Virtual Insanities: Survival Guide to the Summer’s “Wii Drought”

Apparently, there’s a terrible drought of games coming, and the Wii is going to be hit pretty hard. If you believe this story, the drought could even spread to the Nintendo DS! All of a sudden, it’s panic time for message board posters all over the web. By listening to them, one would think that Nintendo is DOOMED once again. How could they let down gamers like that?

Trying to be courageous in such a time of despair, I decided to check out the real release schedules of different publishers using different websites and Nintendo’s official magazine, Nintendo Power. While the list shown on the linked article shows sixteen games coming until the end of summer, the lists I have found have much more games than that.

From the lists I have found, here are a couple of titles that are supposed to come out before the end of summer and are not listed in the link at the start of this article.

– The Legend of the Dragon (Fantasy game by The Game Factory)
– Alien Syndrome (Kick ass feature about it in Nintendo Power)
– Surf’s Up (More from Ubi Soft. They sure love the Wii)
– Blitz The League (I hate football, but love Blitz games)
– SD Gundam: Scad Hammers (I know the series has its fans. Big robots rule)
– Spelling Spree & Wordplay (Ubi Soft again, this time in two puzzle games)
– Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Okay, their last game sucked, but give them a chance)
– Guilty Gear XX Accent Core (Never played GG, heard good thing about it)
– High School Musical: The Game (With a MICROPHONE!)
– Dance Dance Revolution (Exclusive Wii version with funky arm movements)

All right, so except for Alien Syndrome which looks genuinely fun, the rest of the games range from “yeah, I could see myself playing that” to “not unless someone kidnaps my family and this is the only way to get them back”. Sure, you don’t build a system with that type of game, but it shows that developers have a real interest in the console. Furthermore, you know that some of these games are going to sell anyway. I’ve been following sales charts for a couple of years, and from what I have seen, games based on Finding Nemo and The Rugrats managed to sell over a million copies, while Frogger for the original Playstation sold 3,374,500 copies to be exact.

The point I’m trying to make with this is that while people all over the Internet are complaining that the Wii will be without a quality games for a while, the reason for that might not be what they think it is. You think that developers are not supporting the Wii? That’s false. For a console so young, that’s a healthy dose of new games coming out in three short months. No, I think that the reason is that even though a lot of games that come out are crappy, people still buy them. If a game based on cartoons and movies sell twice as more than games that are actually fun to play, then why should they bother coming up with new intellectual properties? That might be the reason why the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game is coming out on nearly every console that has been made in the last ten years. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if it made its way to the N-Gage.

All right, so this column looks like it’s going to be some big rant about why we’re getting more crappy games than there are gamers on the planet, but it isn’t. I know I got a bit sidetracked, but this article is about the supposed “Wii drought”. Just read the sub-title in bold right under this line of text.

The Survival Guide to the Summer’s “Wii Drought”

Ok, so you heard about the rumoured lack of games. You think that this is being overblown, but you’re the prudent, safe type and you don’t want to be caught without a video game to play between April and August. What can you do? At first, it is imperative that you keep your cool, because panicking would not only serve no purpose, it would also be pretty stupid. I mean come on, who panics for video games? We all love them and their shiny disks, but if you have no games to play, I heard that real life also has its faire share of interesting activities.

If you absolutely despise the outside world and still want to play video games, then just use one or all of the following tips.

Tip #1: Play the Games You Already Own

The Wii came out on November 19th. As I am typing this, we are on March 19th. If I am counting correctly, that is four whole months. I know that gamers are often portrayed in a negative way by the medias and people in general, and often shown as people having no life. Still, I’m having troubles believing that within four short months, someone has managed to play and go through every quality games that have been out since the system’s launch. Let’s take a look at it:

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, Excite Truck, WarioWare Smooth Moves, Wii Sports, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Super Swing Golf, Elebits, Metal Slug Anthology.

I don’t know if I’m forgetting any, but if you count the titles I just listed, that makes ten games that in my opinion are worth buying. Even if you don’t plan on buying all of them, you’d have to play awfully fast to finish those you chose, unless that’s your only hobby. Since the Wii has been out, I have completed Twilight Princess, went pro at Wii Sports bowling, barely started Super Excite Mode in Excite Truck and went through about half of Red Steel. I know that some people may have done more than that, but to the point of playing through ten games in four months? I doubt it.

Basically, I think it would be a good idea to make sure you’ve checked out the good games before complaining that you won’t have anything to play during the summer. I can barely keep up with the new releases. I have a stack of games going back to the Gamecube which are still waiting for me to play them. Even though the games coming out in the next three months are average, I’m sure you’ll find something else to play in the meantime. I know we live in the time of fast food and crash TV, but give me a break. Now look at what you made me do. I started rambling about that “silly era we live in” like my grandfather. Let’s move on to my next point.

Tip #2: Discover Forgotten Classics

Did you know that the Wii isn’t all about waving your arms around and breaking TVs with flying objects? It’s actually backward compatible, and not just when you make firmware or software updates. It’s fully compatible, right from the start.

We all know for a fact that Nintendo placed last during the last generation’s console war. The Gamecube, despite being home to dozens and dozens of fantastic games, just didn’t appeal to enough people. This means that a lot of people reading this will probably never have enjoyed Super Mario Sunshine, The Wind Waker, Paper Mario, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime series, as well as countless other classics.

Just playing these games should keep you occupied for a while. The good news in all of that is that most Gamecube games can be bought for under 20$ nowadays. Here’s my advice: Dig through Inside Pulse’s reviews archives, find all those good games that the reviewers have been praising – like Ikaruga – and then hunt them down, play them and enjoy them. You’ll probably notice that even though the PS2 had good games by the truckloads, Nintendo was still host to a lot of stuff that is entirely worth your time.

Tip #3: Go Retro

When the Wii – known as the Revolution back then – was announced, one of the key features was the Virtual Console. It represented the ability to play games from all eras on a single gaming system instead of keeping everything up to your Colecovision plugged on different televisions around the house. Sure, it started slow, but now that good games are out, nobody mentions it anymore. Instead, we hear people whine over and over that there aren’t enough games being released. Stop complaining and start playing some of those classic games you’ve been clamouring for. I’m caught up in Donkey Kong Country as well as SimCity, at the moment. I didn’t remember having so much trouble keeping a city afloat, but then again, I probably used the unlimited money cheat quite a lot back in the days. This makes me remember fondly the good old days of Nintendo Power’s “Classified Information”, when the Internet wasn’t really around yet. That brown folder background was one of the greatest things in the magazine.

Tip #4: Play Something Else

Not satisfied with what you’re seeing on the Wii? Just don’t play it. Chances are you already have a second console lying around somewhere: An Xbox 360, a PS2, a DS, or if you’re rich, a PS3. If you don’t have enough money to get a second console, you probably still have some older system hooked-up, like the SNES in my brother’s bedroom which we play on a 13-inches television, which dates from the days where you still had to change channels with a knob.

Finally, if you don’t have a second console, and you don’t have a retro system, you’re still reading my column, which means you have a computer. That gives you a library of games from the last 20 years. Even if your computer is slow as molasses, you’ll find something that suits both your taste and your machine. May I suggest any game in the “Worms” series, which is a blast to play with friends. If you’re all by yourself, there’s always “Deus Ex”, which my brother seems to be enjoying like a 3-years old enjoys the Teletubbies.

The world is a beautiful place, and it’s so full of games. Sweet, loveable games. If you search hard enough, there’s always something to play.

Tip #5: Do Something Else

So, you’ve played through every quality games, you’ve seen everything the past generation had to offer, and you’ve been gaming since 1978, meaning that you have played them all, from Pitfall to God of War II. What’s left to do while waiting for the next hit to come out? You can be even nerdier and play tabletop RPGs or some trading card games. You can watch TV or DVDs. You can even go outside and emulate all those things you’ve been doing on your Xbox with your current copy of Madden. I don’t think that a drought of games, which is already overblown, should be the end of your world. If it is, you might have a bigger problem than not having anything to play.

In Closing

In the end, nobody’s forcing you to buy anything. If you think the current crop of games suck, then keep your money and put it somewhere else. Just complaining on a message board and writing “They’re letting us down!” in the comments section of a blog isn’t going to change a thing. We all love video games, and yes, it’s a shame that a lot of the games coming out aren’t even average, but there’s one good way to tell it to the developers. Buy the good games, and pass on those you don’t like. If you still want to complain anyway, at least, send an e-mail to the developers. The message is more direct that way.