It's our first look at the Wii's Nintendo Channel in 2012 (here is all the previous Now Showings). What will the hit-and-miss Nintendo channel bring this year? Our money is on- inconsistent videos, series that inexplicably end after one or two videos and in general poor use of an otherwise extremely well placed marketing tool. So what do we have?
- Bizarrely, Nintendo TV the monthly show from the Official Nintendo Magazine, has been reset back to episode one again for the new year. There's now a woman presenter rather than that Welsh chap but sadly it seems the script writer hasn't changed. Expect cringey dad-joke "humour" in spades. One improvement in this awful ONM vehicle is that the episode is now divided up into different sections. Hopefully this means we won't get quite so many Mario/Zelda retrospectives/love letters.
- There's two tutorial videos up for Boom Street, Nintendo's odd Dragon Quest/Mushroom Kingdom/Monopoly game. The trailers are very boring and the games looks hugely complicated. I don't know if these trailers will have the same effect on everyone else as it did me but actually, the slow tutorial videos have endeared the game to me a bit more. There seems to be a bit more depth here than in say Wii Party or Pac-Man Party (both fine party games in their own right).
- Once again, there's a new oddball series that has appeared on the channel. We'll see how long it lasts. There are currently nine Player Challenge videos up, videos showing high scores (quite who has decided they are high scores is a mystery. Are they the world's best bona fide Guinness World Records? ONM's best? Or the best they could do for this series?) for games ranging from Wii Play Motion, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword and Xenoblade Chronicles. Each video ends with the words "YOUR TURN" but this doesn't seem to be an official competition. There's no submission details, however, this week a second Daisy Cruiser 2 Mario Kart 7 video has popped up suggesting that it is a competition so perhaps there is somewhere that viewers can submit their times (although not everyone has access to video capture technology). Some of the videos are quite cool. In particular, the Xenoblade Chronicles videos offer challenges that are a bit different but we'd be surprised if this series of videos didn't just end in a couple of weeks like so many of the Nintendo Channel series have done in the past.
Whilst you're on the Wii there's still plenty of other regular features to check out:
- Mario Kart Wii competitions continue to keep going and there's always time trials to compete in. Once again we'd like to take this opportunity to bemoan a good idea that Nintendo have had that nobody else seems to have bothered with. Only a handful of Wii games including Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit Plus have implemented the feature of having their own special Wii channel, I don't know if this is because Ninty doesn't let other companies have their own channel or what. However, I feel compelled to take part in the competitions and time trials because little icons appear on the Mario Kart channel as little reminders/devices to guilt trip you into playing. It's a tiny thing, but without those little reminders I probably wouldn't have taken part in quite so many competitions of TTs. My current TT record is 130 wins- 28 losses and it is crazy how many new lap and race records I'm still getting after all this time.
- Everybody Votes I very much doubt if everyone does vote but the quircky polling continues with surprising surveys that I think somebody somewhere should be archiving. For example did you know that Japanese people are four times more likely to be carrying tissues with them than Americans? Or did you know that the majority of people form Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and the Shetland Isles think that the end doesn't always justify the means but in the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man Wii owners resolutely think that the ends do justify the means? You don't see this kind of ethnographic insight on the Xbox 360 now do you?
- Contests are still rolling on the Mii Contest Channel. A testament to the design of Miis that five years after launching there's still a huge community of people still tinkering with miis and creating some truly amazing designs. Without fail every time I visit the posting plaza I end up importing a couple of miis normally so I can play around to see how some of them were created. A couple of months ago some idiot from ONM was complaining about games that still let you play as miis because this feature is "old". I think the appeal of miis to the mainstream market shouldn't be underestimated.
- Wiiware demos. It isn't clear whether demos are or aren't being actively promoted on Wiiware or not and frankly the easiest way to find demos is not the most obvious. I'd like to see the figures for demo downloads because they are completely hidden on the Nintendo shop channel. Currently, the demo for FAST-Racing League is still up and there's new demos for Gnomz, MotoHeroz and Paint Splash which is probably exactly how I'm going to spend the rest of my Sunday. Peace.