Buying A Wii In 2021: Is It Worth It?
In my opinion, nothing defined mid-2000s gaming more than the Nintendo Wii and the best Wii games. Released in North America on November 19, 2006 (and December 2nd in Japan, along with December 7th and 8th in Australia and Europe respectively), this sleek white console that used rectangular “Wiimotes” as controllers took everyone by storm.
The console flung off store shelves; I myself couldn’t buy my own Wii until the summer of 2007 when I finally saw one in the wild at Target. But why was it so popular? It all had to do with clever marketing.
History Of The Wii And Nintendo’s Shift In Marketing
With the Wii, Nintendo was aiming for a more casual audience of people who may not be hardcore gamers, or who may not have even played a video game in their life. One of their most famous ads depicts this, showing young children and older adults getting in on the gaming action, which, mind you, was nothing like anyone had ever seen before.
Instead of gathering around to play Mario or Zelda (two of Nintendo’s most popular game franchises), people were swinging their controllers to roll a bowling ball, get a hole-in-one, or punch a character in the face. These motion controls are common now for games on the Nintendo Switch, but at the time of the Wii, they were brand new and everyone wanted to try them out.
From The Nintendo Wii To The Nintendo Switch
The Wii took full advantage of the internet with many channels in the system’s home menu for people to enjoy, most notably the Wii Shop Channel where people could download games from older Nintendo systems (as well as games from other older systems, such as the Sega Genesis and Sega Master System) and play them on their Wii. This was what was known as Nintendo’s Virtual Console.
The Wii was also backward compatible with GameCube games, Nintendo’s last-generation console at the time. From gamers to non-gamers alike, the Wii had everything.
Fast forward to 2020 and it seems the Nintendo Switch has the popularity now that the Wii once held, with motion controls and older games being offered through the Switch’s online service.
But if you’re someone who missed out on the Wii’s glory days, someone who’s nostalgic for the Wii, or a collector who wants to add to their console collection, is it still worth buying today?
The Pros Of The Wii
Much of what made the Wii amazing in 2006 still holds up in 2020. If you missed out on playing Wii Sports back in the day and what it felt like to bowl a nearly perfect game with the Wiimote, now is your chance to do so.
You also can’t deny how well Wii Fit and the Wii Balance Board accessory are for exercising at home. The Switch has Ring Fit Adventure for those wanting a fitness fix, but I believe Wii Fit and the options it offers still holds up well in 2020. It all depends on what you’re looking for in a workout.
Fantastic And Diverse Game Library
The Wii also has a slew of other amazing titles for gamers to enjoy, ones that haven’t yet been ported to the Switch, such as Super Mario Galaxy 2 (the first game was just brought over to the Switch recently), The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Okami, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and so much more.
The Wii has a robust library of games, and the online market for both the games and the console is still fairly reasonably priced. You could buy a Wii plus a decent amount of games and end up spending less than you would on a new Switch and games — depending on what you are looking for, of course. This brings me to my next point.
Three Different Models To Choose From
There are three different Wii configurations you can buy; the original white model (pictured above), The Wii Family Edition (released in October 2011 for the U.S. and Europe), which is meant to sit horizontally as opposed to vertically like the original Wii, and the Wii Mini (released in December 2012 for the U.S, and March 2013 for Europe and the UK).
The latter two models do not have backward compatibility with GameCube games and controllers. If you’re looking for a way to play GameCube games and don’t want to buy a GameCube system, or maybe you just don’t have a way to hook up your original GameCube system, the original white Wii will allow you to enjoy two great gaming libraries.
The Cons Of The Wii
As great as the Wii is, it has its share of drawbacks. One of them is that despite its humongous library of games, within that library there are a lot of duds, such as numerous Barbie games, versions of Family Feud and Jeopardy, and titles that just… lack quality.
If you don’t see yourself spending a lot of time with a Wii outside of a few games or pulling it out every so often to bowl with friends, buying a Wii may not be the best choice.
No Longer Supports Online Capabilities
The biggest con against buying a Wii in 2020 though is no longer being able to access the Wii Shop Channel, which as mentioned above, was a way for users to download Virtual Console games.
Unfortunately, the Wii Shop Channel shut down on January 30, 2019. So, unless you buy a used Wii that already has Virtual Console games on it, you will not be able to experience one of the best parts of the Wii. And that also goes for the Wii Mini, which had already removed internet capabilities before the end of Wii support.
To Wii Or Not To Wii?
There is no straight yes or no answer to whether you should buy a Wii in 2020. It all comes down to your personal preference.
You may want a Wii to enjoy Game Cube games, a way to work out, enjoy titles that haven’t yet hit the Switch, or introduce your children to a game console of the past. You may be a collector and want every Nintendo console in existence.
Whatever the reason, only you can decide whether to embark on the journey known as the Nintendo Wii.