Wii're Not Gonna Take It

I’d only been at the in-law’s place for a few hours before I was introduced to the Wii. Pretty much everybody has a Wii anymore, and I admit my expectations were pretty high. It seemed novel to be physically active while playing video games. But, frankly, the Wii is a little disappointing.

Don’t let the fact that I’ve spent a total of nine or ten hours playing it speak to the contrary (the system keeps track of how long you’ve been playing, and that’s one of the things I don’t like about it. It’s like when you’re leaving Burger King and there’s a "Nutrition Information" card on the exit door, placed there for the sole purpose of rubbing in your face that you just had your fortnight’s allowance of calories in that juicy burger. They might as well just have a sign as you leave that says: "You just ate a freaking cow, you cow.")

[Here's a picture that has little to do with video games, but I'm trying to break up large blocks of text. This is Halen really driving a tractor -- with Grandpa to actually drive.]

I would appreciate the Wii more if it required more than swinging one’s right arm. I wouldn’t really call that "physical activity." I would call it something more like "swinging one’s right arm." I’ve packed a ton of muscle tissue onto my right arm though, playing golf, bowling, and tennis on the Wii. I’m just about ready to do a triathlon.

The in-laws also have Wii boxing, but, although that required a bit more exertion, it was disappointing too. There was a delay between the time I threw a punch and when my Mii (that’s what the Wii calls your little on-screen character. But now I’m thinking what do you call your opponent’s character? He’s not a Mii, because only I’m a Mii. Is it a Yoo? An Itt? I predict that Nintendo is going to pull an Apple and milk this "consonant followed by two lowercase I’s" thing for all it’s worth, just like Apple has made our lives miserable by putting a lowercase I in front of everything. iThis, iThat. Welcome to my iBlog. iMade it 18 months ago, but iOnly post a few times a month because iDon’t have a lot of time. iSorry. uMad? uWant that iKick uButt?) actually threw the on-screen punch. Bet you forgot I was in mid-sentence, huh? That’s called magic, when I remember hard things like that.

So, the question is, when I’m playing Wii boxing, how am I supposed to beat the tar out of the other guy when my Mii doesn’t punch when I tell it to? Did you see what happened when Mike Tyson stopped punching when Don King told him to? He got tattoos all over his face, then he started supping on succulent ear lobe. That could happen to me, too, if I keep playing Wii boxing before they’ve fixed the delay.

Does anybody remember the Nintendo Power Pad? Now that was a work out. I think the game that came with it was called World Class Track Meet or something, and all you did was stomp your feet on the pad as fast as you could. It didn’t really simulate running all that well, but you were guaranteed to break a sweat in 10 seconds flat. Plus, the pad could double as a Twister mat at slumber parties. Can the Wii do that? BOO-ya.

And, as long as I’m rambling on and everybody stopped reading four paragraphs ago, whatever happened to bits? Remember when the worth of a video game system was measured in bits? Nobody really knew what a bit was, but the more bits, the better.

When Sega was marketing the Genesis, we all found out that Nintendo only had 8 bits. Genesis had 16 bits. 16 is more than 8, so Genesis was better. "Its graphics are totally righteous," we’d gush. Speaking of graphics, one video game system tried to cash in on the fact that "graphics" was the buzz word of the era, so they called their console TurboGrafx-16, but they spelled "graphics" wrong so nobody bought it.

Then Nintendo put out the 16-bit Super Nintendo to do battle with Genesis. The graphics were initially pretty cool, but then they put out Star Fox, which must have been programmed by Cubists. Does anybody remember this game? All it had was a bunch of rectangles and triangles with different colors. I’d be like, "Is that cube my spaceship? Why is that rectangle shooting line segments at me? If I push A will my cube drop a big, fat cosine bomb?" Picasso would’ve loved it, but it felt to me like doing geometry homework when I was trying to put in an honest evening of wasting time.

[Here's the Bountiful Temple, which also has pretty much nothing in common with video games. I took some pictures of it to kill time before meeting friends for pizza and Pepsi. The toddlers succeeded in not spilling their pop all over the table, but I didn't.]

I remember rumors floating around during the early 90s that Nintendo was building a 32-bit machine that would be called the Tiger or the Lion or the Rock Yo World or something. But, for reasons I still don’t understand, everybody skipped 32-bits and went straight to 64-bits. What the-? And, what’s more, the graphics weren’t 4 times better (shouldn’t they have been 4 times better, since 16x4 is 64?) And it’s about then that I started to smell something fishy. "Wait a minute," I sez. "This whole bits thing was just a marketing gimmick!"

And, since then, my suspicion has been confirmed. Nobody even knows or cares how many bits the X-box has. Nintendo’s Game Cube was just a stupid box. It didn’t have any bits. I know – I kicked one once and no bits came out. Now it’s all about how many I’s you have. And we're not gonna take it anymore. Bring back the bits!

Fortunately, the video game world has stopped being relevant since about 1998, when Nintendo put out Goldeneye, a game based on the James Bond movie of the same name. Nobody really needed to put out any more games after that, because that game did, and continues to, represent the pinnacle of gaming. After creating a video game where up to four players can go into a virtual basement with rocket launchers and blow each other up over and over again, where is there to go but down?