For some gamers, the idea of a world without Wii is more terrifying than the scariest of survival horror games. What if one day we all woke up and the world was bereft of Nintendo's family friendly console? No gravity-defying shenanigans in Super Mario Galaxy, no virtual tennis in Wii Sports, and for the soccer moms out there—no Wii Fit. And would the PlayStation Move exist? That was Sony's answer to the limb-flailing craze the Wii made popular.
Whether or not you're a fan of the Wii, you can't deny the impact it's had on our culture. This new device with the cute name and the promise that anyone could play it intrigued people that previously had no interest in gaming. Sure, motion control gaming was around long before the Wii (Power Glove, anyone?), but this was the console to finally popularize it. This fact alone made the Wii enough to catch the interest of nearly everyone, whether they had never touched a controller or came out of the womb with one in hand. There's also the fact that Nintendo's console quickly became a gateway console to get non-gamers into video games. With its simplistic controls, gentle learning curve, and because much of what you had to do to play was instinctual—mimicking the arm movements in a game of tennis, for example—almost anyone could get into it.
Nintendo already had decades worth of iconic franchises, like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Super Smash Bros., all of which already had worldwide appeal. Only now, with the Wii, they could reach a new audience: the casual gamer. With simpler controls and the fun of really getting into the game by performing the actions, more people could get into these games. This was really the major impact of the Wii, wasn't it? Converting non-gamers to casual gamers and, in some cases, even hardcore gamers?
Also, in a world without the Wii, there would be a far shallower collection of games to choose from if you're looking for a way to share your hobby with that special someone. Games like Super Mario Galaxy, while primarily single-player experiences, had cooperative features that gave the second player something to do while they watched you play. As online gaming took off, with Sony and Microsoft increasing their efforts toward growing their online communities and extending the life of their games through downloadable content, less and less games were being designed with split-screen functionality.
Of all the consoles, the Wii has retained its selection of games you can play locally, like you can with the aforementioned Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and Super Mario Galaxy. There's also MadWorld, the on-rails Resident Evil games, Monster Hunter, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and a plethora of other locally playable games that made the Wii's arsenal of split-screen titles one of the best out there.
Now, you could argue that Nintendo had to boost its offering of split-screen games since the Wii's online functionality is less than stellar. It's true, the Wii's online capabilities are drastically outshined by the PS3's and the Xbox 360's, but that's because this console was made with bringing people together in mind. I enjoy my online games as much as the next guy, and I can count the number of times I've played a Wii game online on one hand. But I'll excuse Nintendo for this weakness because the Wii is a console that I can easily whip out at a party, or when I have my younger cousins over, or if I'm looking to wow my grandparents with this crazy alien technology that lets them bowl and play tennis right there in my living room.
I enjoy my Wii because it provides simple, mindless fun, letting me play games with my friends without forcing me to listen to the legions of obnoxious kiddies that lurk on Xbox Live and PSN. I also like being able to share my love for video games with people in my life that have no interest in them, because that's something the Wii does best. It brings together the old, the young, the gaming illiterate, and gives us something fun to do as a group, because, really, who wants to play board games anymore?
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*