The launch of the Wii U is right around the corner, so the Wii is set for an inevitable phasing out in the months to follow. In light of this, the staff members at Gaming Bus are reflecting back on their memories of Nintendo’s surprise hit system. Each day this week will have a different member share their thoughts on the console itself and their favorite games.
The Wii, to me, was emblematic of a paradigm shift for Nintendo. It signaled the shift from Nintendo’s more traditional console approach to a system of console development designed around controller innovation. Certainly, the DS also indicated this shift, but I think the Wii had a more powerful impact. I believe when games industry historians look back at this generation of console, they will always highlight what the Wii foretold about the future of console gaming and what it meant for Nintendo.
So, I think the final days of the Wii will be kind of bittersweet. As we bury this console, I feel like we’ll have to come to terms with how the past of the video games industry is now irretrievable and how the future of consoles look. It’s a grim narrative, but it’s not without its rays of hope. This may be the end of an era, but what’s new isn’t necessarily what’s bad.
Still, there’s no harm in a bit of reminiscing, so while we’re on the subject, here’s a list of some of my favorite Wii games in no particular order:
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: There really isn’t too much to say about this one. Zelda games are Zelda games, and they’re always fun.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Again, a Zelda title because I’m a Zelda fan and I think Zelda games are great. Skyward Sword was probably one of the strongest iterations that the franchise has ever had, and I have no problem placing it in my Top Three alongside Ocarina of Time (because regardless of how you feel about it, it’s blasphemy to not adore it) and The Minish Cap. If you own a Wii but don’t own Skyward Sword, then there should be some kind of government agency in charge of arresting you because you are a criminal.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn: Kirby is often as equally disappointing as it is enjoyable. Typically, a Kirby game is an exercise in being almost great: they’re a lot of fun, but they’re often held down by some huge, glaring flaw. Whether it’s how hilariously easy Nightmare in Dreamland is, or how obtuse the level design is in The Amazing Mirror, there’s usually something that actively attempts to kill the fun. Although Kirby’s Epic Yarn was no different, it was the first time where the fun outweighed the frustration by a significant degree. It’s probably one of the best iterations in the franchise, and if you like Kirby at all, then you should get more than your money’s worth from this game.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl: There’s always a debate about the degeneration of this brand. Most people see Brawl as a huge downgrade from Melee, and I even know a few people who consider Melee a downgrade from the N64 original. However, despite all the fuss, it’s undeniable that, at its core, Super Smash Bros. is a ton of fun. It’s one of the most innovative and fun fighting games out there, and I love that it shifts its focus from being able to pull off huge button combos to tactical play and reflexes. Regardless of whether Brawl is a sequel of due acclaim or if it’s a giant downgrade from its pedigree, there is a lot of fun to be had here. That’s undeniable.
Super Mario Galaxy: 1 and 2, but I’ll count them both. Non-spinoff Mario games are fun almost unequivocally. They’re Nintendo’s marquee brand, and it’s obvious that the development of Mario games gets due treatment as such. There’s so much dedication poured into these games, and it shows. Everything is polished and it plays incredibly smoothly. Furthermore, in a lot of ways, Super Mario Bros. felt like a bit of an anachronism: it’s been so long since a fun platforming title came out that it really does come as a breath of fresh air every time one does come along.