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November 5, 2009

Filed under: gaming»hardware»wii

Stalled Out

Last week I got a used copy of Excite Truck in the mail as a trade, but life's been busy, so I didn't get around to popping it into the Wii for a few days. When I did, while I enjoyed the game itself, it was with the bittersweet realization that this is the first time I've turned Nintendo's little white box on in many, many months.

It's true that I'm gaming a little less at the moment than I normally would--breaking practice is taking up a lot of that time--but that doesn't explain it. It's not the graphical difference between the Wii and the XBox 360, since I could honestly care less. And it's not the network infrastructure, although Nintendo's take on multiplayer is still shamefully backwards. The explanation is simpler: there's nothing decent to play.

When the Wii has good titles, they're very good. Metroid Prime 3, No More Heroes, and Super Paper Mario all come to mind. I've played through all of those. And I own a Wii Fit board, so it's not like I haven't done the crazy lifestyle game thing too. But two years into owning the console, it seems to have hit a drought. I can name plenty of XBox or PC games, either recently released or on the horizon, that I'm anticipating. But I've only got two on Wii (NMH2 and Muramasa) for which I can really say the same. And I've played all the GameCube games that I wanted to play. At this point, what's left? Apart from Excite Truck, the only reason I turn the Wii on is if I left my smartphone in the other room and don't want to get up to watch YouTube or check an IMDB entry.

At its introduction, the Wii was meant to be a new paradigm for console gaming: family-friendly, cheap, innovative, and a bit silly. It lived up to some of those promises, and then just seems to have completely lost momentum. Was it too weird for third-party developers? Too difficult to write ports? Or just abandoned by the manufacturer? I don't regret the purchase, I'm just kind of saddened by the neglect. We've already got one Dreamcast, I can't keep collecting "wacky" consoles forever.

Future - Present - Past