On November 19, 2006, Nintendo released the Wii, the GameCube successor. It would end up becoming one of the best-selling video game consoles of all time and would push the other console makers to add motion controls to their current machines too. And while the whole motion control thing didn’t pan out, the Nintendo Wii built up a solid library of games and odds are good your grandparents have one still stashed in their giant entertainment center.
My personal history with the Wii is one of excitement and then disappointment. I bought a Wii, after searching for one shortly after launch. I bought it because my grandparents had got one and when I went over there and played Wii Sports I was sold. I wanted this. I asked my parents and they agreed to get my brother and me a Wii, probably thanks to the $250 price point. And because they had fun playing Wii Sports too.
After getting it, I played a lot of Wii Sports with my parents and brother, and some friends. Then I played some Mario Galaxy and Boom Blox and then I sort of just got frustrated. My other consoles looked great on my HDTV, the Wii didn’t. My other consoles were getting lots of big third-party games, the Wii wasn’t. And finally, I just got tired of motion controls. Eventually, about two years after getting the Wii, it mostly sat behind my TV, plugged in but never played. A sad end for a console that once brought me and so many others joy.
However, while my own personal experience with the Wii isn’t great, the console itself has a huge fanbase and a large library of games. Sure, a lot of Wii games were crap, just pieces of shovelware published on the Wii to cash in on families looking for the next Wii Sports-like experience. But it also had stuff like Skyward Sword, Metroid Prime 3, Super Mario Galaxy 1+2, and more.
For those curious, here’s what Kotaku listed as its 12 best Wii games circa 2012:
- House of the Dead: Overkill
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
- Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Super Smash Bros Brawl
- Trauma Team
- Wii Sports Resort
- World of Goo
- Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure
Not a bad list, and I bet you can come up with at least a few games we missed.
15 years later, looking back at the Wii it’s clear that while it was a huge success for Nintendo and helped fill the company’s bank account, it was never as cute and beloved as the GameCube or as important as the N64. But it also wasn’t the Wii U and that’s certainly something.