The Nintendo Wii Edition of the Totes Mathematical Top Ten Game List for Every Console Ever!

The console released before the Wii was the Nintendo Gamecube and it was a good little machine. It didn’t sell well and it wasn’t particularly innovative, but many people, including me, loved the thing. What’s crazy is how much more it could have been. Nintendo had sunk a ton of money into R&D for it despite very little of said R&D making it into the actual cube.

Luckily R&D doesn’t ever go away. All that money and effort was still right there in Nintendo’s files. Included in said research file was a new controller which incorporated a motion control system. While that didn’t see the light of day on the Gamecube, that effort was about to pay off in a huge way.

Nintendo was going to expand the video game market and they were going to do it with a little device which they code named the Revolution. The Nintendo Wii.

Wii would like to play.

Nintendo Wii
Released: 2006
Generation of Home Consoles: Seventh
Graphics: 243 Mhz ATI
Rating: At long last, a huge hit!

Nintendo hadn’t been the big dog in the gaming industry for a while. There were the core Nintendo fans; a group of die hards who weren’t going anywhere. And they were happy to stick around. The N64 and the Gamecube, despite poor sales, were great consoles with great games. The group was also big enough that it wasn’t like Nintendo was going out of business. But I have to imagine the board of directors at Nintendo HQ looked wistfully out the windows on cold mornings, remembering the good ol’ days. The days of plenty. The era when Nintendo was king.

Because it’s good to be the king.

“But how,” they may have thought, “Does one return to those days when these other more powerful systems always bury us?”

It took some time and some set up, but they eventually figured it out. First, they had a ton of unused research which was finally cost effective enough to add to a new console. Second, Nintendo decided not to compete with Microsoft and Sony in a traditional sense. The new plan was to change the way gaming was seen by the mainstream. There was a huge number of people in the world who didn’t play video games. Nintendo wanted to sell to them in addition to the Nintendo fanboys. To do that, they simplified the control systems which had been built up for years and made a console which could be accessible to all, while including just enough power to appeal to the gamer community.

And it worked! The Nintendo Wii was the first colossal console hit for Nintendo in a long while.

It really does!

It seemed that Nintendo was right. Power isn’t everything, despite what Sony and Microsoft would have you believe. The root of the video game industry was the amusement industry, and amusements are meant to be fun. If you make fun games, people will play them.

Nintendo wanted LOTS of people to play, but how does one get them to do so and turn that into maximum profits? Nintendo decided to be bold and try something new.

They sacrificed computing power for an interesting gimmick. That gimmick, boiled down to its core, was changing the way users interacted with the games via the controller. Do you like tennis? Why hit a button, when you can swing a racquet? Do you like driving games? Instead of just tapping left, why not actually turn a steering wheel. That was what Nintendo wanted to sell to the masses. Immersion in the form of the Wii-mote.

Well I know how to use one of those!

It was a HUGE risk, but hot damn did it pay off. The Console was released in 2006, going up against the Xbox 360 which had been released the year prior, and the Sony Playstation 3 which was being released around the same time. Sony was following up the best selling console of all time, and Xbox had a smaller, yet very dedicated fan base, so cutting into their sales was going to be an uphill battle.

But it was a battle which Nintendo dominated. The Wii became the best selling console in Nintendo’s history, selling just over 100 million units. A full 16 million units more than the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. (Each of which sold around 84)

Luckily for Nintendo, in addition to expanding the market, they had a little help from their competitors. For the follow up to the PS2, Sony built an incredible machine which was stupid expensive to produce, and as such was stupid expensive to buy. Compared to the much cheaper Wii, there were plenty of parents who were perfectly fine buying their kid the Nintendo console instead.

Additionally, the 7th generation of consoles was a big 2 console household era. Rather than fight the notion that they were the kiddie console, Nintendo sort of embraced it. “Hey hardcore gamers,” they said. “The PS3 and the 360 are great! You should totes buy one. But then ALSO buy the Nintendo for our extensive library of exclusive titles. It’s easy and cheap to do that! Have your adult games AS WELL as the fun Nintendo games. Plus you can play this sweet bowling game with your Nana. Nana wants to play video bowling with you and this is the only console to do that on.”

Pictured. What Nana playing Wii bowling might look like.

And lo. The people listened and they did just that.

Of course, Nintendo gotta Nintendo. Part of the problem with designing a new way to interact with games by…umm…waving a stick at the TV…meant that the third party developers didn’t have a built in infrastructure to program games for it. Still, 100 Million consoles sold meant that they were going to try anyway, and so a LOT of shovel-ware was produced. There were a million “party” games and designers pumped out cheap garbage which flooded the shelves. But it didn’t matter. First party exclusives were the only reason you bought a Nintendo console for a lot of years, and it’s mostly remained that way since. (Although the Nintendo Switch is doing incredible work with third party indie developers. So it’s getting better!) First party games for the Wii consistently outsold some of the third party titles by tens of millions.

It’s actually a shame because there were some incredible games which just didn’t sell well. My personal favorite was Capcom’s Zack and Wiki. I’m pretty sure I’m the one guy who bought a copy. But I digress. The games herein had no such problems. And they were a hoot! So without further adieu, and in conjunction with my games rating algorithm, I present to you the top ten games for the Nintendo Wii.

Pack in Game. Wii Sports. (Nintendo)
Barring specialty bundles, Nintendo hadn’t included a pack in game with their consoles since the Super Nintendo. But it actually made a lot of sense here and I absolutely cannot talk about the Wii without talking about Wii Sports. The game was essentially designed as a way to show people how to play with the new controllers or “Wii-motes”, show potential developers what the system could do, as well as introduce the Mii concept. Given the limitations of the actual game, it made a LOT of sense to just give the thing away for free. The game received middling to decent ratings from game reviewers, but the real magic was how well it worked to get non gamers to play video games, sometimes for the first time. It was the ultimate family game for non gaming families and exactly who Nintendo was trying to sell the console to in the first place. Since it’s a pack in, Nintendo says that it’s sold over 80 Million copies, making it the best selling game on the system. But nobody bought the thing when it was left to its own devices. On the flipside, people were buying the Wii because they heard about some fun tennis and bowling game so…I honestly don’t know. I could have easily rated it the number one game on the system, but instead we’re including it here as a sort of bonus. There were five overly simplified sports you could play. Bowling, Tennis, Boxing, Baseball, and Golf. They were fun!

10. Xenoblade Chronicles. 2012. (Monolith Soft)
This was a great little action RPG. The main character is a fellow named Shulk, and you have a party of comrades with different skill sets who wander around the bodies of two giant, dead gods, who made up the continents of what was formerly an ocean world. You fight creatures, level up, and do the usual RPG stuff on your quest to…broadly speaking save the world. The battle system felt a bit like an MMO in that it was all in real time. Various creatures would attack or not attack you depending on your level and their temperament, and the further you progressed the more skills and cool attacks you would learn. There wasn’t a lot of “new” here but it was still pretty excellent. This was one of the few third party titles to make the top ten and I feel that it totally deserves its spot on the list.

9. Rock Band 2. 2008. (Harmonix)
By 2008, the music simulation rhythm game genre was well established. Rock Band was the natural progression of Guitar Hero, and included drums and vocals in addition to the guitar controllers which everyone was used to. Rock Band 2 refined the controls even further and added some interesting game play modes for online play, either with your band, or competing against other bands. Also, by 2008, a lot of real bands realized that putting their tracks on one of these games made good financial sense and opened up a whole slew of young people to their music. So the included songs were awesome. Considering the wacky nature of the Wii in general, Rock Band was a great fit.

8. Metroid Prime Trilogy. 2009. (Retro Studios)
In my opinion, one of the most overlooked functions for the Wii-mote was for its use in first person shooters. PC users had the mouse and keyboard combination which is worlds more accurate than anything you can do on a normal console controller. But the Wii’s “point the controller at the screen” function was one of the most intuitive ways to play an FPS on a console I’ve ever seen. It was first used in Metroid Prime 3 and I absolutely loved it. The first two Metroid Prime games had been released on the Gamecube and Nintendo quickly ported them over to the Wii, incorporating the new control scheme, and also including the third Prime game. All three together made for an incredibly robust experience and it was easily one of my personal favorites for the system. You play as Samus and fight space pirates. Y’all know what Metroid is.

7. Donkey Kong Country Returns. 2010. (Retro Studios)
DKCR was a rare side scrolling platformer in the age of 3D graphics, but a welcome one. It had been over a decade since we had Donkey Kong and gang running around in this format, but Nintendo had found that there was a huge market for 2D platforming games and the iconic ape was a natural fit for the Wii. Gameplay remained the same as the beloved SNES entries into the Donkey Kong Country franchise, but it was given a slick coat of paint. Bright colors, silly enemies, and fluid gameplay made this a favorite of old school and new gamers alike.

6. Wii Fit. 2008. (Nintendo)
Let it never be said that Nintendo doesn’t try some zany shit. In keeping with the theme, of “Let’s get everyone who never bought a video game console to buy a video game console” Nintendo decided to release this exercise game along with a new balance board peripheral controller. And dear lord did it work. In addition to being the third best selling game for the system, it also helped sell a metric ton of consoles. The game itself consists of using the board to do various yoga poses, strength training exercises, and some aerobic exercises, while an avatar on the screen shows you what to do. The board itself worked as a step, a balance beam, and a scale which could not only show your weight, but also show the user how they distributed their weight, thus knowing if you were doing an exercise incorrectly. It was a really neat concept and Wii Fit was a huge critical and commercial success.

5. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. 2011. (Nintendo)
No top ten games list for a Nintendo console would be complete without Link saving Zelda, and the Wii is no exception to the rule. Nintendo goes all out for their biggest IPs and Link is second only to Mario. In this installment, Nintendo wanted to explore the start of the Zelda continuity and crafted a story which would unite all of the games into a single universe. (Or…three universes really, depending on whether or not Link dies during the Ocarina of Time story, and at what age he dies. It’s complicated, but mostly unimportant when it comes to actually playing the game.) While the game was extremely good and well loved, Skyward Sword was relying heavily on mechanics which had been developed for The Ocarina of Time which had been released 13 years prior, so it felt a bit dated. That said it was still a great game and a big hit on the Wii.

4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl. 2008. (Game Arts)
The third game of the massively popular Smash Bros. fighting game series is Brawl. The fighting system remains the same as the previous 2 titles, whereby a hit on another player doesn’t do damage to them per se. What it does is make the character that much easier to knock off the edge of the fighting platforms. The game also expanded the amount of classic video game characters the player could choose from. Including some characters from outside the Nintendo IP world. While there were some new game modes, the core of the game stayed true to its roots. Get a bunch of gaming icons onto a screen and let them wail on each other in a fun, cartoony way. Afterwards you can just watch the money pour in.

3. Mario Kart Wii. 2008. (Nintendo)
Half the point of the Wii-mote was trying to figure out new and innovative ways to use it to play games. In this case, Nintendo turned the Wii-mote into a steering wheel for your Karts. Mario Kart has seen releases on every Nintendo console and handheld since it came out, and what better way to showcase your new controller than by inserting said mechanic into a well known franchise? Nothing, apparently. Mario Kart Wii didn’t push a lot of boundaries when it came to graphics or the mechanics of the game and truthfully the steering wheel concept was a bit gimmicky, however, the gimmick was more than enough to make Mario Kart Wii the best selling game on the console, and at 37 Million game sold, the best selling racing game in video game history.

2. New Super Mario Bros. Wii. 2009. (Nintendo)
New Super Mario Bros. was a surprising hit on the DS, and proved that side scrolling platforming was far from a dead gaming genre. Nintendo took a lot of their core concepts from their previous Super Mario games and added a multiplayer function along with some shiny graphics. If it ain’t broke…you know. Nintendo’s gambit paid off and the game became one of the best selling games on the system. It also opened the door for a slew of other 2D side scrolling games, like Donkey Kong Country Returns, and I would argue, a LOT of third party 2D side scrolling indie games which have seen immense popularity in the last few years.
But it wasn’t the Alpha and Omega of the Nintendo Wii. No…That honor has to go to the one…the only…

1. Super Mario Galaxy. 2007. (Nintendo)

Mario seems to be running the gauntlet on this console, but is it any wonder? Nintendo is as careful with this IP as Disney is with its characters. Admittedly, in his thirty year, 200 game appearance history, there have been a few bad games starring the iconic Italian plumber. Educational games and the like. But for the most part, Nintendo does not release bad Mario games. It’s worth more to just scrap a game if Nintendo thinks it would hurt the franchise.

Galaxy was certainly no subpar game. While I loved its predecessor, Super Mario Sunshine, the core game play wasn’t all that different from Mario 64. Galaxy on the other hand, really went outside the box trying to figure out what one could do with a 3D platformer.

It took place on a number of little planetoid worlds and depending on their size or your position on said planetoid, gravity could change, weapons and enemies could react in different ways, and you could find yourself just as easily running on the southern “bottom” hemisphere of a world as you could the northern or “top”. You’d soar through space, catch gems from exploding comets, and helped a brand new princess save the stars. It was the third best selling game for the system and won a metric ton of game of the year awards from numerous gaming magazines and near perfect review scores across the board. In the land of Nintendo, Mario is usually king for a reason, and Galaxy certainly proved why.

So that’s the Wii! I’m always up for a robust discussion of why I’m a fool for leaving your favorite game off of the list. (Though please remember that it’s not me! It’s the algorithm what chose these games!) So message me, and afterwards find a way to play some of these! You won’t be disappointed!

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About Philippe L.

When not out exploring the stars with his good friend Hotblack Desiato, he makes his living here on Earth keeping other people's money safe from the hands of thieves and spinning the occasional yarn. He enjoys beer and coffee very much, but unfortunately he can't eat shellfish or tomatoes.

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