Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Little Bit Of Wii

I know; I said I'd never buy a Nintendo Wii.

And for all intents and purposes, I never would have.. had I not stopped past the Prahran EB Games store on the way home from work last night.

It's funny really, in that I normally don't have much of anything 'good' to say about the employees behind the counters of EB Games stores throughout the city. And in fact if one were to look up such a topic on the internet, one would find that my fairly negative viewpoint holds up under a microscope.

Generally speaking, EB staff are akin to supermarket staff. To the vast majority of them (it would seem), the boxes on the shelf in their store are.. well.. boxes on a shelf.

To be sold.

A small percentage of these individuals are actually games affectionados, and are seemingly quite at ease telling you exactly what you want to hear in the most ill-informed manner possible:
"So I can burn my own DVD's on the Sony 360 then?"
"Yeah for sure! Put down a preorder now and we can guarantee it for you when they come in!"

"So the PS3 will be able to read my old Viewmaster discs?"
"Yeah for sure! Put down a preorder now and we can guarantee it for you when they come in!"

"So this copy of Halo2 will run on my Sinclair ZX80?"
"Yeah for sure! Put down a preorder now and we can guarantee it for you when it comes in!"

"Oh shit - have you got the time dude?"
"No, but if you put down a preorder now I can guarantee it for you when it comes in!"

"Have you ever, like, played a game?"
"Yeah for sure! I put down a preorder and I was guaranteed it when it came in!"
Thank you Eurogamer and for existing.

So, as I wandered past the EB on Chapel St last night in the freezing cold and pouring rain, I figured a couple of minutes inside a nice and cosy EB Store might be nice, as long as none of the 15 year old staff members wandered up to me and asked if I'd like to preorder whatever happened to be in my hands at the time.

After selecting a few Xbox 360 titles to aid in whiling away the Melbourne winter, I passed by the Nintendo Wii section out of curiosity, to see what games were being released post the '06 Xmas hype.
And as expected, there wasn't much there by way of anything 'next gen'.

Mario this, Mario that, a bizarre Japanese cooking game, and some poorly translated attempts at larger popular titles such as FarCry or Call of Duty 3.

I had a quiet chuckle, as clearly the poor old Wii isn't up to snuff in technical terms and has no hope of ever competing via hardware processing power with the PS3 or Xbox 360. (In fact, the Wii is essentially a slightly refined Gamecube so far as raw horsepower is concerned.)
Hell, the thing doesn't even play CDs or DVDs in it's drive.."HI THERE - HOW'S THINGS?"


They got me, sarge. There I was, on my way to the counter even, and they got me with a sneak attack:
"Oh I'm good thanks - I'm just after these three Xbox360 games.."
*waves them around and turns towards the counter*

"You're wondering how the Wii fits into the picture at the moment, aren't you?"


"Well, yeh to be honest I don't quite get what Nintendo are up to - I guess in Japan it's a big deal?"

"For sure, but what the massive marketing campaign here in Australia didn't touch on, is that it's a Nintendo Fanboy's console."

*pause again*
"Oh.. er.. what?"
I'll save you the gory details of the 45 minute discussion that ensued thereafter, but I can easily summarise by saying this:

I never thought it would happen, but in that EB Games store in Prahran, on Chapel St, I found possibly the only EB employee (in Melbourne at least) that actually knew his stuff, was completely honest, and was into games more than me.

Actually, 'into' is an understatement - this guy was insanely passionate about games, and clearly had a lot of love for Nintendo. Not in a biased way, but in a way that pitched the console to me in an entirely new light.
(Nintendo Australia - if you're reading this - you need to employ this guy!)

Long story short, I happily walked out of that store with a considerably lighter wallet, and a huge bundle of Nintendo swag.

Now, as I write this, there is a little white box sitting upon my TV cabinet (warmly nestled vertically between my PS2 and my Xbox360), glowing a faint shade of neon blue from it's optical drive slot (telling me it acquired data of some kind over the internet while I was away).
I will likely walk into the lounge after typing this and wave the wiimote at the screen, to be greeted with the daily local news and weather, and perhaps some messages from other Wii owners.

I'll be sure to be sipping a nice strong flat white as I do this, due to having a late night and feeling just a little on the sluggish side. After all, what can one expect, getting to bed at 7am due to:

  • Plugging in the Wii and having it automatically find my wireless access point
  • Realising that all of my GameCube classics will run natively in full 16:9 on my LCD TV
  • Cranking up Metroid Prime, Rogue Squadron 2, Wave Race: Blue Storm, & Legend of Zelda:The Wind Waker and realising that 4 hours had slipped by in the blink of an eye
  • Deciding to take a look at the Virtual Console online store (realising that titles from NES, SNES, Megadrive, Nintendo64 and TurboGrafx16 are available for purchase) and downloading Super Mario 64 thus allowing another 90 minutes to pass unknowingly whilst reveling in the fond memories of this timeless classic
  • Noticing that one of my all-time favourite SNES games Donkey Kong Country was available, and playing the first 3 perfectly accurate levels of that
  • Deciding to pull myself away from the thing, despite noticing that the other N64 classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is also available to download
  • Slightly peeved at not seeing Yoshi's Island in the list of available SNES games to download, but somewhat relieved to read that it's on it's way to Australia due to it being made available in the Japanese virtual console store, along with The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past and Super Mario World for the SNES, and Goldeneye for the N64
All of this, and I haven't even got around to inserting the disc for Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess yet.
**note: watch this video review to really get a feel for how incredible this 50-60 hour gaming triumph truly is..

Ahh yes, I get it now, Nintendo.
Thank you, Mr EB Person. You'll be seeing me again soon..



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