Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wii shovelware- I've had just about enough

I remember when the Wii came out nearly two years ago. I remember because I was the first guy in line at the local Wal-Mart (local, as in 30 minutes away from my home) waiting to pick one up on day one.
I also remember thinking, quite foolishly it turns out, there's no way in hell this new system would become another Gamecube.

Turns out I was wrong. What bothered me about the Gamecube was the fact quality, well produced games, were anything but the norm. For every one good game that came out for the system, there were five crappy ones rushed out to market in order to cash in on moms and dads who had no idea "Rocket Bikez eXtreme" took only three weeks to make.

When Wii hit with Zelda on day one and titles like Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. on the way, I thought the future of the new waggle system was pretty dang bright. If the GC ratio of good to bad games was 1 to 5, however, the Wii is more like 1 to 20. Sadly, I'm not exaggerating here.

This month alone will bear witness to the release of titles such as Bratz, Littlest Pet Shop, Jeep Thrills, Safe Cracker, Celebrity Sports Showdown, Barbie Horse Adventure, Bigfoot: Collision Course, Build-a-Bear Workshop and Petz Horsez Club, just to name a few. There are about 40 titles releasing this month for the Wii and, if you'll scroll down a post or two, you'll see none of them made my "games to get" list. I may not be the best judge of quality, but if you'll head on over to this web site right here (IGN), I'm sure you'll agree there is little to nothing worth paying attention to from the Wii camp. Keep scrolling past October. It gets worse.

Now, don't get me wrong. I realize there is a market for some of these games, but what about the videogaming masses above the age of eight? When Nintendo removed their "Official Seal of Quality" and replaced it with, no joke, "Official Seal," what they effectively did was say, "Hey, gamers, there will be no quality control whatsoever. Enjoy the metric ton of poorly made ripoffs that will soon be choking store shelves and muscling out the chances of anything worth your time and money ever surviving."

What's the point of all of this? Nothing. I've just been needing to rant about this for a while and today just felt like the day. Sure, at $250, the Wii is almost an impulse buy for folks wanting to play some games. And yes, most of the games made by Nintendo are actually pretty dang good. But with less of those coming out in a year than I need two hands to count, it's a bit insulting.

Then again, I guess we can blame the consumer as well. It's our dollars that make this shovelware practice profitable and, when developers are willing to put time and attention into quality titles (Zak and Wiki, No More Heroes, Boom Blox), we turn a blind eye and collectively ignore it. Developers are officially afraid to take chances on the Wii.

I've got no answers here. I'm fairly certain the Wii and its games will continue to sell like gangbusters (except for the good games, that is) and, eventually, Nintendo will introduce their next big system with loads of promises that eventually gets lost among the waves of cash we're willing to throw at them for the waves of crap they're willing to throw back at us.

If it wasn't for the few gems I already own and the virtual console, I would consider the Wii a horrible (though horribly profitable) failure. As it is, I've impulsively paid $250 for a handfull of games and 20-year-old titels that far outshine anything lining the Wii shelves today. Thanks Nintendo!

No comments: