In this final installment of "Video game consoles: Which one should you buy?" we'll look at a video game machine that most experts, at the time, merely ignored or didn't think would have a serious chance of competing with the "big boys," namely Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox 360. But as we'll find out, the Nintendo Wii has become a major hitter in the game industry.
Nintendo Wii 101
The Nintendo Wii could be considered the little video game console that could. When it was first released in the United States in November 2006, virtually all “serious” game critics attacked it not only for its strange sounding name, but for its sub-par processor (when compared to the Xbox 360 and PS2), lack of high-definition graphics, the silly looking motion controllers, and a huge lack of hardcore titles for gamers. In short the Wii was considered a joke, prior to its release, by the game industry.
But Nintendo had the last laugh as its Wii video game console became a monster hit around the world to the surprise and astonishment of its rivals.
Games for non-gamers
The Wii’s phenomenal success was attributed to a brand new way of interacting with games; instead of using joysticks or button-assisted controllers, people could actually play games by using their arms to roll a virtual ball in a bowling game, swinging the controller like a baseball bat or by waving the controller like a paddle to hit a ping pong ball.
Although the concept of using motion as the main interface for playing a video game was simple, it was revolutionary in the video game world. It also tapped into new demographics that traditional video game companies had never really reached—causal players and family.
The Wii remote, and the second controller called the nunchuck, are simple to use and easy. Anyone from very young children to seniors understands the operation of the controllers almost immediately, and can translate their real world experiences to the Wii games they play.
Who will buy it?
The Wii is very non-threatening looking, and as a marketing tactic, Nintendo has succeeded very well in making people, who don’t normally play video games, feel right at home.
Its game library is very family oriented, but also has titles that are considered more “mainstream” by hardcore video game fans. Children, as well as adults, gravitate towards the Wii’s simplicity and entertainment appeal.
The Wii U, which is the successor to the Wii, was released in November 2012, but the new machine’s reversion to traditional controller-based gameplay has found it difficult to not only cater to its original constituency, but to serious video gamers as well. Its new controller system, which resembles a small tablet computer, offers new ways to play games via its display screen, but so far, the Wii U has not faired nearly as well as Nintendo expected.
For anyone who wants a fun gaming experience that breaks the mold of how games are played, the original Wii is the best bet for family, friends, causal gamers, and some hardcore gamers too.
While there will always be debates between video game fans about whose brand is better than the other, each video game console from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo is aimed at specific audiences.
Which game machine you finally select should be based upon what your particular needs are, and not what the “fanboys” and “fangirls” say because the final objective is the same for all gamers: have fun!
Frank Ling is the National Technology Examiner for Examiner.com. He is a writer, professional photographer, and video editor. One of his all-time favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher as a QA trainer for testing game software.