Why the Wii Hate?

Why do so many game writers hate the Wii so much? There are certain expressions always associated with the system and it’s games. “It looks good for a Wii title” they say. Or even better: “Time to dust off my Wii”. There is this myth that Wii somehow has no interesting games for “true gamers”? What’s wrong with you people?!

Recently, we have been doing regular screenings of trailers for interesting new releases at Cologne Game Lab. I noticed that a significant portion of the interesting games were on the Wii. Also, we also organize a little multi-player session afterwards. More often than not I will be inclined to reach for the Wii exactly in those situations. Finally, when people ask me what console to get if they want to get into gaming, the Wii is often ends up being a very tempting choice – not only because of the price.

It is true that I stopped playing the Wii for some time after I got the Xbox 360. There was an entire different world of gaming for me to explore. But recently, I found myself coming back. Here are some fascinating recent and less recent Wii exclusives. I believe they alone justify to take the platform seriously.

  • Muramasa: To be honest, this is the trigger for this article. I just got the game today and it blows my mind. It looks amazing. The combat may lack some depth but the breath-taking visuals and the cultural references will keep me going for a long time. And then some.
  • Monster Hunter Tri: It has been a long time since a game made me as addicted as Monster Hunter. Luckily, it’s a well-made game too. It is not perfect but if you happen to be the kind of person that enjoys this kind of gameplay, there is no coming back.
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories: Yeah I know. It’s also out for the PS2. But let’s face it – the Wii Version is the definitive one. Again, one of the most innovative and mature titles I have seen for quite some time. Good writing, risky gameplay decisions. This is the game that totally distracted be from all the Alan Wake hype.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2: It’s rare for a title to get so positive reviews from all sources. It’s ever weirder if you consider this is a direct sequel. It even doesn’t look much different from the first part. So clearly, there is something special going on. What am I still doing here?
  • Shiren the Wanderer: Here is a curveball. It’s a roguelike with very intricate mechanics and graphics that aren’t ASCII. When was the last time you saw a roguelike on a mainstream console?
  • Okami: Again – yes it started out as a PS2 title. However, because of the gesture-based controls it looks like it was made for this System and the Wii Version is the only one I would consider trying today. The game features innovative controls and unique graphics. Otherwise it copies Zelda, one of the most addictive and best established game formulas. Nuff said.
  • Red Steel 2: I’ve played it very briefly at GC and I liked it a lot! It a unique take on FPS games with a new, polished control scheme an a very cool visual style.
  • Metroid Trilogy: Somehow this is often swept under the carpet when discussing the Wii. It seems like it is taken for granted. But it’s not! It’s one of the most amazing FPS experiences out there. And it’s exclusive for the Wii. Deal with it!

I could continue like that mentioning things like Madworld, House of the Dead: Overkill or Deadly Creatures. I could even go into the big sellers like New Super Mario Brothers Wii or Wii Sports Resort. My point is that there is no reason to hate the Wii. It is home to some of the most exciting titles of this generation. And it is also selling like crazy. :)

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

26 responses to “Why the Wii Hate?”

  1. morphonomy

    The wii hater in me comes directly from the motion controls. I have no problems with games that support controller function. i even like the whole nunchuk /controller scheme they got going. but the motion controls are so buggy they are unplayable. sometimes they miss,you have to do the same motions 5 times before they work. its just ridiculous that this broken system was even put on the market. Not to mention that the motion controls only recently began running in a real 3d environment. There is a reason the power glove didnt sell too well back then. because it was crap and it is still crap in the form of a wii remote. I think nintendo has a long long way to go before the motion controls are actually usuable as full on controls. For some games it work decently like zelda and others where the motion controls are limited to quick thrusts or shakes. anything mre precise than that and you are going to have problems. the shooters feel like you are controlling the crosshairs with a controller rather than having an actual zapper. (was very disappointed by this) I personally love old school rail shooters with the gun peripheral but the wii just cant cut it (or shoot it)
    very disappointed wii owner

    1. Krystian Majewski

      I think you might be a bit unfair here. I agree with you that the Power Glove was a very poor controller. However it can’t be really compared with the Wii. It wasn’t actually developed by Nintendo and the games weren’t actually made for it.

      The Wiimote certainly has limitations and requires developers to understand what the system can’t and cannot do. As you have noticed yourself – there are games where it works well. There are also games where it doesn’t work so well. But I think blaming the Wii or Nintendo for is misdirected. It’s actually the game developer, who did a poor job.

      There are crappy games on other consoles as well but it’s hardly ever the platform manufacturer to blame. There are even controller-based games with poor controls, but I wouldn’t blame it on poor controller design.

      I’m really like the Wii especially because of the different controls. They are new and it will take some time for developers to get a firm understanding of their capabilities. But every now they inspire developers to do some amazing new titles that wouldn’t be otherwise possible. As for traditional titles, I think we have that are covered with the other two consoles, don’t you think? ;)

      1. 123

        the wii’s cpu specs are aweful the graphics suck the wii’s graphics are almost or even worse than xbox1, the graphics are so lame that it couldn’t even support nazi zombies on call of duty world at war, how can you defend that??

        1. Krystian Majewski

          Obvious Troll is obvious.

          1. 123


          2. 123

            wut does that mean

    2. Rainie

      Hi, i have a wii and ps3 and i must say i love wii more than ps3, ps3 makes my head ache, it has good grpahics, but having good graphics is not always good, i miss the way games look in the late 90’s games like resident evil, silent hill , final fantasy , i really love those polygon style graphics , the wii is a good game console because its breaking away from traditional gaming, ps3 u just site and play, while wii u really feel ur in the game it self, i know graphics sucks, its because developers spend much of time trying to come up with a new way to present the games, the wii is the future of gaming, for me, i don’t for others

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  4. André

    This is flame war… People hate Wii because Wii is supposed to be a casual console, a console for grandpa, but it isn’t. As you said, the Wii is having A LOT great games. It already has the best game of this gen so far (Mario Galaxy 2, 98 on Metacritic). So, PS3 and 360 owner can’t accept that the console for grandpa, with no HD graphics, less technology, is doing a good job and having hardcore games just like the HD systems, wich are supposed to be the shangri-la for hardcore players. So, that’s why they start to say bullshit about the Wii. Sad but true.

  5. IcyShock

    Good article.

    I agree with a lot of you say.

    But it always irks me when people mention Muramasa and MHTri as reasons to get a Wii.

    Don’t get me wrong, they’re honestly really great games, especially MHTri.

    But they’re good DESPITE being on the Wii, not because of it.

    It’s funny how everyone goes on about how pretty Muramasa looks and how great its graphics are, yet the next second they scream “graphics don’t matter, all you fanboys care about is graphics”. but that’s really all Muramasa has going for it.

    It’s a fun game, don’t get me wrong. But it uses extremely traditional controls and extremely traditional and safe gameplay.

    Yet people go crazy about, and these are the same people that say, motion controls are the future, traditional controls are dying…see the irony?

    Something similar can be said for MHTri, which is personally one of my favorite games right now (for any console). It has good graphics and great gameplay… but (despite being playable with the remote and nunchuk), once you start playing you see it’s obviously built for a traditional controller. And unlike a game like SMG2 or even Red Steel 2, which would have to go through major changes and honestly wouldn’t even be the same on the 360 or PS3…

    MHTri would be better in every single way imaginable. Better graphics, better controls (more buttons, which for this game in particular is better, not necessarily for gaming in general), and better online play. Which is why I say it’s great despite being on the Wii.

    1. Krystian Majewski

      OMG, somebody set me up teh flamewar.

      But they’re good DESPITE being on the Wii, not because of it.

      Ah, see? That’s a tiny bit of irrational Wii hate right there. If you say that, you are implying that there is something inherent about the Wii that would make it difficult for developers to make good games.

      The Wii has many limitations. The most important are it’s limited ability to perform advanced 3D rendering. But good graphics don’t necessarily need advanced 3D (Muramasa) and defining the relationship between graphics and the overall quality of a game is difficult anyway.

      Yet people go crazy about, and these are the same people that say, motion controls are the future, traditional controls are dying…see the irony?

      I agree with you that motion controls aren’t the future of interactive entertainment. We will play plenty of awesome games in the future with traditional controllers as well. We will even maybe play some of them on the Wii. I see no irony but I do see a strawman argument.

      As for Monster Hunter Tri – yeah, that’s a difficult one. It’s a port of an already existing franchise. They started out on the PS2/PSP. I think one of the reasons why they continue on the Wii is that the can re-use a lot of old assets. It doesn’t seem like an obvious choice but it’s a good idea if you think about it. The controls don’t work well with the Wiimote/Nunchack combo but the series had control issues on the PSP already. Let’s just say the controls or flexibility aren’t the strength of that particular developer.

      It has flaws. It’s still a good game. It’s on the Wii. There are good reasons for that. I’m having a blast with it. I’m sure I will enjoy the upcoming 360 version as well.

  6. Krystian Majewski

    Just a heads up: I will delete all inappropriate comments to hold this flame-war at bay. My post was specifically directed AGAINST irrational hate and prejudices. This applies to every platform. There is no reason to set up childish fights of which platform is the enemy of which one. Don’t be silly. All there is are just a bunch of different awesome games.

  7. René

    After almost four years I just brush off the Wii hate, because in general the people who try to argue that the Wii isn’t that great are pretty clueless about it’s library. It’s fine to not like the Wii btw, but 8 out of 10 have no idea and are just sheep. Why think for myself if I can follow an pre-baked opinion?

    Don’t take this the wrong way Wii critics, because the console indeed has it’s flaws like an horrible online system and lots of downright pathetic shovelware. Still, because the console is so different it’s the main reason why I personally pick it over the 360 and PS3. It has a lot of sweet “little titles” which wouldn’t be possible on the other two due to budget restrictions. Sure the 360 and PS3 make that up in the blockbuster department (in which the Wii excluding the Nintendo titles is lacking) but that’s beside the point.

    I’ve played a lot of awesome titles and I just wished third party publishers (a little help would have been nice) would make a big deal out of it. The two No More Heroes titles are amazing, the Klonoa remake is fantastic, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is an excellent brawler. A Boy and his Blob is a beautiful 2D platform/puzzle adventure, Dead Space Extraction is a brilliant rollercoasterride, Pro Evolution Soccer on Wii is the best sports experience I’ve played in years and that’s just a few titels. Some titles use the motion controls in a brilliant way and in others it’s non-excistant. Still, these few examples are excellent games and should be experienced by more people out there.

    So yeah, appreciate the Wii for being different. I know I am.

    Btw, I think Shattered Memories is amazing. Easily on of the best games I played this generation.


    1. Krystian Majewski

      Ah, an excellent selection of titles. Especially No More Heroes and A Boy and His Blob. Definitively two quite important titles. I also just remembered two awesome indie Titles: World of Goo and Cave Story.

  8. ejamer

    “When was the last time you saw a roguelike on a mainstream console?”

    The last two I played were Baroque and Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon. Is it a coincidence they were both on Wii?

    Actually, the Wii gets many niche titles released… and that is one of the consoles biggest attractions for me. Not taking anything away from 360 or PS3 – both great consoles with strong lineups of games – but there are so many great gaming experiences on Wii that simply aren’t available anywhere else, I can’t understand why any true gamer would choose to write off a console entirely instead of just being smart enough to pick out the games worth playing.

    To each their own, I guess.

    1. Krystian Majewski

      Yeah there is also the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series on the NDS. Funny enough, it was actually made by the same guys who did Shiren. The interesting thing about Shiren is that is not tied to a franchise. It’s hard to bring a hardcore rogue-like player to even look at a Pokémon game. ;)

  9. Laz

    I have to agree with most comments on here, and after many years of falling for troll-bait, i’ve learned to ignore it.

    I’m a bit OCD with my collections, and i like to get every good game out. With the wii, it is possible to pick a game, and say “this is the definitive game to get”. I have found that wii owners have very little discord when it comes to liking a game, because the games on wii are generally likable to everyone.

    I find i get most upset when people talk of the wii as a ‘kiddy’ console, when anybody can tell you that it is the games that determine the quality of the console, not the other way around. The wii can be made a kiddy/grandma console if you purchase the kiddy/grandma games. Likewise, the wii can be a shovelware console if you buy shovelware. However, if you buy the games that are geared towards older people, it is an adult console.

    Before i finish, i have to say this; the ‘kiddy’ games, like Klonoa, Boy and His Blob, even Boom Blox and Blastworks, can have a very steep difficulty levels, which does not make them kiddy despite their childish presentation. I find that alot of wii games have child-like presentations, but i usually find them to be the most rewarding experiences (case-in-point, the lego games, which are BY FAR the best as wii versions).

    1. Krystian Majewski

      Let’s not forget that Boom Blox is actually a quite awesome party game. It’s surprisingly easy to get into – even for people who don’t play many games. Yet, some levels do have an astonishing level of strategic depth.

      I’m wondering, why do you find the Wii Lego games superior? So far I have only played the complete saga but I have played it on the 360. How does the Wii version compare?

      1. Laz

        I think its due to the presentation. The cartoony graphics seem to be more vibrant on the wii, like the game was made for a console not dependant on graphics. The cartoon graphics were great on the wii, whereas on the ps3 and 360, i found that the game seemed ‘beneath’ the graphics capabilities of these consoles, like they didn’t belong. If you have played Ghostbusters on the wii, then compare it to the ps3 version, you see the same thing. The games look more lacklustre on the HD-consoles.

        Also, the motion controls are a bonus; it just adds that extra bit of fun to the gameplay. However, for other star wars games like Force Unleashed, realistic graphics are the go on the ps3/360.

  10. drew

    Thanks Krys. I love articles like this. Seriously, I’m tired of game reviews that start “time to dust off your Wii!” True, the Wii is not for everyone, but the 360 and PS3 just aren’t my flavor. I enjoy Madworld, Nmh2, and the Sega shooters, but oftentimes I prefer lighter fare.
    I had the sublime pleasure of introducing my nephew to Mario via NSMBW, then later Super Mario Galaxy 2. Needless to say, the little guy is now a crazy Mario fan, with Yoshi a close second.
    That might be why I love the Wii; it’s about having fun with other people.
    If you can’t find a great Wii game it’s because you’re not looking.

  11. Warhead

    I agree, the Wii doesn’t deserve the hate it’s getting. I don’t mind the HD consoles, and I’ve even played games on those systems when I’m at a friends house. But the Wii has a lot going for it: SMG 1 and 2, Monster Hunter 3, Muramasa, even ports like Okami. But the problem is, haters generally ignore those games and more, and simply target it for the glut of “casual games” it has and little else. They just completely ignore what makes the purchase justifiable, and accentuate the negative aspects up to eleven. Little do they know, there’s plenty to play on the system that isn’t targeted at “casuals”, they’re just too far up their asses to realize that.

    1. Laz

      I completely agree. It’s like i said before, it is the games you BUY that define the console experience on a personal level. People don’t seem to understand that if someone bought all sports games on the 360, people who only know of those games will think the 360 is just for sports.

      I also think that the more adult-oriented games on wii do not get enough media advertising, and tend to have lower review scores in general. I cannot speak for all reviewers, but those that begin with “dust off your wii” and “good for a wii game” tend to be prejudiced against the wii. Again, speculation

  12. Cap

    What a great article Krystian.

    I was an avid gamer but had slowly fallen out of gaming after the PS2. When the Wii was announced my wife said ‘wow that is cool, we’ll have to get one’. She had always had pretty much zero interest in gaming (other than on Facebook) so the fact that she actually wanted us to get a games console was a huge deal. After much searching we managed to pick up a Wii just a few weeks after launch. She loved Wii Sports and I got Wii Fit for her but other than Zelda and Metroid Prime 3 I didn’t think that there would be too much on the console for me.

    Now after 4 years I would have to say that the Wii is possibly the greatest console I have ever owned. I loved my Snes and N64 but I never had so many great games for them as I do for the Wii. People may find that hard to believe but to put it in perspective at the end of the N64’s life I probably had about 30 games. I currently own 48 Wii games and there are very few that I would really class as being ‘casual’, ‘kiddy’ or to be ’shovelware’.

    Last year I bit the bullet and bought an Xbox 360. I enjoyed a lot of the games on there and for a while it was getting equal or more play than the Wii. Then the novelty wore off a bit and games like Silent Hill SM (what a great adult game, being a psychological experience instead of the usual run n’ gun bloodfest) and NSMB drew me back to the little white box. Then Monster Hunter Tri and Mario Galaxy 2 hit and the poor 360 has not been touched since; those games are just so addictive that it could be ‘collecting dust’ for some time.

    So what makes the Wii so appealing to me? Well it isn’t the motion controls, although a few games do use them very well. I actually find the IR pointer more of a useful innovation than the motions. Like ejamer said though, part of it is all the niche titles that you just wont find on any other console. Games like Trauma Center, Little King’s Story, Muramasa, Pro Evolution Soccer, Red Steel 2 and Zack & Wiki. Then there’s all the Nintendo exclusives that you cannot play anywhere else, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario Kart, SSBB, Zelda, Metroid etc. Finally there’s games that are actually superior on the Wii (yes there are some) such as Tiger Woods 10, Guitar Hero 5, Shaun White Snowboarding or Grand Slam Tennis. The Wii has such a variety of game types that it really can give something for everyone, whether it be a bloody action game like Madworld or some family fun with Wii Sports Resort.

    It seemed for a long time that it was ‘big and clever’ to hate on the Wii. I think that times are changing though as many gamers can now see the value of Nintendo’s system. In the past month one friend who was a 360 fanatic and hated Wii motion stuff went out and bought a Wii just for Monster Hunter 3. Since picking it up he hasn’t touched his 360 except to stream movies. Another who was a diehard Sony fan is buying a Wii just for Punch Out! after playing it at my house (we pretty much had to pry the controller out of his hands). With these type of titles there is more than enough to satisfy even the most ‘hardcore’ gamer. Sadly as the article says there is still a huge negative bias in a lot of the gaming press, they mark Wii games lower for not being ‘HD’ and bad mouth the Wii at any opportunity (IGN was a good example). My guess would be that a lot of these journalists are young at heart, or more accurately teenagers at heart, so all they want to see is the games that a teenage boy might wet his pants over, they ooooh and ahhhh over HD guns n’ blood fests and fear anything different (which I believe would eventually kill gaming, given the current oversaturation of FPS). As I said times are changing though and these dinosaurs need to get with the times or get out of the game.

    I’d agree that the Lego games feel like a better fit on the Wii. I wouldn’t say that the HD consoles were the way to go for The Force Unleashed though. I own the Force Unleashed on the Wii and the Ultimate Sith Edition on the 360. Although the 360 game looks a hundred times better than the Wii game, I actually found the Wii version a lot more enjoyable to play due to the more immersive controls. The Godfather was a similar situation, looked great on 360, looked ok on the Wii, but I just loved the added interaction that I felt with the Wii version (plus it was a great stress reliever to be able to punch and strangle gangsters).

  13. Marty from free play games

    I’ve been wondering why the wii get’s so much hate from both people who call themselves “hardcore gamers” and game makers.

    first I releaze there is cross over in those groups people that make game do so because they are (or where) really into them and some things cover both groups.

    Nintendo has an image of pushing more family friendly games. This doesn’t fit the image of many hardcore gamers who feel that games should be aimed at them and not kids. and on the developer side they want to focus making games for adults and not kids (fair enough)
    in both cases since big N has the rep of beig family friendly those two groups don’t think Nintendo’s systems will be for them (look at Nintendo’s last few systems and it’s clear a group of fans have moved on to the other gaming systems out there to get their games)

    Next is the fact that Nintendo has been upfront about making the Wii a system that will reach casaul and before now non gamers. Of course Microsoft and Sony have also tried to do the same thing from the start to some degree or another but it hasn’t worked for them nearly as much as it has for the wii.

    there seems to be a bit of a back lash against the system for focusing on nongamer instead of games this may move onto game creators who trying to target the hardcore gamer make games aimed at the on other systems.

    Porting games is also an issue it’s easy to have a game made for both the 360 and PS3 because they both have similar controllers but with the wii you have rethink many games

    also the specs are lower for the wii when compared to the other system. I think that may stop some developers from wanting to make a wii version when they either going to have completly make a new game or lower the specs of the game so it’s easy to be made on all 3 systems with as look work as possible (ie laziness)

    another thing is I don’t think people know what to do on the wii. Maybeit’s te new type of controller.

    Maybe it’s the fact that people don’t know what to do on the system. Sad to say many people copy what’s popular. For the wii the thing that is so popular that it’s stuck in everyone’s mind is wii sports and that seems to be what everyone copies when they make wii games. All the wii needs in some mega hits in different game generes and other people will make more games in those genres

    and as a freind of mine says haters are going hate and it maybe just be as simple as that.

  14. amarmah

    being probably one of the only adults here, this is my opinion: its little boys who are fed bull from the likes of sony or microsoft about 1,graphics 2,hardcore 3,SHOOTERS (FPS) 4, HD, thats who the biggest problem lies with. Second, propaganda and money fed to websites about wii hating by …..yes…..sony and microsoft. To me if there had been no wii I would not own a console…..why…..because I traded my ps3 for being to dependant on rehash, yes rehash how many more killzones, uncharted, lbp, rachet and clank, move-(funny a wii rip) are they going to rehash (same as microsoft with halo, gears, kinect, etc). wiis lineup could not be matched last year and by the looks of it 2011…..better for it……wii all the way!


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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