Wonkyman / Member

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Wonkyman Blog

360 Points - I win; 17 to Nothing

Anyone who knows me, or at least has read the rest of this little bloggurb, is probably familiar with the XBox 360 and I, and how we're quite disinterested in each other. But just in case you didn't know, I'll start off with an example. I currently own 28 games released for last generation's systems. If I keep a game, it means I consider it something special. Of those 28 games, according to Gamespot*, 6 are Action Adventures, 5 are RPGs, 4 are 3D Platformers, 3 are 2D Platformers, 3 are Action RPGs, 2 are Strategy RPGs, 2 are Racers, 2 are First Person Shooters, and the last one is the lonely little Melee, a Fighting game. That's not the sort of list you'll see on an XBox. I mean, if you got a hold of any loyal 360 owner this very second and asked them to name the top 5 360 games that have been released so far, I'll bet you'd see Halo 3, Bioshock or Call of Duty 4 at the top. Quite probably all three in that top 5. That list would also contain a sports title. And sure, First Person Shooters and sports games are fine for some people. If they enjoy them, fantastic. But they're just not for me. And I guess that's why I get frustrated at times. 360 owners, or at least the obnoxious ones (which seems to be more often than not, I'm sorry to say,) give off the attitude that if you're not playing a 360 there must be something wrong with you. An attitude which puts me off the console even more, especially considering the lack of variety the console has. Viva Piñata, Blue Dragon, Beautiful Katamari and Castle Crashers. Those are the only 360 exclusives, on shelves or in the pipe, that have my interest in the slighest.

* Gamespot categorizes in a peculiar way. I had to change a few categories like Katamari, which was considered a puzzle game.

I'd like to take the opportunity to stress that I'm not against the XBox. You get on the internet and state an opinion and you get branded annoying buzz-word insults that I was sick of a year ago. So to reiterate: I'm not anti-XBox. What I am is generally anti-FPS (though I've been testing the water with Metroid Prime, hence the two FPSs in my last-gen list,) anti-sports game (if you want to play football, get some friends together and play it,) somewhat anti-Microsoft (insanely enormous company that is slowly eating the world. I'm typing this from a Mac.) Oh and most of all, anti- obnoxious online 12 year-olds, playing an M rated game for some reason, who all think they're King Sh*t. Yeah. Doesn't appeal to me. I know Nintendo gets a lot of flack for their absurdly complicated Friend Code system, but if it keeps those types away from my games, then fine. I'll type an overly lengthy string of numbers to play online in peace.

So the point I wanted to get at was this (oh the punnery!!): The 360 and I generally ignore each other these days. I'll keep a casual eye on game announcements for the system, because weirder things have happened. But generally it leaves me alone and I leave it alone. So while puttering around the blob of news they call Kotaku, I saw a post about how an upcoming game for the PS3 will have "entitlements". Similar to the 360's achievements. And it finally struck me. I don't know what these achievements are. I've cared so little that any time anyone talks about them, I just glaze over and move on.

Here's what I do know: You win them by playing games. They come in point format. You use them to claim a reward of some sort, but mostly it's a contest to see who's is bigger. Now I worked at a convenience store for a while, and I remember when Pepsi had Pepsi Points. And when you bought Pepsi, you got points which you could eventually redeem for t-shirts and ball caps and other crap that said PEPSI on it. Any of the good stuff like CD players were a trillion Pepsi points and your stomach would have rotted away before you even got it in the mail. I never knew anyone who cared enough about Pepsi to want to be a volunteer billboard-chest so much that they'd drink Pepsi for a month to get that opportunity. So Microsoft and their achievement points for the 360 don't seem terribly exciting to me. Yet they're popular.

Why?

Is it that the rewards are better than Pepsi's truck-fulla-suck? Is it that some people just like being able to prove with a definitive figure that they are superior to gamer X? Or is there a crucial piece of information about the achievement system that I don't know? If someone can answer me intelligently, I'd like to hear what you have to say.

Requisite Brawl-Fever Post

So what's the deal with the slogan Nintendo's been slapping onto all of it's ads for Super Smash Bros Brawl? "The Brawl to end them all." I understand it rhymes and it's kind of a clever spin on an old expression.. but it also makes the easily worriable part of me start to poke my brain with a dirty stick saying "Is this the last Smash Bros??" I certainly hope it isn't.

Given the enormous success of Melee on the Gamecube (especially considering it WAS on the Gamecube) and the fact that Brawl has gotten more hype than Twilight Princess, Galaxy and Corruption combined, you can almost expect this one to mop the floor with pretty much anything else. I was going to make a Halo 3 reference, but it really didn't clean up the way people say it did. It just got a very strong head start. Let's see.. what's a game that HAS sold like a crazy monkey riding a walrus? Tetris! Okay, that might be going overboard, but my point is, Brawl will do better than anything else on the system. Possibly anything else on all three systems. So why would this be the final game?

I want subsequent Brawls to tap into Nintendo's more current franchises. I want to slug it out using a Mii. Or Professor Layton. Or Paper Mario. Or a creepy floating Dr. Kawashima head. And I want Nintendo and Capcom to bury the hatchet. If they can bury it with Sega, they can bury it with anyone. A deal with Capcom would allow the Wii2's Smash Bros to have Mega Man, Viewtiful Joe and Phoenix Wright. And you can't tell me fighting with Phoenix wouldn't be awesome. Shouting "Hold It!" and "Objection!" as he whacks people with evidence and affidavits? Golden awesome.

The follow-up to the Wii will arrive in a time when affordable HD consoles can be made, Nintendo even stated before the launch of the Wii that their next console would be HD. Knowing that, the roster for Smash 4 should be huge. Opening the door to more 3rd party characters may mean that Brawl was the one to expand them all. I look forward to the future. Both immediate and long term.

DS and Wii: Sisters and Rivals!

I love my DS. I honestly do. My DS has brought some serious classics into my gaming portfolio. Games like Hotel Dusk: Room 215, The Phoenix Wright trilogy, Feel the Magic: XY XX and the newly purchased Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The DS deserves the sales success it's achieved and I'm happy to own one. That said, when I play a DS game I really enjoy, at one point or another, my mind always wanders to the prospect of seeing this title on the Wii. The two platforms offer a somewhat similar approach to gaming, though not identical, and anything done on the DS could be made shinier on the Wii, and I could view it on my comfortably-sized TV screen and 6.1 set-up.

But is it unfair to my dual-screened partner to imagine her best offerings on another platform? I feel like the DS has given so many triple-A titles, and all I've done is fantastise about her hot sister when we're together. I recently remarked to a friend of mine that as good as Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was, I still preferred Wind Waker and would like to have seen Hourglass done up properly on a console instead of a handheld. It's not the DS's fault she can't compare to her sister. She's a handheld and she's very good at what she does. And the Wii.. well the Wii's a bit of a free spirit anyway. Just floating away from what was expected of her and waving around a wand instead of developing her memory.

It's not like the two don't share. The DS gave Wii Trauma Center and Big Brain Academy. The Wii shared a bit of Metroid Prime and lets DS borrow new Professor Layton puzzles every week, but only because Wii'll never use them. Aside from that, the two tend to avoid each other, despite grand promises made about inter-connectivity when the Wii first arrived. Maybe the DS is being protective of her library, or maybe I'm not giving enough credit to a handheld that has consistently impressed me. All I know is, I dream of the day when I can play Phoenix Wright remakes, a console Professor Layton or Brain Age, see the return of Wind Waker Link, or (most unrealistically of all) play Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime 2, all on my TV in shiny Wii glory.

Whatever you do though, don't tell my DS. She's already sensitive enough about not being Lite.

The 2D Console Game

I'd like to believe that anyone who grew up in the 8 and 16-bit eras has a soft spot in their heart for traditional 2D platformers. The first four Mario games, the original Mega Man series, the Genesis' Sonic trilogy, clasisc Metroid or Kid Icarus, or if anyone remembers it, Gyromite. Any of which are titles that anyone in their 20s or early 30s very likely remembers with some fondness. And maybe it's because I'm an adult now, but as much as I love games, they somehow don't hold that same magic today that their graphically inferior counterparts did back then. Maybe it's the 3D era. Or maybe it's the incredibly tiresome "console war", pushing horsepower and performance, implying those things equate to fun. Or maybe it's something else altogether. All I know is, I can download Super Mario 2 and still remember every secret area, every trick and every bad translation. Or I can pop in the Mega Man Anniversary Collection and remember the quickest way to get to Wily and which weapons work on what, after all these years. The reason for that is simply this: The games were fun. They were a lot of fun. And they still are today.

There was a bit of a 2D renaissance a few years back. Along with the above mentionned Mega Man collection, Capcom was also responsible for the Viewtiful Joe series, Nintendo released Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, The Behemoth released Alien Hominid, an homage to coin-operated run-and-gun games, and Vanillaware put out the brilliant Odin Sphere. But since then, 2D games seem to have been relegated to the handhelds. Things like New Super Mario Bros or Patapon, while fantastic on their respective handheld, make me just a little sad. I want to see 2D become more than just a flash in the pan. I want it to gain a place alongside it's 3D brother. On the consoles.

2D on a console tends to require a hook. Like Super Paper Mario. Ditching it's RPG roots and taking the genre of platormer/RPG hybrid wasn't enough. They gave us the power to flip into 3D. It was a clever, fun and charming game, and one of the first true gems for the Wii, so I don't want to come off like I'm putting it down. I just wonder why developpers of 2D games in general feel the need to give their title a hook when putting it on a console. I think Vanillaware has it right. With Odin Sphere and the upcoming (and hopefully translated) Oboro Muramasa Youtoden, they create 2D games with stunning visuals. And seeing their projects, I often wonder, with so much processing power in today's modern consoles, and storage space on modern game discs, there's the potential to create so much variety. If the console's capacity isn't put towards creating a 3D world, creating instead a much more manageable 2D world, couldn't the rest of it's power work towards making the artwork pop? Or containing full orchestral suites as background music, or full voice for the characters, or all of the above?

I've seen fake concept art for an Okami for the DS, and videos for a Final Fantasy VII for the NES or a Super Mario Galaxy for the SNES. People even talk about Metroid and it's next installment being 2D. And I admit, it makes me jealous of something that doesn't even exist. Each of those titles, or a myriad of others, brought onto our TV screens today, could be even better than any concept art or mock-up video. They could finally be a breath of fresh air in an industry that lost it's sense of wonder. And a welcome addition to this old school gamer's library.

Top 8 Games I Wish Were On A System I Own

Not too long ago, I remember running into a well-spoken fellow on a Gamespot message board. I'm fairly sure it was the comments section under a piece of Smash Bros Brawl news. This gentleman said the following: "you know you wanna play Unreal Tournament 3, Call of Duty 4, Assassins Creed and many more that never made it to this console." I replied with a sarcastic comment, because no, I don't want to play those games. None of the three he listed interest me in the slightest. That's not to say nothing the competitors offer has caught my eye. So in honor of that nameless forum contributor, here's my Top 8 Games I Wish Were On A System I Own.

Number 8: Beautiful Katamari (X360) / Me & My Katamari (PSP)

Katamari Damacy for the PS2 is the defining game for my tastes. It's weird, it's unique, it's kinda Japanese without being anime, it's good for all ages, the music is extremely catchy, it's laugh-out-loud funny.. did I mention it's weird? It's weird. I love it. We Love Katamari didn't feel as unique as the first game, for obvious reasons, but it still offered 31 flavours of awesome. So I was heartbroken to discover Me & My Katamari coming to the PSP, especially since there had been a Katamari DS project in the works. And adding insult to injury was the Beautiful Katamari project, once rumored to be multi-platform, going X360 exclusive. I know Microsoft wanted to break into Japan by using this franchise, but boo-urns!

Number 7: Mega Man Powered Up (PSP)

I'm not a fan of Mega Man anymore. I adored the original six games on the NES. And the three Megaman X games for the SNES. I remember being very excited with Marvel vs. Capcom at an arcade because Mega Man was a playable fighter. But once Megaman started shuffling around consoles, it lost much of what made it awesome. Mega Man 7 for the SNES wasn't quite right. And 8? Soccer ball?! And don't get me started on how the X series went down the pooper. I always hoped Sigma would end up being Dr. Wily. Oh well. Mega Man Powered Up arrived and retold the first game in insanely-cute-o-vision. I love that! And just so we're clear, Japan loves cute and they love the DS. So why did Capcom put this on the PSP? *sighs*

Number 6: Castle Crashers (Xbox Live Arcade)

So who here has heard of the studio The Behemoth? They're the ironically named group that has put out just one other title: Alien Hominid. Alien Hominid just happens to be one of the most awesomely creative games to come out in a while. It's a very challenging arcadey-type 2D shooter done up in sketchy doodles where you're this tiny alien with massive firepower who eats the heads off FBI agnts. I loved it. So now the Behemoth returns with it's spiritual sequel, Castle Crashers. A similar game, except you're a knight instead of an alien, and instead of eating agents you're slicing monsters. What gets me is that it's a four-player romp that would fit on the Wii beautifully. *grumbles*

Number 5: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)

I've made two observations about the main Final Fantasy series. One: It's always on the winning platform. Final Fantasy I-VI were Nintendo based, during Nintendo's original glory days. VII-XII were on Sony systems during Sony's period of dominance. Now here comes XIII, for the current third-place console. Isn't that a bit odd? But then, here comes my second observation: Contrary to many Final Fantasy fans, I dislike every odd numbered installment. This is an incomplete theory, as I've never played I, V or XI, but III for the DS and VII and IX for the PSOne all left me cold. But I did enjoy IV, VI, VIII, X and XII. So XIII is coming, and I'm almost tempted to ignore it, because buying a very expensive PS3 so I can play a Final Fantasy that might have the curse of the odd number could be unwise.

Number 4: Portal (PC, X360, PS3)

So I've heard it all. The cake is a lie. I've seen Still Alive done in Mario Paint. And this game just continues to appeal to me. Especially when I imagine how tight the controls would be with a Wiimote. I just don't want to buy Half Life or Team Fortress to get it. At this point, I want to say "How hard would it be to release Portal alone for the Wii?" but I might be asking for too much there. I'm optimistic at the moment, given that EA and Valve are releasing the components of the Orange Box seperately at retail soon. Maybe those Portal Wii rumors last fall were true. .. Or maybe I'm deluding myself.

Number 3: LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

I admit, this is a title that has me tinkering with the idea of owning a PS3. Just tinkering. I eat this kind of game for breakfast. If the PS3 had more stuff coming out for it, this would definitely be the straw. And it may still. I love the art and the creativity. And anyone who knows me, knows I'm a big supporter of the 2D sidescroller renaissance. Who knows, this game may yet pull me into the dark side. If Sony makes a PS3 Ape Escape. And especially considering FFXIII, Portal, The upcoming unnamed project by Fumito Ueda (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus), and my next entry..

Number 2: Noby Noby Boy (PS3)

There's been so little in the way of news on this title, but I'm still drooling for it. Especially drooling for it to go multi-platform. The creator of Katamari Damacy has thrown in the towel on the sticky ball and is now working on this.. thing. It's about a worm kid or something. How should I know? All I know is the man behind it is an insane genius and I want to see what he's got cooking.

Number 1: LocoRoco (PSP)

So this happy little yellow blob of cute dribbles around in this.. wait for it.. 2D sidecroller. I played it for a couple minutes in a demo keosk and I was sold. Not sold enough to shell out for a PSP. But close. It's just so darned happy! What's it doing on the PSP? Imagine how this would play by tilting the Wiimote. Of course, it'll never happen. LocoRoco is so concretely Sony's, it would be like asking Metroid to come to the 360. But this is a list about wishes, and I wish LocoRoco was on a system I own.

Top 9 Exclusive 3rd Party Wii Titles to Watch

Being a Wii supporter, I get to hear a lot of people whine "The Wii has no third party support, so it's gonna fail." That's wrong for two reasons. First, as I pointed out in my last blog entry, Nintendo has a never ending spring of franchises they're just sitting on. If they wanted to, they could continue making games until the end of this generation. Second, what are you talking about? Wii has third party support! And I've compiled a list, and a new banner, to illustrate their promising exclusives.

*Titles listed asthetically, not in order of importance.

Numba 9: Okami - Capcom, Ready at Dawn

While not technically an exclusive, as it is being ported from the PS2, Wii is getting an improved version, where the Wiimote can be used, I would imagine, FAR more comfortably as a celestial brush than the PS2's analog stick. I played Okami only about halfway until I learned a Wii version was in the works. At that point I sold it and have been waiting patiently. The game is very unique and very stylish. But who could expect anything less from the amazing Clover Studios' swan song.

Numba 8: Tales of Symphonia - Dawn of the New World - Namco Bandai

Touted as the "first epic RPG" on the Wii (which I find questionable, unless Opoona ends up being shallow) Symphonia 2 is a love letter to fans of the only epic RPG on the Gamecube. The Tales series has generally disappointed me, except for Symphonia, which was excellent in so many ways. The original was a cult hit, and it's my hope that Namco understands that and releases a sequel worthy of it's predacessor.

Numboo 7: Mushroom Men - Gamecock, Redfly

When the trailer for this game first came out, I had a bit of a chuckle. It's this dark world with explosions and monsters and death metal and it's all stylish and awesome looking. And in the comments section below it, people were getting into an argument over if it was coming to PS3 or 360. Nobody even considered that it would not only be a Wii game, but a Wii exclusive (with a DS prequel.) It looks like it will be a very stylish platformer with a very unique idea. Just the type of thing I crave.

Nurmber 6: Sam & Max Wii - Telltale Games

Telltale has disappointingly stated that Sam & Max is not the title they are working on for the Wii. So nurmber 6 is changing to:

Nurmber 6: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers - SquareEnix

The Crystal Bearers has been an interesting project to observe. Two trailers have been released, one in the pre-Wii era. Both trailers sported a dramatically different look. In the interim, Square has waffled on the Wii. First stating that it wasn't interested in developping for it, despite Crystal Bearers supposedly being in the pipe, then taking their "Crystal Tools" and working on making it Wii compatible. The most logical guess I have as to why Square is bringing Crystal Tools to the Wii is for the Crystal Bearers project. It feels as though the title has gone through some massive changes, and if we're to wait for this engine to be completed, it will probably go through many more changes. But the end result will hopefully be one of the greatest titles available for the system.


Numbar 5: King Story/Ousama Monogatari/Project O - Marvelous

Not so much turning heads based on what it's about, but rather who's behind it. Remember how Chrono Trigger had that dream team staff? Remember how well that game turned out? Now comparing it to Chrono Trigger might be dooming the game to the realm of disappoinment, but it's still a project worth watching. From what I can gather so far from the bizarre and very endearing trailer, is that it's about a boy who's given the title of king by some creepy knight, and who has to build his kingdom up by having the population follow him around everywhere and chase dragons. Have I mentionned yet I like unusual games?

Noomba 4: Oboro Muramasa Youtoden - Marvelous, Vanilla Ware

Remember Odin Sphere? It was a really slick looking 2D sidescroller/RPG for the PS2, and there's really nothing else like it on the market. Until now. Soon. Later this year or next year or something. Hopefully coming to the western world with a more manageable name, Oboro features even more gorgeous artwork than it's predacessor. Ever since the says of the N64, I've been saying a really shiny 2D game should be made. Really really shiny. Forget 3D, put the horsepower into making 2D shiny. Well.. it's been done already with Viewtiful Joe and Super Paper Mario. But I want more!

Number 3?: Spore - EA Games, Maxis

I know the corresponding picture up there is for Disaster: Day of Crisis and not Spore. But I couldn't find a good picture to represent Spore, and I couldn't use Disaster for this list, seeing as it's a first party title and all, so they're helping each other out. If you haven't heard of Spore.. well.. here's the nutshell. You're God. That's it. Go nuts. And it's coming to the Wii!

Numbler 2: de Blob - THQ, Blue Tongue

Originally developped as a German student's graphic arts project, de Blob has been snapped up by THQ in an effort to start producing creative and original titles. And you can't get any more original than this. You're a blobby sponge type thing in a dreary yet cartoony world of opressive grey blobby spongey type things. And you make this horrible world party like it's 1999 by splashing it with colour that you've absorbed into your body. It feels like Katamari Damacy all over again.

Number 1: Fragile: Farewell Moon Ruins - Bandai Namco

With only just a teaser and barebones Japanese language site available, Fragile is still very much a mystery. But everything I've seen so far, I like an awful lot. The music is gentle and melancholy. The art is breathtaking both in concept art and in game art direction. And the gameplay, from what I can tell involves a young boy (or maybe girl? Oh anime.) searching a creepy abandonned building, using the Wiimote as a flashlight. There's this creepy part where the walls have arms, and I think this building is on the moon, like the Toast King. But really, this is all just conjecture.

Well there you have it. 9 games to watch carefully. Other notable titles that didn't make the list: Bully: Scholarship Ed and Lego Batman because they are not exclusives.

Nintendo's Brawl Vault

Every so often on message boards or what have you, amidst trolling comments about the Wii having nothing worth playing, someone makes the interesting point that Nintendo is running out of franchises to milk. After all, Wii launched with Zelda, got Paper Mario the following spring, Metroid that summer, Mario that Christmas, and will soon be getting Smash Brothers. Once Mario Kart arrives, which is starting to feel closer, what are we left with in terms of Nintendo's usual suspects?

It's a sad thought for some, assuming that Nintendo has a limited arsenal, which they're firing off at a rapid pace. But are they really running out of ammunition? We know that they're developping a new Animal Crossing game, one which many people hope will be a mumorpuger. There's been confirmation, but not much else, that Kirby will finally be returning to a proper game this year. And then there's that FPS they've been tinkering with since pre-launch Wii, Disaster Day of Crisis. So for fun, let's say they all come out in 2008. Animal Crossing, Disaster, Kirby, Wii Fit, Mario Kart.. what then? Will the console wars be decided by then? And if so, will Nintendo leave it to third parties, and only release the occasional Wii [blank] title? The company seems to be making a lot of smart moves this time around, so I'm guessing the answer is no.

There's no arguing that Smash Bros Brawl is massive. At present, word is it sold 800,000+ copies in Japan in 4 days. And in the western world, you can't be on a games forum without at least reading the word "brawl" somewhere. Somehow, this game has gotten bigger than Mario. Bigger than Zelda. It's one game, but contains pieces of them all. Nintendo's entire library. Even the stuff they sit on. So why do they keep sitting on them? Brawl is like one big advert for the Wii library. Where's the new Pikmin? Or the new Star Fox?

Mother (Earthbound) characters have been in Smash Bros games for two installments now, but it's never seen the light of western shores. What's stopping them from remaking the old NES/SNES games and finally giving them to us with the Wii sheen? And I know it's been said before, but where's our new Kid Icarus? Pit has top billing in the new Smash Bros. He deserves a new game after 20 years.

And what's the deal with the secondary characters in the Mario universe? Donkey Kong, Wario, Waluigi, Daisy, Birdo. Are they forever trapped in Mario Party and sports games? When will any of them get their time in the sun? I for one want to see a Tim-Burtonny origin story for Wario and Waluigi. What's the deal with the Waniverse? I was never filled in on it and I want to be!

I'm sure I'm alone with this following sentiment, but I want Mr. Game&Watch to get his own wacky 2D sidescroller. That guy's got charm.

Iwata recently stated that Nintendo "..as a company are standing on ground that will crumble away underneath us the minute we stop moving forward." Let's hope he realizes the gold mine of potential his company has been sitting on, and takes some ideas from Brawl.

An Introduction

I'm not a typical gamer. But I've been playing video games for a long, long time. I began with the Atari 2600, but like most people my age, fell in love with the medium during the NES days. The original Mario trilogy, the classic Mega Man games and Tetris are all embedded in my brain. Every note, every stage, every secret.

My tastes evolved during the SNES days with the discovery of Squaresoft and titles like Final Fantasy II (IV), Final Fantasy III (VI) and Chrono Trigger, when I realized that games could have a story and in Chrono Trigger's case, touch my heart.

It was in the following generation that things got ugly. I didn't see eye to eye with Nintendo and their decision to make everything 3D. I was and still am a defender of the 2D sidescroller. Nintendo lost me that generation, and I ended up with a PSOne, playing Parappa the Rapper, the Lunar series, and of course, the rerelease of Chrono Trigger.

The following generation was so far the only one in which I owned two consoles. By this point I had a job and could buy systems and games as I saw fit. I bought a PS2 when I found out Parappa 2 and Final Fantasy X existed, and was later given the joy of discovering Katamari Damacy, Shadow of the Colossus and Disgaea. All of which have a near celebrity status among games, in my opinion. That generation I also owned a Gamecube and was reintroduced to Mario through Sunshine, Paper Mario 2, Mario Kart DD, and Melee. The Gamecube also brought me to another franchise I'd never tried before, Legend of Zelda. I've always been in the minority for this, but I loved Wind Waker. I also loved Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, I loved Tales of Symphonia, I loved the original Viewtiful Joe.. I loved my Gamecube. And ironically, it was the least successful Nintendo console that brought me back to Nintendo.

Currently, I'm the proud owner of a Wii and a DS. It was Sony that kept me from falling away from games completely, but at the moment, at least until LittleBigPlanet arrives, I find they just don't have the games that once sparked my interest in their last two consoles. The Wii, on the other hand, seems to be bringing in title after title that grabs my attention

As I said above, I'm not a typical gamer. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose. I love the quirky, the offbeat, the original. I'm not one to play a first person shooter, or a violent gore-fest. I don't buy sports games as a rule. I generally don't care for a game that takes itself too seriously. With exceptions here and there of course. And given those criteria, I think Nintendo is the best fit for me. Some might argue that Nintendo relies on their Marios, Metroids, Zeldas, Karts and Smashes, and that is the opposite of originality. But it's that craftsmanship they put into each new installment that gets me coming back. Each time one arrives, it brings something new and interesting to the table. And each time, they're put together so exquisitely, it's like playing it for the first time.

It's times like these when certain people would grab the opportunity to call me a "fanboy" or one of several other derogatory buzz words. And if they want to, they can. I won't be using those insults in reply though. Using that word, or claiming someone isn't as "hardcore" as you is just an escape tactic. I've heard all the arguments in favor of the PS3 and the 360 and I'm sure they have a lot to offer other people. Just not me. Not yet anyway. For me, the Wii is enough. It has the franchises I grew up with, it has the quirky original stuff, and it has the sales figures to eventually bring the quality third party developpers on board.

I'm not a typical gamer. But my hope is that the Wii's success will bring atypical gaming to the masses.