Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How To Capitalize on Wii's Success

I recently became a prodigal son of the Big N - I took a several year hiatus due to the fact that Nintendo just wasn't cutting it for me. This came after buying a Nintendo DS, only to trade that, along with every bit of my Nintendo belongings in for a PSP. So with that, and an Xbox, I was happy. For years, I was enthralled with my Halo 2, Doom 3, Unreal Tournament, etc. Long story short, when the Wii came around, I found the Big N again. I have owned it almost a year now, and I am completely satisfied. However, as with all good things, they come to end. As Bob Dylan once sang, "the times, they are a-changin," (Ron Burgandy never heard that song :-) ), and the Wii could use some minor updates that can keep the train rolling. After exhaustive posts on the WiiChat forums, I have found some of the top complaints to be the same - storage.

If I were chairman of the development of the Wii, I would pose these options to my development team as challenges to overcome before the holiday season:

a. Allow the Wii's internal storage to be expanded to the SD storage. By simply adding a cheap 512 SD card (under $10), the storage is doubled. As a programmer, not a hardware designer, I understand there could be some difficulties, but the software development of Nintendo can surely make this a reality.
b. This would in turn allow the Wii to load and save data directly to the expanded storage. I would love the option of being able to take game saves from one Wii to another, which is an option that has been a part of video gaming since the PlayStation in 1996 - why is this not an option now?

a. Sell VC games preloaded on SD cards that can be sold in stores or bundled with Wii games. If loading a game save directly from the SD, loading a VC game should be as well.
b. Develop an adapter that will allow SD cards to work as GameCube memory cards. Since Nintendo does not offer first party cards, they should at least have a way to give customers a premium product that can be easily manufactured and sold.
c. Find a manufacturer to handle the GameCube controller manufacturing - again, since Nintendo doesn't have their first party controllers, and the few controllers left over are surplus and not manufactured in the past year or more. Get behind a wireless development of controller that will work seamlessly with the GameCube library. Many would want to use the classic controller with the GC games, which means the GC would have to get input from a Bluetooth signal, which would require the Wii to emulate the controls from the classic to the game, and would require more hardware. If Nintendo cannot offer a quality controller for the GC or support with the current controls, then I would be hard pressed to see why allowing GC playback would be necessary.

My main concern will continue to be the storage. Every week, I get an email stating the VC releases. If there will be more VC games added in the future, as well as additional Wii Ware applications, it would be a priority for my development team to find an answer for more storage.

Here is a current list of games I either own, rented, or played, along with a brief review:

Wii Play - *** out of 5
Only about four of the games are any fun to play, and two of those could be played on a regular basis. Good deal for the Wiimote!

Zelda: TP - ***** out of 5
One of the best games I have played in recent memory. I love the surplus of rupees! Just so hard to get a big enough wallet.

Madden 08 - ***1/2 out of 5
A good attempt using the motion controls, but definitely needs work with the online mode.

Mario Strikers Charged - **** out of 5
Only played the original once, but I love the idea. The level of difficulty is immense in the single player cup mode - online even more brutal. Nintendo does decent job with WFC online mode.

Super Mario Galaxy - ****1/2 out of 5
A beautiful Mario game! Graphics are amazing, "worlds" are neatly designed and crafted. It gets very repetitive after you actually defeat Bowser the final time, in search of all the stars.

Super Smash Brothers: Brawl - ***** out of 5
The best of the series by a mile. Characters are vast and well detailed, overall graphics not totally great, but good enough for sure. Stages are decent, love the option for Melee stages and build-a-stage.

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles - *** out of 5
Not exactly what I expected from RE, although this was more of a shooting gallery game which had worlds from past RE games. Gorgeous graphics, but just a point-and-shooter.

The Bigs - ***1/2 out of 5
I love baseball games, and although this one is watered down, it has enough big catches, hits, collisions, and strike outs to last me for a while. Still can't run over the catcher though.

Mario Party 8 - **** out of 5
Not the best MP game of the series, but this is definitely fun. More board interactions, very intriguing game play aside from the mini-games give it more depth, but still has the pick-up and play attributes.

My Wish List:
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Mario Kart Wii
Alone in the Dark
Fire Emblem

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