Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wii ... would rather not.

The older daughter and I recently had a conversation about video games. A boy in her grade 5 classroom asserted that Gamecube (our current console) was "lame" and all the games "sucked." (He was hoping Santy would bring him Wii.) My daughter then piped up, "That's not true. I like Gamecube." And so she set off a chorus of similarly minded children, defending the lowly Gamecube.

I was pleased, of course, to hear of her impatience with conspicuous consumption, and let her know. "It's just so crazy," she said. "Why would anyone bother even buying a Wii, dad?"

"Well," I said, "I suppose if you want to play the newer games, that's the console you'd have to buy. They've already stopped making games for Gamecube. Not that that's an issue for us. But if you were curious about that new Simpsons game, for instance, you'd need a different console."

I could see the gears turning. "Oh," she said. "Then maybe we should get a Wii after all."

D'oh!! (Or should I say, "Mission Accomplished"?)

I gave it some further thought, talked it over with my wife and suggested it could be a gift to "me" while the girls received something less frivolous. It all sounded quite sane, so on my next foray into the land of Giant Boxed Stores I walked into the electronics-themed box and asked how much a Wii console was running.

The kid in the blue shirt looked at me as if I'd just crawled out from under a rock. "Uh, prob'ly 'bout $800, I'm thinking."

I blinked. "I was under the impression they were more affordable," I said.

"Well, they are ... when they're in stock."

How was I to know I was hunting for this season's Cabbage Patch Kid? Eight hundred bucks ... there isn't a console in the world worth that kind of coin.

Except for this one. Sturdily built, includes a heap of games that still haunt my dreams. Granted, it takes up a little more space than the new, high-falutin' consoles with their spiffy graphics. But look at those games.

The killer is its (to my mind) outrageous sticker-price of $2000. Two grand ... after I've probably spent that sum in quarters on those self-same games. So no Arcade Legends cabinet console for me, thank you. I will wait until spring, then dish out ten percent of that sum for the newly-available Wii.

Post-script: MAME is an option for some old-timers like myself (no helpful links, sorry: you will have to troll those porn-infested waters under your own recognizance. But Boing Boing links to this clever mash-up of an IKEA dinner table, rigged to include a MAME console.)


Jim said...

I am, much to the frustration of my ever so less and less young daughters, a video game luddite.

Never owned one. Never bought one. Not planning on it either.

Just tell your teary eyed Prajer-ette that she's lucky to have a father like you.

DarkoV said...

I was, sorry to say, disappointed on where the story ended. Not that you were leading me on, but my reading was headed toward the phrase, "so then she checked the "lame" guy into the boards".

The actual fact that she talked to him, i.e., acted maturely.... Well, I just think you ruined a perfectly funny story.

Rob In Victoria said...

That blue-shirt needs an ass-kicking.

Wiis run about $250, and while they are a bit tough to find, they are around (nowhere near the mania there was this time last year).

And even as a non-gamer, I've gotta say: this is one upgrade you're going to want to make. With the Wii, Nintendo has pretty much re-invented the home console paradigm. With the intuitive controls (you wanna bowl? You gotta BOWL!), even the non-gamers are getting involved...

(Be careful, though - a few bowling games and you'll be feeling it.)

Whisky Prajer said...

jim - I'll give it a try and see if it takes.

DV - oh, I'll admit I'm slow in the corner on this whole post. Not only does the "lame" guy not get a proper checking, I wind up joining his chorus!

riv - things must be different out west, because it would take me more hours on the phone than I care to spend to track down a Wii. No matter. I'm still looking forward to the bowling games ... in March.

Rob In Victoria said...

Ah, see, that's the thing -- it's IMPOSSIBLE to track down a Wii. Especially by phone. Your best bet -- and the one that paid off for us -- is to find out when the regular shipments come in to your neighbourhood Zellers or Electronics Boutique and be there early in the days in question. It'll probably take a couple of tries, but it will pay off (in spades, come Christmas morning).

The funny thing is, this mania is still in full force a year after the console's release, a year after the nay-sayers were saying that Nintendo had lost the thread, and were headed for extinction at the hands of the almighty PS3. And now the PS3s languish, dusty and unloved, post-several price drops while everyone still wants a Wii.

Whisky Prajer said...

Staking out Zellers, eh? Sounds crazy enough to work, so I just might do that.

I have to say I take great pleasure in watching Wii clean up the market. My critique of video games is a one-note trumpet: the industry stopped thinking creatively when Berserk came out. This waving the wand thing, though -- that's creative!