them were super clumsy that did not add anything to the game, for example spatula’s and little pots for Cooking Mama: worthless! The only good extra was a steering wheel for Mario Kart. But, all that plastic was just messy, as there is no place in the home for stuff like that.
Where the developers of Imagine tried to make money off of little girls, there were also developers that shared Nintendo’s vision for Wii: that it was the ideal console for gaming with the family and during houseparties with friends. Unfortunately they did not share Nintendo’s talent of coming up with successful minigame collections. They made the ugliest and cheapest minigame collections the game world has ever seen. Examples? There are many! 90 Great Games, Truth of Lies, Funfair Party, Carnival Games, and let’s not forget about the super awkward We Dare.en laten we het ongemakkelijke We Dare niet vergeten.
While the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (with the Play & Charge-kit) both had the option of recharging controllers, on Wii we had to deal with batteries. The remotes ate AA batteries alive and the Balance Board did not help either, which meant you needed to have such a huge stack of batteries, you could survive a nuclear winter. Batteries are sooo 90’s, and thankfully there were options to make the remotes rechargable, but it would have been better if Nintendo had thought about that before they released Wii. Especially with all the cases and add-ons around the remote, it was not fun to always have to change those darn batteries.
On Wii U the problem is still existing, cause even though GamePad is rechargable, your old remotes aren’t. The Wii U might be less popular than its predecessor, it does cause less ‘noise’ in the game stores as it has less bits and pieces to add to it. There is not a sea of white-pink boxart with kittens when you look for a Wii U game, there are no crazy amounts of dancing games for Nintendo’s newest console. Apparently we are not the only ones with these annoyances in mind..
Thankfully though, those annoyances are not worse enough to mess with our Wii memories. I could watch those little Mii’s parade around for hours, looking like Michael Jackson in the special Mii-look-a-like contests. The introduction of Mii’s was magical, but the system was all about the games. The huge range of amazing games makes me want to go back to that fantastic Wii: Wii Sports, Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros, Wii Fit, Super Smash Bros Brawl, Mario Party, Zelda: Twilight Princess, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Metroid and two Super Mario Galaxy-games. That, and obviously the fact that Wii helped our family members understood what we are ‘wasting’ our spare time with, thanks to the easy to learn games it game with.