Are you the type of gamer who needs to have things that other people don’t have? Are you the type for whom “console exclusive” is the magic pair of words which inspires either immense pride or extreme jealousy? Well then, for this generation, the Wii is your console. This week demonstrates as much as well as any—look at the release lists, and you’ll see the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 each with the four same releases, while the Wii? Seven console-exclusive releases, with the only cross-platform release being the Rock Band Classic Rock Track Pack. Given the similarity of the Xbox 360 and PS3 processors, it simply doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint for a third party to release exclusives on one or the other. The Wii, as a machine with a completely different reason for being (not to mention a far weaker set of specs), almost demands exclusives, given its emphasis on control and limited graphical capabilities; even when games aren’t exclusives, parts of them are far different than versions put out for the other systems.
Of course, a look at this week’s releases also demonstrates the drawback of such a philosophy—wow, does the Wii ever attract some shovelware.
In this space, we’d rather focus on the games that aren’t shovelware, and thankfully, there are plenty of those this week as well. At the top of the list is the Wiimake—oh…oh my…did I just write “Wiimake”? I’m kind of ashamed, actually. It’s the Wii remake of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (or the exponentially less cool Punch Out!! featuring Mr. Dream, if you got to it late), whose most promising announced feature so far is the return of the classic controls with the updated graphics. Sure, those controls won’t beat the visceral thrill of flailing about with the Wii remote and nunchuck while you try in vain to knock down the likes of Glass Joe, but we have Wii Sports’ boxing for that anyway, right? In any case, the art style of the new Punch-Out!! is pretty appealing, and old-school nintendo fans are almost guaranteed to have a good time with it!!
If you could care less about old-time gaming, Boom Blox Bash Party is a good way to support one of the new Wii franchises. The first Boom Blox, highly touted as Steven Spielberg’s entry into the gaming arena, was at first a victim of widespread disinterest, and it sold terribly out of the box. That said, it’s apparently been a consistent seller for the Wii, given that it’s almost hit seven-figure sales since that slow start. Bash Party tweaks the formula a bit with underwater and outer space levels (and all the gravity changes such environments would imply), and adds the ability to download new levels at no extra cost, which could potentially push the replay value of the game into the stratosphere. Here’s hoping the second entry in the series doesn’t take quite so long to catch on.
As for all of those non-exclusives on the other big consoles, I would be remiss to not mention Bionic Commando. As the modern-day update to what remains my favorite Nintendo game of all time, I’m excited and utterly skeptical at the same time. My skepticism is mostly borne from descriptions that compare the Bionic Commando swing mechanic to the modern Spider-Man games, but I’m hoping against hope that there’s more to it than that. If nothing else, it looks to be a fun hi-def adventure game, which is fine and all, but the Bionic Commando name deserves more.
...and how could I forget Imagine: Makeup Artist? Oh, right.
What are you playing this week? Is anyone else dreading the release of Bionic Commando just a little bit? Do you know anyone who you can hold at gunpoint and force to buy Boom Blox Bash Party? Let us know in the comments, and enjoy the atypically busy release week!!