Monday, July 5

Like Riding a Bike

Embarrassing admission: I can not ride a bike. Unless of course it has training wheels, then I'm sweet. More to the point, the saying "Like riding a bike," means nothing (other than of course, humiliation) for me. More apt would be something along the lines of, "Like playing Super Mario Bros. (or any early 90s 2D platformer)."  Sure it doesn't flow as well, but its implications are essentially the same.

This weekend I spent some time with a Wii at my parents' place. It wasn't entirely horrible. When I think about it, I don't think I have ever discussed my feelings about the Wii with you all. In detail at least. To be frank, I am deeply troubled that this console is leading the market and the direction of the industry at large. Why? I don't have a huge problem with motion control. I am yet to see it implemented to great effect, but that is not why I object to the Gamecube Plus. I detest the Wii because it is the foremost, and unrivalled platform for shovelware. That, and almost any game worth owning on the system has been released on the Gamecube minus a few features. Even then, if it was not on the Gamecube, it would have been released on some other Nintendo console in some way, shape or form.

Case and point: New Super Mario Bros Wii. New Super Mario Bros Wii is startlingly similar to New Super Mario Bros released on the Nintendo DS, both in terms of gameplay and visual presentation. This isn't a game-breaker by any means, but the sense of deja-va is palpable. At times it even registers as a distraction. I swear that I had played through some of these levels before. I'd stop dead still in the midst of the game's 2D planes, and my mind would be cast back in time a few years. I got over it eventually, but I couldn't help but think that the iconic plumber hadn't come that far since the game's portable predecessor, released not even 4 years ago. Since Super Maio World even (in this iteration at least). As a matter of fact, I'd recommend Wii owners save some money and download Super Mario World for the Virtual Console instead.

I also spent some time with Mario & Sonic at Winter Olympic Games and I was surprised to find that there was actually some fun to be had. Simplistic, shallow fun, but fun all the same. As with the generalisation mentioned previously, the motion controls are functional but they did not allow for me to fully engage in the activities I was supposedly replicating. Holding a Wiimote to my chest and bobbing from left to right is a poor emulation of Skeleton, it is however as close as I am prepared to get to the real-life sport. What forced me care about what was going on was the competition, and the spectator. My fiance picked up the fundamentals very quickly, and before long she was almost lapping me in Speed Skating. My Mum was the lone spectator, and she mocked any demonstrations of n00bery with her infectious cackle. After a few rounds of Curling, with my hands mimicking the most personal of rituals and two loved ones laughing to the point of tears; I realised the true power of this device. Motion controls, in all of their ridiculousness, allow everyone in close proximity of the console to engage with games due to either the action on screen, or the displays of vicacity from those people actually playing.         

I am still yet to play the most acclaimed games on the Wii (specifically: Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel), but my cynicism will not allow me to be anything but a Weekend Warrior when it comes to Ninty's foray into motion-contolled gaming.

What are your thoughts on the Wii? What did you play this weekend?


  1. Great article as per usual, sir. Keep it up!

    The Wii? Well, like everything Nintendo, it's not so much the company, more the goddamn fans. I hate Nintendo fans. They're the first to sneer and mock franchises that pertain to being iterative...then give those tired old mascots a free pass. It's all nostalgia. Sure, solid games, but come on.

    And I a bit o' Lead & Gold and Blur over the weekend. Luvverly.

  2. Thanks Taz. I enjoyed your write-up of Blur, and am seriously considering adding it to my collection. After Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, my hunger for kart racers has increased ten fold.

    What's the connection quality like for Lead & Gold? Once again, another detailed write-up. Sounds like Team Fortress 2 crossed with Unforgiven, or at least, that's how I want it to sound.

    I only know one big Ninty fanboy, but he is not under the illusion that the mascot reissues are reinventing the wheel. I do agree with your observation within the context of the gaming press in general though; IGN are currently drooling at the prospect of an Ocarina of Time remake on the 3DS.

    I would definitely recommend that anyone who is reading the comments section (even those that don't, but they might not see this) check the 4XScope Blog:

  3. I have a Wii, and it is a good tool for me a Lisa to game together, cause let's be honest, she is never jumping on the PS3 with me. I don't mind the Wii. I wouldn't mind picking up Mario Galaxy, because it looks so cool.

    I hit up a bit of Red Dead, a Bit of MW 1 and 2, A bit of FIFA, and a Bit of UFC (yes, very ecclectic this weekend)

  4. That's the value of the Wii my friend. Definitely engages with those only interested in a casual experience. Please tell me what I'm missing with the Mario Galaxies, dying to play them both.

    Have you finished Red Dead yet? Taz, has your copy of Red Dead finally arrived?

  5. Trits, if you find Blur for the right price, jump on it! Brilliant fun. As far as Lead & Gold is concerned, it's kinda hard to know what the ping would be like for Aussies. Either way, for the price, it's brilliant fun. I'd probably suggest getting it for the PC over PS3, what with Australia being Australia. If it does pop up on PSN+ for cheap-o, jump on it. Along with Joe Danger.

    My bloody RDR was put on a ridiculous back-order, so I cancelled it. In the end, I put the moolah towards RUSE for the Move setup. Most people might be going the Move Sports package or SOCOM...I'm all about supporting RTS on the console.

    I'll get around to RDR one day. To be honest, with all the podcasts I listened to, I essentially played it by radio. Hype backlash hit me a bit...outside of your fine self, I got sick of the chatter.

  6. No I have not finished Red Dead yet. Funny story about red dead, I keep getting distracted and chasing random things. I still haven't hit Mexico.

  7. Funny story about RDR, I keep getting distracted while playing it and end up hunting deer for an hour, and then go and do something else. Still not even in Mexico! LOL I probably should get to finishing it though.

    Yeah, I am going to look for a bargain basement Mario Galaxy.

  8. The ambient challenges are awfully distracting; however when Reuben has spoiled plot points from several notable releases (GTA IV and Metal Gear Solid 4) I make a point of keeping on track with the main story and save the peripheral stuff for the end.

  9. Lead & Gold is on special on the PSN this week. Consider it bought!!! I'll keep my eyes out for Blur too, it looks awful pretty.

  10. From what I've read over your shoulder Tris I would happily play Blur :)