Part the First: The Preamble
So, this is a column idea I’ve had kicking around in my head for months. It’s based primarily on two concepts. The first is about creating a multi-faceted conversation with readers on multiple topics within a single column. The second is about completely flip-flopping the relationship between a video game journalist and the audience and a column is about the only way one can do that. After all, you read a review for a person (or website)’s specific opinion and as an editorial is simply a very long opinion on something, one reads that for the same reason. However there’s an elephant in the room that many gamers don’t think about and that most reviewers hope you don’t. It’s the fact we can’t play everything and that most reviewers/journalists/bloggers/whatever only play a small percentage of the games that have come out. Even with over 400 reviews under my belt, that’s a minute fraction of the games that come out every year, much less in the decades this industry has existed and so no one can be an expert on everything/anything.
So here’s the nutshell of this column. I may own nearly every video game system ever made, from the Odyssey to the 3DS, but I am also avidly anti-hoarding. I don’t see in the point in keeping every game I ever own or even collecting games simply for the sake of having them. I don’t see who is going to come over to my house and go, “Wow, you have X number of games for the Y system!” I think if someone did, I’d actually be a bit creeped out. Don’t get me wrong, I used to keep a ton of games. However, roughly a decade ago, I looked at my stack of nearly 200 Sega Saturn games and said, “I am never going to play all of these again. They just take up space. Why do I hold on to them?” At that point I determined that if I sold a bunch of games, not only would I have a bunch of money to do other things I enjoy (like cooking, travel, and the like), but I’d also have a hell of a lot more room. The pack rat/hoarding version of OCD is about the creepiest thing I can think of and I didn’t even remotely want to go down that road. Even better, it meant those games would go to someone that likes/appreciated collecting for collecting’s sake and so they’d be in a home that would cherish them more.
These days I limit myself to a total of twenty physical copies of games per system. Yet for the past two console generations, I’ve have a hard time finding enough games to reach my maximum of twenty per system. That’s where you, the reader come in. With each column, I’ll give you my list of games I’ve found worth keeping along with a list of games I’ve reviewed for the system. Then begins what I hope to be an in-depth dialogue with multiple readers. You can name games you think I’d like that might make my permanent collection. You might suggest losing Game A in my collection for Game B that I haven’t played as well. It gives you a chance to say what games you would keep if you had to pare down your collection. It lets you get a better look at my preferences and tastes. Most of all, lets you recommend things to me instead of the other way around. After nine years of me reviewing hundreds of games, this might be a bit of fresh air for all of us. Let’s see what happens.
Let’s start now with the Nintendo Wii. Why this system for the inaugural column? Three reasons. The first is that it’s the most successful system of this console generation. Whatever your preferences, there’s no denying that in terms of money made, volumes sold and home penetration, the Wii has dominated. That means the odds are in favour of someone owning a Wii than any other system, except maybe the PS2. The second reason is that the Wii has a reputation of being full of shovelware and a distinct lack of quality games. The truth is that EVERY system that dominates in a console generation has that problem. Look at the horrible dreck that can be found for the PSX for example. Hopefully by all of us naming what we found to be quality, we can help other readers that are laboring under the misconception that the Wii is only for casual gamers. Finally, Nintendo based reviews/articles/columns/etc tend to hit better than Sony of Microsoft ones (at least here), which ensures a larger chance of audience participation for this test than if I did say, the PSP or the 360. With all that in mind, let’s begin.
Part the Second: Games I’ve Reviewed
Since June of 2007, I have reviewed Sixty-Seven Wii games. That still boggles my mind. Here now is a list of the games. If you are curious as to why I didn’t keep some, that’s where the discussion part comes in. By all means ask why I didn’t keep a game, what a game was about if the name intrigues you, what genre a certain game was in and more. I thought about doing the list chronologically, but instead, I went alphabetically to make looking things up easier. Please note that this list does include WiiWare titles, so you’re probably not going to find a physical copy of say, “Rage of the Gladiator.”
Part the Third: What I’ve Kept
As you can see I’ve only found eighteen games to hold on to. I tried to find patterns. Notice only three games are published directly by Nintendo. That’s because I don’t like platformers, driving games, and most sports titles which kills anything with the word “Mario” in it. You’ll notice I haven’t kept any Pokémon games for the System, or any games featuring Link. In both cases it is because I knew I’d never go back to them. Six games involve heavy motion play (DDR trilogy, two workout games and Samba). There are two fighting games, three adventure games, four Konami games, three Sega games and…those are all the patterns I could find. Nine genres for eighteen games. That’s pretty spread out. Still if you can think of something I’d like based on this list, by all means, let me know.
Part the Fourth: What’s Coming Out
This part is pretty short. It’s a list of games I know I’m picking up for the Wii in this calendar year. This doesn’t mean they are keepers. They are merely games I plan to play/review.
1. Wicked Monster Blast (Rail Shooter, Interworks)
2. Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident (Adventure, Big Fish Games/Nintendo)
3. The Kore Gang (Platformer, Zoink Games/Maximum Family Games)
The first is a rail shooter and I love rail shooters, so I want to play it even if I know I won’t keep it. I second is part of a series for the PC that I enjoy playing, but I don’t know if it’ll be a keeper. The third is a platformer, which will no doubt surprise some readers. I’m getting The Kore Gang, not because I intend to keep it, but because it’s by the same development team that is making Wiiwaa, and it will be a good indication of what they can do.
In short, I may be picking up these three games, but they’ll more than likely be sold or traded in unless they surprise me somehow.
Part the Fifth: What I’m Considering
This section is simply for games that I know are out that I am tempted to buy for the system in question. In the case of the Wii, there is only one.
1. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
I’m interested in the motions controls, which Guy raved about back in 2007, it’s dirt cheap, I like the Mortal Kombat characters and it’s my girlfriend’s favorite fighting series so we can play it together instead of something like KoF or a Capcom Vs. Fighter. However, reviews are mixed (including our own), so I’m torn.
Part the Sixth: Your Turn
So this is where you come in. Recommend me some games and tell me why I should play them. Remember though, just because I haven’t reviewed it, doesn’t mean I haven’t played it. Let me know what you would pare your Wii collection down to if you could only have twenty games. Let me know what twenty Wii titles you would own if you had more disposable income. Ask away if you want to know why I got rid of a game or why I kept one. Let me know if you want to know more about one of the sixty-seven Wii titles I reviewed or want a link to the exact article about them. After all, there are hundreds, if not thousands of Wii titles out there, and if I haven’t played them – maybe you have. Let’s see what you guys have to say and maybe we can see if there are another two games out there that I find worth keeping.