So in just a few hours, the first of you lowly Internet peoples will finally be getting your very own Wii. Me, too, actually, since I’m not a freelancer — Nintendo sends the freebies to 1UP, and we are required to share. But there’s no way I’m establishing a Virtual Console account on someone else’s machine, so it’s off to wallow in midnight idiocy with my fellow frothing idiots. Oh, geek genes, the lengths you force me to go through to keep you satisfied.
Wii is a fine little system, and Zelda is a gosh-darned fine game to get with it, but my week with Wii has already introduced me to a handful of things that really hork me off about it. So please allow me to harsh your pre-launch buzz by enumerating my grievances:
- No component cables: No, I haven’t griped about this enough yet. The fact that Wii only includes composite video cables isn’t just dumb, it’s one of the most boneheaded things Nintendo has ever done. The company is taking a big chance by refusing to play the horsepower game and try to outmuscle the PS3 and 360, but this isn’t going to do the system any favors. Sure, Wii can’t output high-definition video, but it does run in extended definition — and looks really good. But you need the component cables for that, and those are an extra thirty bucks. Including them in the package would have done a great deal to advance the system’s cause for HD owners (and everyone else who knows anything about signal quality, even on standard definition sets) since it would have meant graphics that look good right out of the box. And it’s not like it would have hurt the bottom line; Wii was reportedly going to retail for $200 until retailers pressured Nintendo to bump up the price to create the perception of value. This is known as “a crock.”
- Wiimote button layout: The Wii remote is a really great idea for a controller, and it works shockingly well for traditional games like Zelda… mostly. But anytime you have to make frequent use of the “+” or “-” or “1” or “2” buttons, you’re going to hate how inconveniently they’re placed. Also, the B trigger on the underside is perhaps a little too sensitive — I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve paused the game and placed the controller on the couch for a break… only to find myself suddenly under attack because I had brushed B when I set down the remote, exiting out of the pause screen.
- Hungry hungry Wiimote: Something you don’t see in previews is mention of the fact that the Wii remote guzzles batteries. No joke — I started into Zelda with a fresh pair and had to change them out twice. Roughly every 20 hours, in other words. This is known as “another crock” — the WaveBird, the 360 controller, even the third-party wireless job I’m using for PS2 can go for months without a charge. (I’ve had the same pair of double-As in my PS2 controller for nearly three years.) I get that the motion-sensitive stuff is more demanding than your standard analog controller, but damn. As much as the controllers cost, you’d think they’d have a high-capacity NiMH inside, but no. Add rechargeable batteries to your “hidden costs” list. Otherwise you can expect each playthrough of Zelda to cost you about five bucks.
- Virtual Console stupidity: Kohler says yes (maybe?) to Virtual Console output in 480p… but no to Virtual Console having enough sense not to auto-stretch your NES games to fit your widescreen display. Barf. Hello future system update.
- No Mario Galaxy at launch: Seriously, guys, not awesome. Zelda isn’t enough! I’m spoiled and demand Mario Galaxy, too. Don’t listen to the detractors — the E3 demo was brilliant.