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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 18: Wii Hate Nintendo

Tim Spaeth's picture

Have we been too hard on Nintendo? According to your feedback, we have. We take a thoughtful look at the company, it's past, present, and future and offer our definitive stance on The House of Mario. Don't worry, it's not 60 straight minutes of unbridled hate. 56 minutes, maybe. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.

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Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   Wii   PS3   Nintendo DS   PC  
Developer(s): Nintendo Intelligent Systems  
Key Creator(s): Shigeru Miyamoto  
Articles: Podcasts  
Topic(s): Business  

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I was going to ask you guys

I was going to ask you guys if it would be possible to make a transcript of the podcast for us hearing impaired people, since you do mention that part in game reviews. But I think that would be too time-consuming since I noticed your show is over 2 hours long :D

Deaf RaGe wrote: I was

Deaf RaGe wrote:

I was going to ask you guys if it would be possible to make a transcript of the podcast for us hearing impaired people, since you do mention that part in game reviews. But I think that would be too time-consuming since I noticed your show is over 2 hours long :D

The show is actually under 60 min. I'm not sure why the audio player is registering it as longer. Tim, any thoughts?

As for a transcript, we pour all our energy into producing the show and I don't think we'd have any time to transcribe the show. However, we are a volunteer-based site and if there's anyone who would like to step up and transcribe the shows for our Deaf and Hard of Hearing listeners, I'm sure we could post it here.

Interesting podcast

Well, cool that you have dedicated a show to the Wii. I think its telling that you all are willing to spend your time and energy exploring your feelings towards gaming on the Wii.

Here's what I come away with after listening to the show on a single pass (I'm listening a second time while I write this).

First of all, why do we, as a society, need or look to critics of any nature? Book critics, music critics, movie critics, art critics, etc... See, I think critics of these mediums can be called experts in the field they criticize while lacking a particular ability to contribute to that medium in any way other than to make comments that a creator can take for improvements and a consumer can judge if a purchase is warranted. Critics should be able to judge on a technical level as well as on an emotional level. I think as a critic, you need to be able to judge a game on the technical merits as well as the artistic merits, to recognize the seperation of the two, and also bring the elements together. So, Mike wants to just put his opinion out there, fine. Maybe its my mistake to categorize the staff (even though you aren't paid) as critics rather than bloggers. You don't have to say 'I'm not a fan but you might be'. You can say 'There were few frame drops, but the character frequently fell through the floor. On top of that, the art design is uninspired and gameplay is very linear.' OR 'The framerate stutters constantly, but the witty dialogue and unique usage of button presses kept my attention through the game.' So, with Wii games, you can say the textures are muddy, cause some games on the Wii have muddy textures (World At War), while others are nice and clean (Metroid). Say if there are technical issues, but if you can't grasp a game because you don't have the practice with the Wii-mote, then I would rather you not review the game at all.

Second, lets take another look at whether a 'perfect' game needs a sequel compared to a game with potential. Grand Theft Auto 3 - generally seen as an awesome 'perfect' game, looking at the scores. Was GTA4 needed? Well, I bet you were looking forward to it. How about any future Halo game? Gears of War?

Its like you have two students. One has potential, but he goofs off at school and doesn't study, generally failing at most classes, though excelling at one or two. The other student generally always does well. Maybe faultering here or there, but is consistent. If you were looking to hire these students for a job, which would you rather have?

Its like saying the PS3 is awesome because of the potential it has. Do I buy anything else because of the 'potential' of that product, or do I buy what does what I am looking for it to do?

Third, I find it interesting that you tend to group all titles on the Wii as 'Nintendo', while on the other systems the games are their own entities to an extent. Why not say 'Hey Activision - your Wii games suck. Get on the ball.' or 'Hey Ubisoft - quit fucking around with the shovelware on the Wii and get serious (but thanks for Redsteel 2).' I know you say that Nintendo has the power to deny various games to be published, but I would say it has to be a difficult position to be in. The last generation Nintendo had a paltry amount of third party titles. Maybe most third party publishers shunned the Gamecube, but we'll never know how many titles Nintendo denied publication to protect the library. And now they are just letting the market dictate the games. Unfortunately the publishers are looking at the wrong details of the sales data.

I think you just need to let go of the fact of what most games are on the Wii and focus on what is being done right. Otherwise the PS3 needs to be eternally damned for Gundam Crossfire.

You wondered if you should bring in another 'critic' who is Nintendo centric and unable to make their way around the 360 or PS3. I don't think you can find someone who fits that bill. I love my 360, I 'generally' love my PS3. Though I fucking love my N64... I do think that if you are going to review Wii games, don't be the guy who hates turning on the Wii to review a game that is taking you away from Prototype.

First let me just say that

First let me just say that i, like you, find that the Wii has slowly but surely become irrelevant to my gaming. Bar a few exceptions i can't find games that appeal to me but on a gameplay level and not because they are not HD. My HD appetite is satisfied on the other consoles.

The other thing is that i believe that the majority of current reviewers (in general and not just gamecritics) are not suitable to review most Wii games. These games are targeted to a different breed of gamers (let's say casual) and should be reviewed by such people. There is a failure to appreciate what people would like to play. Most of my friends who play Wii Sports or Mario & Sonic are not people who would have anything in common (in gaming) with reviewers over at Gamespot or Eurogamer.

I hope i am making sense....

clarification

I feel that I should issue a bit of clarification. I didn't mean to imply that reviewers here or elsewhere do not take th etechnical merits of a game into consideration when making a determination on a game. I'm not sure now what I was getting at before... but I guess I was just under an impression that technical merits can be brushed aside if personal taste dictates. And that really doesn't do justice for anyone.

And a response to Zolo - who are you to say what games people should or should not like? Maybe there are people who can enjoy a few rounds of Gears of War then pop in Mario vs Sonic. This world is made up of a wide variety of preferences and to pigeon hole a group of players or even a gaming system is rather narrow-minded.

If as a gamer you do not like any game on the Wii, then I think you have too much time on your hands to have played so many games. I don't like the crap on Wii just like I don't like the crap on the other systems. But games are games are games no matter the system. And if the Wii doesn't have enough games, well, I will continue to place blame at the third party's doorstep.

Game Input

You said during the podcast that Nintendo had revolutionized gaming. I have to repectfully disagree. Thy have only revolutionalized it superficially. What they have done replaced button presses with Wii-mote waggles. The idea is to simplify gaming with simple controls that can make sense. And for wii Bowling or Wii Tennis its perfect. But as soon as you take the control outside of that simple one type movement control you up the complexity of the game. There may only be one button, but if you translated each movement to a button press or analog stick movement you'd realize how equal the complexitiy is for anything other than the mini-game compliations. Given the nature of motion control at present and its imprecieceness it makes the controller even more complexd and frustrating.

It has been proven with testing that for an abstract action a button press that stays consistant within the game, i.e the same button for the same action, makes more sense than trying to emulate the action, mainly because it is easier to replicate input with a thumb press than it is to move the entire arm in the exact same manner.

I have no doubt that motion control can offer a different expirience, but developers are still treating it as a standard controller and are having to make up for the loss of button with waggle. Then there are the games that do not need it, but add it in out of some neccesity of being on the Wii. Twilight Princess comes to mind where you had to act out many of the actions, where the gamecube controller used a few simple button presses to perform the same actions.

Yes the current gen controller are prohibative, as were last gen. In fact there is a high learning curver for new gamers, but kids some how manage it. That's another issue of cognitive age response and learning, but the NES has a D-pad and 2 buttons. Some games now can work with that. The idea is not to simplify the machine, but the in-game system. If you gave a new commer a game on the 360 or PS3 that only utalized the d-pad and two buttons there would be no problem in getting into it.

Misunderstood apparently

Vince wrote:

And a response to Zolo - who are you to say what games people should or should not like? Maybe there are people who can enjoy a few rounds of Gears of War then pop in Mario vs Sonic. This world is made up of a wide variety of preferences and to pigeon hole a group of players or even a gaming system is rather narrow-minded.

If as a gamer you do not like any game on the Wii, then I think you have too much time on your hands to have played so many games. I don't like the crap on Wii just like I don't like the crap on the other systems. But games are games are games no matter the system. And if the Wii doesn't have enough games, well, I will continue to place blame at the third party's doorstep.

1. I never said what people should or should not play. I only said that there is a disparity between playing party games at one's leisure time and playing party games for review purposes. Especially between "hardcore gamers" (which i assume most reviewers are) and family like gatherings.

2. The Wii's installed base is so huge because of people who ONLY play games like Mario & Sonic.

3. People have preferences and can be grouped together to an extent e.g. MMO players only, FPS players only, FIFA players, and Wii or Iphone gamers only. Does not mean narrow mindedness.

4. I don't have too much time on my hands and therefore i have not played all Wii games. Like i said i do like some games on the Wii.

I enjoyed the podcast. Don't

I enjoyed the podcast. Don't have much to say, as I think the "Wii Hate Nintendo" debate is trivial from both sides. The haters don't want to think Nintendo has anything good going for them and the lovers don't want to admit that Nintendo could make some better decisions.

However, I did want to comment on the shovel-ware discussion that was made during the podcast. I think it is a little odd to discuss such a phenomenon as being a system's fault (even when they still put their seal of quality on the game). Craptacular shovel-ware has been happening since the beginning of videogames. If a system is popular, some developers/publishers think that shit-on-a-stick can sell, and sometimes they are right. To some extent this happened on the Atari, NES, Genesis, and really kicked into gear during the original PlayStation. It continues to this day and always will. Systems that are selling better just see this trend more than the others. So as you said towards the end, spread the hate around and harp on the dung heap of games shoveled onto the other systems as well the Wii.

I look forward to next week's podcast. Happy early birthday GameCritics.com!

Shovelware

I agree with frogofdeath in that shovelware is not exclusive to Nintendo or Nintendo's IP. The Mega Man games have been following that pattern since the NES days, and while it has resulted in some my favorite games, it also churned out Mega Man X7, quite possibly the worst game I've ever played.

I think the point (at least

I think the point (at least mine) on the shovelware topic is not that Nintendo has more of it than any other console, but that the ratio of good games to shovelware on the Wii is incredibly out of whack.

I mean, really, without getting scientific--what's the ratio? Ten shovelware games for every one good one? That's probably a conservative estimate judging by my recent trip to Gamestop. I can't recall another system that had so few "good" games and so much crap.

True, and it's also gotta be

True, and it's also gotta be said that console companies (Sony/MS/N) all have say over what games go on their boxes.

it's not like third parties can make a bunch of crap and get it on shelves without Nintendo's approval. every single shovelware title at some point went to Nintendo and got an "OK" from someone who had the power to deny it.

we used to hear all the time about Game X, Y or Z that was denied because the console owner thought it didn't fit the profile of the console. with that in mind, look at what Nintendo's letting through! it's totaly granted that both the PS3 and 360 have some ratty games, but the hit/miss ratio is absolutely ludicrous on the Wii.. i think Mike was being very conservative. IMO,i'd say it's *at least* 20-30 piss-poor pieces of crapware to every decent (or better) title.

the fact right now is that Nintendo's making a mint from licensing and not managing their brand profile at all.

Huh...

My general problem with Nintendo this generation isn't that they are abandoning the so called "Hardcore" (I don't consider this notion true at all), but that they have become complacent in their leading position. Doing just enough to keep ahead and staying away from taking risks. I know they've always been a conservative company, but recent things like Wii Music or Animal Crossing haven't gone far enough at all.

Otherwise, I like fun games, and the Wii has fun games for me to play (I own 13, with more comin down the pipeline). Same thing applies to the DS (20+ owned) and the PS3 (13 titles), as well as past generations. I kinda don't see the problem here...

Shovelware

I'm not denying that the Wii has some pretty cruddy games that never should have been made. And yes, Nintendo does have to approve of the "quality" of these games, just as Microsoft and Sony. But, I think it still comes down the Wii sales more than anything.

There were thousands of original PlayStation games. How many do you really remember as being truly great? Or just plain good for that matter? The fact is most games were pushed through, and approved, to make a buck. The reason you had such a high number of games that most people don't remember is because the PlayStation was selling so well. Same thing with the Wii.

This isn't new to Nintendo with the Wii either. The same issue took place during the NES days. Even though Nintendo had their seal of quality there were still plenty of games stamped the icon that were horrendous, even for that time period. They are trying to make a buck (and doing it quite well) and if that means shovel-ware games, they aren't that concerned.

I wish there were more "great" games on the Wii, but of the dozen or so I have played in depth, most I would consider at least "good". I've even played two or three Wii exclusives that I might consider to be some of the best games ever made (and Mario Galaxy didn't make that cut).

Let's be honest about Nintendo

Hargrada wrote:

My general problem with Nintendo this generation isn't that they are abandoning the so called "Hardcore" (I don't consider this notion true at all), but that they have become complacent in their leading position. Doing just enough to keep ahead and staying away from taking risks. I know they've always been a conservative company, but recent things like Wii Music or Animal Crossing haven't gone far enough at all.

Otherwise, I like fun games, and the Wii has fun games for me to play (I own 13, with more comin down the pipeline). Same thing applies to the DS (20+ owned) and the PS3 (13 titles), as well as past generations. I kinda don't see the problem here...

Let's be honest about Nintendo. If anyone recalls, I was a pretty big Wii apologist back in the past and often cited Wii bowling as proof that the Wii-mote being able to create deeper gameplay based on velocity and depth of movement. Flash forward to today and we see that the Wii-motion plus is basically an admission that the original Wii-mote was incapable of delivering the innovative experience that was originally promised. This is why so many popular hardcore games end up being lightgun games because that's the one genre the Wii controls are best suited for. It wasn't just the underpowered graphics, but also the controls that hamstrung developers. So not only did the Wii not advance gameplay. It was several steps back which is why we see so many crappy games.

The saddest thing for me is that Nintendo is so knowledgeable and great at making games. They helped define several generations of games that made us want to be called "gamers." But now as you said, they've become complacent. They aren't contributing anything to this medium from a progressive and artistic standpoint (and it doesn't have to be in HD). Its not their responsibility as a company, but its just a shame for those of us who consider video games an art form that needs to continually push the envelope and evolve, Nintendo isn't at the forefront when they have so much to offer. That to me is the essence of abandoning the "hardcore".

Just wanted to add my $0.02

I've been playing Wii Sports Resort for a little bit now, and at long last, with Wii MotionPlusI feel like the Wii Remote is finally doing what we all believed it could do. It's really accurate and smooth.

I stand behind my comments from the E3 podcast. I can certainly understand the engineering wherewithall to get this thing made. Yes, it sucks that it wasn't there when it came out, but if you've ever read any of the interviews with the hardware guys in Kyoto, there are a LOT of issues getting that kind of accuracy that will work in any situation.

Now, of course, we need games to back it up. But having used the MotionPlus, sign me up for Red Steel 2 on release day.

For Those of You Waiting on Episode 19...

Due to the epic nature of our upcoming GameCritics 10th Anniversary podcast, there will be a slight delay before its release. Just how epic is it? We've recorded nearly 3.5 hours of material and we still have one segment left to do.

The plan right now is to release it in chunks so as not to overwhelm you.

Suffice to say if you're a long-time reader of the site (or a newbie interested in how we got to where we are), I think you'll really get a kick out of it.

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