Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Complainer: DSi?? More Like, DS-Why?! Sorry...

Let me ask you something: do you really feel like the potential of the Wii has been utilized?? I remember this idyllic time when the concept of controlling videogames in a way we never had before was tantalizing and interesting, but the end result has just been a bunch of gimmicky, me-too stuff that either ably (and rightly) caters to the casual market or tosses in arbitrary "you need to flail the Wii-mote around" sequences to remind you that you are playing on a Wii and not the PS2. To my mind, the only two games that properly delivered on the promise of integrating the motion sensing controller into gameplay were Super Mario Galaxy and, arguably, Metroid Prime 3. These games wouldn't be the same without the Wii-mote, but 99% of the Wii's library would be. Swinging a controller like an idiot man child is fun, sure, but ultimately it's the same as mashing a button.

So if we can agree that Nintendo has failed to take advantage of the Wii in the way we might like, I hope we can agree that the DSi is a waste of potential, too. Anymore I feel as though Nintendo is a hardware first, software second (or even third) company. They don't really need to put in the effort to develop excellent games because people will buy their stuff in droves no matter what. Anyone who might argue that Nintendo still develops and publishes games as good as they did during the NES, SNES, hell, even the N64 days needs to take a serious look at the Wii library and be honest with themselves. I fear this is the same fate the DS has been going through over the last couple years and seems to headed with the DSi stuff. While everyone owns a DS and so a lot of companies release great stuff for it, has Nintendo been the best supporter of their own system?? I would argue no, and the limp stuff they wrangled for the DSi's "launch" speaks volumes for how little of a shit they need to give. When you're on top by a long shot, what incentive is there to put in a lot of effort??

As with the Wii controller, Virtual Console, and WiiWare stuff, there's a lot of potential in the DSi for great things. But Nintendo doesn't seem to be interested anymore. Everything about the way they use or don't use the controller, Virtual Console, and WiiWare just makes me furious. They could do so much more with it but they don't because they don't have to. There are one or two chinks in their armor: after all, Wii Music didn't succeed as well as predicted because it is a baby's toy after you've tried Guitar Hero or Rock Band.

Wii Fit isn't even a game, that's how little Nintendo has to care about "gamers." What launched with the DSi?? Well, they released Rhythm Heaven at the same time, but that's based on an old Gameboy Advance title and doesn't use the DSi's cameras in any way. And by all accounts the DSi-ware downloadable stuff is overpriced and skippable. Again, they could have done so much more with the DSi already, and put way more resources and effort into the launch, but they don't have to so they don't.

While it's true that we all get hardware lust from time to time and the DSi is cool in that sleek, designed way that Apple products are, I can't understand why anyone would want a DSi yet. It feels like a gimmicky, unrealized remodeling of the DS just so they can trick people into buying more hardware now that Wii's are easier to find.

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