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Wii have converted to Nintendoism… all hail Mario…

December 30, 2007

PS2I’ve had a PlayStation 2 console for a while now. Dawn got me an original PlayStation several years back (quite possibly right after we got married, if not even before), and then we “upgraded” a few years later to the PS2. They were quite a bit different, quality-of-game wise (I felt they were, anyway), and the good part was that you could play all the original PlayStation (PSX, as it is widely known) games on the PS2 as well, plus you could purchase a disk (sold separately, of course) that installs software on the console that allows you to use it as a DVD player, complete with its own little remote. Now when we got this thing, that was HUGE. We didn’t have a DVD player yet at the time (we are technological late bloomers- we still have a working turntable and a working 8-track player somewhere, even though I’m pretty sure we don’t have any vinyl or any 8-track tapes- go figure), so that little nugget was a major selling point for me to convince Dawn we “needed” it.

Because I knew she wouldn’t get it just because I wanted “this really cool game I saw a commercial for”.

So anyway, we’ve had the PS2 for a while, and I have admittedly been somewhat coveting the PS3 that was released what seems like half a decade ago now, but I am not paying the $500 they at least originally were asking. I have no idea if they’ve come down any yet, basically because upgrading to a PS3 really isn’t that terribly high on my priority list. I am assuming the graphics are at least a little better, I’m assuming it is “backwards-compatible” with PSX and PS2 games, I’m assuming it can play DVDs and music CDs, and, if I want to get the next chapter in one of my favorite game series, the much-maligned Grand Theft Auto, I’m pretty sure I have to get a PS3 because, near as I can tell, there isn’t a PS2 version of the new release. (“New” meaning “most recent”.)

I like the PlayStations because there are games available in which the action is “realistic”, as “realistic” as a video game can be, anyway. What I mean is, several games are like controlling actual people, vehicles, etc., in at least hypothetically real situations. The GTA series, for example, allows you to control a bad guy creating a criminal empire. (I’m not going to address the whole “objectionable content” issue with these games, simply because while the idea of shooting cops and robbing, carjacking, and/or beating up prostitutes and various other “citizens” isn’t exactly something that ought to be in video games that are obtainable by impressionable kids and teenagers, I am a couple weeks shy of 40 years old and know the difference between life and a video game, and right and wrong in general.) Some of the numerous street-racing game series involve pretty realistic handling of vehicles. I like the wrestling games, even though the wrestlers tend to be somewhat mannequin-esque at times. I really enjoy the Metal Gear and Syphon Filter series- that “save the world from terrorism and/or espionage” shit is really kind of fun to me. Then there are the various baseball and football franchises that get more and more like controlling actual players in actual games, as though you’re watching an actual game on TV as opposed to a video game, with each subsequent release. Anyway, I tend to be more into the games that are more “realistic” rather than “cartoony”. That’s not to say I don’t like the cartoony games- I have a Scooby-Doo game, a Cars game, a Walt Disney World racing game (from the original PSX), I have a couple Simpsons games, I’ve played Shrek games, etc., and I enjoy all of them, but if I had to make a choice, I think I’d rather play games that lean more toward actual people in at least theoretically actual situations. That being said, Dawn got the Guitar Hero game for “Ian and me” for Christmas, and I just love it. Even she played it. I think it’s a bit advanced for Ian, being only 7, but he actually does pretty well for, well, being only 7.

Dawn, on the other hand, likes the more cartoony games. She’s not big into video games anyway, so when she does play, she prefers to play games with simple controls and simple concepts, as opposed to games where you have to be stealthy or else your character dies or gets caught or whatever, or you have to pick the right weapon or tool for the right mission, and things like that. So she’s kind of been eyeballing Nintendo’s Wii system for a few months.

WiiThe Wii (pronounced “we”) is a much smaller (meaning compact) console, which uses cordless remotes as opposed to controllers you have to plug into the unit. These remotes (or “Wii-motes”, if you will, but only if you will) make your character more or less mime your exact movements. We looked at a Wii system at the local electronics juggernaut located on Veterans Parkway while Christmas shopping a couple weeks ago. They had one on display and we kinda fiddled with it a little. Myself, I found it extremely hard to control the Mario character in the game on the demo, though I think a lot of that was simply due to being used to how the PS2 works. I remember telling her that it would take a long time getting used to controlling it, and basically dismissed it, for the most part. She had it on her Christmas list, but we both knew we weren’t going to be getting one any time soon. What little I had seen of the Wii was that most of their games, even the sports games, seemed to be largely “cartoony” in nature, using characters called “Mii’s” that have heads which are two-thirds the size of their bodies. The upside of these Mii’s is that you can customize them to look like and represent yourself or pretty much anyone you choose. It’s really almost spooky how much like yourself you can make them appear. Or, if you choose not to be quite so vain, you can just create a generic character. Also, you can hook up to an internet connection and download Mii’s, classic Nintendo games (the original Super Mario Bros. and ExciteBike, for example), and other things. Aaaaaaand, you can even store up to 10 Mii’s at a time in the remote itself and load them on to someone else’s console. It also plays Nintendo GameCube games.

I was starting to get more and more intrigued.

So fast forward to this past Thursday at my brother’s house, for Christmas with my extended family. They have a Wii. After we finished the gift-opening, the Wii eventually got turned on and we all wound up playing several games of bowling. I finally decided I’d give it a shot, so my niece Erin and I created a Mii in a remarkably and eerily close likeness of myself, and we rolled a game.

I hate to admit it, but it was fun. A LOT of fun.

My brother had road-tripped to Jacksonville a few months back and picked one up. His wife is not into video games at all, so her stipulation was that if he bought her an iPhone, he could keep his “little game thing”. Naturally, she now has an iPhone. This gave me an idea, shameless and admittedly win-win for me as it was. Dawn had been remarking how she really liked the Wii and would love to have one, so I made a deal with her. I told her that if she gets me an iPhone for my birthday (which, incidentally, is in 19 days, as of this writing), she could have “her” Wii. Now granted, that’s somewhat unfair, in that I’ll likely use the Wii every bit as much if not more than she and the kids will, but considering we do still have the PS2 and don’t really “need” a PS3, let alone a totally different system, I didn’t find it a completely unreasonable “demand” either.

So the next day, I went to run a few errands, and just for shits and giggles, I stopped by the same local electronics juggernaut on Veterans Parkway. Now I had heard that everyone everywhere pretty much nationwide is sold out of these things, so I wasn’t expecting to find one. Local Electronics Juggernaut had close to 30 of them out on the shelf. Apparently people in Springfield don’t shop at Local Electronics Juggernaut for electronics, thinking if Discount Department Store doesn’t have them {cheaper}, which I had heard most don’t, then surely LEJ won’t have any. So I grabbed one, and used my not-an-iPhone cell phone to call Dawn and tell her. Strangely enough, it didn’t take a whole lot of convincing, so we are now owners of a Wii system.

While I was there, I was admittedly amazed at the variety of games available for the Wii. Cartoony games. “Licensed character” games (SpongyBoob SmudgePants, Cars, various other Disney, Shrek, just to name but a few). Racing games. MLB and NFL games. Karaoke games. Wrestling games. Those ridiculous anime-style fighting games. There’s even a “Dancing with the Stars” game that presumably requires a dance pad controller, sold separately. There’s also Guitar Hero for the Wii, though I really doubt I’ll get that considering I just got it for the PS2 (which has been moved to the other TV, incidentally). So even though it’ll take me a little while to really get used to the Wii, I think we made a pretty good choice “for the family”.

Now we’ll see if Dawn holds up her end of the “deal”. I’m not really holding my breath, but then, even after nearly 10 years of marriage, my dear bride never ceases to surprise me at times.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. SpringfieldZebra permalink
    December 31, 2007 10:36 am

    And the first little Johann cried Wii-Wii-Wii, all the way home.

    P.S.: I’m jealous if you get the iPhone.

  2. Johann permalink
    December 31, 2007 11:01 am

    Hee hee hee hee hee…

    Well, I’ll have to get it first.

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