I’ve made it known in many an entry on here that I am not only a game player, but also a collector. Case in point, I found one of those Coleco table-top mini arcades of Pac-Man yesterday at an antique store. True, some of the text is in French on the machine, but who cares? It’s an awesome piece. And now I’m rambling.

But I do like the digital aspect of gaming as well. You never have to worry about a game going out of stock. You can buy a digital game whenever you feel like it. And you don’t have to do anything to play it other than turn on your game console, and click a button to play.

But you do have to worry about losing games still. And in this particular case, more permanently if things go bad.

I ran across this article yesterday in regards to people discovering the difficulty of transferring/keeping their digital downloads. XBLA, PSN, Steam and Apple all have one’s purchased games linked to an account, and whatever the User buys can be transferred system to system without a second thought. The Wii and DSi also have this feature, but do not allow the same option. Want to change your original white Wii to one of those new shiny black upgrades? Want to change you DSi to the larger screen DSi XL? Go for it, but you can’t take your games with you.

The story of my multiple-failed Wii consoles has been well-chronicled here, but I’d like to take a minute to compare how I went about the “restoration” process in getting my system back up since my 360 and Wii actually died within a day of each other:

With the Wii, you can transfer Miis (to a controller or recover those sent to a friend’s Wii). You can not save your time played data, which I actually liked reviewing on the Nintendo Channel to see what games captured my interest more than others. Save games are hit and miss. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is NOT a game that you can protect or back-up your save data, so if you leave your system up to the repair gods, hope for the best. But it’s not the only game that won’t allow for backing-up save data. I was told this is to “protect us” and “prevent fraud”. I personally don’t need other people to decide what’s best for me in regards to my time investment, especially when data back-up has been a common function on any platform for a few decades now.

When I got my latest of Wii consoles back, I had to access my SD card and delete all of my old channels/games as they were linked to my old system, and unable to be used on a new system. Bear in mind that these are just the game datas themselves, not the save files. Once deleted, I had to redownload every single thing I’ve ever purchased. To give you an idea, I have 10 pages full of Channels and games, which took me over 3 hours to delete, then download. Trust me, you get really sick of watching Mario and Luigi run across the screen after all this time.

My Xbox 360? I removed the HDD before I sent it in, they sent me a brand new system, so I did start from scratch with no unfair advantage. I put the HDD back on, configured my network settings password, and I was back within 10 minutes like nothing ever happened. Every single bit of data was right there, ready to go. No deletions to redownload the same data, and I can back up my save data and profiles via other storage media without restrictions. I don’t have to hope that the extenuating circumstances are viable enough to allow me continued usage of my purchased goods via an administrator’s decision.

The frustrating thing is that you can link your Wii to your e-mail and Club Nintendo account, which shows all the digital content you’ve downloaded (if you haven’t done this, this is a very important reason to justify going online). There’s always the argument that you don’t technically “own” the games that you purchase, but I do think exceptions should be made for a User’s individual physical or digital copy. It’s not like the publisher is going to unexpectedly show up at your door one day and demand their copy of Putt Putt Joins the Parade on the 3DO back from you.

Nintendo really should allow for license transfers, even if it takes a simple call saying “I’m transferring from this system to this system”, they make sure that only one system with the account info. is in use at any given time, and access is blocked on any other system. It may be a little more time-consuming than how other companies do it, but at least it wouldn’t be such a nasty surprise to a User if they want to upgrade to a fancier version of the same system or simply a different color console.

This was a weird experiment to participate in, and one I’d rather not be an expert in. I respect Nintendo’s want to be “different”, but not at the risk of being counter-productive, especially when they want to maintain that family friendly/ease of use image.

I hope “Wii2” or “Super Wii” or whatever they call the next system addresses their aversion to account usage and data storage.

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Filed under: storage deviceswii gamingxbox 360 gaming