Nintendo Ex-Pat

I’ve said before that I have not been a console gamer forever. I didn’t play video games at all until I was 11 years old, and even then I preferred PC games to console games. When I did play console games, however, I started with the Nintendo 64.

My reasoning? The analog stick. I was mystified by the directional-pad, as someone who could barely hold a pen, it seemed clunky and unintuitive. The Joystick I used with my PC for flight simulators and space-combat games, however, was perfectly natural.

I played Final Fantasy VII on the PC, along with Final Fantasy VIII. I didn’t own a PlayStation. I became indoctrinated into the Cult of Nintendo during the early days of the internet, when virulent fanboyism was first starting up.

For a long time, I couldn’t see how any console-manufacturer could match Nintendo for quality. These days, however, I feel like a Nintendo expatriate.The direction Nintendo has taken with the Wii is increasingly alienating to me. I camped out to purchase mine in the dead of the January winter. My cohort and I spent a sleepless night in a Toyota Prius (that electric motor starts to come in handy when you have to use the damn thing as a house in below-freezing temperatures) waiting for a local Best Buy to open up and release its bounty. I had purchased Twilight Princess already, and was simply waiting to get my hands on the player itself.

Three days later I had finished Twilight Princess, an amazing game in most every respect. The price of admission was more than justified, already. Then months passed. Dust covered the system, diluting its iPod white to a scummy gray. I took the batteries out of my Wii-mote to power my Xbox 360 controller, which had died. I played Wii-Sports once, and never again.

I was frustrated with the controls. Twilight Princess made “good-enough” use of them. They were just functional enough that I didn’t have problems. When I tried to do more intricate maneuvers, the shield-bash comes to mind, the controls devolved into frustrating nonsense. Metroid came, and though I enjoyed it, it was bittersweet.

The horrifying announcement of Wii Fit, the Wii Zapper, and the Wii Wheel came out that E3. Bullshit, all around. Non-games and worthless peripherals for a system built on too-much hype and too-little quality. I wasn’t the audience anymore. Somewhere along the line, Nintendo realized that they could print money by pandering to the mainstream media, and manipulating supply.

The supply. There’s another thing. If Nintendo is still incapable of producing enough Wii systems to meet demand, which I highly doubt, it signifies the single greatest and most intense fuck-up of any electronics corporation, ever.

The manufacture of the system is cheap, below the MSRP, in fact. Nintendo has executed product launches in the past with no such manufacturing shortfalls. The demand for the Wii is high, yes, but not so high as to cripple a multi-national corporation’s logistics capabilities, let alone a those of a corporation that has been doing this for decades.

I’m not saying that there are millions of Wii units in some nefarious bunker, either. I don’t think that is the case. Nintendo has managed to fabricate numerous “issues” that would justify a continued shortage. The remote condom’s inclusion, strap replacements, a nonsensical change to the pack-in game. The suggestion that any of these changes were necessary is even more ridiculous than the continued shortage. If you can’t grasp that a plastic wand is a physical object that obeys simple laws of physics, and not a magical conjuration that couldn’t possibly do harm to anyone or anything while flailing wildly about, you are magnificently retarded and the government needs to contain you lest you harm others.

Nintendo’s left me behind. I’ve gone on to whiter shores and greener grass. I’m not sure how many “games” they have left in them, honestly. Their focus has changed so dramatically, and so completely, that I can’t in good conscience endorse their product anymore. A “game” that tells me I’m overweight? Well it may be true, but I play games to escape such horseshit, not wallow in it. I’d rather my exercise bike tell me how to lose the pounds, not Shigeru Miyamoto, who was so much more endearing when his games were based on gardening and not jazzercise.

So now that I’m over the Wii, where does that leave me?

Still waiting for the revolution, I suppose.


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