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It's not a stretch to say that the Nintendo Wii is one of the most popular consoles of all time. It nearly single-handedly delivered gaming from the dark basements of our youth and into the living rooms of our mothers and grandmothers.
Thanks to the Wii, I now have to compete with my girlfriend for access to my video games, and we spend a large amount of our free time engaging in my favorite hobby together. We can download classic games, play with intuitive controls that offer an experience that is simultaneously immersive and uncomplicated, and share the experience with family members who haven't spent any time in front of a video game since Space Invaders.
Sure, it's got its negative aspects, but overall, the Wii is pretty freakin' awesome.
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The Wii's motion controls offer gamers a whole new way to interact with the games they play. It's true that they are not the most sophisticated or sensitive inputs ever created, but they do a good job of creating control schemes that seem logical and intuitive to those who find modern 10-plus button controllers intimidating.
There are great games on the system that appeal to hardcore and casual gamers alike, but for the most part the Wii is really for those who are seeking a more simplified, purely fun experience. The motion controls are a huge part of this.
Being forced to flail about to get Link to swing his sword in Twilight Princess seems stupid and unnecessary to a seasoned gamer accustomed to simply hitting a button to perform such actions, but it actually makes more sense that swinging the controller equates to swinging a sword to someone new (or recently returned) to gaming.
It's this logical simplicity that makes it so successful.
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Girls Like It
My girlfriend has a bigger house in our Animal Crossing town than I do. She spends hours gathering fish and bugs to sell, decorating her house, and designing fashions for the town's inhabitants. She's also beaten Super Mario Galaxy and frequently takes 1st place when we play Mario Kart Wii. Before my Wii and I moved in, she hadn't touched a gaming console since the Super Nintendo.
Now, she's begun to branch out to other systems, playing LittleBigPlanet and Lego Star Wars on the PS3.
I don't think I'll ever turn her into a Halo or Call of Duty fanatic, but I also never thought I'd be able to have as much fun playing video games with my girlfriend as I do with my buddies. This never would have happened without the Wii.
Check out page two for more reasons that the Wii totally rocks, including the Virtual Console and the benefits of a vastly expanded gaming community.
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The gaming market has expanded exponentially thanks to the explosion of casual gaming that has accompanied the Wii. This influx of new blood can only mean one thing: more money for the companies that design and publish games. More money equals even more games, which can only be good news for the industry.
With a larger installed base, companies are free to experiment with niche titles instead of concentrating solely on sequels and established properties. Games like Madworld, which was a critical success but not a great financial one.
Despite the recent economic troubles in this country, the gaming industry has remained fairly robust. In part, we have the new gamers attracted by the Wii to thank.
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We all have favorite games from our past that we love to pick up and play now and again. For me, that game is Super Mario World for the SNES. Before the Wii, playing Super Mario World meant digging my old Super Nintendo out of the closet, connecting it to my TV, flipping the switch, and hoping it still works. The graphics didn't look great thanks to the RF adapter, and the whole affair was ridiculously inconvenient.
Now, I can simply fire up my Wii and play Super Mario World in full 40-inch, 480p glory. There are no connectors to dig out, cords to hook up, or adapters to plug in. Everything is ready to go, and I have a huge selection of retro games to choose from, thanks to the Virtual Console. No other system has it, and it's one of the Wii's best features
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Games Only Possible on the Wii
One of my favorite games on the Wii is Wii Sports Resort. I love shooting basketballs using authentic mechanics, knowing as soon as the ball is released whether or not it is headed into the basket. Shooting baskets in the game requires almost the exact same motion as shooting a ball in real life.
Playing a basketball game on the Xbox 360 or PS3 is a different experience. Basically, you press a button, and the game decides whether or not your shot goes in based on where you were standing, how many defenders were in your face, and the influence of a random number generator. There is no physical skill required, just a little knowledge of where to take the shot from in order to ensure a high percentage of success.
The Wii's motion controls have given rise to a whole new type of gaming experience. Immersive experiences like shooting hoops in Wii Sports Resort are impossible on other consoles (and a large part of why Sony and Microsoft are now developing motion controllers).
Simply put, the Wii does what not other console can, thanks to it's unique setup. It's innovative, immersive, and delivers a visceral experience impossible on any other machine.
The Wii is a pretty fantastic machine. Combining mass-market appeal, unique controllers that deliver experiences unattainable elsewhere, and the ability to enjoy your favorite games from years gone by on your existing setup, it delivers a unique and fantastic experience that is truly praiseworthy.
Basically, it totally rocks.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: The other side.
If you'd like to see the other side of this argument, please read 5 Reasons Why the Wii Totally Sucks by the same author.