As debates and excitement reign over the gaming populous over the eighth generation, tis the season for prepubescent flame wars over the start of the *real* next gen of consoles. This passed Friday saw the console equivalent Kentucky Derby gunshot of the PlayStation 4 wetting its beak.
With any beginning and end, self-reflection and opportune articles pop up for us to gaze upon the sunset and salute the consoles delighting us for almost a decade. It’s high time for retrospectives on the soon-to-be collecting dust seventh generation. So let’s exhale over current generation’s 480i, plastic paper weight and explain why Nintendo’s waggling Wii won this generation in this Top 6!
**Take it easy, huff and puff once this (enlightening) piece ends and then start calling us in the pocket of big Nintendo. That said, let’s acknowledge gaming’s greatest eye roll of a console.**
6. Gameplay is the Focus
As much as mindless tongue hangers rag on Nintendo for remaining its old-school and kid-friendly charm, they operate outside of the zeitgeist system. Where the collective industry pumped out World War 2 shooters, Nintendo made Animal Crossing, where publishers subvert this invisible checklist, Nintendo made games about yarn.
“Grown up” consoles salivate over how Graphically Graphics their graphics are. Frames per second, horsepower, resolution, and all of it bunk. The Wii honed in and dedicated games to their system, even more so with 2009’s addition of the Wii MotionPlus. Least we forget about the Red Steel 2s, Mario Galaxies, Metroid Primes, Rhythm Heaven Fevers, Kirbies, and Skyward Swords, all of which, fantastic uses of the Wiimote and unique to the console to where no convention controller could emulate.
Nintendo realized their online multiplayer on the Wii crawled in comparison to Sony’s and Microsoft’s Olympian, which leads to Nintendo upholding the last pillar of couch co-op. Headsets were replaced with elbow shoving, waiting in a matchmaking lobby was replaced with calling dibs on King Dedede in Smash Brothers.
4. It Was a Revolution
What makes the sixth and seventh generation different for PlayStation and Xbox? Engines and, numbers? That’s our standby barometer for console generations. Slap last gen with net gen side by side and drool over how the latter looks better. It’s silly, and above all, demeaning to what we actually want, new experiences and gameplay.
Yet with the pretentious prototype name of the “Revolution,” Nintendo made due. Laugh all you want at the multitude of horrendous uses of motion controls, controller shakes and twists improved gaming. Contradictory, seemingly, to think undifferentiated and gimmicky cash grabs of carnival games tower over in innovation to the likes of the latest “Great” to “Phenomenal” titles. Though what’s forgotten was the Wii changed the way we play games.
3. Player Agency
Playing House of the Dead: Overkill on the Wii stands high above The Last of Us. Not a typo or misprint at all. Photorealism in games shows how great graphics have come along, not games. It’s no better than an animation studio making a highly produced video done with the same assets.
Gaming essentially is all about interactive experiences. No matter how you shake it, player involvement defines the medium. Wiimotes recreating the arcade feel of on-rails shooters add more of your body to the game, a la arms and shoulders. With Battlefield 4, wielding a controller or clacking keys on a chair yields only the eyes and hands as bodily activity. It took time to weed out the “try and fail hard” with the simply incredible.
2. Shovelware Isn’t a Factor
History shows the more popular the system, the more garbage titles cluttering our local retailers. Look at the PlayStation 2, eons upon eons of loathsome filth litter, yet it’s the console that brought (PS2 Exclusive). The reason being was to pile on the nonsense to reach the largest market of consumers. Viable, the best place to set up your hot dog stand is on Times Square, not a highway pit stop. Combined that with the smoke-in-mirrors gameplay of the Wii’s motion controls and you’ve got a hell of a equation.
Fact of the matter Is, it not the Wii’s fault for being popular. There’s plenty of great titles for the console and Shovelware isn’t required to own. Why is it ok to disembowel a console with games you’ll never own with a market of unconventional users you’ll never interact with (mostly), shovelware is easily avoidable. The fad died or left for greener or bluer pastures, we’re left with a generation’s worth of surperb games. Dozens upon hundreds of articles will be written on the best or definitive Wii games, making it point blank what game(s) excelled using the system.
1. Away from Online
Remember the days where a freshly bought game didn’t come saddled with codes and patches? No online passes, project 10 dollar, day-one updates, post-launch patches, and no on-disc DLC, hell, what DLC? Now, in this day of age modern consoles succumb to down-to-the-wire patches to reach the final shipping date. Even when Nintendo advanced their console catalogue, Wii U sacked users with a five GB installation band-aid out the gate on November 30th last year.
Things like Batman Arkham Origins and any Bethesda game would have to stand on its own as it is on the disc, buggy and broken. The Wii didn’t have such a thing, for better or for worse (Twilight Princess Game-Ending Bug). Mostly for the better ultimately, Nintendo-sanctioned titles are dedicated to quality, testing and retesting until goldilocks finds her bowl of porridge. Rarely, will a Nintendo game be harped on its bug detection fallacies. Reggie Fils-Aime even went out and commented on why Nintendo plays hands-off on the used game restrictions, hinging his whole argument on quality stifling trade-ins, turns out to be working.
Top 6 Saturday is a weekly feature here at Front Towards Gamer. Named for our founder, Stephen “ShanghaiSix” Machuga, the Top 6 Saturday is our countdown of the top six things that are relevant that week. It’s like a Top 10, but not quite as robust!