With the Nintendo Switch release earlier this month, I figured I’d talk about my experience with another Nintendo console launch, the Wii.
Now to preface, I didn’t actually get the console at launch. It was five days after on Black Friday. I was 14 at the time, and a family tradition of ours was to peruse the local department stores the day after Thanksgiving, to get that oh so glorious deal. Eventually, my mom, little brother, little sister, and I, made our way to Toys “R” Us to see what they had to offer, when we noticed a rather lengthy line around the game section. So we asked what was going on and the cashier explained that they had some Wii’s for sale, the only catch was you had to buy three Wii games with it. My brother and I went absolutely nuts. We knew that the Wii was virtually sold out across the city of Atlanta, and this was our golden opportunity to get one. We proceeded to go to our notoriously frivolous mother, and begged her to spend the $450 to get the much sought after system. Since it was my brother doing a majority of the begging, she explained to him that if she bought it, he would have to sacrifice his upcoming Christmas and birthday gifts. Without a thought, he agreed to the terms, even managing to bargain for a classic controller, and we were in business.
The next task was finding three launch games that we wanted. The first was a given, obviously it was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Second, since my brother and I had previously beaten X-Men: Legends 1 and 2, we got the sequel, Marvel Ultimate Alliance. For the third game, we ended up with the later regrettable purchase of Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2. Suffice to say, the only real gem of the bunch was Zelda.
As happy as a middle aged mom on Prozac, the excitement to finally arrive home and bust that sucker open was unbearable. When we got to our humble abode, in what seemed like a millennia, we rushed to the basement and hooked that bad boy so fast, it was like one of those sped up sequences in The Three Stooges. The first game we played, was the glorified tech demo known as Wii Sports, which came packed in with the console. Needless to say, from throwing a fastball in Wii Baseball, to swinging a nine-iron in Wii Golf, to landing an uppercut in Wii Boxing, we were in complete and utter awe. To us, it was as spectacular as the moon landing, the discovery of electricity, or the advent of the lightbulb. It was a big f-ing deal! We had so many moments in which we’d look at each other and proclaim, is this really happening? Is this console really that cool?! It blew our adolescent minds!
Things only got better after we played Zelda. We could swing our arms in a horizontal or vertical slashing motion, and Link would mimic our movement. We could simulate holding a bow, point the cursor on the screen, press a button, and Link would shoot an arrow right where we placed it. Totally radical! No wonder these things were selling out across the country. Who wouldn’t want this magnificent piece of hardware?! Eff the PS3! Eff the Xbox 360! Only losers wanted to own that crap.
Over the next couple of months, the grand times we had dissipated. There wasn’t too much in the form of content that was on the way. Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros Brawl had a while to go before they came out, and the PS3 and 360 were gearing up for some epic blockbuster releases. We also wised up to the fact that there was no need for all the eccentric motion controls. A flick of the wrist was really all you had to do in order to net the same results as wildly flailing your arms. Alas, the allure of the white colored machine went away, and less than a year later, my brother and I began formulating a plan to buy a 360. Once we got that fabled Xbox, the Wii was nothing more than a mere afterthought, which was sold on Amazon a couple of years later.
Though the luster was lost, in my years of gaming, I never experienced such a euphoria, a nirvana of sorts, than that first time I played the Nintendo Wii.