The topic of this article has plagued my mind for some time, it has been something I have wanted to discuss for a while now, but before I proceed, I would like to make a few things clear. I have been a gamer for a little over thirteen years now, and of those thirteen years, I have been a great fan of Nintendo and its gaming consoles and titles. Now, while I might have played games originally for the pure fun of it, I would consider myself a serious gamer today, not the best out there, but I do take gaming seriously and I can tell the difference between a strong and a weak game. So, with that understood, let’s begin.
History of Nintendo
The gaming juggernaut that is Nintendo has been around for quite a while. With numerous handheld and home consoles developed and sold worldwide for over three decades, this company has done it all. Ask anyone who has a slight interest in gaming about which consoles stand as the best of all time, and without a doubt, either the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or the Nintendo 64 make the top of the list, there is no denying how ridiculously well-built and enjoyable these consoles and their respective games were for their time.
While no console might have been directed towards the ‘hardcore’ gaming market, there was much fun to be had. Titles like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Country, Pokémon and Metriod had numerous sequels, each of which offered gameplay which was almost unparalleled by competitor products, and I guess that is what brings me to despair for what I am about to say. The thing is, I just don’t think that the current generation console, the Nintendo Wii, is up to a standard that its predecessors established. The ultimate killer about this situation though is that this problem is not just specific to the console itself, but also to its mediocre game library. Let me explain the reasoning for this belief.
In the past few years, we have seen Nintendo strive for excellence and uniqueness in the technology that their products boast. The recent phenomenon, the Nintendo DS was the first handheld to combine both dual-screens and touch-screen interactivity. With great graphics too, there is no surprise that this remains as one of the top-sold consoles of all time, and the Nintendo Wii does not fall short either in this department. With features such as full backwards compatibility of Nintendo GameCube games, an in-built wireless internet adapter, and an SD card reader, this console has features which the Xbox 360 does not even have, and probably the most revolutionary of them all, the inclusion of motion sensors for the controllers, and herein lies one of the greatest problems.
You cannot think otherwise, this is by far the most attractive feature of this console, and because of it, gamers of all ages have been pulled towards it. The problem is though, I find this all to be a whole lot more restrictive than it is said to be free.
The first gripe I have with the motion sensor functionality is that it isn’t precise, even Wii Sports is quite inaccurate. Sure, a swipe forward will show up in a game, but it never replicates itself like it should, and that is disappointing when something which could have been quite enjoyable is only used to half its potential.
The second issue I have with this is that you require a large enough amount of room to be able to play many games properly. Let’s look at Wii Sports yet again as an example. With two players, there needs to be a fairly large room with ample space to play competitively, and even if it is just casually, space is required and for many, this isn’t always possible. With furniture, lighting etc., how many people are able to play Wii properly without always thinking about whether they will break something nearby, or cause some injury to themselves or someone around them? This all links back to the sensitivity issue, even if you used smaller movements to avoid flailing around everywhere, most likely your movements will not be as strong – (think Baseball).
Ever since the introduction of the PlayStation, it was highly noticeable how graphics between Nintendo and its competitor consoles differed greatly. As timed passed and Microsoft entered the fray with Xbox, it was evident that Nintendo was never going to be a market leader with graphics, but the weird thing is, it never made much a difference. For its time, all the past consoles, even with the graphics they boasted, each game was playable and gameplay was never affected as a result. I found however, with the Wii, things changed.
If you were to compare the game library of the three current generation consoles, you will notice that there are significantly less games being ported for the Nintendo than before. What that means for those who don’t know, is that games which are made for all consoles (non-exclusives), only few actually make their way to the Nintendo, and for those that do, it almost seems like a complete waste for this said reason.
The reality is, Nintendo gamers are simply missing out this time around. I noticed this specifically when playing Need For Speed ProStreet early last year on this console. Compared to what the graphics were for the Xbox 360 version, it was like playing Call of Duty 4 and then playing Pong, and as exaggerated as they might seem, it was exactly how I felt, the graphics were utterly pathetic. To be quite honest, the only time when graphics are of a tolerable standard, is when the game is made specifically for the console, such as Super Mario Galaxy and even then, so much more could be done. There just isn’t enough emphasis on the graphics-department and that is a shame when game detail is so simplistic.
Even the menu of this console suffers as a result. In each screen apart from in-game, there are dead pixels across the screen where there should otherwise be white or color – and that isn’t because of the television either. Having also the most basic high-definition capabilities, the potential of this console is never going to be met. Nintendo and its engineers have to step up their game, they can’t continue providing semi-passable graphics for half their games and then pathetic ones for the rest, whether it be the menus or the games, as technology advances, so should the console.
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