OK, the Wii. I really don't know where to go with this one. I'm conflicted. The potential is there to make 2008 their best year since the late 80's, but will the software be up to the task? 2007 was a great year for Nintendo. They went from ridiculed underdog to the top of the console heap in less than one year. How they did it was no surprise. They pioneered an innovative control scheme, made the console cheap, and made it accessible to the non-typical gamer. The virtual console was also a great idea. Backward compatibility has been a buzz word with previous generations, something that Nintendo hasn't taken advantage of until now. Adding the back catalog of classic games was a must for the Big N.

First, the good. Any game released by Nintendo with Wii in the title is sure to be a huge seller. This trend will definitely continue well into this year, and possibly, extending through the entire life of the console. We will also see releases of all the current popular Nintendo titles. Expect to see sequels with Mario, Link, and Samus in them. Whether or not we'll see these characters in their natural environments is another story. We should see some changes within the third party developers as well. As the developer community gets more familiar with the Wii's wireless motion controls we will hopefully see more chances being taken, instead of just putting out the cookie cutter projects of the previous generations and bad ports. Everyone is waiting for the lightsaber attachment and a good Star Wars game to back it up, so get on it LucasArts. We want to duel with Darth. Gaming for the beginning of the year with the Wii looks promising. With some huge titles having been released in the last few months and constant demand, expect Nintendo to stay on or near the top for this year.

Now here comes the problem. Looking at this from the hardcore perspective: Games and release dates. Where are they? We have some vague idea when some of the games are coming out, but even the games with published dates have been getting pushed back. The games that are being released? Well, it's not looking so hot. Taking a look at this weeks releases I see no winners and no big games. The next big game on the horizon, Super Smash Bros Brawl, isn't coming out until March...maybe. See, here's the problem with Nintendo. The big, good games take a lot longer to be released. How many true Mario games did we see on the Gamecube? Not many. Nintendo fans have always been expected to be patient through the long gaming drought between the AAA titles, but unfortunately, not given many decent choices to play in the interim.

I took a look at the titles currently available for the Wii via Amazon. I'm aware that this is not a complete list, but looking at the sampling they have available, I'm concerned. Now here's how my list turned out. Games with either Mario, Link, or Samus in them: 10 (I didn't even count Donkey Kong, Pokemon, or the Wario Ware titles in that list). Fishing games: 4. Bowling games: 2. And games that I called WTF??: 20. Now what type of games were in that last category you ask. I'll tell you. I see games titled Ninjabread Man, Cranium Kabookii, Sea Monsters, and Chicken Hunt. Needless to say, these are not big sellers. With these games outnumbering the decent titles by a factor of 2, it doesn't look good. Where's the quality control? A better question is probably this. Where are the new intellectual properties from Nintendo? We all love Mario, Link and Samus, but that doesn't mean we want to see them in every game you put out.

Delivering derivative and uninspired games is by no means a new phenomenon. Nintendo has a problem with delivering innovative first party games to the gamers for the past few generations. Having to wait 3 or 4 years for the next Super Mario title is torture. Having to wait for the next big non-Mario Nintendo title is an eternity. If you are a casual gamer, you may be in better shape. Just don't expect the best in quality. Does Nintendo hate us? Do they think we'll stick with them no matter the crap they feed us? Maybe. I'm hoping they are able to pick it up for 08. If they don't, the bubble may burst and leave Nintendo all sticky. My last words? Just these few: Ninjabread Man. WTF?!?!?!


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