On Why I Loathe Mario Kart Wii

mariokartsummarySailing along in first place and leading by almost half a leap on the group. The finish line is in site. Maybe a game distance of 20 feet. Blue shell. Red shell. Red shell. Green. Green. Red. Red. Hello 9th place. What just happened?

Poor balancing, that’s what.

I’ve never completed Mario Kart Wii. I don’t have the patience to do so. It has the most playtime of any of our Wii games at home (over 200 hours), but it’s not a game to play for serious players. It is a fun game, but it has this wonderful knack for not rewarding skill.

I don’t mind the powerups. I do mind that there is no counters for some or even a remote chance for others. Do the powerups add any strategy to the game? Not one bit. Some people may argue that, but it’s just too random. To random for this gamer to enjoy. I’ll stick with my DS and SNES versions.

As a side note, does anyone else’s Wii put slight scratch marks around the outer edge of their games–especially ones they play a lot? We’ve gone through one Excite Truck disk and our Mario Kart copy has been giving read errors lately.

[Gamer Responsibility] Growing Another Hand

Wii Fit comes out this week.

Nintendo, please…stop.

Actually, my wife and I were excited about the possibility of Wii Fit—more so about the possibility of using Wii Fit. We’re not getting it now. For having the cheapest selling (more on that in a minute), fastest selling, and most unique console, Nintendo kills you when it comes to peripherals. I would assume that most readers here who have a Wii don’t just have the basic remote and nunchuk.

How many other games are going to use the Wii Fit peripheral? Looking back, how many used the drums, dance pads, guitar(s), microphones, wheels, etc. other than their bundled games?

Since the release of the console, it appears that almost every AAA first-party title on the system has needed more than just the Wiimote. Sure, many titles can be played with just the included controller, but many of those same titles play better with the nunchuk (also included). Let us see: Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Strikers Charged, Metroid Prime 3, Mario Kart Wii, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Super Paper Mario, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit. Yep, it seems as if every title needs a controller add-on. Excite Truck may be the only other major title that can be played with just the remote. It looks like the good ol’ ‘chuck needs to be used on most of them. What happens when you add a player? That $250 console just became a $310 console (another controller plus nunchuk). Now add two more players.

Ouch. We’re in Sony and Microsoft territory now. Their better online play exempts buying another controller for me. I have two 360 controllers. Interestingly, most third party titles get away with just using the standard remote. Of course, they don’t have a need to sell an add-on either.

We won’t even discuss the “classic” controller which is not really all that classic in look, style, or feel. (another $20). And the Wii Zapper? Terrific.

A couple of the games listed earlier let you use the Gamecube controller to play, and ironically it’s even preferred by most gamers on one title. Speaking of Gamecube, I own three drums and two dance pads. Ask me how much we use them.

Why do we need all these extra controllers? Why? I’ve not even touched on all the guitars and instruments that usually work for one game or their sequels…maybe. It appears that the next Guitar Hero is going to have it’s own instrument set. My guess is that it’ll even be exclusive. I really don’t know. I could care less about the music games—Boom Boom Rocket is my level of video game music depth, oh, and Audiosurf—a music game that doesn’t need an extra device to play. In the end, some gamers are going to have more instruments than most real bands.

When I saw the Wii remote for the first time, I was pretty excited about the possibility of playing games with as few buttons as possible. Control simplicity seemed like it was back in our grasp, so to speak. Pointless thinking. (Pun gloriously intended—both times). I will admit, however, that the Wiimote/nunchuk setup for some games is rather intuitive. Excellent, even. I cannot imagine Metroid Prime without it. Keep the gaming design there. Stop. No more add-ons—by anybody. Nintendo is certainly the leader, but, terrifyingly, it appears that the big money is in peripheral bundles.

We already have a Rubbermaid box by our couch that holds all our system controllers and add-ons for a 360 and a Wii. It’s full—a five gallon tote. No more room for another device will use for a period and it’ll sit in the box not to be used for anything else.

The game we keep coming back to: Excite Truck.

In my hands

GTA and MK in the house

Impressions and Mario Kart friend code to be posted soon. Post yours so we can throw red shells at each other!

Update
Mario Kart Wii is that awesome. Here’s my friend code:

2750-1585-9944

…Nat cutting in. Here’s mine:

1762-3222-0503

back to Tony…

I’m throwing GTA IV in now that the kids are in bed, so I won’t be going back to Mario Kart for a bit.