Swinging, Stabbing, Slicing, Smiling

So the Wii is all it was cracked up to be. Sure, I’m not completely submerged in a 3D virtual environment, but for the most part, I’m in the game. It took me standing in line from 5am-ish three times before I actually got my hands on one, but the overall experience was a good one.

3rd Times a Charm

On my final approach, the victory battle, I ended up being sandwiched between a long haired, beer bellied dad who was trying to get the system for his 13 year old son and a 30-something woman wrapped in a blanket who was running the same game for her 9 year old. We had a good three hours to stand in line, and once the ice of an early November morning was broken, we chatted this way and that about what the system was, how they were sending a bad message of consumerism to their children, and random pokes at how pathetic I am. I also got to spout off my knowledge of the system and why it was so super-fantastic.

Nintendo, the Years

I was also thinking last night that the Genesis was out before SNES, and how Nintendo still held on to their edge then. Plus things like Mario Paint that were so much fun at the time really helped to kick off Nintendo’s future progression. A game like Zelda or Mario for the 64 were also amazingly groundbreaking, with full camera action in 3D worlds where nothing else was even coming close to that sort of thing back then (and alot of the time it still isn’t possible in games other than special view-only modes.)

Advancing the Peoples

There’s a lot of talk about downloading games via the Wii (and I guess PS3 is going to allow this eventually too), old games like the original Metroid and whatnot. I’ve tried a few emulators for my ol’ PC over the years, but now that games exist in 3D space with fifty buttons / controller, I just can’t get in to playing the original Ninja Gaiden anymore, regardless of how cool that scene is where the one ninja jumps and the other ninja jumps but only one lands, un-killed. And now with the new Wii remote, playing games using a joystick and mashing buttons seems about as much fun as chewing on a can. All I want to do is bob and weave with Wii Sports Boxing – I am the champion!

The Competition

Microsoft has been running really strange ads that say things like “The Next Generation is Online” or “The Next Generation is Playing with Friends” and so on – but nothing they say is XBox exclusive. In fact, XBox doesn’t seem to have any exclusivity – anything it can do, the PS3 supposedly can do. But still, there’s no jumping behind the couch and becoming one with the character or creating little Mii guys that can represent all of my friends on my baseball team and look as much like them as my artistic ability to match pieces up will allow… But Sony is really the crowd that baffles me – having dominated video games since the late 90’s and as electronic powerhouse since forever, I’m forced to think back on all of the failures they’ve had, primarily with media storage. Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD, well, the latter will win simply for it’s name. Think about it – 8-track vs. tape: 8-track sounds cooler but didn’t win. Laser Disc vs. CD – again, Laser Disc sounds much cooler, but people don’t want cool. They want short, easy to say – no one wants to go around saying “Blu-ray this man, blu-ray this forever!” (and can you even spell it with a lower case b?), so most likely HD DVD will win, and eventually just be called DVD again.

Innovation, Revisited from Above

With all of the talk about how graphics are so important, how you need to see the nose hairs on the enemy when you’re shooting his glasses off – well graphics are just one angle of innovation and frankly, the graphics haven’t improved that much since the last generation. Have they even doubled, really? It’s all subjective, but I’d say not. However, the leap from traditional controllers to the Wii Remote is huge. Easily five-drupled. That’s real innovation.

Now we just need shoes that’ll allow us to kick as well, so that soccer games will rule like boxing and tennis do. Oh, and a Mario Kart Wii release, enough controllers to go around, and inebriation between pals.

Up Next: A Maple Tree, Chapter 1