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I was actually just trying to answer your question of why Wii threads erupt despite the fact that those threads are never productive and no side ever budges. I'm already doing the only thing that will actually make a difference, which is avoid shovelware like the plague, but seeing developers think that the only way to make money is more shovelware until they realize too late that the market is saturated is what has me worried. So joining in some comiserating is cathartic. The PC has its place in gaming but is riddled with problems as a platform, so saying that games could be made on the PC years ago is a straw man. Consoles put gaming squarely in the living room and removed the pain of constant upgrading, driver incompatibility woe, and the need for a different method of matchmaking in every single game. The better consoles brought with them the benefits of the PC, while the worst console made what can only be called a half-assed, watered-down attempt of that. The Wii is practically a hostile environment for networking and DLC. I love LBP despite it's glaringly technical flaws, and am thankful that it can hold huge levels with details everywhere for discovery and interaction that entertain the heck out of my friends when they come over. Do you think Valkyria Chronicles would be half the game it is if it had Mii-level graphics? I love the Rock Band series, where interacting with music creates an enjoyable form of synesthesia, and would hate to have my enjoyment of new content be limited by SD card capacity. Sure if you lived in a cave and just came out, the absolute level of detail in a game wouldn't make a difference. The same could be said about special-effects-heavy movies -- going from cave paintings to Tron would blow your mind. It's basic physiology to receive less and less reward from the same thing, no matter how pleasurable it was at first. Not being able to get into GTA, I can't speak on it authoratively, but I'm guessing the leap in realism from III to IV was like going from Tron to the Matrix. But comparing to movies, a passive medium, to games, an active medium, isn't doing justice to the fact that more details in any form (not just graphics) = more immersion. Brawl is the easiest example of how Nintendo's way of appeasing the hardcore gamer doesn't apply to anyone else. If you read the actionbutton article and were put off by it, then of course you were already a fan that Nintendo had hook, line, and sinker for life. As someone with no crossover mascot dreams, Brawl represents an epically self-wallowing nostalgia-fest with some of the worst aesthetics ever put in one game, distinguished from its predecessor only by more useless crap (including a hilarious attempt at legitimacy with a "story" by the scenario writer of FFVII, who obviously wrote it on the john during breaks writing for Crisis Core, and broken online). Yet it was the best thing Nintendo and everyone else put out in a year for its console. Show a non-Smash Bros fan the game and they will not be able to tell what is new besides a shiny veneer, and they certainly won't understand what the point was of making a new series entry. Nintendo is going to fix the games industry by showing everyone else that the only thing important is milking $$$ off a rabid fanbase while changing as little as possible? You can't possibly be expecting the Wii to convince me and more importantly also game studios that suddenly, there's no need to innovate because games are as enjoyable as they'll ever be. They're not stupid, they know that Nintendo occupies some magical place in the hearts and minds of its fans that allows it to get away with full-priced incremental updates (to be fair Square-Enix has a similar gig). There is no take-away that applies to the poor saps who aren't fortunate enough to be Nintendo. I think the biggest misunderstanding between us is that you think that I want the Wii to fail (I don't, as I have one and used to hold out hope for more worthwhile games until I realized it's been all downhill since WarioWare: Smooth Moves) and that I want every game to be ambitious. I enjoy games that are good, but not ambitious. However, I'm happier with a healthy industry that can put out games that are both good and ambitious that end up moving gaming forward. I listed the games in the past year that I claim are, and the glaring omission was the Wii. I think that is because, in a perfect world, motion controls would represent an enormous paradigm-shift, but this isn't a perfect world, and few have shown that they can fuse both natural controls with deep gameplay. Beyond the unfulfilled potential of those controls, the Wii offers nothing to fuel video game advancement because it's mired in last-gen sensibilities and last-gen advancements have already been made (thus begat Okami). Nintendo's approach has been to move laterally, away from games to lifestyle activity stuff (Fit, Music), so it looks like even they know they've spent their load as far as the Wii goes for real gaming. The DS is a good counter-example to your belief that developers have it in for the Wii. Studios banked on the PSP because its specs were more hardcore, but that hasn't stopped great innovation from happening from third-parties once the DS became another roaring success. The difference is that touch controls are implementable and deep enough to be a real game changer over a large swath of genres.
Feb 07 2009 08:35 PM