So, historically in my family when a new Nintendo console releases I buy it day one, and then pass on my old one to my nieces and nephews. I believe this first started when I bought the Wii and passed on my GameCube. At that point, it wasnít much of a loss to me, because the Wii played GameCube games anyway. But then the Wii U came along and I gave away my Wii, and although the Wii U plays Wii games, it doesnít play GameCube games, so I no longer had a way to play my GameCube games. To be honest, I wasnít thinking much about playing GameCube games at that point anyway.
But a few years later, I got the urge to play some of the GameCube classics, so I asked for my GameCube back. They had a Wii that played GameCube games now anyway, they didnít need my GameCube anymore! Well, I got it back, but with one major problem. It didnít work.
They had broken it! No use crying over spilt milk, right? And I figured Iíd be getting my Wii back eventually, so I would be able to play my GameCube games at that point anyway. Just needed to be patient and all would be well. What could go wrong?
You can probably see where this is going.
But youíre wrong! The Switch released, I gave them my Wii U, got my Wii back, and it worked!
No I lied, youíre right. It workedÖ for like an hour.
Sort of. With a bunch of disk read errors. And then the drive completely died, wouldnít even spin.
I love my nieces and nephews, but they are notorious for wrecking my things.
So now I had no way to play any of my GameCube games or
my Wii games! Thatís like, more than half of 3D era Nintendo! To be honest, I kind of just accepted it as a fact of life for awhile, but recently, on a whim, I decided to check how much a Wii costs in 2020. And I found one for $40 on Amazon. And I had $40 worth of Amazon points sitting there. So I figured, what the heck, you only live once, right?
And honestly, it was exciting! It felt almost like buying a new system again. Getting that box in the mail, hooking it up. Going through the settings. I made some Miis again! And unlike a day one system, I already had tons and tons of games for this one. I wanted to play them all again! Well, maybe not all of them.
Also, Amazon messed up my order and didnít include Wii Sports / Wii Sports Resort even though they were listed, and decided to give me a full refund and let me keep the Wii. So I got it for free! And I already have Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort anyway!
Anyhow, I decided to write out some impressions of everything Iíve been playing since I got my new Wii a few days ago. I didnít get to play everything that I would have liked to, as my nieces and nephews still have a fair amount of my games at their place (even my GameCube games, although they have no way to play them anymore), but luckily I still have a bunch of my best games on me, so...
Here goes!Metroid Prime - GameCubeProgress:
A few hours, fairly deep into the Chozo Ruins.Takeaway:
Metroid is one of my favorite franchises and Metroid Prime was one of my favorite games ever. Absolute masterpiece. Iíve replayed it several times, but the last time was many years ago. But does it hold up years later?
Honestly, after my first session a few days ago (basically just got through the space station and messed around a little bit on the planet) I felt a bit let down. The controls feel a bit limiting (I kind of see why a lot of people wanted it to have dual analog now.) And donít tell Anand I said this, but scanning does feel kind of like an unnecessary addition, though that isnít a huge deal, since you can mostly ignore scanning.
But then I played it again the next day, and started getting my powers back, fought a few mini-bosses, etc. and everything started clicking again. This game is so amazing! Everything is so well crafted, a great blend of action and environmental puzzles! Plus I think it was one of the first (and still one of the only) games to really do ďMetroidvaniaĒ well in 3D. And I love how this is one of the few games where interacting with the environment in ways enemies canít makes complete sense in regards to the story as well (the Chozo did make your suit after all.) And that jumping, how did they nail 1st person platforming so well?!
Iím not totally sure what the long term goal is with this playing a bunch of old games thing right now, but I feel like I might just play through the whole game again? Random:
Itís kind of funny to me that we see a more specific representation of how the morph ball works in this game than we ever have, and it makes even less
sense to me than whatever vague ideas I had before. So Samus just sort of curls up into a ball and a bigger metal ball forms around her? And then she rolls around like that?! And this works, somehow?!Resident Evil 4 - GameCubeProgress:
A few hours, at the start of chapter 2-1 (right after fighting the lake boss.)Takeaway:
Resident Evil 4 was another of my all-time favorite games and honestly, it still freaking destroys everything. I thought I would just pop it in for a bit but instead I played a few hours straight, staying up way too late on a work night. Every time I play through this game Iím once again amazed at how they made a 20ish hour action game and literally every part of it is memorable. Every new room or area I walk into I go ďoh yeah, this part!Ē There is pretty much no filler here. Not much more to say about it really than itís still awesome and Iím still loving it.
I will say this, outside of a little bit of Remake and Resident Evil 0 here and there at my cousinís, I had little exposure to Resident Evil before 4, so I never quite understood some of the complaints from diehard Resident Evil fans. But now that Iíve played almost every Resident Evil game, including all of the ones that preceded 4, I kind of get it. This is a very different type of game than the ones before it, and to people heavily invested in the survival horror / zombie / Umbrella Corp / etc. aspects of Resident Evil, 4 must have been an odd beast. But I came into it relatively distant from all of that, so I got to fully enjoy it for what it was, a spectacular action horror game!
I actually very much love both the survival horror and action horror Resident Evil styles (though the latter went downhill quickly after 4.) I just played through the survival horror focused remake of 2 and absolutely loved it, it was easily my GOTY of 2019. But man would I kill to have another action horror Resident Evil at the level of 4 or, gaspÖ
I have this dream for Resident Evil where they split the franchise in two, and keep making survival horror and
action horror games, and in my dream theyíre all amazing games.
A man can dreamÖ
Anyway, much like Metroid Prime Iím not sure what my plans are with this game right now, but I could definitely see myself playing through the whole game again.Random:
Iíve been exploring a bit deeper than I had in the past, and I keep finding stuff I never found before. Like, I found a beer mug hidden at the farm? Iíve played through this game many times before and never even saw this!Resident Evil (Remake) - GameCubeProgress:
A few hours into Chrisís path, just used the whistle to call the dogs to kill them to get a new key.Takeaway:
This is probably the game that most led to me rebuying the Wii. Not because I love it so much
, although I do love it. But because I was bored at my cousinís house and started playing Chrisís path, which I had never played before (I only played through Remake once, with Jill), and then realized Iíd much rather play it at home on my own terms. I thought about buying the game again on a newer console, but I kept thinkingÖ I already have this game! So I bought a Wii instead.
Anyway, though Resident Evil 4 is and possibly always will be my favorite Resident Evil game, I do like the survival horror games a lot as well, and Iím glad both styles exist. And Remake is a great remake of the game that started it all, so itís a good one to play. Itís slow and tense and then when some bursts of action hit, itís very intense.
Considering that I basically bought a Wii to play this, I do intend to finish Chrisís path.Random:
I started playing on the harder mode of the two you can select but holy F there are way
more zombies, without much ammo or healing items. I probably could have kept progressing but it just felt unclear to me what the game even expects you to do at points, since I would often have no ammo, no healing items, and need to get past some zombies that were definitely going to grab me. So I wussed out and went back to the easy mode But it feels a bit too easy! I think newer versions of Remake have 3 difficulty modes, I wonder if they balanced it out a bit and made a more middle ground mode?Super Monkey Ball - GameCubeProgress:
A half hour maybe? Got through the first set of stages, tried the second set, got kind of far, died.Takeaway:
This is another one of my favorite games of all-time (GameCube was pretty awesome, eh?) It was also notoriously hard. Replaying it years later, I figured I could jump back in pretty easily, but oh man was I wrong. Itís so tough! And you need to be so precise at times! And the camera isnít always on your side! I wouldnít say I had a bad experience replaying it, but I think Iíd need to really relearn how to play this game again if I wanted to get much further into it.
I didnít really get a chance to try out the multiplayer this time around but this game had some pretty sick multiplayer too. Though I actually think the sequel is better for the multiplayer. 4 player simultaneous Monkey Target!Random:
I always loved the way that you play through the end credits collecting all of the letters that you can, and in fact, the game I am developing has something very similar that was definitely inspired by Super Monkey Ball.Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader - GameCubeProgress:
An hour or so, finished the first 3 stages, which include the Death Star attack and Hoth.Takeaway:
I liked this game a lot in the past, though playing it now some parts feel a bit outdated. Especially since I am recently coming off of Ace Combat 7, which controls pretty spectacular for a flight shooter, the controls of Rogue Leader feel a bit wonky. When youíre flying over a surface it is fine, but when youíre in full 3d outer space it kind of tries to auto-correct things a lot, and gets confusing. Some of the mission objectives are a bit unclear as well, and it has a lot of ďmake sure this thing isnít destroyedĒ type missions which are fine, I suppose, but can be frustrating when the thing is blown up and you donít even totally understand what enemies blew it up.
With that said itís still a lot of fun. The missions are varied and usually have multiple objectives that change on the fly. Iíve been on a bit of a Star Wars kick lately and itís hitting the spot. I doubt I will replay the whole game but I might do a few more missions.Random:
I totally forgot that you actually play as mother f-ing Wedge Antilles in some of the missions in this game. Wedge is the GOAT. F-Zero GX - GameCubeProgress:
Not a whole lot, a handful of races.Takeaway:
I love F-Zero GX but holy cow do I suck at it now. Iím sure if I put the time in I could get good again, but I spent most of my races just smacking into walls left and right and feeling like I had no control over anything.
Iím not saying the game didnít pass the test of time or anything like that, just that it has a learning curve and if you havenít played it in awhile, you might be surprised at how much you forgot. That muscle memory just isnít there for me anymore.
Still looks very pretty though! And I do want to give it another shot. Maybe Iíll get back into my groove.Random:
I feel like Iím the only person in the world who mained Beastman. The Hyper Speeder is awesome though!Donkey Kong Jungle Beat - GameCubeProgress:
About a half hour, finished the first 4 worlds.Takeaway:
First off, I forgot how quickly these worlds go by. Just two short levels and a boss! To be honest I remember really loving this game back when it released, but playing through it now it just feltÖ well, it still feels pretty good, but not really something I need to play a bunch more of again. I do think it has some nice creative glimpses of the future from the team that went on to make Super Mario Galaxy. And honestly, you canít beat a platformer that you control with bongos for the uniqueness factor.
I do remember getting deeper into the combo system back in the days, so maybe thatís where the depth lies. But I just donít have the time and energy to get back into this game for high scores, so I guess this is it for me and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for now.Random:
I got stuck at the pre-title screen for like a minute wondering what was wrong because I didnít realize it was asking me to clap 3 times quickly. Oops.Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - GameCubeProgress:
Less than an hour, played 18 holes on the sand course.Takeaway:
This was a huge
game for my cousin and I, because our gaming tastes didnít always overlap, but we both loved golf games. So I played a ton of this with him over the years, and he keeps asking to play it again, and I keep having to remind him that I have no way to play my GameCube games anymore. Had no way. Now we can play it again!
Iíd say itís still pretty fun! Some of the controls can be a bit confusing if you havenít played it in awhile, likeÖ start your swing with this button, and after starting, use one button if you want an auto shot, use a different button if you want manual, and then use one of these 4 two button combinations for the different types of spin. Whoosh! I kept doing the wrong thing in my 2020 playthrough.
But still, itís a great game in a series that kind of died (the 3ds game was solid but not quite the same as the big screen experience, and we havenít seen once since) so while I might not play it a bunch on my own, I can see popping it in sometimes when my cousin is over.Random:
Birdoís big olí snout gets in the way when youíre trying to putt.Super Mario Galaxy - WiiProgress:
An hour or so, got the first 3 stars. Takeaway:
Though Iíd give the sequel (which is with my nieces and nephews right now) the nod, both Galaxy games are for me some of the best 3D platforming there is. Itís an interesting concept that Nintendo managed to pull off very well.
Playing it now, it still works, though there is definitely a bit of a learning curve when it comes to moving around the spheres and getting the camera where you want it. Itís not a huge deal though, and everything feels so smooth. I didnít really get far enough in to see some of the most creative stuff again, but what I played was pretty fun, so I do want to keep playing more.
The waggle stuff is definitely unnecessary though. As you will see below, I think the Wii pointer / motion controls passed the test of time more than I expected them to, but in a game like this it just feels forced.Random:
I know some people see it as a ďgimmickĒ that should stick to the Galaxy games, but I really feel like the gravity mechanics / sphere worlds they introduced expanded the genre of 3D platforming as a whole, and should come back in future games. Better yet, just make Super Mario Galaxy 3!Sin & Punishment: Star Successor - WiiProgress:
About 20ish minutes, got through the tutorial and the first stage?Takeaway:
I absolutely loved this game back when it released, it felt like it took what I loved about 2D SHMUPs and brought it all into 3D in a pretty brilliant way. While Star Successor lost a bit of the ďthis is almost like Star Fox!Ē feel of the original Sin & Punishment, it was so sleek and action packed that it was hard to complain.
It might not seem like it based on my super short playtime, but I jumped back into it and was enjoying myself all over again. This game is intense! I love how it has shooting and melee attacks, and you can use melee to hit stuff back at enemies. And it really feels like one of the best uses of the Wii controller, taking traditional controls and combining them with pointer aiming very fluidly.
Absolutely want to play more, at some point. Although the servers for the leaderboards are no longer up. Boo.Random:
Does anybody have any idea WTF the story in these games is? Itís very incomprehensible to me.Wii Sports Resort - WiiProgress:
About an hour, played each sport once.Takeaway:
Iím going to be honest, I mostly popped this game in because you canít write about the Wii without writing about Wii Sports (and Resort is the apex of Wii Sports), figuring Iíd play it for 15 minutes or so and move on, but then I remembered how frickiní awesome it is! Archery! Dog frisbee! Table tennis! And of course the classics like golf and bowling. Sure it has some stinkers too but there is enough good stuff here for a consistently great time, especially if you have friends to play with. I didnít have friends to play with this time around, but I mean, in theory.
And the Wii MotionPlus controllers work very well!
Even if almost nothing else used them since! Itís probably still one of the fullest realizations of motion controls, and it actually makes me kind of sad that they couldnít find a way to implement some of this stuff into other games. Archery especially seems like one that would be great in an action / adventure game, but itís hard to imagine how to get it to work in that type of game when youíre already using both of your hands just for the bow controls. How would you move / jump / etc.?. Ah well, someday, I believe, developers and new technologies will solve these issues and weíll have some truly immersive games. For now though, Wii Sports Resort feels like it occupies a unique little spot in gaming history. I guess VR is keeping motion alive a bit, but it still feels like motion controls died too soon!Random:
I think that Iíve seen that unskippable 3 minute movie at the start of this game like 5 different times now. UG.Rhythm Heaven Fever - WiiProgress:
20 or 30 minutes, played through the first few stages.Takeaway:
Rhythm Heaven Fever was one of those rare Nintendo Wii games that completely ignored the Wii controls and focused on button pushing without any waggle thrown in. While this could be disappointing in some cases, for a precise rhythm game it was probably the best choice. And this also means that itís a very easy game to jump right back into! Itís kind of hard to not
pass the test of time when your entire game boils down to ďpush the button/s at the right time.Ē
So yeah, itís still a lot of fun and itís easy to jump right back into as if I never went away. Not sure how much of this I will replay again, but itís definitely a good one to hop on for a few minutes here and there.Random:
Karate Man for Smash!Trauma Center: New Blood - WiiProgress:
An hour or so, finished the first few missions.Takeaway:
This is actually one of the first games I started replaying right when I got my Wii, because I wanted an experience I havenít had in awhile, and Trauma Center is very much an experience you canít easily get with a traditional controller. So that also means this was my first Wii game experience in a long, long time. Many years at this point. Admittedly, even though I championed them at the time, I kind of assumed that the Wii pointer / motion controls would feel super outdated by now, and a game like this that relies on them so heavily would be hard to play in 2020.I was wrong!
This game feels very smooth! Even back in the days I remember being surprised at how well they pulled off the controls. The DS had a screen that you directly touched, so there was a more clear sense of space and feedback in the DS Trauma Center. In the Wii version youíre just kind of hovering your arm in the air. It could have turned out very poorly. But itís very easy to play.
And this kind of gameplay is just plain interesting. There isnít much like it on Nintendo consoles anymore. It was a series that had a bunch of games in a short amount of time and then died just as fast. Iíd definitely like to see this series return one day.Random:
Iím like 99% sure I could successfully perform any random surgery because of my competency in this game.No More Heroes - WiiProgress:
About an hour, beat the first stage and boss.Takeaway:
No More Heroes was never quite at the level of a AAA polished game, but it had a fun battle system that actually utilized motion controls well, and an excellent soundtrack and punk rock aesthetics that made it stand out. Also you got to mow lawns. Playing it now in 2020 didnít quite get me hooked enough to want to play through the whole game again, but itís still an interesting experience, and it did make me excited for No More Heroes 3. Though, I wonder if No More Heroes without motion controls will feel like it is missing something a bit? Weíll see.Random:
That lightsabÖ I mean uh, beam sword... charge move tho.Conclusion
There are many other games I would have liked to replay, like Viewtiful Joe, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Punch-Out!! Wii, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, etc. but as I said, a lot of them are not in my possession right now. Youíll probably also notice I didnít replay any Zelda games this time around, which if you know how much I love Zelda, might seem a bit odd. I do actually still have my copies of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess on me, but I guess to me Zelda is not the type of thing you can just jump into and play for an hour or so and get much out of it (and the one Iím most interested in replaying, Twilight Princess, starts off very
slow.) With that said I really
want to play multiplayer The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures again one of these days (only got about halfway through it, so there would still be a lot of new stages to play), but that is a tough one to get the people and gear together for. Maybe weíll have to make it happen at one of my rocking Chicago game parties! I feel like Iíve been saying that forever.
Iím going to get a bit serious at the end here though. I did have an odd moment where, in the midst of all of this GameCube / Wii era nostalgia, thinking about the past cut pretty deep. I feel like this relates to the GameCube era specifically because that was an era where I had a life that at the time felt kind of mundane, but that I greatly miss in some ways. My brother, a few of my cousins, and I would meet up at my one cousinís almost every weekend for weekend-long sleepovers and play the heck out of the GameCube (and occasionally PS2, and others.) This went on for years. We especially played a lot of multiplayer games, like the aforementioned Mario Golf and Super Monkey Ball, as well as Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Bomberman, 4 Swords Adventures, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Soccer Slam, and more. But we played single player games there as well, and he had 2 TVs in his room, so often we would have multiple games going at once. And well... time has passed and weíre all still friends, but things changed and we all finally grew up (more or less) and we just donít get together to sit around playing video games for hours on end anymore. Heck, even on the rare occasion when we do get together and play some games, the stresses of adult life make it hard to just get lost in them the way we used to. That past is a slice of time that has been lost forever.
In my case, Iím 40 now, and realizing a lot of my goals and dreams arenít happening quite the way I had intended. Life has certainly gotten better in a lot of ways too. During the GameCube era I was in my 20s and struggling to figure out my career while totally failing at finding a good relationship, whereas now Iíve finally sorted my career out a bit and have an awesome wife that Iíve been with for 10 years. If Iím honest with myself my 20s were a pretty rough time for me and a lot of this nostalgia is probably happening through rose-colored glasses that donít fully reflect the realities involved. But when youíre 20 and struggling you at least still feel like you have this vast and open future to sort it all out in, while when youíre 40 and still struggling, you start to wonder how much of it you will ever get sorted out before the curtain starts to close. So my life is good in many ways but times are still tough, thinking about the past can hurt a bit, and man do I miss those near weekly gaming binges where I could shut my mind off a bit, gorge on sour patch kids and Arizona iced teas, and play Nintendo games all weekend long. I still try to have gaming parties on occasion, but theyíre rare and not quite the same.
Nostalgia is definitely a double-edged sword. Wield it at your own risk!
Regardless, I feel like this was a $40 very
well spent (especially since it was refunded like 2 days later anyway.) Iíve already gotten hours and hours of fun out of my new Wii, and although I have no idea how much I really want to sit around playing a bunch of old games when my backlog on new games is seemingly endless, I feel like Iím now re-hooked on a few of them. Special thanks to my wife for watching me hovering on the Amazon purchase page for like 20 minutes unable to decide if I should really buy a console that I had already owned just to play a bunch of games that I have already played to death for telling me that if I want it, I should just get it. Nostalgia may be a double-edged sword, but the GameCube and Wii eras were both pretty freaking sweet. Iím glad that I have a way to experience their respective games again.