Why I Sold My Wii

A sad day came and went this week.  No, I’m not talking about Lawrence Taylor’s rape charge, or another jettison of Infinity Ward employees or the realization that if you pitched a perfect game in MLB 2K10 on day 2, you still would not have won the $1 million.

No, I’m talking about my sale on eBay finalizing, and the sale of my Wii.  (OK, so technically the sale was 2 weeks ago, but it all finalized last week).  The main reason? I needed a netbook for this new writing gig I’m doing,  I didn’t have spare cash, so something had to give.

The real reason?  I hadn’t touched my Wii since I purchased Wii Fit when it came out (give or take a month of use of the balance board).  It sat, sad and unused next to my Xbox 360, and even when I bought Madworld for $10 on a deal website a couple of months ago, I still couldn’t bring myself to play it.

Why?  I’m not sure I can pin it on any one thing, but I can narrow it down to the following: lack of achievements, lack of cohesive online play, lack of HD, waning interest in motion control, and a tiring of Nintendo characterizations.  Let’s look into this a bit more.

A real Mii

Lack of achievements: A funny thing happened when the Xbox 360 came out (Aside from RROD).  People realized they got some candy for playing their games.  It meant nothing, had no value, and could not be redeemed, but Achievement points became something as important to me in a system as a good controller or quality online.  Why? It showed my level of commitment to a game.  It tracked and rewarded doing oddball things.  It forced me to play a game harder than I normally would if I wanted to get those pesky points.  It added replay to games I never would have played twice, yet found myself enjoying games more as a result.  I took my time, saw places I missed, ventured on new quests, heard new conversations, and got a better appreciation for the game as a whole.  I also spent more money on arcade games, downloads, packs, pics and themes.  Sometimes for achievement points, sometimes because I got excited about a game as a result.  But all of it was driven by those 1000 (200) points available to me.  Microsoft started an addiction subtly, and by the time I realized I was hooked it was too late.  Games I would normally have played on any system were played for points on the 360.  Rentals were 360.  Even Nintendo exclusives would be disappointing to me because they did not offer achievements.  It’s not Nintendo’s fault for not implementing a system, it’s Microsoft’s for getting me hooked.  Just like I can’t watch Standard def TV anymore, I can’t play games that don’t have achievements (or trophies, etc).

My thoughts exactly

Lack of cohesive online play: What makes online gaming great is the ability to have the experience of playing with your friends in such a way that it feels like everyone’s over at your house, without all the empty beer cans, half-eaten pizza, or snoring (well, that’s not entirely true, it’s just all your fault if it happens).  Making this work means having seamless integration in games, a centralized network, and personalization.  Nintendo had obscure system codes that made it difficult to share, and never allowed for real personalization.  What makes this more difficult to swallow is that Nintendo did have a good chance to make online work, since they offered WiFi out of the box, and had good integration with news, weather, a browser, and the Nintendo Store.  The problem was I always felt like I was just a small part of some giant anonymous machine.  I couldn’t link up, I could just vote on whether love or happiness was more important in life, and try to guess what the rest of the world might say.  I never felt that my friends and I were connected online; my best group experiences with the Wii were done in group settings in the same house (Mario Party, bowling, and tennis).  This is fine in one sense: I like the physical comrade, but it’s not feasible for me anymore to have people over all the time.  I am a grown adult now.  I need a system that is flexible to my needs of playing with people online.  The Wii was everything that was great in my youth – when I was able to sleep over my friend’s house 4 nights a week to play his Nintendo, leaving Rygar on overnight because we couldn’t save but had to sleep.  But I’m grown now.  I hate to admit that, but I think I outgrew the Wii, I just didn’t realize it.

It's nice - but not HD

Lack of HD: This doesn’t need much elaboration: as much as people want to say graphics don’t make the game, graphics make the game more enjoyable.  A good story and characters beats out pretty graphics any day, but a good story, good characters and great graphics to boot? Um, that’s better than all of it.  Playing the Wii offered me none of the wow factor that could make a bad game bearable on other systems.  I will never understand why people compare the PS3 and Xbox 360 to the Wii when it comes to sales: they aren’t on the same level.  If we want to talk about top selling systems, we should be calling the DS the great system killer, but we don’t.  Why? Because the DS is not on the same level as the other systems.  The same can be said of the Wii – it’s more of a casual gaming system than a next generation system.  It is next-gen in its own way (motion control), but I’d class it on its own before comparing it to PS3 and Xbox 360.  It’s an amazing system, and it’s sold well beyond expectations, but it’s still using last gen graphics.  It’s 2010.  I have a 50″ HDTV, and I don’t need to see “480p” on my screen when I flip over to my Wii input.  Call me an HD snob, but so be it.  Like achievements, I’ve gone HD, and I can’t go back.

Just say no!

Waning interest in motion control: It was a great thing when it came out.  I know I lived out my sword wielding, boxing glove wearing, tennis star swinging, bowling pro striking lives in the beginning.  I needed 10 feet to bowl because I replicated my bowling motion.  I used 2 hands on my backhand in tennis.  I gesticulated wildly when being swarmed in Zelda and needed to clear the way.  I bobbed, weaved, uppercut and hooked with full motion (even though I felt like the game just thought I was dropping the controller all the time, since it never responded well).  I lived motion  control, and would look with disdain when my friends would just wing their arm while sitting on the couch bowling, or flicking their wrist while golfing.  I’d try doubly hard to show how much fun it was to get into the motion, like I imagined the designers intended.  And it was fun.  In a group.  Then I found that playing Zelda didn’t need me to be quite as elaborate in my motion.  I really only needed to flick my wrist a little, or wiggle the nunchuk, or twist the controller a certain way, and performed the same (if not better) than living the dream.  And that was when the motion controller went from innovative to annoying.  I realized, like a child finally understanding there is no Santa (sorry kids), that motion control wasn’t what I wanted, I just wanted to believe in it because it gave me joy at first.  Once I realized I could get the same result with less dramatic input, that’s what I gave it;  usually with better results (I still need 10 feet when I bowl, just like I need to stand when I play guitar in Rock Band .. it just feels right).  I suppose one could say “well then just keep acting it out and you’ll enjoy it!” That may be true, but the honeymoon is over: I prefer a controller as my input device with games that has buttons and joysticks or thumbpads or analog sticks.  If it has to have motion, make it more PS3 than Wii – shake for reload to free up a button or some such.  The Wii forced motion rather than suggested it, and after a while, I was tired of motion.  I don’t know if this is an ill omen for Project Natal and Move, I suppose I will wait and give them their fair shake, but I hope the motion is an enhancement, and not the requirement.

The family we all love

Tiring of Nintendo Characterizations: This may be blasphemous, and I’m willing to take the heat of the flames, but am I the only one tired of Nintendo’s core characters now?  I mean, I still love my mustached plumber, and my friends know I have an unhealthy obsession with Princess Peach (I get a rise out of watching her crush her competition), but I can’t help but feel as though Nintendo still thinks I’m 10.  I know this is a difficult road to travel, because there really isn’t a way to take characters that appeal to such a broad age range, and make them relevant to everyone, so I’m understanding of outgrowing these characters.  I just thought there would be more for someone like me, maybe some edgier games with our favorite characters that developed them beyond “It’sa me, Mario!” Paper Mario was a good run, and WarioWare was an interesting break-off, but for the most part, Nintendo has resigned to the fact that they will milk this cash cow, and let the older gamers either continue to find a way to adore the characters, or move on.  I don’t blame Nintendo for this, I just outgrew what the Wii was offering.  Maybe “outgrew” is the wrong term: Zelda was a way of making a little darker Link with a great storyline, but I never did finish the game.. something else always came up (something I’m not proud of – I did enjoy playing it, and should have finished it).  It’s just hard to maintain the charm of something for so long and not have it wear off a bit.  I don’t know if there is a solution here: pushing new characters risks alienating your userbase, creating new personas for existing characters will confuse the userbase, and staying with the same old formula will bore the userbase.  Nintendo may be the victim of their own success here (as it relates to me, anyway).  I suppose there’s nothing left to do other than milk the franchise, which it seems content in doing.  Again, I can’t fault the decision, it’s just not what I want anymore.   This was probably the hardest thing for me to admit, because through all my years of gaming, aside from the first 5 before the NES came out, Nintendo has been there.  Their characters have been a part of my life for a long time, and have helped me form my opinion of what I expect from a game in some ways.  I now expect different things, and its become time for me to admit that Nintendo and its characters weren’t offering what I wanted anymore.

And so, when I looked around my house a couple of weeks ago to find something to sell in order to get something I would use, I realized it was time to move on.  Like a good spring cleaning, I became honest with myself on what I did and did not use, and was left with no choice but to sell while the system still had some value (days before the Black Wii was announced!), and made just enough for something I will get much more use out of.  Yes, I will miss drunken Mario Party night.  Yes I will miss my ridiculous bowling motions.  And yes, I will even miss my Nintendo characters a little (Thanks to explodingRabbit, I still have my fix available).

But I’m moving on. Maybe there will be a chance for a reunion down the road; maybe Nintendo will appeal again to me one day.  Maybe I’ll have a change of heart.  But when push came to shove, I realized that right now, I don’t relate to Nintendo like I used to.

And that is why I have a new netbook.  I guess I need to update my bio now.

What about you? Is the Wii getting any playtime with you? If a game comes out for the Wii and another system you own, do you play the Wii version? Is motion control something you enjoy, or do you prefer traditional controls? Are Nintendo’s core characters growing stale?

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  • Barcelona 10

    I thought I agree with everything you said, the motion control isnt fun anymore after a year, lack of good games, simply tired with all these stupid third party game that coming out, puzzle, quiz, sports game, build a city , fishing game, mini games thing, dancing, etc etc you know what I mean.

    If the next Nintendo console will have another stupid controller like this than good luck to them!

    however I realise that myself just didnt play video game much anymore since PS 2 era :\ , not sure why but I’m losing passion on it.

  • Wii nintendo decesion maker

    This person actually got me interested to read the whole thing . Nintendo should make some seperate games for us adults and hardcore gamers.

  • Leecottle

    Thank god it’s not just me as a 37 year old I have watched many consoles come and go (yes I bought a dreamcast) like u I was over joyed at motion controll wi sports was the coolest game for ages but since then no game ever got my juices flowing.Also the HD thing bugs the hell out of me I spend thousands upgrading to HD get a ps3(mine)xbox360(daughters)then get a wi for all of us only to find the picture on the screen worse than the playstion2 .come on nintendo get some games that appeals to hardcore gamers am so fed up with cute manga style creatures and itailian plumbers

  • PeterBlood

    Good lord! I realize the entire article is about your personal taste, but this is really what’s wrong in gaming today. I have a Wii and a PS3 and, with the exception of a GOW3 weekend rental, the PS3 has been nothing but a Blu-Ray movie player in the last 6 – 8 months. I game for one thing – gameplay. Engrossing, lose track of time, thinking about it all day at work until I can get back at it tonight gameplay. What I see in the majority of today’s games? Bells and whistles, distractions, anything to mask the laziness or lack of innovation or imagination to make truly engrossing gameplay. This normally comes in the form of trophies, achievements, “stunning visuals” emphasis on having 6972 players on-line at one time.

    Addicted to achievements? Here’s another activity that may entertain you for hours, try jiggling a string in front of your face. Your time will be better spent and, since it’s real life, it’ll be better than 1080p. I had my neighbor over when I did rent GOW3. He merrily mashed the controller buttons not knowing at all what he was doing, except murmuring “My god, look at the stunning visuals.”

    I would have agreed with you on the on-line play (which doesn’t really interest me – hey, my personal taste), but Monster Hunter Tri has been an absolute blast with on-line play, and it’s been seamless without friend codes or lag. Just another step in the right direction for my tastes.

    Sick of Nintendo core characters? How many Wii games have you owned in the last 2 years? If we ignore virtual console and reissues of gamecube games, there have been 3 Mario games in 2008 and 2 in 2009. Add this to zero Link, Donkey Kong, Pikmin, Kirby, and Star Fox games. I would say that Nintendo is pacing themselves rather well. makes it a lot easier for me to spend my money on T vs C, No More Heroes 2, Shiren the Wanderer, Fragile Dreams, Monster Hunter Tri, and Red Steel 2 just this year alone.

    So what is the appropriate amount of motion control? It appears the biggest complainers (and obvious people who had never touched a Wii before) vary from “waggle” to “waving my arms around like a total retard.” I’m curious on an answer to that question.

    So if your idea of gaming is staring at shiny objects while running around with “jack233” and “PissedMyPants” on-line, fine by me. Just don’t used tired old cliches that haven’t had any bearing in the last two years for excuses on why you foolishly rid yourself of a fantastic gaming machine.

  • Ben Hiebing

    The online thing I completely agree with you. This is something that I really feel that Nintendo lied to me about. I was never expecting Xbox Live but I was expecting them to try. What ever they have done up until now I wouldn’t even consider trying.

    I am someone who is usually more impressed by a very stylized looking game then a technically nicer/more detailed looking game. Certainly there are some games that would benefit from more powerful hardware. But obviously Nintendo was thinking of their new audience when designing the console. I don’t like using the word abandon simply because I think most core gamers already left Nintendo in the GameCube generation.

    I am going to have to kind of agree and at the same time completely disagree with you on Motion Control. I disagree because we have recently seen several games that do use the motion control well. “Silent Hill: Shattered Memory”, “No More Heroes 2”, and the battle system in “Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: the Crystal Bearers”. I am still excited about the possibilities. I agree with you because it took us 3 fucking years to get here.

    Maybe it is because I have always disliked more violent games but I still find the Nintendo cast charming and for the most part I don’t want them to change. I know a lot of people feel that we need edgyer characters and deeper storylines. I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t mean I want some of the old ways to disappear. There is a ….. I guess I am going to use the word charm again in game like “Punch Out” and “Pikmin”. The mechanics are very simple and it is easy to pick up and learn to play them in 2 minutes. If you want to go play nother game or two and then come back to it that is fine but you are not going to have to relearn the controls and because there is next to no story you know exectly were you are. But at same time there is still a good amount of depth to the game. Out side of Nintendo there isn’t to many games that do this well. In the search to keep adding depth to games, games now require a 1 hour tutorial. In the search the make them more “adult” unnecessary amounts of violence are added. The day Zelda starts chopping off heads and you can see the blood glistening on the Master Sword or Mario jumps on a goomba and it’s brain splatter on the wall I will be very sad.

  • Thanks for the comments.

    All of what we are talking about here really comes down to personal preference, so I get a difference of opinion will be expected 🙂

    Peter: I didn’t mean that I didn’t want to see any games featuring the core characters, I think I wanted to see something different done with the characters, and wasn’t. Putting out nothing that featured the franchise isn’t ideal either. I’m far from a graphics whore (I’ve spent the last month going through Deadly Premonition 3 times, if that’s any indication), but I do like having the option of playing a game dripping in graphic realism. As for the right amount of motion control? I think it varies by what kind of game you’re playing, and I don’t really have an answer. Again, I loved motion .. at first. I just got tired of it.

    Ben – no question on the charm factor with some of the games Nintendo puts out. In fact, one thing I’ve always enjoyed is the approachability their games exhibit, feeling both intuitive and inventive at the same time. That creativity is something I’ll miss. It just wasn’t enough to keep me, especially with what else is out there right now.

  • Kyle

    I couldnt have said it better myself. Seriously, what could I possibly add to that?

  • Tim

    If you’re using words like “intuitive and inventive” to describe Nintendo games, then I think that you should have kept your Wii. Do you want more than inventive and intuitive? Many games that are popular nowadays aren’t that intuitive or inventive (Crysis and pretty much every other FPS come to mind).

    And HD does not mean good. Yeah, Uncharted 2 and Gears of War 2 look good, but that is kind of snotty to not like something because it’s not HD. I play both HD games and Wii games, but I’ve never been able to stand a bad game with pretty graphics (Crysis anyone?). If a game is terrible, it’s terrible. Uncharted is a great game (except its lack of character depth) that benefits from having good graphics, but that doesn’t make me put it above, say, Jak and Daxter The Precusor Legacy (lol, that’s a Naughty Dog game, too).

    It also seems like you haven’t played many good 3rd party games, something that a lot of people who talk bad about the Wii have in common. I just want to know what games you had for your Wii.

    And I know that Nintendo’s online system is sh**, but with games like Monster Hunter Tri, there is hope. Nintendo also included an Achievement-like system (albeit very limited) in Wii Sports Resort, so here’s to hoping that they catch on.

    Too bad you’ll miss Zelda, Mario Galaxy 2, Sin & Punishment 2, Metroid Other M, Conduit 2, The Grinder, and The Last Story. On the flip side you can always get the new Black Wii bundle. It’s a good deal.

  • John Fucking Lock

    You’re a fucking idiot. Why not own 2 consoles? Sure money may be tight and all.

    THAT ALONE IS Enough to keep your fucking wii like I am doing. Fuck mario galaxy and the conduit.

  • dan

    I agree Nintendo really f&*ked things up with the online gaming side of things.

  • ThedarknessTAKESalan

    He gets consumed by the darkness, the darkness now wears alan’s face.


  • Joe DelFranco

    Yeah my Wii and my Xbox 360 both have been collecting dust. I find myself only using the PS3. For me, it’s all about the the games, and exclusively, I don’t think the 360 or Wii are even close. I honestly have never, ever, ever, ever, ever cared for Mario, nor will I ever. I just don’t care, and I don’t enjoy his games. I do like Zelda but thats it! Also on the Xbox I found Gears to be so clunky, and thought Halo was done after 2. I enjoy Mass Effect and Fable on my 360. The PS3 on the other hand…well I play everything. I can’t help it. They have a good slogan “It only does everything” for a good reason.

  • Xavier

    I completely agree.
    I don’t care so much about the HD, but I honestly can’t go back to games without some form of achievement system that I can show off. The Wii also lacks the interconnected friends network that is Xbox Live, and yeh, I can’t be bothered waggling my arms.

    I haven’t played my Wii since the first day I got it.

  • bg93-

    I…… I agree. I haven’t touched my Wii since…….. Mario Kart or Brawl. That was… 08??? Mario Galexy is coming and I don’t want it. My Wii used to be my #2. Then I realized my 360 was a PS3 with different exclusives.
    You know what? Screw being politically correct, you can have your own opinion, but I think the Wii is a piece of shit. Its a toy. It pumps out less great games in a year than the PS3 or 360 pump out in a month. Its over priced and over rated. Nintendo characters are stupid, Mario has no story, Zelda has no story, and neither have voices. The only one that had both was star fox, and we haven’t seen him at all this gen. Shit console, shit games, shit characters. The wii is stupid.

    Flame away, I’m not reading your comments.

  • Hater’s gonna hate

    You must be upset for the fact that the Wii is the #1 selling console.Motion controls “sell more”, why do you believe Sony and Microsoft are releasing their own motion devices?

    Gamers like yourself will go the way of the dinosaur.

  • Um… I will try and explain something that I try to explain to everyone else stuck in this “HD is best” crusade.

    HD is not a graphical thing. It’s simply a resolution. Most games on the Xbox 360 aren’t even in HD! Wow! Look at Modern Warfare… it’s not even in ED (enhanced definition)! I.E. 720p. It’s actually 560p.

    So, I’ll ask you this: is it HD you want the Wii to have, or better graphics (I.E. more polygons, more textures, more effects)?

    In all honesty, you probably don’t even own a television capable of 1080p resolutions anyway. And if you do, you may not have the perfect size and sit the perfect distance away in order to even see the difference between 720p and 1080p.

    I am just so sick of the whole “the Wii sucks because it doesn’t have HD graphics”. You wouldn’t even notice the difference. The graphics certainly don’t get any better. It’s just a resolution.

    Now, I am not saying that 1080p doesn’t mean anything, because it certainly does, but when people say that the Wii’s graphics suck and it needs HD, the two don’t make each other. The Wii’s polygon drawing will still be the same with or without HD. The ONLY graphical upgrade that may come with HD is the jagged edges you see, but then it all depends on just how big a television you have. Which, the bigger tv you have, the more noticeable 1080p becomes, which also means that the jagged edges become more apparent. Antialiasing is a fix for this that is done with better and better hardware… not through HD resolutions.

  • Oh yeah, and by the way. If HD is all you want and you own an HD television, then why not buy a receiver, like I did, capable of digitally upconverting all signals (including Wii) to full 1080p HD. Trust me, it looks better on an 55 inch HDTV, but only because it looks worse in 480p on such a big television when compared to a SDTV of smaller sizes. So it doesn’t really look better because it looks better, but because it looks bad on a big tv normally.

  • Nedal

    I agree with everything you said I myself outgrew the wii but just gave it to my little brother instead its a great system but I cant help but feel nintendo no longer cares for its hardcore fans

  • I’m so glad you gave up your Wii as those who hold onto Wii’s and don’t use them are wasting a valuable resource. I believe a Wii should be in every school room, in every recreation center, in every public space for this reason: it is the greatest invention to revolutionize the field of fitness this century has witnessed. I never let my kids play video games, yet when someone handed me the Wii remote, it changed my life as a fitness professional and as a booomer. Play is now something I do every day and I have so much fun playing like a kid again. By all means, if you don’t use it, sell it or donate it to your local shelter or something. Miyamoto’s genius and passion for personal fitness and gift for translating that into a video game continually amazes me. I am humbled by gamers, and I thought you all were a bunch of @#%@!

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