Without trying to sound too much like a cheap voice over movie announcer, I will start this article off by saying this: In a world so accustomed to high speed, high def, and high price—why is it that so many “hard core” Nintendo fans stay loyal to the Big N? November 18, 2001 marked the release of the GameCube in North America. And, for the next five or so years, Nintendo fans were treated some truly extraordinary games. Despite these gems in the GameCube library, the GameCube could not help but be overshadowed by Sony’s own darling in the videogame industry: The Playstation 2 or Microsoft’s own big black box.
In fact, Nintendo was anything but a market success back in the GameCube heydays, trailing third in the three horse video console race . The argument then made (and still resoundingly heard today) was that the GameCube was aimed at a more “family friendly” audience. It lacked the Halo FPS or epic RPGs of Sony’s machine. It’s not that it didn’t have these types of games, it’s just that these were, for the most part, nowhere near the focus of Nintendo. (Although the Cube did boast over 40 M rated games during its lifetime).
The major issue (and some would argue, still a large looming issue) was the lack of online capabilities. While Sony and, more so, Microsoft, were quick to venture into the uncharted world of online gaming with a console—Nintendo dragged its feet and reluctantly released a broadband adapter for the Cube that neither turned heads, caught on, or even attempted to play a major role in online gaming. It seemed only Microsoft understood the benefit of a centralized online experience—and being a PC company, it was no surprise.
However, despite the ups and downs Nintendo had with the Cube-era of gaming and despite the silly mini cds, the purple cubes, and the lack of any online centralized gaming, Nintendo fans still stood by the Big N when the Wii was released in 2006. Even when it was clear that there would be no true HD offering with this ” next-gen” console, fans were optimistic.
For the most part, Nintendo fans understood that Nintendo was releasing a console focused more on innovations rather than just graphical advancements. Fans were, in one word, hopeful. And hopeful they would have to be as they endured the countless duct tape jokes, the name bashings of the console, and the wily waggle remarks. However, despite these relentless remarks, three years later, the Wii, without a doubt, has made its mark on the gaming industry. It has secured its spot as one of the best selling consoles of all time. HD cables be damned.
So, while fans have withstood some hard times, it’s not hard to see why so many are proud to be called “fanboys” or Nintendo slappies. The Wii, and in turn Nintendo, changed the way people looked at video games by making it not only acceptable to play video games, but approachable and welcoming.
With that, here are just five other reasons (among many others I am sure other people have) as to why the Wii made it okay again to proudly say, “Yeah, I’m a fanboy.”
5) Metroid Prime 3: Corruption – I remember downloading the teaser Channel and my mouth dropping at the preview for the game. It just looked so slick, but how would these control work? Turned out playing Metroid on the Wii was possibly one of the best experiences I have had playing a FPS in a very, very long time. For the doubter out there that said Nintendo could not pull off a FPS, the Wii not only proved that it was possible, but also that Nintendo could pull it off better than its HD counterparts.
4) Mario Kart Wii – Let’s face it, Nintendo was never big in online centralized gaming. Mario Kart proved otherwise. Not only was the online easy to take part in, but it was also done so well in that Nintendo included leader boards, ghosts, and online tournaments along with a separate Wii Channel for the game. Despite the friend code fiasco and lack of voice chat—this was the game that proved Nintendo knew what online should look (and feel) like.
3) Super Mario Galaxy – Playing this game for the first time, I was, by all accounts, just simply amazed. The controls, the platforming, and yes, even the graphics were awe-inspiring. Put this game up against Little Big Planet or Ratchet and Clank and there is no doubt it would surely hold its own. This was the game that proved, with a little love, Wii games could be absolutely beautiful.
2) Wii Sports – I vividly recall my father taunting me over Thanksgiving break about how he just “showed me up” in Wii bowling and if I thought I could handle it, he’d school me again. Yeah, this was my Dad. A man who for the most part read Wall Street Journal and occasionally flipped through Headline News or CNN. He was owning me. At a video game. Gaming had become not so much a technological wedge in families. No, Nintendo had gone and done a crazy thing: They made a system that invited everyone to play, compete, and get their butts kicked. And it was whole lot of fun.
1) Wiiware – Welcome back third parties and independent game designers. Not content with just allowing it’s users to go online, Nintendo opened up its console to outside parties by ushering in the era of Wiiware. A step toward a disc-less age? Perhaps. But for now, game developers are more than happy to introduce their ideas onto Wiiware seeing as the potential for their games to be played (and thus, them paid) is enormously tantalizing. And, thus, the gamer benefits as well. Nintendo opened the door and we got World of Goo, Toki Tori, and Lost Winds.
So yes, it’s true, I’m a fanboy. And, hope to be one well into the future.