Friday, December 23, 2011

How I Came to Loathe the Nintendo Wii, and it's Microsoft's Fault!

I loved the Nintendo Wii when I got it back in 2007. When I looked up my review, I couldn't believe it had been over 4 years already. LIke pretty much everyone, I played Super Mario Galaxy & thought that was great too. My family had a lot of fun with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort over the years. Slowly but surely, my initial love for Nintendo's console grew to dislike, then outright loathing. There wasn't a moment of clarity when I realized I never wanted to use the Wii again. It was a gradual process and it was Microsoft's fault!

After a few years with thr Wii, I was completely over the four part Wii controllers: remote, nun-chuck, rubber bumper, and motion plus. The batteries for the remotes were never charged. The nun-chuck wire always got tangled. The rubber bumpers to make sure you didn't kill someone flailing around we're never in the configuration you needed to play what you wanted to. Worse, no one but me, not the kids and not the wife, could untangle the whole mess. The fact that Nintendo didn't ship the controllers as rechargeable became a deal breaker, even though I was using rechargeable batteries. 

I couldn't pin down what i didnt like about thr Wii until I first heard about the Kinect. A bit flipped in my head right then that I was done with the Wii if Microsoft didn't mess it up. I didnt want to use a controller for motion controls ever again. Amazingly, Microsoft got it right, not perfect, but good enough from all the stuff I read. I didn't rush out to buy Kinect. I waited for a while to get some more life out of the replacement Xbox 360 I got from the Red Ring of Death fiasco. That I even considered giving Microsoft more money was amazing, they were all but dead to me before Kinect was announced. Going back to Microsoft was also given a boost by Sony announcing their Wii competitor, Move, packing its own fleet or wand/remote controllers. 

The announcement of the Nintendo Wii U and Sony's PlayStation Network security breach happened within a few weeks of each other in May/June 2011. Those events were the tipping point to Kinect for me. Wii U looks ridiculous. I normally hold out on judging a product until release, but I couldn't suppress an immediate reaction of disappointment. Wii U looks like an iPad and Apple TV using AirPlay, but without a good digital download store. Sony's ridiculous lack of network penetration testing and basic security controls were inexcusable. 

By August I had sold my Wii and replacement Xbox 360 at a yard sale to finance the purchase of a new Xbox with Kinect. I was going to sell the PlayStation 3 as well, but Uncharted 3 and a few unripped Blu-rays have caused a delay.

As for the Kinect itself, pretty awesome. Demonstrably better than the Wii for exercise games, which I've used but my wife really enjoys. And in extended Kinect Adventures sessions, no Wii remote like cramping or fatigue, just normal exercise pains. Having the ability to video chat is nice too, though it is odd that it isn't in HD. With Christmas days away, a bunch more Kinect titles are coming home, I'm sure the whole family is going to be having a lot of fun.