A decade of promises

Nintendo can’t really cope with being popular, can they? After years of not exactly failure, but certainly not runaway success, they’re probably just out of practice.

Mario Kart for the Wii is the latest product looking like it might be scarce. Gameplay.com had presold their entire initial allocation by midweek; Play.com and Amazon.co.uk have none in stock at the time of writing. These aren’t minor players.

It’s worth stepping back a second and considering what Nintendo have done. And what they’ve done is finally deliver on a promise they’ve been making for about a decade: to revolutionise gaming. Even in the UK.

I forget how the Nintendo 64 was supposed to change the very face of gaming, but it’s pretty safe to say that it didn’t. The GameCube was intended to expand gaming’s audience, by… having smaller discs that load a bit quicker. That didn’t exactly work.

The Nintendo DS and its touch screen has eventually invaded the pockets of the general public, but that’s more down to titles like Brain Training – though the interface unquestionably helped. Anyway the Game Boy was huge; I’m really talking about home consoles.

The Wii has gone properly mental though. I can’t count the number of people I know who would never have considered buying a console, but now have a Wii. Its success isn’t down to the marketing: interest has built up over time, chiefly through people having a go on someone else’s Wii and wanting one of their own.

More surprising is that I can’t think of anyone who’s lost interest in their Wii. It was accused of being a novelty, and though it is novel, it’s not being widely disgarded. Or is it? You tell me.


Jake has been here since the beginning, with hundreds of reviews and countless other guff to his name. These days, not so consistent.

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  • You still hear the same old negative comments:

    “It’s for kids”
    “The graphics are shit”
    “The controls don’t work that well”

    But with Wii Fit and others on the horizon I don’t think fans will be loosing interest anytime soon.

  • Wii Fit – for fans?!

    That’s about the most ‘casual’ game ever produced. It’s certainly not aimed directly at Nintendo fans. Not saying that’s a bit thing mind – my wife loves a bit of jogging race action, though I do have to question the entire point of jogging up and down on the spot infront of a TV.

    I do have to disagree with this statement though Jake – “I can’t think of anyone who’s lost interest in their Wii”… err… I know more people who’ve lost interest in their Wii than those who still play it regularly, myself included. It does feel more like a novelty than a games console to me. That said, it’s a massive success regardless, even if there seem to be hardly any good games worth buying for it. People like Ubisoft need to stop releasing shit ‘random motion sensor mechanic!’ games, as demonstrated by the fact that the Wii is selling less games per console than the 360 and PS3. I wouldn’t be surprised if 50% of Wii owners used it exclusively as a ‘wii sports machine’.

  • I think the DS had a similar start where all the games felt a bit gimmicky while developers got to grips with the hardware… it took a while for the meatier games to trickle through, and I think that’s starting to happen for Wii now. There’s so much budget party game shite on the thing, like the mountain of Brain Training clones on DS, but there’s also plenty of decent games already out and on the horizon – This year I’m personally looking forward to Okami, Project Zero 4, Tales of Symphonia 2, Crystal Chronicles… the Strong Bad game on WiiWare… Okay maybe there isn’t that much… I’m glad the Wii’s doing well, though – it can only be good to have a popular alternative to the super-shiny-powerhouses that are the 360 and PS3.

  • You can’t really disagree with that statement, Adam. Everyone I know with a Wii still uses it plenty, particularly socially. I explicitly asked if that’s the experience of other people.

    Maybe the people who bought it ‘as a console’ have tired it, but the people who bought it ‘as a bit of fun’ haven’t. I’m not sure, but I am interested.

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