Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Wii-U you later!" Or "My terrible jokes...They Live!!!"

No, this entry isn’t about the Keith David and Roddy Roddy Piper-tastic flick “They Live” or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  It’s about the big ol’ honkin’ event that transpired over the weekend. The Wii-U…..has launched! The youngest son of Nintendo hath been unleashed!

Be careful..sudden movement provokes it..Photo by

It’s weird, the last major console (another Nintendo product) came out six years a go. It feels so distant now, but also there doesn’t seem to be a massive Internet-Cracking hoopla attached to this launch as compared to the Playstation 3’s infamous $599 USD price tag.

In my close circle of pals, things have been rather quiet in regards to the Wii U release. Some people pre-ordered it, some people are taking a wait and see approach and, some are so disinterested they’ve actually forgotten it’s been released.

Now, before any labels of fanboy or hater are branded on my easily-bruised-baby-skin, I’d like to share my history with Nintendo.

Way back in the ancient year of 1994 is where my gaming history begins. A colleague of my parents had given the family an SNES. Once the set up of the system was complete, I walked over to the living room with my sister and our world changed.

Being drunk off this bit of Nintendo Joy led us to the film...we quickly sobered up

We saw a tiny man running to the right side of the screen, armed with a freshly pilfered turtle shell and a green lizard thing that hatched from an egg.  We started up and were just in awe of the first level (Yoshi’s Island 1); a catchy little tune played, gorgeous colourful sprites dazzled, crazy stage design amused us and- HOLY CRAP!!! IS THAT A GIANT BULLET?!

Gee..thanks for easing us into the madness, game.

We spent the next couple of months squealing with joy at the new worlds we would find and eventually started frequenting the local Blockbuster. Officially, if you want to get technical, my video game history started a bit before that. The family had gone over to a friend’s house and while there, I hung out with the family’s son. He briefly showed me Sonic the Hedgehog and it was really fun, but a bit of a fuzzy memory.  What makes the SNES memory so vivid is that this was in our own home and it was our own possession, and most importantly, my sister was there to see gameplay this time around....and we were traumatized by a giant bullet.

Video games were and still are fundamental in our bonding; we have spent countless hours competing to see who would first get a bonus life in the Technodrome level of TMNT IV; Turtles in Time, scratching our heads in confusion on how to play Sega CD’s Sewer Shark, desperately trying to kill Mr. X in Streets of Rage with only 1 life left, and flipping out as we encountered a crippling game freeze on the Aries boss battle of God of War 1. (I swear, that crap happened around 13 times in his second-form-near-death-sword struggle mode.)

Nintendo started us off, and then later we got a Sega Genesis (it was around Christmas, so it was the Sega CD combo-pack thing-a-thing) and then later a Dreamcast and so on.
We were around in the height of the console wars with the “Sega does what Nintendon’t” zingers were being flung around. We didn’t care; we had both systems and were more concerned with what Blockbuster had to offer.  The biggest thing that came to bitterness towards Nintendo was the Virtual Boy. While my sister was off checking out the new releases, I just had to try out the new crazy system on display….it did not end well. I swear, I blame that thing for my imperfect vision and extra dimensional senses. (Good lord…time is…itchy!)

"I was born in the crucible of fear!" - Photo by Rain Rabbit

We’ve gone through a lot of consoles and kept a pretty open mind towards new releases. The thing is, even though we didn’t get an N64 or a Gamecube, we still had no hard feelings against Nintendo. Most of the time, what prevented us from getting the system was timing on releases and console exclusive sequels to games we already loved. The two of us were actually curious about the Wii in the beginning, but ultimately couldn’t afford a new system during its good days.  There were a small handful of games that seemed like they would be interesting to us, thus we chose to sit that one out. Also, there was a significant frustration about the lack of classic properties being showcased. Yes, we expected a Zelda or a Mario, or a Metroid, but gah! Nintendo has such a rich library of characters at its disposal. They needed to get out of lather-rinse-repeat mode. What’s worse is that with Smash Brothers, it brought back attention to many MIA favourites, but afterwards, zip! Back in the crate Diddy. Thankfully towards the end of its life cycle, we at least saw a new Donkey Kong….and they tried to bring back Kid Icarus with mixed results…

We saw a lot of different arguments on why the system was or wasn’t great. I think between a lack of third party support, some odd E3 moments, and a staggering array of shovelware, Nintendo had made some bad decisions.

Thankfully it seems that the Wii-U is trying to resolve some of those past mistakes and generally has some interesting things coming. I’ll be sitting this one out as well, but mainly due to the fact that I own a PS3 and it’s not time for me to get a new console.

I think it’s too early to tell how things are going for Nintendo, but I do ultimately hope that the Wii-U has a successful venture.  Competition is a great driving force and prevents the big three companies from getting lazy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go have a street fight with a sunglasses wearing drifter in an alleyway who may or may not be associated with the WWE. Until next time readers!

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