Sunday, March 25, 2007


It's been so long since Nintendo was at the top of the Video Game market heap. The NES and SNES ruled their respective generations (8bit and 16bit), and produced some of the most loved and enduring franchises in video game history (Mario and Zelda, and was the original platform for Final Fantasy).

But then, a disagreement with Sony over the proposed CD Drive for the SNES (to compete with Sony's SegaCD for the Genesis) doomed it to almost a decade of being second (or lower) banana. The decision - whether it should be top-load (Sony) or front-load (Nintendo, since the CD expansion port was on the bottom of the console anyway) - led to the creation of the PlayStation, and gave Sony the edge in the market for quite a long time. Nintendo's 64 seemed a bit outdated, still being cart based (though the games were quite impressive with load times much faster), and the GameCube (it'll always be the Dolphin to me, it's pre-release codename) couldn't outmuscle the PS/2's pure muscle.

Microsoft came along during this time with their XBox, but they couldn't quite take away from Sony's lead. Of course it outclassed the GameCube, giving Microsoft Sega's old position of Second Banana. Then came the XBox 360: It got the early drop on both Sony and Nintendo, and is quite the machine in it's own right.

But both Microsoft and Sony got careless. With the 360 and PS3, they focused more on the hardcore gamer market, with their graphics and bells and whistles. Sony rushed too much, and the Cell-powered Titan turned out to be more of a blinded cyclops than anything. And with both machines selling well above $300, they further limited thier market scope.

But no, not Nintendo.

Codenamed Revolution when it was announced, it was a huge gamble for the former King of Home Gaming: Focusing less on graphics and more on intuitive game play, they banked on expanding video games to a larger market, beyond the hardcore, basement-dwelling game geeks that have come to stereotype the industry. With radical controlers allowing for user interaction like never before (unless you count the Power Pad, Power Glove and U-Force) and simplistic yet engrossing gameplay, Nintendo put all its chips in with the Revolution.

And yes, a revolution was born. The Wii Revolution.

This here MSNBC Article takes a look at one front of that Revolution: Senior Citizens. Yes, your grandma and grandpa are digging on video games. Who knew, right? Before, they were just "those stupid boxes that make pretty pictures on TV and keep kids indoors." All of the sudden, they're breaking hips playing Wii Tennis and Wii Bowling, cheering and huigging when victorious, and even having friendly tournaments.

Everyone wants the Wii. And at $250, it certainly has a huge price advantage over Sony and Microsoft. College Students and Teenagers with too much time on their hands aren't the only ones buying boxes anymore.

And, after far too long, Nintendo is back on top.

I was always a Nintendo kid. I had an NES, SNES, and in College I bought a 64 so my friends and I could have Goldeneye killfests. After that, though, I was disillusioned with the game market. Never owned any Sega consoles, Playstations, the GameCube, or any handhelds beyond my old puke-green-screened Game Boy. Hell, I'm borrowing the PS2 I have now from my boss, with games coming from friends.

But I want Wii. Oh yes, I want Wii.

I've played it, and it's unreal. Remember when you used to play a racing game, and you'd catch yourself leaning into a turn your trying to make, rotating the controler as far in that direction as you can, praying to whatever game god you worshipped at the time that it would help? Well, now it does! The Wii Sports package, which comes with the system, is enough to keep any gamer entertained for quite a while. The graphics aren't all that hot, but who cares?

After all, when have you ever played a boxing game where physically punching your buddy actually made the on-screen guy punch? I can't remember ever going through my full motion bowling delivery in a living room. And I was honestly afraid I'd get overzealous and whack my opponent in the head with my controller playing Wii Tennis.

Yeah, it's that fun.

So, folks, my next major purchase is most deffinately a Wii.

Let's Get Wii-tarded in here!

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