I know that most were probably expecting me to do a President's Day post chronicling the "Best Video Game Presidents", or the "Best Politicians From Video Games", but I decided to make like our first President, George Washington, and buck the trend. We already have enough lists like that (read: one), and I wanted to have a brief word about something that has been on my mind for some time now.
Like it or hate it, the Nintendo Wii is here to stay. In the time that the Wii has been known to the public eye, it has gone from being the subject of derision, a prophet of doom for Nintendo's somewhat shaky future, to begrudging success, to being one of the most wildly popular console systems in history.
|All while making us look like this, and think it's OK.|
Sure, the motion control was no where NEAR as precise as the pre-launch trailers would have you believe, and sure, the graphical power of the system was not as impressive as the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3, but the one thing that cannot be denied is this: THE NINTENDO WII WAS INNOVATIVE, DAMMIT.
There will be those who disagree with the above statement, but allow me to make a case for how innovative the Wii actually is.
The Nintendo Wii was announced when Nintendo's stock was low, and people's expectations of the company were even lower. They had just finished losing a graphical arms race against the Playstation 2 and the XBox, a newcomer, and their Gamecube sold about 100 million less units than the PS2. It was a rough couple of years for Nintendo, and they had to make a few budget cuts that included letting the developer Rare be bought out from under them, and letting go of some of their most valuable assets.
This is the economic state that Nintendo found themselves in when they decided to do something that they had never done before. Nintendo realized that they couldn't compete with the sheer financial muscle of two giants of industry like Sony and Microsoft, and they decided that the only way to sell more hardware than those companies was to simply stop competing with them on their chosen battle ground: Graphics.
Thus, The Nintendo Wii was born. It was superior in graphical capability to the Gamecube, but not by an inordinate amount. Mainly, it took console development in a new direction by stating loudly, "Video gaming must become more inclusive, and innovation is the way to do it!"
The Wii, with its embarrassingly suggestive name, featured a variety of amalgamated ideas, some improved versions of older ideas, and others brand new. Nintendo started with a controller design that was as inviting as it was unorthodox, reminiscent of the familiar aesthetic of the television remote. They added accelerometers to help gauge motion, and an internal speaker to allow different kinds of communication between game and gamer. The controller utilized bluetooth for communication, and was wireless. It even had a proprietary expansion port on the bottom for controller extensions, and the Wii system itself had sleek, small form-factor.
All of those things made the Wii the commercial success that you know it to be today, but there is one more feature that is, in my opinion, the greatest innovation that the Wii offered gamers this generation.
|No, it was not the hilarious illustrations from the user's manual.|
This President's Day, The 8-Bit Variety Show salutes you, IR Pointer! Thank you for making our paintings more beautiful, our flashlights more illuminating, and our First-Person Shooters more shootey!
This is our pick for the greatest innovation that the Wii has to offer, but what's yours?
Do you hate the Wii, Nintendo, Mario, and happiness, and don't think that the Wii was innovative?
Let us know all about your thoughts in the comments!