History Behind Wii Purchase
It is time to rewrite the video game history books, because Nintendo's Wii unexpectedly and stunningly went from an afterthought and an underdog to a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. Ask any hardcore video game fan what they thought about Wii after the Wii Remote was unveiled and the official system name was announced, and I bet they'd suggest that Nintendo was essentially releasing a GameCube + Virtual Boy hybrid, i.e., a big-time flop. Oops. It's still hard to believe that nobody saw the Wii train coming. It's even harder to believe that so many people have jumped on the bandwagon that Wii was consistently sold out nearly three years AFTER its original release.
Because GameCube was so underwhelming, I figured Wii wouldn't be anywhere near as hot of a seller as PlayStation 3. After all, Sony (not Nintendo) was the cool kid on the block. So I figured I would leisurely arrive at my local Target about 7 a.m. (an hour before opening) on Sunday, November 19, 2006. Much to my dismay, the line was well over 200 people long by the time I got there! After seeing that absurdity, I drove 5 minutes down the road to the local Best Buy. Yikes! Another 100+ in line! Now I'm scrambling for ideas. So I run over to a GameStop in a strip plaza, thinking it wasn't as popular as the stores in the mall. I was right. Only two people were waiting there at 7:30 a.m. The line ended up being small, but that's because the employees arrived and told us that they only had enough for preorders! Crap. At this point, it's a little after 9:00 a.m. I have one long-shot idea: Sears. Sears was a big seller of video games in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, but then they got out of the business. However, since they were starting to sell games again with the DS, I thought maybe they'd sell Wii. I was about third or fourth in line, and the line eventually grew to well over 50 people by the time the store was scheduled to open at 11 a.m. When it opened, the orderly line became chaos as people descended from multiple directions into electronics and found...NOTHING. I struck out.
I figured the next opportunity to find a Wii would be the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and I was right. Moreover, since I was traveling for the holidays, I was in a less populated area. I saw that Toys "R" Us was opening at 5 a.m., so I got up and went to that store around 4 a.m. The line wasn't too bad, and I estimated that I would be in good shape to get a Wii. Oh, wait, there was one problem: They didn't have any. So I went over to GameStop and ended up being 13th in line at that point. When that store opened, I found out that they only had 12 Wii systems. Yes, I was 13th in line, and they had 12. If I did not go to Toys "R" Us, then I probably would have scored a Wii. Instead, I purchased two extra Wii Remotes, which ended up being a good thing later on.
Next, after reading some Internet message boards, I heard that Best Buy was saving its Wii allotment for Sunday, November 26. So I got there about two hours before opening, and when I saw 100+ people in line already, I immediately turned around and went home. Now I was mad. I spent a lot of time over the next five days on the Internet message boards, trying to get an accurate estimate about which stores would have them next. I also stopped by a Target near where I worked during the middle of the week, and a helpful associate told me that they would have them on Sunday.
What lies below is a listing of my Wii collection along with some history behind the system's purchase. Please note that all of the games listed below are actual DVDs. I'm not into pirating the latest games.
All-Time Favorite Wii Games
My favorite game of all-time. Period. Rock Band 3 epitomizes how you can evolve a game to near perfection. It was backwards compatible with your Rock Band 2 (RB2) music library. It corrected nearly every imperfection from RB2. It offered entirely new experiences (Pro and keyboard) for playing—without requiring you to play that way. It provided a seemingly endless supply of new songs to download. And the Rock Band 3 Wii port was handled fantastically. The gift that kept on giving for years and years.
The simple reason for listing Rock Band 2 immediately after Rock Band 3 is a recognition of how much I played and enjoyed this game. While Guitar Hero III on Wii may have introduced me to the music game genre, it was Rock Band 2 where it reached its peak of popularity. Unlike the first Rock Band, the Wii port of Rock Band 2 was great -- and it was compatible with Guitar Hero instruments. I'd bet that many non-gamers' most memorable video games experience involves a Rock Band party.
When I think about Wii Sports from my video game critic perspective, I see a game that exemplifies the vision of the Wii, with its ability to let people play using natural instincts. But I also think about how it looks simple and contains little depth. You know what? Who cares. Wii Sports shows that you do not need awesome graphics or endless options to have fun. Wii Sports has revolutionized a whole generation of gaming, just as Super Mario Bros. did in the 1980s. Boo-yah, Grandma!
4. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Who would have guessed that one of the best-selling games on Wii would be a 2D Mario game? Maybe that's because it's one of the Wii's best games, too. The secret to its success can be attributed to this one thing: a multi-player Mario adventure. How many times have you ever wished you could play something like Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World simultaneously with a friend? Yeah, I thought so. If you are a glutton for punishment, try it with four players!
Talk about a parallel Mario universe. Super Mario Galaxy feels like Mario, but it also feels so different with level design that used planetoids (space) as a theme, offered gravity-defying physics, incorporated omnidirectional running, and introduced the spin move. This grand adventure also stands out by having an actual story (Rosalina and Lumas) and a fully orchestrated soundtrack. A masterful design of ingenuity, idealization, and Wii "waggle" -- and an intelligent camera.
Since I never got into PS2 or Xbox, I didn't get to enjoy Guitar Hero until Wii. This quickly became one of the best games I had ever played. I fell in love with it. It married two of people's favorite things: music and games. Guitar Hero III also struck that perfect balance between being easy-to-learn and hard-to-master, and this made the game unbelievably addictive. The high level of interaction makes it loved by all ages and genders. It is only better with a (rock) band.
As a kart purist, I do not like the fact that motorcyles were introduced. That being said, after you play Mario Kart Wii, it is easy to see why it was better than the N64 or GCN editions. For starters, both the new courses and new items were very well designed. Mario Kart Wii also brought the DS concepts of online play and retro courses to the Wii big screen. Overall, Mario Kart Wii runs a little more smoothly, plays a little less cheaply, and remains a lot of fun.
Just as Steven Spielberg is often remembered for his earlier work in movies (e.g., Jaws, E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, etc.), his video game work will be associated the first game with his fingerprints: Boom Blox. From a distance, it seems like Jenga. Upon closer inspection, however, this physics-based puzzle takes into account how different kinds of blocks interact based on the angle of throws/pulls, mass of projectiles, and type of blocks. Tons of fun for all ages.
The way I'd describe my opinion of Rayman Raving Rabbids is that it's a guilty pleasure. The game is absolutely hilarious (it makes me chuckle thinking about it), and it is strangely compelling because of its original uses of the Wii Remote and Nunchuck. Aside from Wii Sports, if you had to pick another early Wii release that embodied playing Wii, then this is it. The Raving Rabbids series set the benchmark of mini-game compilations for years to come.
10. House of the Dead: Overkill
"I'm going to rip your..." Well, let's just say that you know the rest of the quote if you've played the game. This surprise hit was a confluence of multiple factors: 1) An original, on-rails, arcade-style shooting game to take advantage of the Wii Remote; 2) An over-the-top, profanity-laden, gore fest that seemed remarkably out of place on a Nintendo system; and 3) A very well-designed and replayable game. You just HAD to play to see what unbelievable thing happened next.
11. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
You know how romance can swoon over the expression of one's love? Well, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is like the ultimate love letter to a Nintendo fan. It expands upon a highly successful formula, adding some small refinements but also some big changes -- like online play. It even includes a single-player adventure that would be a hit game on its own merits. To be honest, the only reason that Super Smash Bros. Brawl does not rank higher for me is the fact that my friends do not enjoy the series.
As the showcase game for the MotionPlus attachment -- although Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 represented, too -- Wii Sports Resort succeeded in many respects. Events, such as Swordplay, Frisbee, Table Tennis, Archery, and Air Sports, showed off the new range of motion and were a lot of fun. Wahu Island became a new property of sorts for Nintendo. Yet I also must acknowledge that Wii Sports Resort was a bit uneven and not as magical and captivating as the original.
13. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
As with many other games in the Wii/DS generation, Nintendo tried to recapture the magic of its games from yesteryear. Zelda: Twilight Princess went back to its 3D Zelda roots and presented a more realistic and uncharacteristically dark and foreboding tale. Surprisingly, it is also unbalanced with some fantastic moments and boring elements. Although developed for GameCube, the Wii version waggles with good use of the Wii Remote for sword slashing and bow shooting.
Due to the Wiimote's IR pointer technology, the Wii became the king of on-rail, light gun-type shooters. Honestly, the collection is still unmatched today. Even after the Wii's heyday, my friends and I would come back to Ghost Squad. Classic Sega arcade-style gameplay (2004) means that the game is very easy to pick up and play, and the non-stop action and branching paths make it fun to play through in short bursts and on numerous occasions. The awesome Wii port even upped Ghost Squad to four-player simultaneous play!
15. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
For anyone who missed Traveller's Tales' original Lego releases at the end of the PS2/Xbox/GCN generation in 2005 and 2006, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga was a lovely, kids-friendly, multi-player reprieve from Wii waggle and party games. Yes, this 2007 compilation emphasizes collecting things, but it is served up with oodles of fan service and surprising wit. Star Wars fans will enjoy tons of themed levels, enjoyable side quests, and recognizable characters.
Honorable Mention: Def Jam Rapstar, NBA Jam, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Just Dance
Wii Boxed Game Collection (70 games)
- Boom Blox
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - Reflex Edition
- Call of Duty: World at War
- Crazy Mini Golf 2 [MP]
- Data East Arcade Classics (4:3)
- de Blob
- Dead Space Extraction
- Deadly Creatures
- Def Jam Rapstar
- Dewy's Adventure
- Donkey Kong Country Returns W
- Dragon's Lair Trilogy
- EA Sports Active
- Ghost Squad (4:3)
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game
- GoldenEye 007
- Grand Slam Tennis [MP]
- Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
- Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
- Guitar Hero IV: World Tour
- House of the Dead: Overkill, The
- House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, The (4:3)
- Just Dance
- Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition
- Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword W [MP]
- Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii U)
- Link's Crossbow Training
- Mad Dog McCree: Gunslinger Pack (4:3)
- Madden NFL 12
- MadWorld (4:3)
- Manhunt 2
- Mario Kart Wii
- Mario Party 8 (4:3)
- Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games ('08)
- Mario & Sonic at Olympic Winter Games ('10)
- Mercury Meltdown Revolution
- NBA Jam
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii W
- NHL Slapshot
- NHL 2K11 [MP]
- NiGHTS: Journey into Dreams
- Pictionary (uDraw)
- Rayman Raving Rabbids (4:3)
- Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (4:3)
- Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party (#3)
- Rayman Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time (#5)
- Real Heroes: Firefighter
- Red Steel 2 [MP]
- Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition W
- Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles (2nd)
- Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles (1st)
- Rock Band 2
- Rock Band 3
- Sonic and the Secret Rings
- Sonic Colors (NS)
- Super Mario Galaxy (NS)
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Super Paper Mario
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Table Tennis (Rockstar Presents)
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 [MP]
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary
- uDraw Studio (uDraw)
- We Ski
- Wii Fit
- Wii Sports (Wii U Bowling and Tennis)
- Wii Sports Resort [MP]
- Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
[MP] specifies the Wii MotionPlus accessory
(4:3) is not meant for anamorphic widescreen
W indicates widescreen-only Wii Game
Wii "bricking": Hold +/- on Wiimote during Health & Safety
Framemeister & mClassic •= Scaling On •= Retro (4:3)
plus Rhythm Heaven Fever on Wii U VC, Go Vacation ported to Switch, Impossible Mission ported to Switch, the HD re-release of Klonoa on Switch, and Pac 'n Roll Remix and Pac-Motos on the Pac-Man Museum+ collection for Switch
For a hardcore gamer, Nintendo's "Virtual Console" download service was initially as appealing as Wii's innovative controller. Because I always have been a Nintendo die-hard, the idea that I could purchase and download classic games from Nintendo's competitors was beyond awesome. It was quite a novelty back in 2006-2008! Since I have a large physical collection of Nintendo systems and games, I have mostly downloaded the "best of the best" from non-Nintendo systems.
I also downloaded some newer WiiWare games that either were remakes/updates of classics or simple, intuitive games.
WiiWare (11 games)
- Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth
- Contra Rebirth
- Dart Rage
- Dr. Mario Online Rx
- Excitebike: World Rally
- Family Mini Golf
- Mega Man 9 (4:3) (NS)
- Midnight Pool
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I
- Target Toss Pro: Bags
- TV Show King
Virtual Console (65 games)
- 1942 (NS) (ARC) 480i
- Adventure Island (NES) 240p + WB Returns on (NS)
- Alex Kidd in Miracle World #1 (SMS) 240p
- Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars #2 (SMS) 240p
- Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (NS) #4 (GEN) 240p
- Alex Kidd in Shinobi World #5 (SMS) 240p
- Altered Beast (ARC) 240p + GEN on (NS)
- Black Tiger (NS) (ARC) 480i
- Blades of Steel (NES) 240p
- Blaster Master * (NES) 240p + Zero on (NS)
- Bomberman '93 (TG-16) 480i (5p)
- Bonk's Adventure (TG-16) 480i
- Bonk's Revenge (TG-16) 480i
- California Games (C-64) 480i
- Castlevania (NS)* (NES) 240p
- Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NS)* (NES) 240p
- Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NS)* (NES) 240p
- Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (T-CD | Jap) 240p
- Chrono Trigger (SNES) 240p
- Darius Twin (SNES) 240p
- Devil's Crush (TG-16) 480i
- Double Dribble (NES) 240p
- Dungeon Explorer (TG-16) 480i (5p)
- Ecco the Dolphin (GEN) 240p
- Final Fight (SNES) 240p + ARC on (NS)
- Forgotten Worlds (GEN) 240p + ARC on (NS)
- Gate of Thunder (T-CD) 480i
- Ghouls 'n Ghosts (GEN) 240p + ARC on (NS)
- Golden Axe (NS) (GEN) 240p
- Gunstar Heroes (NS) (GEN) 240p
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures (SNES) 240p
- Kid Icarus * (NES) 240p
- King of the Monsters (NG) 240p
Virtual Console (cont.)
- Magician Lord (NG) 240p
- Mario Bros. (NES) 240p + ARC on (NS)
- Metal Slug 3 (NG) 240p
- Milon's Secret Castle (NES) 240p
- Monster World IV (Wonder Boy #6) (GEN) 240p
- Phantasy Star (NS) (SMS) 240p
- Phantasy Star II (NS) (GEN) 240p
- Prince of Persia (SNES) 240p
- Revenge of Shinobi (NS) (GEN) 240p
- River City Ransom (NS)* (NES) 240p
- Shinobi (NS) (ARC) 240p
- Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (NS) (GEN) 240p
- Sin & Punishment (N64) 480i
- Sonic Chaos (SMS) 240p + GG on (NS)
- Space Harrier (NS) (ARC) 240p
- Space Harrier II (NS) (GEN) 240p
- Space Invaders: Original Game (NS) (SNES) 240p
- Splatterhouse (TG-16) 480i + ARC on (NS)
- Strider (GEN) 240p + ARC on (NS)
- Summer Games II (C-64) 480i
- Super Dodge Ball (NS)* (NES) 240p
- Super Fantasy Zone (GEN) 240p + Orig. on (NS)
- Super Hang-On (ARC) 240p
- Super Mario Bros: Lost Levels (Wii U) (NES) 240p
- Super Thunder Blade (NS) (GEN) 240p
- Toejam & Earl (NS) (GEN) 240p
- Wonder Boy #1 (SMS) 240p + Returns on (NS)
- Wonder Boy in Monster Land #2 (SMS) 240p
- Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair #3 (GEN) 240p
- Wonder Boy III: Dragon's Trap #4 (SMS) 240p
- Wonder Boy in Monster World #5 (GEN) 240p
- Y's Book I and II (T-CD) 240p
The following bulleted points are some random notes and thoughts about the Wii. In the list, you will find information about the system and games that I could not place anywhere else.
Last Updated: September 26, 2022
- In total, I downloaded over 250 songs for Rock Band 3 (and Rock Band 2) on Wii.
- I thought about making these games part of my permanent collection: Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3 and DJ Hero. But it's not like that I need even more Wii accessories, right?
- Oh, and, I would be remiss if I did not mention how Wii is the king of on-rail shooters and how these types of games cannot be replicated on Switch (IR pointing > Gyro). Nowadays, when you think of the Wii, you have to consider these multiplayer on-rails classics: Dead Space Extraction, Ghost Squad, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles & Darkside Chronicles, The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, The House of the Dead: Overkill, and several others. One might even consider Dino Strike, Gunblade NY & LA Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack, Mad Dog McCree: Gunslinger Pack, or Target Terror in this list!
- For the Wii U Virtual Console, I also downloaded Rhythm Heaven Fever.
Copyright © Scott McCall. All Rights Reserved. ™ and © for all products, characters, and indicia related thereto which are contained herein are owned by the companies who market or license those products.
It's now Sunday, December 3, 2006. At this point, I just HAD to have a Wii. My goal was to get in line at 3 a.m., which was about five hours before the 8 a.m. store openings. Based on my inside tip about Target, I thought I'd go there. I also had read that Toys "R" would have them. When I got to the Target near my house, I didn't see anybody in line. Curious. Because Toys "R" Us was a few hundred yards away, I thought I should drive over there, too. There was a line there. Hmmm...so I made the decision to get in line at Toys "R" Us. I was 10th in line at 3:15 a.m. Unfortunately, it was cold (upper 20s), so I bundled up, took a camping chair, grabbed a book (The Da Vinci Code), and enjoyed a warm drink. This Toys "R" Us received a shipment of 40 Wii consoles, so I purchased the Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Rayman Raving Rabbids. I tell you what: This crazy Wii buying experience is something I'll never forget.
Retrospectively, in spite of being vastly underpowered compared to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the Wii was Nintendo's best home gaming experience since the Super NES days. Nintendo hit it "out of the park" with phenomenal updates to the Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros., Metroid, and Donkey Kong properties. Nintendo established unconventional game genres, created brand-new franchises, such as Mii characters and Wii Sports, and capitalized on an accessory boon, with Nunchucks, Classic Controllers, Wii Wheels, Balance Boards, Wii MotionPlus, etc. Third-parties released tons of games -- some great and lots of crap -- and even developed their own accessories, such as Guitar Hero guitars, DJ Hero turntables, Rock Band drum sets and keyboards, Gretzky hockey sticks, etc.
For me, Wii was mostly about these experiences: 1) playing games with non-gamers in a social setting, 2) starring in my own Rock Band, and 3) experiencing the some of the best Nintendo-developed games since the 1990s.
Wii Virtual Console Breakdown (65 games)
Nintendo (NES) = 13
Sega Master System (SMS) = 8
TurboGrafx-16 (TG-16) = 6
TurboGrafx-CD (T-CD) = 3
Super Nintendo (SNES) = 6
Sega Genesis (GEN) = 17
Neo Geo (NG) = 3
Nintendo 64 (N64) = 1
Arcade (ARC) = 6
Commodore 64 (C-64) = 2
* indicates game I also own on cartridge