Review by Cam424

"A rushed, disappointing embarrassment."

It's been a solid five years since the Wii launched worldwide. I can vividly remember the months leading up to its reveal, where people on the internet would share some of the wackiest theories, and almost pitiful pipe dreams. People were expecting the then-dubbed Revolution to truly live up to its namesake and be some saving grace, sending gaming back to a golden era of good, simple fun. After a few redesigns, a name change, and a cloud of mystery surrounding its launch, the Wii launched in November of 2006 to much attention. Looking back five years after its launch, I can say without hesitation that the Wii might be one of the most underwhelming, boring consoles to ever "grace" the history of the industry.

(Design - 4/10)
When met with the Wii, it might take a little while before people realize its a Nintendo product, and not some cheap knock-off of an Apple product. You know EXACTLY what I'm talking about; don't act like you weren't tempted by those counterfeit iPods back in the mid-2000's.

The Wii is very simplistic in terms of industrial design, iconography, and brand identity. For many companies, simplicity works. Nintendo is known for its simplicity, ease of recognition, and industrial design, but when it comes to the Wii, every design principal has been thrown away. Gone are the distinct shapes, color schemes, and peripherals from their previous consoles; now being replaced with basic, glossy-white bricks that bear no resemblance to anything Nintendo would think of. An important aspect of the design has to deal with how the console is perceived by potential consumers. Nintendo's ad campaigns and brand identity for the Wii are completely forgettable. The manufacturer was so caught up in trying to appeal to every demographic, that they let ad agencies and their design team say "Oh, well', and turn a potential gold mine into bland, dull concepts that don't invoke any emotion out of consumers.

A positive part of Nintendo's paradigm shift of design is that the concept of "form follows function" applies to the Wii. A five-year-old can set it up and operate it with ease. To add, the console itself is packaged in a very unique way which makes re-boxing it easy.

(Hardware - 1/10)
The quality of the Wii's internal components such as its processor, graphics processor, etc. is so shoddy that it doesn't even need an introduction. Almost everyone regardless of whether they like the console or not can agree that the Wii is horribly underpowered, and for no reason at all. Underneath the Wii's excuse for a hood lurks a PowerPC-based Intel processor dubbed "Broadway", which may have been Intel trying to tell consumers that sitting through Phantom of The Opera would be a more fun experience than playing the Wii. It should be noted that the CPU used for the Wii is a variation of the "Gekko" used for the GameCube. In the graphics department, ATI brings the "Hollywood" GPU in, which (to no surprise) is based off of the GameCube's "Flipper" GPU. Notice a pattern?

All the internal components of the Wii come together to bring gamers products that look, sound, and play terribly. With the exception of Nintendo's first-party titles such as Super Mario Galaxy, the majority of the Wii's library looks unimpressive; barely even surpassing the quality of some games for the original Xbox. The Wii doesn't have HDMI support, so the closest one can get to tolerating its terrible quality is to buy component cables, which help....but not quite. For a console in 2006, there's absolutely not excuse why the Wii has such terrible hardware used in it. One can purchase an entry-level computer from the early-2000's and find a better CPU and GPU than the one found in the Wii. Nintendo's explanation concerns production cost, and the yearn to sell the console for the cheapest price, when in reality it's clear and simple that the company rushed the product's development.

(Controls - 4/10)
The Wii's main draw is its motion-enabled controller called the Wii Remote. Before its release, the concept sounded great. The tech demos were fantastic, and many people on the internet were speculating how certain games would utilize the controls. What we ended up getting was a novelty that wore off quick. Videos of games for the console showed people waving the Wii remote around, holding it in various ways, and moving their entire bodies around in such an over-the-top manner that for a split second the world assumed that Nintendo was bringing us SkyNet levels of awesome technology. They sadly did not.

When using the Wii's controller, it becomes clearly evident that one doesn't really need to jerk their bodies around, or flail their arms around. I remember getting the console for Christmas the year it came out, and by the end of the day, me and my brothers were playing Wii Sports while sitting on the couch and lightly flicking our wrists. The fact of the matter is that the technology was innovative for the time, but Nintendo made the choice to use old, outdated motion controls. In fact, a few years after the Wii's release, Nintendo re-relased the Wii Remote with realistic 1:1 motion control. Also, it seems as if Nintendo realized how the novelty for the Wii Remote would wear off quick, so they introduced a new controller every chance they could.

The Wii Remote should be commended for having some amazing ergonomic design. The remote and analog stick (known as the Nunchuk) feel great in one's hand, and have very responsive, well-placed buttons.

(Online - 3/10)
There aren't too many things to be said about the Wii's online functionality, other than it's a joke. The Wii has no dedicated online gaming platform, so players have to remember their own "friend codes" for each game. I guess the Lord giveth and taketh away, though. The Wii Shop is a service where players can download apps for their console, indie titles, and most importantly, classic Nintendo games. The Virtual Console is a top-notch service that sells many games on pretty much every classic console one can think of. Other than that...there's nothing, really. Things like the Opera web browser and a streaming Netflix app can be downloaded onto the console, but the lack of HDMI support make using the apps to be awkward and pointless.

(Game Library - 2/10)
Simply put, the Wii is an anomaly. This console boasts the worst games ever, hands down. There's nothing but shovelware, everywhere one looks. When going to a video game store, players have the option of picking from "Game based off of Cartoon or Film", "Knock-off of Wii Sports", "Obscure JRPG", or "We Stopped Trying". With that said, the Wii also boasts some of the most fun games I've ever played. Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Zelda, WarioWare are some of the console's most fun games. If there's a single "killer app" for the Wii, it's Super Mario Galaxy, which happens to be one of the gaming community's most unanimously agreed-upon gems. Sadly, the poor-quality games eclipse the ones that are truly fun. Every once in a while a solid-looking game is announced, but somewhere along the line something happens, and when it's time for reviews, they get terrible scores.

(Overall - 2/10)
Deep down, most gamers want to support Nintendo. It's hard to dislike a company that tries their best to innovate and try something new, but in the case of the Wii, it has become very easy to dislike and criticize gaming's most beloved company. This console had people anticipating it for a solid two years, spending those years discussing the near-magical capabilities it would've had, but when it released, people began to realize how bad it was. Plagued by using terrible, outdated technology, not having an online platform, a controller that becomes boring very quickly, and a truly-awful collection of games, the Wii will be viewed by many as Nintendo's worst.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/26/11

Game Release: Wii Hardware (US, 11/19/06)


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