The Wii is a piece of sh*t

The unreliable eurogamer has an interesting piece just up about some guy who made the blogeadlines back in 2007 by ranting against the Wii at GDC. That's fine, each to their own but what Hecker does go on to say is the kind of idiotic rhetoric that gets our goat here at TGAM. From the linked article:

"Game design and gameplay is not separable from CPU power," he told Eurogamer.

"You can do more interesting games with a faster CPU. Nintendo made an underpowered platform, relative to what you could have made at the time.

This in itself is theoretically uncontroversial but is moot in reality. Where are all these 'more interesting games?' on other platforms? We've said it time and time again but the reason why at least one of us isn't writing off the Wii as an acceptable console is because now, perhaps more than ever there is a real dearth of diversity of good games across all the current generation of games. Furthermore, the quality of graphics with Xbox360 games and PS3 games can still be a feature of some godawful broken games or games that are just quite boring.

Let's look at for want of a better 'objective' list the top ten games by platform a la metacritic.

Xbox 360 GTA IV, Bioshock, The Orange Box, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Gears of War, Elder Scrolls IV, CoD4, Halo3, CoD MW2. Average meta score 95% Very diverse and interesting. Alternatively we could write this list as 6 FPS, 2 GTAs and two RPGs. Or seven sequels, three new IPs. In terms of the innovations there titles bring to gaming we've got excellent online features, amazing community tools (Halo) and then ummm the invention of a cover system (Gears), a decent stab at compelling story (ME2).

PS3 Reads much the same. GTA IV, Bioshock, Red Dead Redemption, Elder Scrolls IV, CoD4, CoD MW2, Uncharted 2, Street Fighter IV, Metal Gear: Solid 4 and Little Big Planet. Average meta score 94.4% One could argue that LBP stands out for doing something different but the rest are upgraded sequels and we're not convinced that graphics alone make GameN+1 better than GameN. Okay so last generation couldn't have created a sandbox with the detail like GTA or Red Dead Redemption and MGS 4 would have had to come with an extra 4 discs for cutscenes alone but is this really such a jump from the PS2 days? In terms of gameplay and game design there's virtually nothing 'new' here most of these are still "shoot things in the face until the cutscene lets you move on". We still live in a world of QTEs, boss fights, fetch quests and circle strafing.

Wii
SMG, SMG2, LoZ:TP, World of Goo, SSBB, Rock Band 2, Rock Band 3, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Re4, Okami. Average meta score 93.2% Again, sequalitis. A bit more diverse with only a couple of shooters in the top ten but essentially 5 last gen ports and seven sequels. World of Goo and Super Mario Galaxy are doing good different things in terms of gameplay and game design.

So what's the point here? Well Hecker mentions that we should be looking for more interesting games which bust out of established and very tired game design and gameplay but this micro analysis shows that just isn't happening across the board. Interestingly, if we were to pick out those games that are interesting and are turning gameplay and game design on their head you will won't find many of them in the top ten lists and a lot of them under perform commercially. In fact, in contrast to what Hecker says I perceive the Wii to be doing many more interesting games which take gameplay and design in many different directions, very few games of which that are based solely around motion controls which is why Kinect and Move have to pull some excellent motion controlled games out of the bag in coming months.

In conclusion it isn't something wrong with platforms and hardware there's something wrong with gamers expectations, the way games are marketing and the fact that most gamers seem to prefer games are still very 'gamey'. Low risk-familiarity, copycats and slight tweaking is the order of the day in which case using Heckers own terms most of popular gaming is a piece of sh*t.

*As a side dish, we're also bored of writers who simply equate the wii with motion controls and flailing and therefore casual shovelware gameplay. We strongly feel that with rare exception, motion controlling is an excellent addition to the way we play games and the best use of motion control is where you don't even notice you're doing it or when it is more intuitive than using an analogue stick or pressing a button (Mario Kart Wii, the light gun reload-flick, looking around in Metroid Prime and Resident Evil, everything in Zack and Wiki). It is an added dimension to how you play games but building games solely around motion control leads to the shallow kind of experience early Move and Kinect games are offering up. Stop putting things into camps and do your jobs properly games writers.

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