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Wii: One Year On
Written by James Hobbs

Itís nearly been a year since Wii was launched in this country, to feverish anticipation. The very first time I played the console was at an event in London, before launch, where I tried my hand at an early build of Twilight Princess. I can still remember being absolutely awestruck by the feel of the controller, and itís absurd potential, but I can also still remember feeling let down by the software to some extent.

Twilight Princess had improved by the next time I played it, and certainly it is an excellent game, but Wii has an interesting, very clever, and incredibly frustrating knack of sucking you into a game and then spitting you out a few hours later, leaving you feeling unfulfilled.

An example of this would be Wii Sports. Itís another excellent game, but a year on, the novelty has almost entirely worn off. Whilst at first it proved to be a charmingly energetic and wholesome experience, the limited scope of the game ( which some would say is the point ) has left me feeling utterly and completely drained of enthusiasm towards it. Excite Truck is the same Ė excellent fun, but donít expect to be playing it too much after youíve finished it off.

In creating an experience that is so different from itís rivals, Nintendo has unwittingly and almost completely fallen into the trap of producing games that are simply far too similar and not nearly long enough to satisfy any gamer with an attention span and an expectation for something better. I feel entirely justified in expecting a Wii game, particularly an in-house development, to challenge me, surprise me, and most importantly satisfy me upon completion. Sadly, however, I can think of very few that have actually achieved this.

Is it really that much to ask? Iíve played a lot of Wii games, and Iíve played most of them to the end, and I still feel that there is an incredibly amount of potential being thrown out of the window by lazy development and a casual disregard for some of the more ambitious and lofty ideals that could easily be implemented into these games. The control system and lack of horsepower should not in any way translate into short, spineless titles. Thereís a disgusting abundance of mini-game based Ďfamily games,í shameless cashing in on the part of developers. Thereís a fair few puzzle games, and thereís entirely too many PS2-ported games with no real effort involved to upgrade them other than implementing a new control system.

Can you blame developers, though? After all, thereís clearly a market for such titles. Quite frankly, yes, you can. It might well be their job to make money, but I couldnít give a toss. Iím clearly not the Ďtarget audienceí for games like these, but where are the games targeted towards gamers like me? Twilight Princess Ė excellent game, quite long, but lacklustre in parts and completely lacking in replay value. Excite Truck Ė finished in a matter of hours. One of the only in-house games with any replay value is Mario Strikers Football, thanks to the online mode Ė another example of Nintendo being woefully slow to implement technology that rivals have had for years. It doesnít even work completely consistently, months and months after release.

Nintendo stated explicitly that Wii is for everyone Ė hardcore gamers and non-gamers alike. Keeping the gamers hanging on with promises of a ground-breaking Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3 simply isnít enough, Iím afraid.

I think Nintendo will find that many former Wii owners have already jumped ship and opted for a console that doesnít lead them by the nose without ever really delivering upon itís promises.

After all, Wii doesnít depreciate too badly, and for a little bit more money you can enjoy the likes of Halo 3, Crackdown, and Skate, just 3 titles on the Xbox 360 that have replay value in bucketloads without ever compromising on just being bloody good fun.

Itís about time that Nintendo got their act together and started to treat their patient, loyal gamers to a bit more information, a bit more cohesion, and a lot more games worth playing.

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