While in my previous entry, I expressed some of my recent issues with Nintendo’s tactics, my thoughts focused more on the “political” aspects of NoA, and not the actual system. After posting the last entry, I thought about what the Wii has been better with.

Most prominently is the SD storage solution. This was one of my biggest complaints regarding the Wii, and now that it’s been addressed, it really does open up the Wii, making it feel like a much bigger and more powerful system. And even if that’s merely a matter of personal perception, having a sub-menu that allows me to browse all of my titles and channels which have been deleted and unused for months, it makes the Wii experience seem more complete. Now if they’d just get rid of those damned “Friend Codes”….

The downloadable content has opened up more. The Virtual Console has seen the addition of Commodore 64 and arcade titles, which adds several hundred (or thousand) more titles available for potential download. Of course, this seems to have done nothing to loosen the snail’s pace trickle of titles released per week (and who knows if DSi titles are going to be competing for space with those 2-3 titles a week as it is), but the potential of titles is a fairly concise retrospective of video gaming history at large. If they added the Atari 2600, Colecovision and Intellivison, they’d have the majority of ’80’s/’90’s gaming covered. And WiiWare has opened up a lot more with more appealing titles that actually seem to have effort applied to them as well as making creative use of the Wii Remote. It’s about time.

“Going Back To Basics”: I mentioned this in my last post, but there is a notable influx of classic franchises from the NES days: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, A Boy and His Blob, Punch-Out!!…. It’s nice to see familiar faces parade across a Nintendo console again, though I still keep my fingers cross that a new Kid Icarus title sees the light of day….

This also goes with a renaissance of 2D gaming. First with Mega Man 9 last year, and now A Boy and His Blob and Muramasa: The Demon Blade bringing beautiful 2D platforming goodness to the system. This also goes with Beat.Trip.Bit and the eventual Cave Story.

Nintendo goes on and on about wanting to bring an “all access” gaming experience to the masses. Revisiting classic franchises and even 2D gaming as a whole is a positive step in that direction.

More “traditional” titles. I don’t see how the Wii went as long as it did with the majority of its library consisting of party games, Wii Sports clones and pet sims for over a year. But it did. And they seemingly sold well as they kept coming out in droves. But what about everyone else? Nintendo tossed out Mario Kart and Smash Bros last year before it decided to close its eyes and still largely hasn’t woken up yet. But while E3 may change things (after last year, I’m not holding my breath), other companies have stepped up and provided House of the Dead: Overkill, Deadly Creatures, MadWorld, and there looks to be a respectable amount of decent, traditional titles for the year that not only provide more gaming experiences past parties and pets, but also look to make creative, competent use of the Wii’s unique control scheme. And it’s about time. Flailing one’s arms like an idiot isn’t my idea of “clever” gameplay, especially when the same actions could have been accomplished by button presses on a controller. I want the experience to be what’s found in a game, not in the controller. If I have to pause and think about the control set-up, then the game is not doing its job in being intuitive.

Despite some remaining hiccups, the Wii is finally getting its legs and doing what it should have done from Day 1. While the fun lasted overall for 2006 and 2007, last year was a hard look at the system’s glaring flaws which now finally seem to be addressed by both Nintendo, and moreso, the third party companies. It seems that the most popular game system out there is finally getting its sense of “fun” back. And it was long overdue and sorely missed.

Just take it easy on the Gamecube to Wii ports, already. There’s “backwards compatibility” for a reason, you know.

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Filed under: wii gaming