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Smart Home

Why I gave up the Wii

Are you playing the Nintendo Wii? Don Reisinger isn't, but he thinks he might be the only one.

Nintendo Wii
I love the Wii. I really do. Nintendo of America

Over the weekend, as I was playing Prince of Persia on the PlayStation 3, I came to the realization that my Wii has been dormant for months, except when I needed to fire it up to review a game.

It's not that I dislike the Wii. I think it's one of the greatest consoles I've ever owned and I enjoy the style of gameplay. And when I do play games on the system, they're usually fun. But I haven't done that in months.

I realize nothing is stopping me from popping Super Mario Galaxy or Red Steel into the console. But the sad reality is I never really liked those games enough to play through them again, and much like other titles on the Wii, I find myself only enjoying them if I have a group of friends to play with.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm alone.

According to NPD, Nintendo sold 2.15 million Wii consoles in December 2008, which pushes the company's total unit sales to more than 46 million. Compare that with the Xbox 360's 27.8 million unit sales and the PlayStation 3's 19.8 million units, and it becomes reasonably apparent that many people are having fun with the Wii, at least for a while.

That's further evidenced by a recent study performed by MTV. Using the Wii's Nintendo Channel, which the company claims tracks the playing habits of more than 1 million U.S. gamers, MTV determined how long people are playing different Wii titles.

MTV found that Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the most played game on the console, and that the average player put in almost 65 hours with the title. Guitar Hero III is second with 58 hours and 41 minutes of average gameplay, followed by Twilight Princess, tallying 46 hours and 29 minutes of average gameplay. The 10th most popular title, Metroid Prime 3, is played for 21 hours by the average player.

Obviously someone is playing the Wii. Just not me.

Since early November 2008, I haven't played my Wii at all, unless I'm reviewing a game for my Digital Home Video Show. During that time, I've spent most of my game time on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. I've even played a few games on my SNES (I'm a sucker for old school gaming).

I should note, though, that I really do enjoy games on the Wii. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a fun game to play and Wii Fit is enjoyable. I really like Mario Kart Wii and even Mario Party 8 had me captivated for a little while.

Do you see a trend here? All of the games that I enjoy most are multiplayer titles that are best-suited for more than one person. Sure, you can play those games alone, but to be quite honest, they're not that fun without someone else to play with. And although online gaming can be fun at times, I really have no desire to engage in that on the Wii either.

But on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, I've been playing a slew of titles that are just as fun when playing alone as with friends. Gears of War 2 has topped the list lately and as I mentioned above, I've enjoyed my time with Prince of Persia. I can't get enough of Fable 2 and when I want to play some football, I pop in Madden NFL 09.

In contrast, a quick glance at the recent releases for the Wii tell you much of what you need to know about the console. In the past few weeks, titles like SimAnimals, Imagine: Fashion Party, Fishing Master World Tour, and Neopets Puzzle Adventure have been made available on the console. And although more violent games like Tenchu Shadow Assassin and House of the Dead: Overkill will be hitting store shelves in the next few weeks and Red Faction and Call of Duty are already available for the system, the Wii is currently overrun with titles that are either too casual for my liking or provide the most value when in the company of friends. And as a married man, having that 30-minute respite with a solid Action/Adventure title is ideal for me.

I realize that gaming is an individual choice. After all, why else would we have fanboys who support one console or another? Some prefer the Wii because they've always loved their Nintendo consoles and enjoy the Wii's style of gamplay. Others dislike the Wii, casting it aside as if it's not a worthy competitor to their favorite consoles, the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360. Either way, everyone has their preference.

Though I'm sure some who will look at this column will say that I reside in the second grouping and I'm a Nintendo hater, that's actually not true at all. I've owned every Nintendo console and loved each one. I've just lost interest in the Wii lately and I'm desperately trying to find a title that will give me the kind of gameplay experience I'm currently finding in blockbuster titles on other consoles.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter feed, and FriendFeed.