So the two-year anniversary of the Wii was last week, and while I could have made time to cover it, I’ve been busy. There is some life in there besides video games, though I did download Adventure for the iPhone (it’s free, folks!), played a motion ride version of House of the Dead 4 at the local GameWorks, and of course, Left 4 Dead. There’s just something about shooting zombies….

2008 has been an odd year for the Wii. It still sells like hotcakes (and how much do hotcakes actually sell these days), and there has been a more pronounced divide between the traditional gamer, and the mini-game/pet sim fan.

The year started out well enough, with unusual titles like Endless Ocean, and naturally Super Smash Bros Brawl (both were supposed to be last year, and in retrospect, I can understand the delay, given the remainder of the year’s content drought), and then there was the Mario Kart/Boom Blox/Blast Works/Okami push in the Spring, and then September’s game rush of great downloadable and retail titles… and that’s been it.

The Virtual Console dried up for the majority of the year until the past two months, which had previously kept any possible drought from ever being noticed last year. WiiWare has a weak start with a title or two worth noticing, a carload of shovelware, and then really came into its own this Fall (hurrah for Strong Bad). So the Fall actually was quite good for the Wii. The Christmas season outside of that is as sterile as the Summer was.

But if you liked games that ended with a “Z”, where you can groom all the horses that you’ve ever wanted to, this has been the perfect year for that sort of gamer. It’s not that the Wii has suffered a drought of software to purchase, it’s been an issue of quality software to purchase. It just strikes me of the days that I believed that the “Nintendo Seal of Quality” was put into place to avoid the mistakes of the ’80’s, and the stringent guidelines of “Club Mario” certainly would allow so many games of questionable quality to be released in droves like that. But apparently, someone out there buys these things, because the companies keep on churning these things out.

That’s not to say that all companies share the “shovelware” mindset. Capcom, EA, Lucasarts and Sega at least make a sincere effort to put out some interesting traditional and potentially fun gamer titles.

As a long-time Nintendo and video gaming fan, I just have to sit back and wonder what happened, exactly? The DS maintains a better line-up than its console big brother, so I don’t think Nintendo’s completely lost touch, but old-time Nintendo fans seem to live on the promise and hope of “wait and see”. Nintendo promises the core experience will get their day, but they’ve carrie this year on the ideas of Wii Fit and Wii Music. Fit seems like an interesting concept, but time will tell how long the interest lasts, or does it go the way of the Power Pad? Music just simply did nothing for me. I chose Samba de Amigo and Rock Band 2 as my musical choices for the year. I like challenge and catchy tunes in my music games.

And of course, there’s the promise of Punch-Out!! next year, and maybe a Kid Icarus, but after 20 years, that one is still a “wait and see” title. And of course, there will be a flood of Wiimakes from older Gamecube titles which may be a cheap cash-in to some, but if it pulls some of this new gamer generation over to the prospect of deeper games, then I actually am all for it.

And then there’s the ridiculous lack of storage memory on the Wii, which Nintendo has still yet to implement a resolution for. If you’ve had a Wii for a while and like buying downloadable games, then yes, the storage space is a legitimate and serious problem that Nintendo still remains quiet on addressing.

It’s hard to say what I think of the Wii these days. The VC content still keeps me, and there’s always that glimmer of hope for a franchise update, or some developer who actually thinks of interesting and innovative ideas with the Wii remote. I ended up buying a Xbox 360 this year, as it fills some of genre gaps that the Wii has yet to fill (and yes, anti-360 fans, I’m not much of an FPS gamer, but I still find plenty to pique my interest gaming wise).

Time will tell in seeing where the Wii is in its third year. I haven’t fully decided if Nintendo chose to rest on their laurels this year, or just let the system run on auto-pilot for a year as they work on their next batch of games, but we’ll “wait and see” if Nintendo can find a better balance in their gaming content and quality, and finally quieten the angry rants of the spurned Nintendo fan.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: wii gaming