When Wii burst onto the scene way back in 2006, I was in my very first semester of college and had just joined the workforce. In a shocking first, I had to resort to eBay to buy my first Wii, shelling out much more than the sticker price in early 2007, and over the years I’ve owned around thirty different Wii games, retail and downloadable, from Wii Sports to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. But something happened between 2006 and 2012 that had not been the case with any previous Nintendo home console I had owned in the past– Nintendo began emphasizing accessibility over sheer creativity, and it wasn’t long before Wii lost me.
In fact, it began almost as soon as I’d bought it. Outside of Wii Sports, the only games I bought in 2007 were the GameCube-enhanced Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, Mario Strikers: Charged, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Super Mario Galaxy. With Resident Evil 4, I didn’t like the added motion controls, longing for the days of old, and I eventually traded it in. I still remember selling it to the guy behind me on line in GameStop, him offering me more money than the cashier. Mario Strikers: Charged didn’t fare much better– it’s online play may have led me to buying my first soccer game, but it was riddled with lag. Likewise, Corruption seemed fun but my earlier abandonment of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes dictated what would happen next.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, as despite having three lemons in my pocket, Super Mario Galaxy provided me with a grand adventure. Although it took me quite a while to capture my 241st Power Star, if I had to name my favorite Wii game of all time, it would be Super Mario Galaxy. Likewise, just around the corner in 2008, there were two more hits awaiting my thumbs in the form of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii. These new iterations of long-enjoyed franchises provided me with even more fun times than their predecessors, though I did opt for GameCube controls as they fit my play style much better. I may not have played Brawl nearly as much as Melee, but I did enjoy the Subspace Emissary. Similarly, Mario Kart’s online was much better than any previous online experience I’d had on Wii, including Brawl‘s, and the Wii Wheel did just the trick to mix things up a bit, even if I didn’t stick with the accessory for very long.
My grand Wii accomplishment.
But things hit a snag after racing around the track once again. Games like Wario Land: Shake It! and Punch-Out!! were pretty good, but when I bought The Conduit in 2009, its controls brought me right back to the days of Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, and it completely turned me off. I wanted to support High Voltage Software and ultimately I did, and the final games I bought for Wii #1 were Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon and Super Mario Galaxy 2. In the same vein as with The Conduit, I took a gamble with Fragile, only to walk away, and not even the rare Mario numerical sequel could keep me from jumping ship.
Don’t get me wrong, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a great game, but it felt lazy in its design. Whereas the first three Super Mario Bros. games each had a different look, Galaxy 2 preserved the same setting and basically gave us more to see and do in outer space again. The Mushroom Kingdom may feature in several Mario games but Galaxy 2 felt a bit un-Nintendo-like. Link’s second N64 outing, for instance, was a sequel, but Majora’s Mask actually changed things up a bit, and for the better too. Personally, I think Nintendo should either have given Mario a break or put the time and effort spent on this game into preparing the next big Mario game on Wii U, and no, I’m not talking about New Super Mario Bros. U. With Super Mario 64 astonishing us by bringing everyone’s favorite red plumber into 3D, Super Mario Sunshine putting Mario in a fantastically fresh location, and Super Mario Galaxy perfecting the gameplay found in the last two titles, Super Mario Galaxy 2 just felt unneeded. But, to borrow the words of Metroid: Other M, the past is prologue though, right?
Thankfully, E3 2010 brought me back into the fold, and after hearing about the likes of GoldenEye 007 and the longtime-coming Donkey Kong Country Returns, I made a change. Shortly after the Big N’s stellar showing, I bought Wii #2, this time in black, and gave my brother my white Wii. When Bond and D.K. finally returned to my television screen, I really enjoyed them, and both were worthy additions to their respective franchises. But even though I had also netted Metroid: Other M at a bargain price, I never even played the title. In the year leading up to Zelda, I mostly stuck with what I had bought previously.
Pure platforming bliss.
Then, finally, in November of last year I attended the early launch of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword at the Nintendo World Store in New York City. I live in nearby Queens and this was my first launch event, but upon playing the title, this thirteen-year Zelda fan was not happy. I was expecting so much more from a Zelda origin tale, and I had been hoping that the motion controls would be optional, but in the end Skyward Sword felt like a showcase piece for Wii MotionPlus, not a groundbreaking entry in the beloved series, and eventually I gave up on it.
Since then, I’ve had very little interest in anything other than The Last Story, but I decided this wasn’t enough for me to keep my Wii and so I did away with Wii #2. As I don’t own a 3DS either, this left me without a Nintendo console for the first time since the NES days. Yet there were two glimmers of hope lying in wake of my Nintendo deprivation: my Dad and Nintendojo. Without Dad, I would never have joined Nintendojo. He was the one who got me into games and the day my Dad asked me if I had kept one of the Wii’s (my brother traded in Wii #1) was the day I started feeling bad for letting go. Dad had kept my NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube for old time’s sake, and so I went out and bought Wii #3. Not too long after, I joined the wonderful Nintendojo team, and although I’ve paid considerably more attention to my Xbox 360 in the mean time, I have no doubt that Wii will shine through soon enough– especially since I’ve begun returning to RPGs like Rune Factory: Frontier, and picking up previously passed-up gems like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.
With my Dad and Nintendojo giving me two reasons to turn on my Wii again, my interest in Nintendo has been renewed and I can pretty much guarantee I’ll be buying a 3DS XL and/or Wii U within the next few months. Three Wii’s and six years later, a generation may be standing on its last legs, but I think Nintendo will always be the company that pushes out the last story.
And there you have it: a tale of three Wii’s. Now, how about our valued readers? Did Wii lose U too?