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Wii Businesses Nintendo

Two Weeks with the Wii 458

Posted by Zonk
from the different-than-anything-you've-known-before dept.
In the 80s, kids of my generation cut their teeth on Super Mario Bros.. They went through high school with Mario Kart, and bonded with college friends playing Super Smash Bros. By 1999, though, the N64 had long since proven that Nintendo's dominance in American videogaming was over. The GameCube that followed was largely a disappointment. Nintendo failed to interest third party developers, and frustrated fans with long-delayed chapters of the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid franchises. Coming into this no-longer-next generation of consoles, Nintendo announced they were aiming for a Revolution, and then confused everyone by renaming it Wii. Their actions left a lot of people wondering if the company still had what it took to compete with committed powerhouses like Microsoft and Sony. The launch lineup is kind of tepid, and the controls really do take some getting used to. We've already established that they're not aiming to compete in the graphics race. So what is the console really like? Why is it selling so quickly? What does it have to offer? I've had two weeks to find out. Read on, so that you can get a feel for the system you'll definitely be playing (if not owning) at some point in the future.
My somewhat bold claim is not based in any sort of fanboi favoritism. It's a simple reality of Nintendo's console; the Wii begs to be played by lots of people. Unlike the solitary games that are popular on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Nintendo's scrappy fighter is at its fullest potential when you've got four people armed with Wiimotes. Four players on a Wii title is like nothing you have ever experienced in gaming before. For some people the Wii's demand that you be physically proximate to your fellow gamer will be a mark against it. For many people, though, I think the need to get together in one space will cut through the confusion and misunderstanding this hobby has always suffered from.

The reason for this is that it is easy: It just works. The first time you hand a Wiimote to someone and they point it at the screen, they know what to do. There's a little hand, representing where you're pointing, and each Wiimote has a different colored hand. Navigating menus is actually ... fun, in an odd sort of way. Moving over UI elements with the little hand representing your controller causes a very slight rumble. The controller shakes just enough to give the entire experience a tactile element that, again, I've never seen in gaming before. It's the little things like this that really makes the Wii experience. Turning the Wiimote upside down inverts the hand. They didn't have to do it that way, but they did. Navigating menus is, mildly, fun. One of the first games my cousins played after they'd picked up the controllers was the "duel with their icon-hands" challenge. Odd, yes, but entirely understandable. The Wiimote, and the completely natural movements you make when using the device, require no explanation. When Nintendo went to the AARP event earlier this year, they knew what they were doing; this is the console your grandmother can use as easily as you can.

UI

Graphically, the system's UI is a clean mixture of greys and whites. The Channel selection screen is the first thing you see on booting the system, and stands out well against the system's default imagery. From left to right on the top row, you're going to find the games channel, the Mii channel, the photo channel, and Wii Store channel. Though I'm not sure why the somewhat anemic photo functionality gets to rank so highly, they've organized your primary Wii elements together on one screen. On the bottom of the screen there's an unobtrusive options button, and a button to take you to your Wii's address book functionality. As you purchase things from the Virtual console (the primary online capability of the console right now) they'll fill in additional windows on the console's launch page. This is also where the news and weather features are accessible, with promises of more services further on in the Wii's lifetime.

To start addressing the channels in order, the games channel is where you'll access your currently-loaded disc. The system has a little splash screen there on your Wii frontpage illustrating what you have loaded. Just to reiterate something you've probably already heard, GameCube titles are 100% backwards compatible with the system. The Wavebird controllers are too, and nicely slot into the ports for them on the top of the console. If you're planning on playing a lot of Virtual Console titles, I recommend that you make sure to hang onto your Wavebird; they'll play almost every game the download service can offer up, and your Cube games to boot.

Mii

The Mii channel may just be the hidden gem for this system. If Nintendo plays things right, the Mii may become as much a part of your online identity as Microsoft's gamertag. Miis, to explain, are little virtual people. Using a canned set of features (hair, eyes, mouths), you can combine facial elements to great a little 'you'. Or a mini-Lincoln. Or Jesus. If you've always wanted to school the King of Kings in tennis, the Wii is the system for you. As innocuous a feature as this sounds, it's impossible not to find yourself wrapped up in possibilities once you sit down to play with it. At the very least, you're going to have to make you. And your S.O. And your family, and all of your friends, and your favorite movie star ... it's just too bad they don't have ears and you can't make pets.

Once you've made your Mii-version of former child star Gary Coleman, you can actually compete with him or against him in Wii Sports. At the moment, the games on the pack-in disc (and those on the upcoming Wii Play disc) are the only places you can make use of your strange little people. Even with that limited scope, Nintendo is already showing their intent to make the most of this feature. Your capabilities in Wii Tennis, for example, are tracked via intuitive charts. Someday down the line, when more titles take your Mii into account, you'll hopefully be able to import more interesting stats (frags and such) into your Mii's pockets. You can already take your Mii with you; up to 8 Miis can be loaded onto a single Wiimote for easy toting to another person's house. You can send them away, too; after you exchange friend codes with someone, you can trade Miis. They'll go wandering, too, if you let them. Heading off into the great Wii beyond, they'll wander across the Mii Parades of consoles across the nation, just begging to be included in that owner's personal Mii Plaza. Reggie Fils Aime has already hinted at the eventual addition of more facial features, and it is little wonder why. With the ease of making a little 'you' so tantalizing, it's easy to see why Nintendo is taking this 'uber-cutesy' feature very seriously.

Photos

The system's photo feature/mp3 player is something of a forgettable tack-on. Photos and music can be uploaded to the system, or played directly from, SD memory cards. They slot right into the front, and featured photos are very lovingly displayed by the UI. Music can be played behind the photos; it's essentially the only way to just listen to music on the system. Uploaded tunes can be played during select Wii titles (like ExciteTruck), which is very nice, but otherwise the media capabilities of the Wii are fairly forgettable. Given Nintendo's drum-beating about the Wii being 'focused on games', I'm kind of surprised they even bothered. Just the same, the utility of these features can't be denied, and they certainly don't get in the way.

Virtual Console

The Virtual Console, then, is the final default offering you'll find on loading the system. Nintendo's answer to Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's E-Distribution model, it currently only offers downloadable retro titles. The Wii Shop will eventually be where you pick up additional services as well, but for now games are all this service has to offer. While the launch list for the U.S. market has some much appreciated classics included, overall the titles are downright disappointing compared to other regions. I'm not complaining about what we have gotten, to be sure. Bonk, the original Sonic, the SNES version of Sim City, and the original Legend of Zelda are all titles still well worth your time in 2006. It's hard not to look at the Virtual Console list from Japan and other sectors, though, and not be a little jealous. Castlevania IV and A Link to the Past? Why don't we deserve Link to the Past? Recent events has also hinted that Nintendo has no plans to offer games via the Virtual Console if they were not originally released in that market. If that turns out to be true, terrific JP-only NES and SNES games will never reach our virtual shores. A serious oversight on the company's part.

The Virtual Console itself has proven to be less enjoyable for me to use than other parts of the Wii interface. Out of the box, the only way you'll be connecting with the Internet is via a WiFi connection. Even with a solid WiFi setup, it's inevitable that your connection will flake out. The console seems intent on blaming 'firewalls' for its woes, but some days I know everything is working fine; the problem lies with a cranky Wii. Once you're online you may run into difficulties there as well. The interest level in the Virtual Console must be higher than Nintendo expected, because I've found the service absolutely hammered and essentially unusable several times since the system launched. All that said, this is exactly what you'd expect from Nintendo: a solid retro-delivery system, straight from your childhood. I spent many, many, many hours playing the SNES version of Sim City. I gave myself an allowance of three games from the launch lineup. Along with that early Will Wright title, I snagged the original Zelda (my wife had never played it) and Sonic, as we were Sega-less in my formative years. All three play as smoothly as silk. No hiccups, no quirky controls, just unadulterated blasts from the past. Of course, my three titles will soon have friends. Even with Nintendo's odd reluctance to give us the good stuff, they'll be releasing a least one new title every Monday for the foreseeable future. Emulator fans may scoff, but it's hard to look down your nose at a legal way to enjoy retro classics in relatively high definition. The Wii even does game suspension, so you don't have to play games straight through. Despite some petty annoyances, they've got a great channel here for future content (including the much vaunted indie gaming scene), and it only looks to be getting better in the future. At the end of the day, even if it can be annoying to use, at least the Wii Shop music is soothing.

So, that's what the machine itself is like. The Wii's control scheme is what has people sitting up and taking notice though, and it's hard to judge that on menus alone. As a study in comparisons, I offer you the Good, the Bad, and the Awesome: Wii Sports, Red Steel, and Rayman Raving Rabbids.

Wii Sports

In the U.S., our consoles were $40 more expensive than in Japan. This was the reason - the Wii Sports pack-in. I've been lamenting the loss of the pack-in for years now, though, so I begrudge them nothing. It would be one thing if Wii Sports was a waste, a Luigi's Mansion for the next-gen era, but thankfully this mini-game game holds its own and encourages your aging relatives to make fools of themselves. Wii Sports consists of five simple games which ... kind of ... resemble actual sports. There's tennis, golf, bowling, boxing, and baseball. Controls for each of the five pastimes are the definition of simplicity. Each only requires a very simple motion with the Wiimote, mimicking actual movements you'd make while participating in the sport. Tennis is probably the one that's been seen the most at press events, and all it requires is a quick flick of the wrist to get the ball moving to the other end of the court. It's also one of the most enjoyable of the offerings, and supports up to four players for some hi-larious doubles action. Bowling is likewise enjoyable in multiplayer mode, and requires only that you know how to make the bowling motion with your arm in order to strike. Golf and baseball are less enjoyable, as built-in sensitivities to the mini-games lend themselves to confusion and mistrust of your capabilities. In reality, it's not you, it's the game. Golf is particularly bad, as even the slightest swing will have the game registering 'too much force' on the ball. The final game, boxing, is much the same. Using the Wiimote and the nunchuck, you can deliver one-two punches to your opponent's Mii ... if you can get your flailing arms to work right. I've personally found boxing to be highly enjoyable, despite its lack of precision. Two people really into the game results in an air-slapping girly-fight scene like something out of "Revenge of the Nerds". Nintendo made an excellent choice including this as a pack-in, and Wii Sports will continue to be the social game console owners reach for until the likes of Wario Ware or Mario Party make it to store shelves. (Just make sure to use the wrist strap.)

Red Steel

On the opposite end of the hardcore scale, we have Red Steel. Along with Call of Duty 3, this is one of the more 'adult' offerings accompanying the Wii at launch. It concerns the battles of a gentleman who has come to a fancy restaurant to have dinner with his girlfriend's father. As sometimes happens, the Yakuza assault the building and an epic fight ensues. While the title does an admirable job of convincing the player that FPS controls are completely enjoyable on the Wii, the title fails to deliver in almost any other way. The reason has nothing to do with the Wii; Red Steel is just not a very good game. Unlike Yakuza , which manages to weave a tale of Japanese crime with a straight face and get away with it, here the attempts at gritty criminality come off as hokey and poorly thought-out. The hero is utterly forgettable, and the noble quest to protect friends and family from the vicious crime syndicate is one John Woo flick short of a film festival. The only thing it gets (mostly) right is the control scheme, which is just as you'd imagine it. The Wiimote directs your point of view, while the stick on the nunchuck moves you forward. This is the schema that were' going to (hopefully) see a lot of over the Wii's lifespan. It's the way we'll be playing Metroid down the line, and can also be seen one door over in Call of Duty 3. Red Steel chooses to make the protagonist's arm flex and bend in inhuman ways as you turn, fouling up the game's one solid feature. His long, seemingly jointless arm is very disconcerting, and only serves to remove you from the action. Embarrassingly, the control scheme breaks down during sword fights. Those gooshy, confusing fight sequences are not quite as disconnected from reality as Wii Boxing, but it's fairly close. Even when poor reactions began leaking out of the enthusiast press, I maintained a guarded enthusiasm for this title. Guns and swords for the win, right? In the end, though, there's just not enough 'there' there. As much as it makes me want to play Metroid Prime, it makes me want to shut off the console more. You need not suffer from the launch-day enthusiasm that carried this into my cart; you can definitely give this one a pass.

Rayman Raving Rabbids

From the inane to the insane, we move on to Rayman Raving Rabbids. I've never really liked Rayman in his previous platform title outings; he's always been something of a forgettable character. Here, though, Ubisoft has offered up a crack-addled assortment of mini-games, and hung them very loosely around Rayman's neck. He's the central character of the game only insomuch as the little guy on screen has his name. Otherwise, you'll be concerning yourself more with the Rabbids: evil, stupid, ugly, bunnies from hell. The outline of the game is fairly simple. Ray competes in various events, spread out over a period of about thirteen days. Every day, there are four events to participate in. Completing three events unlocks a 'boss' event, which when cleared allows Ray to move on to the next day. Completing all four events during each day unlocks (on alternating days) new outfits for Ray to wear, and new music for you to listen to. Multiplayer play focuses on several people competing in individual events, with an option to string some of them together to make fairly anemic storylines for your adventures.

The beauty of this game, though, is that it's a.) absolutely crack-addled b.) hilarious and c.) completely addicting. Just a few of my favorite examples from the game include:
  • "Bunnies Don't Like Bats" - Direct Rayman as he mounts a giant bat, collecting piggies and dropping them into a pigpen before the time runs out. "Bunnies Don't Like Bats 2" adds the complexity of fending off a Bunny raiding party while you collect the piggies.
  • "Bunnies Don't Know What to do with Cows" - Whirl the Wiimote over your head, as Ray does the same with a chain attached to a cow's collar. Hit a button on the Wiimote to send the cow flying while it's facing away from you. You get more points the further the cow flies; the cow flies further by whipping that Wiimote as fast as you can above your head.
  • "Bunnies Don't Use Toothpaste" - Grab horrible grimacing worms with the Wiimote as they emerge from the rotten teeth of a Bunny, and flick them away. They come slowly at first, but emerge faster and faster as you play. Allowing a worm to emerge and then disappear ruins a tooth. Allowing two worms to reenter a single tooth sends the worm borrowing up into the Bunny's soft palate and ends the game. Hilariously, the mini-game is backed by an homage to the the theme from "Brazil".
  • "Bunnies Can Only Fly Downward" - This wonderful bunny-filled version of the parachuting level from PilotWings has you directing Ray down through smoke rings with your Wiimote. You speed up by pushing on the nunchuck's stick, but you lose control that way too. Your aim is to get to the ground before a set time has passed. (Hint to Nintendo: PilotWings for the Virtual Console. Get on it.)
  • "Bunnies Are Addicted to Carrot Juice" - While pumping the nunchuck with your left hand up and down, aim the Wiimote at the oncoming diver-Bunnies to fill their dive masks with carrot juice. Filling them up causes them to fall over. You lose if the ever-increasing wave of bunnies reaches your bar.
Beyond these, there are rhythm games, races, and a slew of FPS-style bunny shoot-em-ups. This last genre is usually the 'boss' event for any given day, and actually gives me even more hope for First Person Shooter titles on the Wii than Red Steel does. The controls are tight and responsive, and a ridiculous amount of fun. Zelda may be the reason that everyone bought a Wii, but Rayman should be the game you break out at Christmas parties this year. It's gloriously unhinged to play with four players, and is guaranteed to be better while drunk. Most enjoyably, there are several games that can be played by two players, one holding the Wiimote and the other the nunchuck. It's a wonderfully cheaty form of co-op play, and I highly recommend it as an excuse to get your wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend interested in the Wii's unique control scheme. The only problem here is the game's brevity; beatable in just a day or two, Rayman really only has legs as a party game. For a party game, though, and one made up so defiantly of mini-games, its well worth at least a look. Ubi has a winner with this ... this grotesque mockery of Bunniedom. I hope there's room in Ubisoft's budget down the line for a sequel. My suggestion for a mini-game: "Bunnies Avoid Corporate Takeovers."

Final Thoughts

The reality of the situation is that multiplayer Wii games make you look like an idiot. As strange as it sounds, this is just one mark of a system that has succeeded. For so many people, gaming is either a solitary pastime or one done socially via the cold detachment of a Ventrilo link. I, like many other folks, had the opportunity to introduce the Wii to my family during Thanksgiving, and it was anything but detached. It resulted in several hours of good-natured competition among my cousins, and allowed me the pleasure of watching four individuals north of 40 volley and serve via Wiimote. With the exception of my mother, I believe it may well have been the first time these people had ever played a videogame. It's not Half-Life, sure, but it isn't exactly Tetris either.

Even with a fairly humble collection of launch titles, Nintendo has managed to get gamers and non-gamers alike to drink the kool-aid. The system delivers exactly what the company promised when the 'Revolution' was announced in 2004. It's a system that offers the best of both worlds. Non-gamers have a completely intuitive control scheme that will now allow them to play with their game-loving friends. Hardcore gamers already have more innovative titles to play than they know what to do with. So what if some of them, like Red Steel come up a little short. For every Red Steel, there's a Trauma Center, a Rayman, or a Twilight Princess (whose review grew too large to fit here, and will be addressed tomorrow). Offering the best of new technology and plenty of unearthable retro memories, the Wii is a console that demands attention. I've yet to encounter anyone with a mild opinion of the little white box; you are either going to love this thing, or hate it.

Either way, Nintendo has finally broken free of its 'me too' position, held since the days of the N64. Even if the Wii stays the third-place console, it's no longer possible to think of the company as an also-ran. Sony and Microsoft are in for a hard fight this time around. The only side guaranteed not to lose is our side; whatever happens in this war, it's the gamers who win.
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Two Weeks with the Wii

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  • I was kinda shocked by this comment. By all accounts the launch lineup is the best of any of the three systems. Not even counting Zelda or Sports, the games that came out all have something to offer and are all from fan favorite series (like Call of Duty, or Trama Center.)

    You have to be on crack to think that the PS3 or the 360 had better launch titles.

  • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:14PM (#17134590)
    On which topic, I'm still undecided on what the third game I'll buy should be.

    Zelda, obviously. And Wii Play, because of Duck Hunt, and the extra wiimote. But the third? I was thinking Super Monkey Ball, but I'm getting more and more tempted by Rayman, chiefly because of the cow-flinging, and the well-known fact that bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes...

    So, guys? Monkey Ball or Rayman? It's now 7.15 on Wednesday evening and I buy just after midnight on Friday morning. Which one shall it be?

  • by kinglink (195330) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:19PM (#17134694)
    Done better. PS3 is failure of marketing.

    The 360 is a really solid, machine, I'm completely impressed by the options they have launched with.

    On the other hand though the Wii is a console that is innovative and unique. The big missing point is achievements (yes they are important) but the Wii controller and everything else earned it the center stage in my apartment.

    The PS3 on the other hand is so dead to me after all the hype, the failed launch, the lackluster system and so on. I'll pick one up when some amazing rpgs are out but even Metal Gear Solid 4 is not enough. Especially with it's price point.

    For the Wii though Avoid red steel, but check out Excite trucks, Zelda (duh), and trauma center (if you don't have it for the DS). And Elebits is sounding to be the Second half of the One two launch combo.

    I'm hopeful for the Wii, with talented developers (not EA) we can have some amazing games on an amazing system. Konami is already releasing Elebits and with more attention some really radical games can come out. But that's still not enough for me to discount my 360, which is fun, has better graphics and has achievements (again they are important, don't ask me why). It appeals to me in every way the Wii doesn't and that's fine as well.

    Personally I think it really is a wonderous time to be a gamer. If you have yet to try the system I highly advise you to give it a shot, because it'll revive that kid who shook the controller to make mario jump "Farther".
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:22PM (#17134754)
    The bad: Controller eats batteries. Lacks the advanced HD graphics and surround sound found on the Xbox 360 and the PS3. The uggly: It's lights years behind 360 and PS3 in multimedia features and graphics.

    Is it just me, or did you say 'inferior graphics and sound' twice?

  • Wiimote (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarrylKegger (766904) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:24PM (#17134792)
    I'd like to know realistically how long the batteries in those remotes last. Prob too soon to get any good data on that I suppose.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:29PM (#17134898)
    "Even if the Wii stays the third-place console, it's no longer possible to think of the company as an also-ran."

    Has the Wii sold fewer consoles than the PS3?
  • Re:My Parents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by telbij (465356) * on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:39PM (#17135056)
    By pricing it reasonably?


    Whu-huh? Have you been living under a rock? It's the wiimote dude. More generally, it's a focus on gameplay.

    PS3 and 360 are priced very reasonably for what they offer. But let's face it, you have to be a gamer to see the value.

  • Re:My Parents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jearil (154455) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:39PM (#17135062) Homepage
    I don't think you got the point of the GP post at all. Heck, the GP didn't even mention price. It was more about the fact that someone's parents, aged in the mid-60's, was playing video games with each other until late in the night. Nintendo hit a demographic that includes both genders of a senior age, something that MS and Sony lack in their next-gen offerings.

    I have a 360 and picked up a Wii on launch. I tried to get either of my parents to play things on the 360, but they wouldn't even touch it. On Thanksgiving of this year I brought my Wii over and both my mother and father played Wii Sports (bowling mostly) for hours. My mother in particular played Wii bowling with me for nearly 4 hours.. at that point I was too tired to play it any more.

    This is the first video game she has played since Frogger on the Atari. She's even tried to borrow mine over the weekend for when she has guests, it's crazy. All because she can easily understand how to play. "It's just like real bowling.. except you don't have to tire yourself out with a heavy ball."

    Parents are playing games with their kids again. Parents who don't even care about video games are picking up the Wii and playing it. That is what is meant by Nintendo took this thing in an entirely new direction, and it is going to work for them.
  • by Garse Janacek (554329) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:51PM (#17135254)

    Everyone I know that has a PS2 or Xbox ALSO has a gamecube.

    Well, that can't be too common of a phenomenon just on pure numbers -- PS2 sales were obscene.

    I agree about your basic point, though: I've never understood why the PS2 and XBox "won" the last generation and the Gamecube "lost" when, compared to the PS2's incredible sales record (well over 100 million) the XBox and Gamecube were practically tied (21 and 24 million, IIRC). Especially since Nintendo made lots of money from those 21 million consoles, while Microsoft lost many millions of dollars from their 24, even factoring in profit from games.

    If you have to say someone lost the last generation, it should be Nintendo and MS jointly (or maybe just MS, if you're concerned about actual profits). But there's no realistic way that XBox "won" and Gamecube "lost."

  • Back to basics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:59PM (#17135394)
    It really seems like Nintendo managed to latch on to what the other console manufacturers have long lost sight of: Fun. The Wii may not have the most current up-to-date blow-your-mind specs, but the games are simply fun. I lost interest in gaming around the time of the PS1, when graphics and storylines became more important than the actual gaming experience, but the Wii has something going for it that might make me whip out the credit card in the future: it LOOKS like a lot of fun to play. I really can't say that for the other systems.
  • Re:My Parents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 10Ghz (453478) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @04:02PM (#17135454)
    The reason Nintendo is succeeding is that they are making a console that everybody can enjoy. Those 40+ year-olds weren't interested in PS2 or Xbox (or GC for that matter). Why would they be interested in PS3 or 360? I mean, both PS3 and 360 are exactly same as their predecessors were, they just have more horsepower. Wii has more horsepower than it's predecessor had, but that's not the point. It's actually different. Not only is it different from it's competition (let's face it, PS3 and 360 are very, very similar. Controls are similar, games are similar, the experience of gaming is similar....), but it's also different from it's predecessors.

    I have never been interested in consoles. But I AM interested in the Wii. And the reason for that is that it's DIFFERENT. It offers a whole new approach to gaming. I wasn't interested in PS2 or Xbox. And I'm not interested in 360 or PS3. They are practically indetical to their predecessors. Yes, they are more "powerful", but how much gigaflops or how many pixels the console could pump was not the reason why I wasn't interested in consoles. So increasing the power of the console by an order of magnitude does nothing to make me get interested in it. The power was not the problem, so making it more powerful does not help. Somy and Microsoft basically took their existing consoles, increased the amount of RAM, and put more powerful CPU and GPU in there, and that was it. Nintendo actually did something different. They are basically re-inventing gaming.

    If I wanted a gaming-system with lots of RAM and CPU/GPU-power, why should I get a console, when I could get a PC that mops the floor with both PS3 and 360?
  • how many of those 110 million where replacements though?

    I know me and my girlfriend both owned about 4 thanks to hardware failure.

  • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles AT dantian DOT org> on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @04:09PM (#17135550)
    It has Dolby Pro Logic, I fail to see how that is not good enough
  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @04:24PM (#17135822)
    If you look at the gamecube as far as profits, it was a stunning success.

    If you compare the Gamecube profits to the deficits operated at by Sony and Microsoft's gaming divisions, yes, it was a stunning success.

    If you compare the Gamecube profits to the profits earned by the N64, or SNES, or any Gameboy model, then the 'Cube could very well be a disappointment.

    Both perspectives are valid.
  • by freeweed (309734) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @04:26PM (#17135840)
    There is no fear of losing the remote and busting your TV. I still don't know how the people reporting this problem are making it happen.

    One word: alcohol.
  • Re:My Parents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twosmokes (704364) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @04:43PM (#17136094)
    I see a lot of reports of older people playing their kids' or grandkids' Wii which is great. But I'm curious to see how many of these non-gamers buy a system for themselves.

    My father-in-law used to come over and play Crazy Taxi and a couple of other games on my Dreamcast often, but he'd certainly never buy one.

    Hopefully, for Nintendo, these experiences will turn into sales instead of more visits to little Johnny's house.
  • Define "failure" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @04:52PM (#17136216)
    The Gamecube sold 4 million units in Japan compared to maybe 450-500k Xbox 1's (couldn't find a number beyond mid-05 of 450k. They stop production around that time of the year so close enough). What's more Nintendo actually made money on each console sold. Sounds like a success story to me. Not quite so successful compared to the PS2 perhaps, but, as someone else has pointed out too, how many of 110 million PS2's are from users having to buy a multiples because of hardware failure?
  • Fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gorbachev (512743) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:06PM (#17136498) Homepage
    "Navigating menus is actually ... fun, in an odd sort of way."

    This is the same thing I said in my own mini-review on the online gaming community I belong to. The Mii Channel in particular is amazing.

    I've played video games for a long time, more than 25 years, and the Nintendo Wii is just the most fun platform I've ever played with. I've had some great gaming moments on other platforms in the past, but not one as fun as playing Wii Sports with a friend or two. There really is nothing that compares. The controllers just work. I'm particularly fond of how the Wii Sports Bowling uses the controller.

    It's a great machine and it's a BIG mistake to think the graphical advantage the XBox 360 and PS3 have over the Wii has anything to do with how much you actually enjoy playing with the console system. I own an XBox 360 (recently deceased thanks to three red lights) and will most likely get the PS3 as well once they're more readily available, but the Wii has already impressed me.
  • by pulse2600 (625694) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @05:35PM (#17137018)
    Why do systems have to have third party games to be successful? I always thought that Nintendo's greatest strength has been the games published by Nintendo and not third parties. If a company can rely on what it does in-house to succeed, isn't it better for them that they can be so independent? If Konami or Capcom or Electronic Arts went out of business tomorrow, would Playstation continue to be as successful as it is now? I don't think so. Nintendo, on the other hand, could continue to rely on its in-house development team to make successful games. I can name a bunch of games I love/have loved that were made by Nintendo. I have a hard time coming up with an equal list of Playstation games actually published by Sony. In my opinion, that speaks volumes about the success of a system.
  • Where's the TV? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @09:27PM (#17140212) Journal
    Speaking of parents and video games, this one struck me the other day when discussing "The Battle For The Living Room."

    In environments where the kids play video games and the adults don't, how often is the video game system in the living room?

    I know three families in this situation. In 2 of them, the video game is not hooked to the TV in the living room--it is hooked to either another TV in the corner of the living room or is hooked to a TV in the kid's room. Only in one family is the video-game console hooked to the family TV in the living room.

    Now, this is anecdotal and I'd be curious if other people have similar experiences. But "trans-generational games" like this will help Nintendo beat PlayStation and Xbox in "The Battle For The Living Room."
  • by Garse Janacek (554329) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @09:48PM (#17140420)

    The GameCube was a failure compared to both previous nintendo consoles and the PS2

    Fair enough. But many people who call the Gamecube a failure also call the Xbox a success, despite practically identical totals (and the fact that the Gamecube actually, you know, made money).

    Of course, I'm also a little skeptical about calling Gamecube a "failure" based on market share -- do we consider MacOS X a failure now? Nintendo hasn't been the dominant player for some time, but it's continued to be a strong and profitable player. Or, to draw on the wisdom of Taladega Nights: "If you're not first, you're last? Well that's just stupid! There's lots of things you can be other than first! There's second... there's third..."

    The only sense in which I think it makes sense to call the Gamecube a failure is the one you loosely point out by mentioning previous consoles -- it was a "failure" in that it didn't do as well as one might have expected, given the company's history. But, again, that's not how most people seem to intend it when they refer to the console's failure...

  • Re:My Parents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jsiren (886858) on Thursday December 07, 2006 @03:44AM (#17142856) Homepage
    I hope these experiences will turn into more visits to little Johnny's house, whether or not his grandparents buy a Wii...

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