It was at the height of the Wii’s popularity. People were talking about it. Wii remotes were breaking TV screens. It was fair game for humor. It spawned hilarious peripherals. It was practically a meme on its own.
The previous Christmas season you could not find one for love or money… well, unless you wanted to spend a LOT of money on eBay… while competing consoles were sitting on the shelves, primarily due to their high price tags. My wife was able to score one in the post-holiday season, but it had to stay under wraps for a couple months because we were moving.
But once it was out of the box, it was a hit in our house. My daughter and I played a lot of Wii Sports and Mario Party 8 and LEGO Star Wars, various flavors of Mario Kart (though never Mario Kart Wii), and old classics from the Wii Virtual Console. Miis were created in imitation of friends and family.
It was a time of excitement, as the Wii represented something new.
It was also perfect timing in our lives. My daughter was just five years old when the Wii showed up, which was just about the perfect age for the games we were playing.
It became a Saturday morning tradition. My daughter would wake me up early… before 7am early… and we would get up, jump in the giant Love Sac not-a-bean-bag-chair in the family room ( I really miss that thing… one of our cats was constantly peeing on it, so it had to go), and play games for hours.
Later, the Nintendo DS and Pokemon took over our Saturday morning focus, though the Wii still found ways to stay a part of the picture. There was Pokemon Battle Revolution, which was deeply integrated with Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (but not any of the subsequent Pokemon titles) and Pokemon Ranch, which let you store and track your Pokemon collection.
Time went on. Pokemon began to fade. My daughter got a Nintendo DSi XL, which could download demo software on its own, without having to connect to the Wii, a restriction we faced with the DS Lite units.
But there were still things to do. Rock Band was a big hit. We actually had adults coming over to play.
And my daughter started playing Wii games that I did not like, such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, or at which I simply sucked, like Super Mario Bros. Wii. But her friends liked those games and played them with her instead.
At that point I was pretty much done with the Wii aside from Netflix streaming service, which at the time was free for any Netflix subscriber.
Time passed, the old TV died and we got a new, high def TV. That, in turn, prompted me to get a PlayStation 3, as the Wii does not support anything beyond 480p. We could now stream Netflix in HD and watch movies in Blu-Ray. The Wii started to get used less and less.
Then Little Big Planet showed up on the PlayStation 3. That became pretty much the only console game getting played.
My daughter’s interests are better served with by her iMac. She has PhotoShop Elements and a Wacom tablet hooked up for art. She has Minecraft. WoW doesn’t thrill her any more, though maybe if Runic could get to work on Torchlight II for the Mac as they promised, that might be of some interest. I already bought her a copy.
But my daughter, now very much a pre-teen, is not so interested in the Wii, or even the PlayStation 3. It is all about her phone, her Nook Color, and her iMac.
And I am a PC gamer from way back, so console games, which always feel limited to me, have little pull.
I think the Wii went from Christmas to Easter without getting used once. At Easter we had friends over, and their kids have a Wii, and Super Mario Bros. Wii is still on the list for them, so we broke that out. Our Wii got played with a little bit. But it will likely make it from Easter to Thanksgiving without much of a workout in between.
Its days are numbered. Even Nintendo is beginning to shut down services on the Wii as they try to push people towards the Wii U. We have no interest in the Wii U around our house, which seems to be a common theme.
It is probably just the small size of the unit in the entertainment console that is keeping it around. And the fact that the Wii Fit balance board fits under the whole setup.
At some point it, the controllers, and its games are going to get boxed up and stored away, waiting for somebody to get a pang of nostalgia.
The Wii was a fine console for our family, and showed up at just the right time.
Wii Sports was great, Mario Party 8 and its mini games were lots of fun, and all the LEGO games were great until they started doing split screen, which gave me a headache.
But that time seems to have mostly passed at this point.
I have said in the past that I get a game console every 15 years. There was an Atari 2600 in 1977. A Sega Genesis in 1992. And then the Wii in 2007. The PlayStation 3 doesn’t really count as it only gets used for Blu-Ray, streaming video, and, since I set up the NAS service with a hard drive on our router, a bit of music streaming now and again.
So I guess the next stop is in 2022. What will we have then?