I could be just speaking to the choir, as a lot of people seem to be saying similar things. But the Wii really needs less party games. I appreciate the party games, I really do. A few have been really top quality games such as Rayman Raving Rabbids, and I actually am quite fond of the latest Mario Party, and the many nintendo and now sega mascot games. But seriously guys. Stop it. I look on the list of games and they are all party. Some look great (Deca Games) and some don’t (most of them lol).
It is actually kind of humorous looking back at the N64 to see how the system’s libraries have developed, because one thing that the N64 really strived in was the racing games. It seemed like all we ever got back then was racing games, and this is when Mario Kart really picked up. (Obviously SNES had one but I think N64 one sold far better.) Now you look at racing games for the Wii and it is almost a complete reversal. You see a bunch of Karts, but outside of that we only have a couple decent ones in Need for Speed & GT Pro, but nothing great. Now the reasons for this are many. I think the 64 generation saw a lot of racing games on all platforms and we have since seen this genre diminish, largely because they were cheap games to make and now the cheap games are casual & liscensed games. But I think they are just less popular due to the fact that there isn’t a lot you can do with the genre.
You can see this type of trend in other genres too though. FPS games may well have been the strength of the N64, some of the better FPS games on consoles were on the system with Turok, 007, and Perfect Dark. With Gamecube, I think Nintendo saw that this as being a problem and so they ressurected Metroid to a decent amount of fanfare. Now they are having a hard time getting 007 on the VC due to liscensing issues which I think is just completely silly (not on Nintendo’s part), and no one cares about Metroid so they are considering bringing Kid Ikarus back (likely as an FPS). The odd thing is that the Wii does seem totally geared towards an FPS game, yet only a couple games have done it well and there are few on the horizon who look to be trying. I think part of this issue is likely the “kiddie” image of Nintendo’s consoles which really popped up mostly in the Gamecube days and now developers are just scared of the kiddie image.
RPGs & strategy games have largely been a thorn in Nintendo’s side since the idea to leave a cart in the N64 and they’ve never really been able to solve this issue when they saw all the developers who made these games run for the PS. i think this is less of an issue this day and age. I don’t think either genre tends to do well anymore. Strategy has been dieing for years and has traditionally been better on the PC anyway. RPGs have been overthrown by MMOs which haven’t been done successfully on a console to date.
The good news in all this is that the VC and the WiiWare are filling up some of these needs. I think games like the Final Fantasy game and Lost Winds in particular are giving us some more serious games with a lot more promising titles in the future. And Ironically, the VC is doing the same, brining back games like Cruis’n USA from the N64 racing days to tide us over there. But are these real fixes to a big issue? While I do think that the core gamer is changing into a casual game despite what the former core gamer likes to think (who is now more of a niche gamer).
A real issue in the Wii’s library is not that the games are all casual at all.. it’s that there isn’t really a good variety of games. They all seem the same to me. We get a ton of brain training clones, a bunch of party clones, a bunch of liscensed games that I’m not sure who even buys, etc. We don’t see the bigger picture and this is a problem not unlike the N64 just in a different area… I mean one problem I remember with the N64 is the fact that racing games dominated the system. And this seems similar now just with a new genre of game, and there isn’t the relief of a 007 every now and then here. WiiWare games are really only a band-aid for this, I hope at the very least some of them prove popular enough to make more indepth games sequals of.