Monday, September 22nd, 2008...12:31 pm
The 5 Most Pointless Wii Games
By Rassam Fakour-Zaker
Know Your Money Editor
What can we say about the Nintendo Wii? Innovative? Absolutely. Revolutionary? Probably. Commercially successful? Definitely. Record-breaking? Certainly. Home to some of the most pointless videogames ever? Yup.
It seems every games developer wants a piece of the Wii pie; and why not? You don’t need imagination, vision, intelligence, a huge development budget or even respect for your audience. All you need to do is think of the first leisure activity that comes to mind, design some bright, cheesy graphics and some poorly implemented motion controls and then spend about two weeks in development. And there you have it. You never know – it might just be this Christmas’s big hit.
With that in mind here’s a rundown of the 5 most pointless games on the Wii:
5) Hell’s Kitchen
As if Gordon Ramsay’s corrugated forehead wasn’t quite ubiquitous enough, the reprieved puffin-slayer will be breaking into the videogames market just in time for Christmas (how very shrewd). Though I am merely extrapolating from what I have seen of the game’s trailer, his low budget Wii game looks like a cynical attempt to cash in on the success of the Cooking Mama titles and Ramsay’s own transatlantic cross-media brand image.
Now, I’m going take a stab in the dark here and speculate that, bearing the Wii’s cuddly, family-friendliness in mind, this will be an expletive-free Ramsay experience. Therein lays the heart of the game’s pointlessness, since I had always assumed that Ramsay’s trademark profanities were the whole point of his popularity. Cutting this out is like having a Mario game with no mushrooms or a Halo game with a comprehensible storyline. It’s just not right.
Personally I think it’s a missed opportunity: having a game that swears at you for messing up might actually have been amusing and original. A Gordon Ramsay cooking game where bad players aren’t subjected to four-lettered tirades just seems, well, f**king pointless. (If this game does include swearing on release, please disregard this rant).
4) Carnival: Fun Fair Games
One category of game above all characterises the Wii. It is the reason the platform has become the natural choice of the so-called “casual gamer” and why it has consequently become anathema to the so-called “hardcore gamer”. It is, of course, the mini-games collection.
Now, I’m not against mini-game collections per se; there have been some that I have enjoyed – Rayman Raving Rabbids and WarioWare: Smooth Moves, for example. Those games, however, had some degree of charm or humour or eccentricity or innovation. Carnival…, on the other hand, exhibits the polar opposites of these attributes, yet it is, bafflingly, one of the Wii’s highest-selling titles.
Despite the substandard graphics and sound, unresponsive controls, lack of gameplay progression and depth, the real problem here is something that we all learn as we grow older: fairground games are essentially crap. Carnival… even lacks the promise of a cheapo cuddly toy or goldfish to sweeten the deal, thus removing any sense of accomplishment or desire to succeed.
There is one element of this game that simulates reality quite well though: whether you’re duped into playing crooked games by small-handed carny types or pointless games by lazy, unimaginative videogame publishers it stings just the same.
3) Table Football
For the uninitiated table football can seem like a rather simplistic and shallow game. Those who have invested some time in the game, however, will have learned that it is a deep, skilful and visceral experience.
What all table football fans will agree on, I’m sure, is that the feel of the ball, the weight of the ball, the physical presence of the ball against the players is essential. By removing this aspect, as the Wii must due to its limitation (i.e. having no force acting upon the remote) means that the idea of table football on the Wii is utter tosh. Especially when there is likely to be a table at a bar or youth centre down the road from where you live.
2) PDC World Championship Darts 2008
The poor quality of many Wii games is commonly dismissed with a single, standard argument: “It’s for kids; it doesn’t need to be sophisticated/polished/interesting/inventive/any good [delete as appropriate]”.
Whether or not you subscribe to this opinion in regards to other games, that argument has no validity when it comes to PDC World Championship Darts. That is, unless you have a rather strange child who is impressed by Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor’s personal endorsement, the official Professional Darts Corporation license, and/or who aspires to a life of obesity, inebriation and repetitive strain injury (actually, that could apply to quite a few children).
OK, so this one is definitely aimed at adults then. But if you’re an avid darts fan, or a fair-weather enthusiast, or have only the merest hint of interest, then why on earth would you choose the Wii version over the real thing? Dartboards aren’t expensive (as stated in the excellent Eurogamer review, you can buy Phil Taylor’s official dartboard setup for about the same price as the Wii game), they can be found in thousands of pubs in the UK and both are just as likely to damage your home (make sure your home insurance covers darts in walls and Wii remotes in TVs!). But what’s more, real darts doesn’t have ridiculously unrealistic controls and demented physics. Unless you play while drunk.
Oh dear. Let’s start with the maths (that’s math, if you’re in the US):
Standard wooden Jenga set = £6-£7
Wii Jenga = around £20
Before you start fumbling for your credit card, let’s just have a look at what you get for this inflated price: poor production values; unrealistic physics; bewilderingly stupid gameplay features (doesn’t colour-coding blocks so that you can immediately tell which are weight-bearing make the whole game thing redundant?); no sensation of physical contact or weight; and half-arsed graphical flourishes that seemingly exist only to justify having a videogame version in the first place (playing Wii Jenga against an crappy arctic or deep-sea backdrop doesn’t make it seem any less pointless, I’m afraid). If you buy it you are a moron.