Will my (someday) Wii still be fun in 2008?
December 18, 2006 5:38 PM   Subscribe

WiiFilter: Long-term love or short-term crush? [more inside, obviously]

Having procrastinated the purchasing of a Wii for my 10-year-old son, I have given up all hope of acquiring one before Christmas. Instead, he'll get some legos and a coupon for a Wii later. Maybe a copy of Zelda, though I can't decide if the game is either a) a guarantee that I'll actually produce the console later or b) awful torture for a 10-year-old. But that's not the question.

I am intrigued by Wii, but I'm a little concerned that the unique gameplay makes for a great demo experience but lousy long-term fun. Many things can be fun for a few minutes, and some of those upfront fun experiences can sour over extended exposure. So I have a question for all you Wii owners (you scum, you lousy enjoyers of that which I should have planned to enjoy earlier): does the initial shine of the new experience of the Wii wear off over time? If you got yours back on the 19th, is it as much fun now? Do you think, now that you've had a whole month of play-time, that it will remain as fun in two years?

For the record, I'm rooting for Wii to succeed long-term, but since I have never as yet even touched one, I am in no position to judge. Thanks.
posted by terceiro to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I saw an article recently that I can no long find (sorry) that claimed the Wii didn't have the "staying power" of other major video game systems. It blamed it on the gimmicky-ness of the wiimote controller, among other things. It was the only negative article about the wii I have seen anywhere.

The problem is, you're basically asking "Will the Wii stand the test of time?" and the only thing that can answer that is time itself. Will game makers run into a limit of interesting methods of play with the wiimote? Will users just get bored of actually having to move around? Maybe, who knows, but so far there doesn't seem to be any sign of it. And I know people who play a lot of Wii.

I cantell you that my entire family and I are enthralled by mine, and it has already started to become sort of a household fixture for "games night" or whatever. Maybe the Wii is the like new Monopoly?
posted by patr1ck at 5:51 PM on December 18, 2006

WiiSports remains just as fun, if not more.

I can't speak for ExciteTruck, but that seems like another game that would maintain the AWESOME level.

Once the novelty of the different controls wear off in Zelda, it feels like any other console game (I guess unless you get really into it and stay standing the whole time). But it is still fun, because Zelda is an awesome game.

One month later, the Wii is still recommended.
posted by Anonymous at 5:52 PM on December 18, 2006

I've had my Wii for 3 weeks now, and I've found that I play Wii Sports all the time, usually for a half hour or more each day. My newest purchase, Elebits, is also remaining fun to play, I've had that one for shy of a week. Red Steel is... not being played, simply because I'm at a point that I've done like 7 times now but can never get to the end before turning it off or dying or losing interest. Zelda is being played by my partner, who has had more experience with Zelda games than I have. We still play it, but we're also playing Final Fantasy 12 and it seems to be taking precidence, we haven't touched Zelda for a week or so.

patr1ck raises a good point, in that Wii might gain the reputation of a party-night console. WarioWare will definately bump this reputation, as will WiiPlay when it comes out in NA. I saw this last weekend, bringing the console to my friend's house, it became a really fun game for a lot of people, something that traditional videogames aren't for simple lack of number of players and thoughts of "well i'm not a gamer, i don't press buttons, i can't do this".

Regardless, when you buy a Wii, you're also buying a GameCube, so if you don't already have a GC then it's worth it right there. Plus it's much prettier than ye olde cube, has Weather launching soon, News to follow, and who knows what else of neat channels and features there'll be. And there will always be that ONE game (like Elebits!) for Wii that you might want to play. If you don't like the remote, play GameCube games with a Wavebird, play Virtual Console games.

One last thing: do you have a widescreen TV? I believe Zelda on Wii has widescreen when GC does not. It's worth seeing it in all its beauty!
posted by Meagan at 6:28 PM on December 18, 2006

The answer to your unasked question is b) by the way. If he unwraps the game, he's going to NEED the console.

One month later, and I am still loving the Wii. I'm not playing as constantly, but I'm still playing regularly. There is a surprising amount of improvement and learning involved with Wii Sports, Raving Rabbids is still hilarious and fun (the FPS-ish levels deserve their own game), and Zelda is by far the best of the series.

The key will be what NEW games are coming out. Will they be creative, new, fun games that use the control mechanism in exciting ways (or at least not annoying ways), or will they be lame ports with no innovation or imagination? I'm betting it's the former (game developers seem to be among the most excited about Wii).

If you were stuck with Wii Sports, Zelda and the rest of the launch lineup, it would still be a great purchase. The longevity of the system will be determined by the library of games to come (the new Mario/Metroid/Brawl games sound great, at the very least).
posted by Rock Steady at 6:37 PM on December 18, 2006

Yes, there is a novelty factor there.
But he can play tons of games the "normal" way
looking forward in terms of future releases and looking to the past with backwards compatibility of a solid stable of gamecube titles and classic nintendo and sega console games that you can download for him from the Nintendo store for like 4-15 dollars a piece.. it's a wiin wiin proposition for the lil fella and you.
posted by stavx at 6:40 PM on December 18, 2006

I own a Wii and after the initial "COOL!" factor wore off, I shared this concern too. Would this controller be little more than a gimmick that would work for some games and not others? And would the Wii's graphics capabilities stand in the way of delivering great games?

My concern was driven mostly by what games were available at launch and which ones I wanted. Frankly, beyond Zelda: Twilight Princess, which I own, and which is fucking fantastic, there was nothing else that interested me. Super Monkey Ball maybe, but nothing else. And of the games that will be released soon, only 1st and 2nd party games, such as Mario Galaxy, Mario Party 8, Metroid 3 and Bataalion Wars II were really grabbing my interest. Need For Speed: Carbon was a 3rd party possibility, but the graphics looked shit so I stayed away, shallow as I am. The new Sonic game looks amazing, and I will probably buy it once its released. But the next game I actually plan to purchase, Call of Duty 3, I am only getting because I know Zelda must finish one day and I feel I need a new Wii game to justify the money I spent on my shiny new console.

So I shared the same concerns as you raised in your question, terceiro. But after thinking about it for a while (while laying in bed, gnawing at my fingernails in all my Nintendo fan-boy angst), I realised that the Wii can succeed but it needs developers other than The Big N to support it. This will depend largely on how successful the Wii is and how badly the PS3 tanks.

I suspect the PS3 will tank big time. I say this because I can't imagine many people, not even Sony fan boys, being able to justify $999 on a console. Hell, I'm one of the biggest Nintendo fan-boys you'll ever meet, and if the Wii had come out with specs similar to the PS3 and a price of $999, I wouldn't have bought it, fancy controller or no. So I think the PS3 will tank, and the Wii and the 360 will survive to duke it out.

If this eventuates, I think 3rd party developers will probably favor the 360 but there will be many others who either flock to the Wii in the vacuum left by the PS3 to do exclusives for Nintendo's sexy new console (and it is sexy). And once you remove those developers beholden only to Microsoft, you'll be left with a large group of developers who will do cross-platform titles for Wii and the 360.

The big factor then will be if developers can find ways to use the Wiimote in a way that makes the game as easy/fun to play on the Wii as it is on the 360. But who knows? Maybe developers will just start using the virtual console joypad to do ports (is this even possible?) If they think it's too much effort to try and do that, well, then we may be in for some trouble.

So basically, the Wii's success will, I believe, depend on the PS3s imminent failure and the dedication of developers to try and make games that can be played with either the Wiimote or traditional joypads. I think the Wiimote has a tonne of potential across almost every genre (sports and FPS especially) so I think the latter part will be easy but let's face it, the history of cross platform ports is filled with the memories of lazy developers.

Personally though I can see some great potential for fantastic games using the Wiimote. Imagine a tennis game that has realistic graphics and allows you to not only to hit the ball with the Wii mote but move your character with the nunchuck. A golf game with better graphics than Wii Sports would kick ass, and I hate golf! A beautiful FPS could send Wii sales through the roof. The possibilities are endless!

And even in a worst case scenario, where the Wii fails and the gaming public at large writes off the Wiimote as little more than a gimmick, I would still recommend a Wii any day of the week. As I stated, Zelda is fantastic and worth the price of admission alone, and as was the case with the N64 and the Gamecube before it, it will always be worth owning a Nintendo console for Nintendo's own games and the brilliance that is Shigeru Miyamoto.

So yes, buy a Wii. Whether it succeeds or whether it fails, it will have staying power and there will be some games that come out for it in the future that will only be as fun as they are because of the Wiimote. The 360, pretty as it is, can never have that and that, if nothing else, is why I love my Wii.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:53 PM on December 18, 2006

Oh, and it can never have Zelda, Mario or Metroid, obviously.

And when you add in the entire back catalogue of Gamecube games playable on the Wii, a back catalogue that has established classics from 1st, 2nd and 3rd party developers, the Wii becomes even more desirable.

And despite the existence of emulators with cheap as free ROMS, the Virtual Console feature is another reason why in the long run a Wii is worth getting.

OK, I'll shut up now. Must. Go. Play. Zelda.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:04 PM on December 18, 2006

My friends in the gaming industry seem extremely excited about the gameplay possibilities of the Wii.
posted by lunalaguna at 7:26 PM on December 18, 2006

Effigy2000 wrote...

OK, I'll shut up now. Must. Go. Play. Zelda.

I was about to say. The OP is never going to get a balanced answer online: all the Wii owners are off playing WiiSports or Zelda.

For the record, I'll vote for Wii in 2008. The ease of use and social aspects alone will keep a regular stream of party games coming out for it.

In my dream world the major game writers will start integrating the new control abilities into their game designs -- unlikely I know, in any title that needs to run on multiple platforms, but a guy can dream, can't he?
posted by tkolar at 7:29 PM on December 18, 2006

You haven't played with one yet? Drop everything, go to the nearest EB/Gamestop, and demo one. I'll wait.

The slogan for the Wii is "Playing Is Believing" and that is 100% accurate. My roommate thought that the Wii would be gimmicky as hell and told me that there was no way he would play Zelda on it using the remote (he is a massive Zelda fan). After watching me play for a few hours, he gave in and now he says that the Wiimote + nunchuk is the most comfortable, intuitive controller he's ever used.

The first time I played Xbox after getting my Wii, I was amazed at how uncomfortable the Xbox controller was now that I was used to the Wiimote.

Yes, I have gotten a little bored with Wii Sports, but my friends/girlfriend/parents/everyone else that doesn't own it has not, and it is awesome to just sit back and watch everyone have a blast playing tennis or whatever.

I would say that the Wii has immense staying power based solely on the announced First Party games. Zelda is great. Smash Bros, Animal Crossing, and Mario Kart will all probably have online play. The Virtual Console will offer a few forgotten classics to play again.

Third Parties, especially Ubisoft, are also throwing their support behind the console and this is something that Nintendo didn't really have during the last two generations.

Honestly....if you don't NEED to play Zelda RIGHT NOW, you can probably hold off until February and be more than ok. By that time, all of the extra channels will have launched, there will be a healthy assortment of VC games to download, and you might find good games like Red Steel and Excitetruck available to buy used.
posted by Diskeater at 7:29 PM on December 18, 2006

Actually, now that I think about it there's no reason you couldn't produce a Wii style controller for the 360 or the PS3....
posted by tkolar at 7:30 PM on December 18, 2006

tkolar - The PS3s Sixaxis controller has similiar functionality to the Wiimote but it looks very awkward to use.
posted by Diskeater at 7:41 PM on December 18, 2006

OK, I'm back from playing Zelda with one final thought.

The Wii was originally named the Revolution. Why? Because Nintendo believes, and probably rightly so, that the Wiimote is a whole new way for people to interact with games they play. For the better part of 20 years we've been comfortable with joypads. We know what joypads can do.

Conversely, the Wiimote is new and I doubt even Nintendo knows all the ways they can use the Wiimote to make our in-game avatars move. Which makes me think that whereas before only some genres were suitable, perhaps every genre is suitable for the Wiimote.

If developers can get their heads around this, and if the Wii is successful, I am certain the Wii will still be fun in 2008. And I'm now more excited than ever before about my Wii purchase.

Right, back to Zelda. Ciao!
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:21 PM on December 18, 2006

I keep wondering similar things myself, but then I remember that it took developers about six months to get over the gimmick-factor of Nintendo's own DS and start making games that were really incredible and inventive, rather than just overblown tech demos and ports of older games. I'm predicting that once the Wii gets over that hurdle, it's going to have a pretty amazing games library.

Until then, there's Excite Truck(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
posted by metaly at 9:45 PM on December 18, 2006

As far as long, long term. If he's anything like me, 20 years from now he'll look back on the Legos with a hell of a lot more fondness.

I hope you're not getting him some lousy "build a spaceship!" lego sets. Those have the same staying power problem. Instead, get him 3-4 of those flat lego grass things (and one board that's the airport, because that was frikken cool) and one of those buckets of, like, 2000 bricks. He will cry his eyes out for an hour or two but by that evening he will have built the world's coolest city.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:50 PM on December 18, 2006

I got my Wii on Thursday, and I cannot stop praising the thing. All my friends love it - even the die-hard guys who can't stop talking about how much the graphics on the PS3 or 360 are amazing. Why, might you ask?

It's basically what everyone else has said - the game play is astounding, simply because of the new input means. When I buy a game now, even the lamest games would be so-so, simply because I don't know how they work and how the controller is going to be used.

I'd recommend it in a heartbeat, hands down. I'm still in the honeymoon period, though, so take my advice at a lesser grain than those who have had them for a while.
posted by plaidrabbit at 10:25 PM on December 18, 2006

I should probably note that SuperMonkeyBall makes horrendously bad use of the new controls -- in particular, about 40 of the 50 included mini-games are great examples of how NOT to design user input for the Wii.

Hopefully a good portion of the game designers will get it right... if they don't, that would pretty much kill the platform IMHO.
posted by tkolar at 10:59 PM on December 18, 2006

You know, Wii really is something you have to play to get on board with. The concept *is* a bit gimmicky, but you stop caring because it's just so much fun. Seriously, the interaction and how real it feels... It's insane how into it you get.

Plus, my Gamecube died, and I hate not being able to play Smash Bros.

And I paid for it by... well... buying three other Wiis and selling them for about $450 a pop.

//waited in three lines.
posted by disillusioned at 11:24 PM on December 18, 2006

Wii owner here. The novelty has certainly lessened, but it's generally refreshed anytime I have other people over to play with, especially people who haven't experienced it before. Also: I showed it to a few kids in the 8-12 demo. and they loved it. So much so, in fact, that I felt I had to apologize to their mother for showing it to them so soon before Christmas.

Also also: It really is about what the possibilities are for the controls. I can imagine, for instance, getting tired of the games I have and letting the console sit for a few months. But then a new game comes out that totally blows my mind again. I've never had that experience with other consoles (well, not since I was 10 myself).
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:04 AM on December 19, 2006

If the new Smash Bros. game is 75% as good as Super Smash Bros Melee the system will have LEGS.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:35 AM on December 19, 2006

Having procrastinated the purchasing of a Wii for my 10-year-old son

Ha! "For your son." You realize the whole neighborhood will be dropping by, right? Living in Brooklyn it is sometimes difficult to convinced my Manhattanite friends to come visit me. No longer. I drop the magic three-letter word and their faces light up like it's Christmas morning.

The initial novelty wanes, sure, but very slightly. In ten years people will fondly remember playing WiiSports like they do now about Super Mario Brothers/DuckHunt.
posted by yeti at 11:08 AM on December 19, 2006

My hope is that Lucas Arts will port a Star Wars themed game to the Wii for true lightsaber swinging action. Even if all Nintendo/Lucas did was port this game, I think they'd be on to a definite way to keep the system alive for a long time - with sequels, etc. Add in flying the various SW ships with flight stick type controls, and I think they'd sell even faster than they already are. (I'd buy one in a second if they did this).
posted by birdsquared at 8:30 PM on December 19, 2006

So, checking in a month later. Are people still loving their Wii's? I'm thinking of picking one up, but honestly, the reviews of games not published by Nintendo are a bit lackluster.
posted by mkultra at 1:45 PM on January 26, 2007

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