Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Musings on the Nintendo Wii

After checking out some of the Nintendo Wii videos from E3 on youtube, I have to admit I'm intrigued. The Sega Genesis was the only console I ever owned, as I have generally preferred the depth and refinement of PC gaming over the non-stop button mashing of console gaming.

To give you an idea of the types of games I enjoy, If I had to put together a top ten list of the my favorite games of all time, I would have to say:

#1. Half-Life, PC, 1997, 10.0 - Simply the best game ever made

#2. Starcraft, PC, 2000 9.9 - The best RTS of all time. Millions of South Koreans can't be wrong

#3. Half-Life 2, PC, 2004 9.7 - Technically, this is far-and-away the best game of all time. Unfortunately, my laptop isn't quite powerful enough to run it that well, and it ends up overheating every twenty minutes, which really diminishes the immersion factor.

#4. System Shock 2, PC, 9.7 - At the time, this was the scariest and most immersive game I've ever played. This is also one of the most difficult games ever, requiring you to think carefully before every shot you take, lest you run out of ammo

#5. Deus Ex, PC, 9.6 - Another gem from Ion Storm.

#6. NHL '99, PC, 1999 9.5 - I was tempted to go with NHL '95 on the Sega Genesis, but after recently revisiting the game, I realized it wasn't quite as good as I remembered. I'll have to check out a post-lock version of EA Sport's NHL series some time.

#7. Unreal Tournament 2004, PC, 2004 9.2 - The Ultimate in multiplayer gaming. When the next Unreal Tournament game comes out, I may be forced to upgrade my gaming rig. (and revisit Half-Life 2 :)

#8. Super Mario 64 - My favorite console game of all time.

Also Rans: Thief, the Deadly Project, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, NBA Jam, High Heat Baseball, Fifa '99

As you'll probably notice, the majority of the games listed in my top ten are at least 5-6 years old, if not more. The trend over the past few years has been increasingly expensive gaming rigs and graphics cards, better graphics, bigger explosions, and dumbed-down game play. I just can't imagine plunking down $450 for an XBox 360 or $649 for a Playstation 3 (HD-DVD/Blueray drive or not)

But for some reason, I found myself intrigued by the Nintendo Wii - a product with one of goofiest names ever. The key to the Nintendo wii is the revolutionary new controller. Take a look a some of these innovative game ideas:

Wii Tennis -Get some exercise while playing a very fun game

Wii Golf -Work on your drives and putting without leaving your own living room

Wii E3 Demo - Highlighting some of the new games coming out for the Nintendo Wii

Wii Tech Demo - Some basic demos to show how the Wii controller may be used for gameplay

The key that differentiates the Nintendo Wii from the PS3 or XBox 360 is that they have brought fun and innovation back into gaming, instead of the same old derivative gameplay with slightly improved graphics. The Wii is expected to launch in Q4 2006 (probably just before Christmas) and sell for somewhere between $199 and $249. I'm really hoping they can manage to keep the price down at $199, because they'll move a lot more units at that price, and, maybe, just maybe, I may be able to convince my wife that it's worth it :)