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Wii love Nintendo

February 2, 2024

Picture this:

It’s early in the morning. The sun has just barely risen. You’re at the perfect age where you don’t care about sleeping in, and only have one desire for how to spend your morning. You shake your brother or sister awake, who you promised you’d wake up when you woke up the night before, and the two (or more) of you head to the living room. When you get there, you participate in the Saturday morning routine. Grab remotes, choose a disc, and pop it into whatever gaming console your family owned. Have a quick argument over who will be player one, but promptly forget about the argument when the game starts.

It is my sincere hope that a story like this rings a bell for you. Though all of it seems inconsequential today, this experience is something I treasure- not because it was a fun time of video games in the morning, but because this was the defining event of my childhood. (And for the record, my gaming console was the Nintendo Wii.)

The 2000s era of Nintendo had a way of doing that for many of our generation. Marked by ambitious innovations in gaming hardware, Nintendo sought to release both a handheld gaming system with a touch screen and a home console that centered around motion controls. Both of these ideas sounded candidly ridiculous at the time, but when the gaming empire launched the DS and Wii, respectively, skeptics were promptly put in their place. The Wii, most notably, became an absolute must-have for every gaming family. If you weren’t racing around on Mario Kart or accidentally launching the Wii remote across the room during Wii Sports because you forgot to put the strap on, you were missing out. And with that, you have to wonder what Nintendo—the company that didn’t even give your avatar arms in baseball games—did that made the experience so euphoric.

Ultimately, I attribute it to two factors: personality, and knowing your audience.

Nothing would be further from the truth to say that Nintendo games from the 2000s lacked personality. The titles from this time—think Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, or Animal Crossing: City Folk—all had a uniquely designed style to them. Running around your town in Animal Crossing is a completely different feeling from traversing the expansive seas of Wind Waker, which is completely different from soaring through the cosmic skies of Mario Galaxy. Nintendo knew what they wanted to achieve and how they wanted the player to feel for each experience- and that’s something the gaming giant continuously excels in, even with their numerous franchises that gain new entries in more recent years.

But what about the more generic Wii games, like Wii Sports, Wii Fit, and Wii Party? Those are the ones that sold so many copies. Don’t count these games out just because they don’t belong to a franchise. These games were built to be played by anyone and everyone, which is what made them such a massive hit. It was the express purpose of the Wii to make gaming fun for even the non-gamer. These motion-controlled games are how Nintendo executed that. They knew their audience and developed these titles as easy-to-swallow player experiences centered around friendly competition. As a result, Wii Sports became an absolute icon. You could play with your grandparents and younger siblings alike, and everyone knew what to do because it was simple, and so much fun. The only downside is that you’ll be forever afraid of sending the ball backward next time you go to the bowling alley. (Iykyk.)

At the end of the day, the love many of us (certainly I, at least) have for this company stems from the endless happy memories they enabled us to make. There was no other game developer in our lives at the time that put such energy into the little things- like goofy menu music, or the quirky facial expressions your Mii makes. So, if you had the privilege of growing up on Nintendo, don’t let that time of your life be forgotten. Go earn that 5-star town rating, keep Catching ‘Em All, and get that Wii Sports Pro bowling ball. My personal advice? Nintendo gave us a lot of stellar game soundtracks for every mood- you may as well use them as study music. Before you know it, you’ll be able to name all the Mario Kart Wii race themes like me.

Oh, and did I mention we have a bit of a competition night coming up? From video games to board games and the like, you can join us for Versus: A Night of Games on February 2nd at 6 PM in the LaHaye Event Space. Whether it’s in Chess, Checkers, or Super Smash Bros., there’s something here for you to be victorious in.

 

Luke is a sophomore studying Digital Media: Video Production. He is a Videographer with Student Activities, and has a passion for Nintendo franchises, movie soundtracks, and the digital arts.