Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s white plastic and blue lights. In this, the age of the overpriced, overhyped, overeverything iPod and its distinctive styling, it’s almost nauseating to see anything with what was once considered futuristic and edgy styling. If the future really looks like this, if the world of tomorrow is designed by Steve Jobs, then consider me a dirty, dirty Gatesian luddite, sporting a tattered beard and hanging out underneath an iCulvert jabbering nonsense as iFords zip over the iWay on their way to iWork, all buzzing with the defects that will soon destroy them…but looking good!
Aesthetic quibbles aside, there’s an issue I’d like to address, and I might as well start with the Nintendo Wii. You see, video games are like a puppy. We had one once, back in the early 80s. It wasn’t much to look at, and more often than not it wet the rug and tore up the couch, but it was loyal and could fetch a stick, so we were content with it. The only problem was that soon all our friends wanted a shiny new puppy, and they bred so many of the things that the small amount of people who loved our carpet-wetting retard-dogs couldn’t afford to feed them, and they all died, and by that I mean the industry crashed.
A few years later, the puppy people, much the wiser, started making a new, more quality puppy. The American breeds, lovable as they were, just couldn’t compete with this new rounder. Not only could he fetch a stick, but he didn’t ruin the upholstery and could shoot fireballs out of his nose at angry looking fungi. This dog was named Nintendo, and for the past few decades it has been the one loyal pooch at the side of gamers while other more excitable, yippy furballs (Sega) and mangy mutts (Atari, Phillips, Panasonic, what have you) got put to sleep. Yes sir, that dog was a mighty fine dog.
Then something happened. All of the little boys grew up, and suddenly they didn’t want a lovable puppy anymore. They wanted a tough, snarling, he-man nut-buster of a junkyard dog who had a computer chip embedded in his teeth to seek out the crotch of your enemies. Suddenly, Nintendo was “for kids” and “lame” but it was always the same old pooch it always was, now simply neglected and left to stick its big, sorrowful brown eyes to the picture window on a rainy Saturday night while all you fickle turds play Halo.
I’m now going to abandon that analogy, as I have ridden it cleanly into the mud…and hop aboard another one!
Nintendo suffers from much the same problem as the original Star Wars trilogy has. As a dedicated fanboy of both (it KILLED me to buy a PS2), I can honestly say that the fans are their biggest problems. Stupid fans (not me, of course, I’m the shining star-child of all creation) have built both Nintendo and Star Wars up to expectations that the Lord Almighty couldn’t possibly live up to. It’s like, after all this time, seeing the old water-into-wine trick and going “Psht. That was SO New Testament.” Does it matter that he’s still JESUS? Apparently not, and yes I just compared Nintendo to Jesus, because I know a hell of a lot of kids who worshipped that ugly grey box growing up. If Miyamoto had told us to genuflect, we would have.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t be so quick to clobber Nintendo with the critique stique, nerd boys. Just because you “grew up” and demanded more blood, gore, and realism does not mean that Nintendo is suddenly a sewage drenched Monte Cristo. Nintendo is, was, and always will be flawed, from the ROB to the Virtual Boy to the initial fallout over the Wii. It’s not sacred, and you’re the idiots who made it so as kids, so stop yelling at someone else for your own mistakes. Nintendo wasn’t as good as you thought it was at seven, and it’s not as bad as you think it is as twenty-seven. Deal with it. You made a mistake.
Now, on to the Wii.
I hear several complaints about it:
1) no good games
2) wonky controls
3) casual gaming fanbase
Numbers one and two I can answer succinctly. Three might take me a while.
So, number one, lighten up. Just because a game isn’t about space marines circumcising this week’s villain (who all seem to be the same anyway) with springloaded Skilsaw blades in first person, all while showering the viewer with realistic blood and gore in yet another brownish, greyish hellhole of a pseudo-realistic setting that looks like it took forty workers three years to program one grain of sand in… does not make it a bad game. Think bad to your childhood, you jaded misanthropes, and how you used to love using just two measly buttons to jump on things and make them go “boop.” Were they fun? Yes. Were they realistic? No, but who cares? Games = fun, or else I’ve missed something.
As for the controls…deal with it. A lot of people shat bricks when they found out home ports of arcade classics didn’t have joysticks or trackballs, you learn to deal. Just because the Wii encourages you to move and try something different doesn’t mean that you should reject it. Heck, weren’t we, as gamers, the original litmus test for finding out what works and what doesn’t in games? If enough people back then had demanded that all games be made for the Power Pad, no doubt we’d be crying heresy over the thought of using a controller at all! Gaming, just like any industry, has to re-invent itself or it will die (or, in the case of video-gaming, die again) to embrace new markets, controls, and concepts is what will keep another game crash from happening. Which brings me neatly to where this whole article is leading…
Point three. Okay, you son of a gun, bring it on.
If I hear any more whining about how the Wii is too focused on the “casual” aspect of gaming, I’m going to grind my teeth to a powder, mix them with my hot tears of fury, and make tiny little bullets to shoot into the faces of each Halo-strafing, Achievement-collecting, Blowout-hairdo wearing fart-blossom that makes that assertion. I’m going to go ahead and make a bold statement and say that not only is the Wii a perfectly acceptable gaming system for the “hardcore” gamer, but it is in fact THE BEST HARDCORE GAMING PLATFORM ON THE MARKET.
But wait, Eric, I hear you say, the Wii has all these family games, music programs, and weight-loss peripherals? How can this beeeee?
Well, you, this is how it can be. The Wii has a little something called the “Virtual Console,” which is an online resource that plays the following:
Sega Master System
and the MSX in Japan.
How can you possibly get more “hardcore” than that? Listen, you Madden morons, I’m only going to say this once: you are not hardcore. I am hardcore. A hardcore gamer isn’t one that plays Halo, he plays Lolo. He’s not eagerly awaiting the new Xbox shoot-em-up, he’s cursing the fact that twenty years later, he still can’t beat freaking Bayou Billy. He doesn’t rush out and buy the newest system with the keenest graphics, best resolution, and hot new release title that’s just the same damn game from last year with a new gun and worse storyline, he’s the one who still coddles and cajoles his NES to life and relishes in the fact that the characters from a first-generation Final Fantasy title bring him to tears more than any well-rendered death soliloquy from HaloGears of KillWarZone Ex Machina 2: The Re-Deadening.
To be hardcore is just that: to be hard on the inside. To be hardcore is to tolerate the slings and arrows of kids who mocked you for playing Mario in third grade and now wear Mario shirts. To be hardcore is to keep playing your Mega Drive even when the new 3-D re-imagining of your favorite game is burning up the shelves. To be hardcore is to love your Wii for its love of the core of gaming, and not to listen to the chunnering idiots who dismiss it as a “kiddie system” while they were the ones playing DDR when it was a fad. Hardcore gamers don’t go with fads. Hardcore gamers stay true, and the truest you can still get is Nintendo.
So stay true, retire your old NES, and go download all your beloved old games on the Virtual Console, and let the golden age of gaming live again. Let them have their achievements and their MMORPGs, games that are more like work than fun, you go back to Bayou Billy and see if you can finally get past those ridiculous driving stages. At least this time, you don’t have to blow in the system to get it to work.
Until tomrorow, I tenderly remain,