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Farewell to the Wii: Surviving with Just a Wii: The 3 Stages of a Console Cycle

It begins again...

I have always been a one-console guy. The cost of a second console has never been something I could justify, and I certainly was not going to afford Sony and Microsoft's High Definition money-vacuuming machines. With Twilight Princess looking pretty nice and the motion controls showing a lot of potential for interesting new gameplay ideas, getting a Wii in 2006 was a no-brainer.

What followed next might be called "The Three Stages in the Lifecycle of an Exclusive Nintendo Console Owner (ENCO)." These are time-tested, scientifically-proven stages born from years of experience. Knowing the cycle can be a source of comfort and frustration, but in the long run it's always best to know what to expect. If you or anyone you know may be an ENCO, read this article along with them.

The 3 Stages of a Console Cycle

Stage One: Elation

In Year Zero, the ENCO is unbelievably excited, incurably optimistic, and constantly shifting from one manic state to another. The next Zelda will be 100 hours long and will have voice acting! Super Smash Brothers at launch! F-Zero will be 60 frames per second, have a level editor, and support 100 racers at once while online! Earthbound and Pokémon will finally come to 3D!

Because of Nintendo's strict internal secrecy, Megaton-sized news is released at a galacial pace, and the ENCO becomes ecstatic when a measly screenshot or developer comment is leaked (none of them confirming the imagined scenarios above, mind you). Back in 2005, calling the Wii a Revolution and then showing off a TV remote-shaped controller with motion controls was the Hindenburg and Sputnik all at once.

Sure it'll work for first-person shooters and driving, but if it has fewer buttons than a typical controller, how will it work for fighting games? Sports? In 2006, no one really knew, since Nintendo never bothered to put out demo units until the last few months before launch. But in videos it looked fun. Or it could be a disaster... or it could be ingenious. Nintendo's secrecy was a self-fueling excitement booster rocket. It always is. For me, it was enough to camp out overnight for a Wii.

Year One is typically pretty great for early Nintendo adopters, and it was true for the Wii. Wii Sports was a lot of fun in groups and became an instant holiday tradition for many. Twilight Princess was a robust and lengthy game that justified the new hardware. It kept me busy for over a month, it was challenging, surprising, and easy on the eyes. Well worth the purchase. Then there's the Wii home menu. How many hours did you waste making a Mii? Be honest. It was a lot. Then spinning the globe in the weather channel for another 10 minutes. Sending messages to your friends on the Wii message board. Then back to Wii Sports and Virtual Console games until Super Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3 rolled around the next summer.

For a year or two, getting off the couch, smashing your remote through your TV, and just pretending to play tennis carried the Wii a lot farther than it probably should have. I didn't have the latest Call of Duty online or Uncharted or whatnot, but I and plenty of other ENCOs were having plenty of fun. Again, this is usually the case for those who buy a Nintendo console early on in the next-gen lifecycle. 

Stage Two: Infuriation

For veteran GameCubers, this is also known as the "Pac-Man Vs." Stage. It's the point where Elation has long passed, anticipation for new game concepts gets smashed by E3, and once-charming shortcomings start souring the honeymoon: Why does every game have to have waggle? Why's it taking them so long to fix the internal storage problem? Why can't I transfer my VC games to another Wii? Why did they strip out MP3 support? Why do the great games always get delayed? Why aren't more games including voice chat and Motion Plus support? When is Nintendo going to pick up its dirty socks?

Of course, the GameCube and Wii had much bigger problems: not enough games for the former, and too many terrible mini-games for the latter. No matter what though, owning a Nintendo console exclusively will lead to many unanswered complaints and infuriate its owner. Bet on it.

Stage 3: " ............ "

The last stage, " ............ ", (pronounced: "............ ")  is pure catharsis. It is an obscure Japanese word meaning "time to find other hobbies." The ENCO approaches Year Four and beyond with the understanding that nothing will improve, that most Nintendo games will be pushed back to the next system, any good games which somehow get ported from Playstation or Xbox will be severely gimped, and support for those once-exciting peripherals will never return. Yet the ENCO is at peace. He looks for other things to do, but not for long.

An ENCO always knows there is a series of dying last gasps of breath before the end. The Wii finished off with Donkey Kong Country Returns, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and The Last Story. The Gamecube had Pikmin 2. The N64 had Perfect Dark. They were good times. An ENCO always has good times, but by Stage 3, the good times usually take place in groups of one.

He considers starting a Nintendo dust-cleaning service to earn money for a Playstation and try out all those newfangled online games he kept hearing about. He begins researching the "Bioshock" phenomenon and the pros and cons of an HDTV. He is intrigued. In the process, something grabs his attention: a new controller is revealed that will forever change the way games are played.

And with that, he re-enters Stage One. 




11/17/2012 at 05:32 PM

If all you played this gen was the crap games on the Wii then let me tell you that you have missed on the greatests experiences I have had in my life. Games like Deus Ex HR, Uncharted, Valkyria Chronicles, Batman, Skyrim, Portal, Mirror's Edge... Dude, if you only knew what you have done (or what you haven't) you wouldn't be able to live with yourself. Seriously, I'm not joking.   =/

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

11/17/2012 at 06:54 PM

He can play all those games you mentioned on a PC with exception for Uncharted, and Valkyria Chronicles of course, and he could just play them on a friend's system.

If you haven't played a game then you're not relishing, nor missing anything. You just haven't played a game. You find other things to do.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

11/17/2012 at 09:48 PM

No, this is serious.  We've instituted a round-the-clock suicide watch at PixlBit HQ to make sure Matt pulls through this bout of self-reflection.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

11/17/2012 at 10:13 PM


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