5 Years of Nintendo Wii

9 12 2011

Nintendo Wii

5 Years ago today the Wii was released in the UK and within a month it had introduced many non-gamers to video games and became one of the best video game consoles of all time. So I think it is time to celebrate. I think we should take a look at the history of the console. Where it started, its success and what it is like now.



In 2001 during the first release of the Nintendo GameCube the idea for a new console for Nintendo was in rough planning. As technology progresses it gets cheaper and people will want something new eventually. Nintendo wanted a new form of game interaction. All the major consoles in this period were roughly the same. They had controllers which had buttons to press. Shigeru Miyamoto stated “The consensus was that power isn’t everything for a console. Too many powerful consoles can’t coexist. It’s like having only ferocious dinosaurs. They might fight and hasten their own extinction”. A couple of years later engineers and designers came in to develop the product. In 2005 the controller interface was ready but because of a few problems the controller was hidden for the time being. 

The new console was revealed by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata at E3 2005 with the name Nintendo Revolution. I remember reading about the console in CUBE magazine and I thought it looked good and was excited. However it was said that the console could be a few years away from being released. The revolution would be talked about for a few more months and then in September the controller (Wii Remote) was revealed at the Tokyo game show. The controller showed that instead of just pressing buttons there would be movement as well but there was no sign of games or how this idea works. Because of the GameCube being the 3rd place console during its generation people were skeptical of what Nintendo’s new console was going to be like.

Because CUBE magazine stopped printing in 2005 for a few months I did not find out any information on the new console. Then in 2006 I started collecting Official Nintendo Magazine and the magazine came with a DVD of E3 2006 press conference. It was at this press conference that all was revealed, how the controller worked, what the console can do and what games were being made for it. It looked amazing, the games looked amazing. Instead of simply tapping buttons you could swing a controller just like you were playing tennis, point at the screen and pull a trigger was like shooting like the old arcade games but now you could move (you were not on rails). Some people were still skeptical but they would not have to wait long to see what the console could do. Before the launch of the console Satoru Iwata talked in London about some of the features included in the new console including the Mii feature allowing people to play in games as themselves.

On December 8th 2006 the console was released in the UK. The plan was it was going to be a Christmas present to me but my mum allowed me to keep it out and have Red Steel wrapped up for Christmas day. I loved it; I liked swinging the golf club, playing bowling and boxing. Instead of tapping buttons I was swinging my arms. On Christmas day I received Red Steel, a Japanese style shooting a sword fighting game and I loved it (I still do). Before the console came out I remember people who knew me telling me that the console would be rubbish and not work. Very soon after the launch of the Wii they were seeing that it worked and forgot about what they said and enjoyed the console.

Within a few months the console became a huge success in every country it was available in even beating the Xbox 360 which came out a whole year before it. The Wii’s success came in the form of accessibility. It was no longer something which involved moving a stick and pressing a button it was now the time for people to feel like the action they are performing. Even older people could join in with younger children and enjoy themselves. There was truly something for everyone. Another thing which made it popular was its price tag, £180. The 360 was £200 minimum and the soon to be released PS3 was £450. The Wii was less than £200 and it came with Wii Sports. Wii Sports was the game that showed what the Wii could do and by being included in the price consumers were getting a game for a cheap price or free. At the beginning of 2007 not many games were coming out for the console but a few weeks later 75 games had been announced to come out in 2007. Many development companies saw the possibility of receiving large amounts of money from this new console. New franchises started to make their debut on this console such as Ubisoft’s Red Steel and Raving Rabbids. Well established series like Mortal Kombat came to the Wii. Over the coming months more and more games were released like Excite Truck but the people who made the most out of the console were Nintendo themselves and by the end of 2007 Mario finally arrived in Mario Galaxy and had finally come face to face with his longtime rival Sonic the Hedgehog as they met at the Beijing Olympics. By E3 2007 it was a time of celebration for the console and new game were announced including Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii.

2008 was to be another good year for Nintendo with games like Battalion Wars 2 and Mario Kart Wii (both with online gameplay) and Wii Fit was also released. A game where you could have fun and lose weight at the same time and became a big success for the console. E3 2008 was not so good however, not many new announcements and overall a bit poor allowing Sony to steal the show. Nintendo did announce titles like Animal Crossing Lets Go to the City and Wii MusicHowever it was a lot better than Microsoft who decided to make some Avatars for their console (which is just a copy of the Wii’s Mii’s even though Microsoft claimed it was their idea originally). Nintendo did announce one game which would follow on from the success of another. Wii Sports Resort was announced which included a whole range of new games including Sword Fighting, Frisbee and Jet Skiing. The game was to come with a new attachment for the console to make the movements more precise and accurate.

In 2009 things began to improve. Little Kings Story and MadWorld were released early on, Wii Sports resort was released in the summer and a New Super Mario Bros game was released towards the end of the year. However competition began to surface. Microsoft and Sony saw the potential in the Motion Sensing Controller and started working on their own versions. It was in 2009 that I bought a PS3. The reason I did this was because there were bigger more single player games that I wanted to play on it and the Wii was not getting some of these games. One of the major issues with the Wii is the single player experience. There is some but not enough. In multiplayer it dominates but in single player it does not. If I had friends round we would be OK on the Wii but if I wanted to play games by myself there was not much in the choice of options. Some good games were still coming out on the Wii in 2009 and 2010 but not much for a single player. At this point the Wii did start to decline and Nintendo released lees and less first party games for it and started to look more at the Nintendo 3DS. Some games were released but not much. With the arrival of Kinect and PlayStation Move, The Wii was starting to decline.

At E3 2011 Nintendo announced the Wii’s Successor. The Wii U. This new console still uses the controllers that the Wii does but it also has a tablet style controller which allows 5 player multiplayer, a way of interacting more with the TV and a way of playing games when someone wants to watch something on TV. The current views on the Wii U are skeptical with it. Yes it is more of an attachment to the Wii and it may not be a long-term solution to the Wii. Eventually a new console altogether will be needed but from what I have seen I am excited to see what it would be like.

Wii U

Nintendo are the innovators of the Games industry. Without them the games industry will look very different and while there will be challenges to overcome they will be around for a good long time daring to be different and making some of the major changes to the industry turning it into more than just what it is and thinking what it can be. With the Wii they have shown this and now they look ahead into thinking what can be the next big thing but for now let’s celebrate the five-year run of one of the true greats of the Games Industry. The Wii started out as an idea and has fought the heirs of the consoles which pushed the GameCube out of the way to become the current King of Consoles.





6 responses

30 12 2011
Blog 2011 « Numb3r5s's Blog

[…] 5 Years of Nintendo Wii. My top 2 posts I particularly enjoyed because it gave me time to think back and remember what […]

11 02 2013

This is exactly the 4th blog, of urs I personally browsed. Although
I like this specific one, “5 Years of Nintendo Wii Numb3r5s’s Blog” the best. Thanks -Tobias

11 02 2013

Thankyou very much.

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