I’m a hypocrite. I’ll freely admit it, and Gregg will merrily testify to it. However, I like to think of it as willing to change ones mind, as and when new evidence comes to light, so to speak. Still, contrary to my hatred for the Wii and its gimmick-gameplay(tm) I’ve actually started to like the little bugger.
Now don’t get all giggly at the thought of me in a darkened room waving my magic wand about at Princess Peach, hooting with pleasure. Or the sight of me on a Wii-Fit Board attempting to replicate Louise Redknapps fine form, because it won’t happen. The missus wouldn’t allow it. However, what has been happening is me categorically purchasing and playing the finest video games the Wii has to offer.
I must at this point, stress the word video game and finest. I use the term video game, which by my own personal dictionary definition is defined as:
1. any games enjoyed in solitude or as part of a group, alongside players of an equal or greater calibre. Strong narrative influence is often precedent, however not mandatory. Not suitable for entertaining your grandma or Ant & Dec.
While finest I define as:
1. of superior or best quality; of high or highest grade: production quality reflecting creativity and passion. Third party titles involving dance, fitness, karaoke, EA, gimmick-gameplay(tm) are not inclusive. Meta-scores of 80% or greater are strong indicators.
So, that will exclude 99% of Wii titles then. But, and thankfully, the Wii does have some little gems. And cheap too, if your willing to look…and look you’ll have to.
Contrary to what I thought, there are a games out there for those of us who don’t want to sing along to Hannah Montana while the family huddle round in a nauseating chorus of laughter and high spirits. Sadly though you won’t find these titles in your local stores. You see, Game and its sister company GameStation know that good titles on the Wii don’t sell. You will always find Mario Kart, thanks to it’s constant advertisements, but for the most part, the standout titles just aren’t available. I asked the token spotty teen behind the counter of my local Game for five games I was looking for (with no intention to purchase), all have been highly acclaimed and all are stand out titles. Not one was available. No Zelda, no Mario Galaxy, no Metroid Prime Trilogy, no Smash Brothers Brawl, no Okami. Nothing.
A week later, I decided to try my luck again- casting a slightly wider net this time. I tried two stores; the same Game, followed by GameStation just up the road. In both circumstances there was still none of the five listed above, nor was there any of the further games I asked for. No Zack & Wiki, no Little King’s Story, No Dead Space Extraction (DS:E). Now, I am either A) very unlucky; which I doubt, B) there was a stampede for these titles; which I doubt, or- C) they simply aren’t bought in by the stores.
Walking back into the same Game today, I noticed that the Wii stand has suddenly been reduced to less than one quarter of a wall, and containing even fewer games than my last visit. The PS3 and the Xbox now however, dominate the shop even more. Considering the Wii has sold 60 million units so far, you have to wonder what Nintendo are actually doing to ensure their image as an actual game developer (and not a fitness instructor) is salvaged, as it is rapidly waning.
Tragically, it is a result of Nintendo’s mass marketing push towards those who have little care for a products quality that has ensured these titles are not available. After all, blame cannot entirely be placed on a retailer. It makes little commercial sense in selling products which do not sell. However, it has to be argued that not selling titles such as Mario Galaxy, is like the PS3 not selling Metal Gear Solid, or eating chips without gravy; it just shouldn’t happen. There is little wonder then that Dead Space Extraction, a distinctly adult light-gun game set in the same franchise as its PS3/360 counterpart, sold less than 10,000 units during its first week of retail sales. No doubt no one even bothered to stock it (it isn’t a fitness game after all).
Sadly I suspect that DS: E will be the first of a large series of embarrassing sales figures for developers and their games on Wii, and despite critical accolade, they simply will not sell. The vast majority of those who enjoy video games (see my previous dictionary term) have already abandoned the console. I know of no less than four of my five closest friends who sold their Wii. The test now will be to see whether Nintendo is happy to continue down this path they have carved out, or whether with the release of Mario Galaxy 2, a new Zelda, Metroid Prime M and Red Steel 2 to name some of the upcoming titles, will be enough to draw back a serious gaming community. Could Nintendo face the embarrassment of a Zelda not achieving significant sales? I suspect not, and I fear that come Nintendo’s next console launch, they may regret alienating those who gave them the financial muscle to take risks such as the Wii.
On a side note, having written to Nintendo asking for their stance on the sale of their AAA titles and specifically point of sale (much like EA’s contractual obligations with retailers), they squarely placed the blame at the foot of the retailer and not themselves, although I suspected little else.
Thankfully and not to dwell on Nintendo’s short comings, I am happy to scoop up as many bargains as I can because of the lull in sales, and would strongly suggest to those of you with some spare cash to do the same. Where else could I acquire three new, quality titles for a combined total of £31? (Super Smash Brothers, Little King’s Story and DS: Extraction). That doesn’t even include the prices for games I’ve scouted, but have resisted buying; Okami (£12) Super Mario Galaxy (£11) Zack & Wiki (£7.50) and Super Paper Mario (£13), there are dozens.
So if you will all excuse me, I’ve bargains to find, and I think I hear Princess Peach calling. She’s been asking for a kicking on Smash Brothers all day.