Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I've Gone Nintendo.... Again

For the record, I haven't owned a Nintendo console outside of a GameBoy Advance since the Super Nintendo Entertainment System waaaaaay back in the day. By "in the day" I mean before the interweb took over our lives like the nefarious octopus it is.

So it was a shocker to me when I started falling for the Wii at last year's E3. As noted previously, I was not a fan of the name nor am I one now especially when the code phrase "Revolution" was both cool and appropriate at the same time.

But I am no longer sitting on the sidelines scorning from afar, because I braved Target this past Sunday and now a Wii sits in my living room. So My Fair Lady and I have played Wii Sports repeatedly, and since she had a bad day on Monday she immediately came home and threw on Wii Boxing then proceeded to clobber three opponents as though she were Rocky in a pantsuit.

Once I threw the towel over her head and escorted her from the ring she sat down exhausted from her battles. Fortunately, her eyes weren't too swollen so no cutting was involved. I am thinking about getting her a mouthpiece especially if she spends any more time with Wii Sports this coming weekend.

But it appears that in the last two weeks I've somehow managed to explode my backlog beyond all comprehension and it's thanks to Nintendo. I picked up the DS Lite two weeks ago and have mostly been playing with it. On the docket for that I have Castlevania: Portait of Ruin, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Trauma Center, Brain Age, and Hotel Dusk: Room 251. That's all in the last week, by the way. Add to that anything else I get for the Wii and said backlog has shot through the roof. Now couple all that with yet more role playing games for my PS2, like Final Fantasy XII, which take hours upon hours to complete and I'm set for the year at least.

On the plus side, I've decided to retire my Xbox though it will still be available for the LEGO Star Wars saga. Since Microsoft has abandoned the console completely in favor of the 360 I may as well abandon it too. Heck, out of my stack of games for it I only play a small handful regularly and those are finally starting to appear on the backwards compatible list so when I upgrade to a 360 later this year I can continue to play those. Since this is the year when the "required Five" will be complete I can justify an upgrade.

So how does the "required Five" apply to the Wii since there aren't five must-own games out for it yet? Simple: I knew I'd get one eventually but My Fair Lady wanted one now. I think this is the great lesson of the current generation of gaming consoles - games have been far too complicated for far too long. Compare the Xbox controller to the motion sensor remote of the Wii and you'll realize there is no comparison to make.

One is for gamers, the other is for everyone else. Also, one is intuitive only to people who have played games for the past 20 years, whereas the other is intuitive to anyone who touches it. Now you tell me which one is more appealing to the mass market.

Nintendo will win this generation hands down if they somehow manage to keep the games flowing. Every developer in the world experienced a "holy crap!" moment when the Wii started selling like gangbusters and all of them are working on games for it. We can expect the market to be flooded with Wii games in roughly 18 months and from that point on there will be no comparison. Already the Wii is outselling the PS3 at a 4-to-1 ratio and that lead might even grow to 6-to-1 should the right games hit.

Imagine if LucasArts cranks out a Star Wars game where players can whip out a lightsaber and sword fight with dark Jedi. There isn't a person born since 1977 that wouldn't want to at least try it. The best part though is we know it's coming. It's too obvious a license to print money for everyone involved.

Hence, I've gone Nintendo again after all this time because the Big N finally got its mojo back in a big, big way.

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