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You take games too seriously.

Has the Wii-mote lost control?

I believe my Nintendo Wii came with an invisible contract. Up front, I agreed to spend an exorbitant amount of money on two controllers (three, if you include the classic), and, in return, Nintendo would never require I buy another peripheral. The Wii-mote provides plenty of innovation, making silly things like light-guns, racing wheels, and the Sega Activator obsolete. Sadly, two major upcoming Wii releases, WiiFit and Mario Kart Wii, took this contract, rubbed it in dirt, and thrre it to the dogs

This spring, Nintendo will package two new controller SKUs with popular games. Mario Kart Wii will arrive with an aesthetically pleasing, but ultimately useless plastic driver’s wheel. If you’re into $150 balance boards, WiiFit’s your perfect game, but you better run to your Gamestop and pre-order—don’t underestimate Nintendo’s inability to keep products on the shelf.

Last year, Nintendo tested the stagnant peripheral waters with the Wii Zapper, a plastic attachment that latches onto a Wii-mote and transforms it into a gun, and you into a moron. Nintendo sells it as a novelty item. Fine by me, as long as the Zapper isn’t necessary to enjoy any games. Mario Kart Wii‘s Wii Wheel peripheral a different beast. Recently, Kotaku confirmed the classic and GameCube control schemes for Mario Kart Wii are crippled, a move that handicaps traditional and hardcore players, while subtly benefiting those with the Wii Wheel accessory. While one Wii Wheel comes with the game, more are $20 a pop. Across the Pacific, the WiiFit has taken mandatory peripherals a step further, winning over a handful of Japanese publisher–one of their releases, WiiSki, is the first game to require the WiiFit balance board.

Unlike Sony and Microsoft who have other motivations (i.e. digital media delivery), Nintendo has pursued a profit from the get-go, and these peripherals show no signs of Nintendo letting up. But, with that in mind, is it possible for the Wii peripheral market to super-saturate? Just as the Sega Genesis’ 32X and Sega CD created a detrimental hierarchy of players, could the same happen with pricey peripherals like the WiiFit?

It’s silly to rant about Nintendo’s innovation, and no one’s forcing my hand to pick up every piece of Nintendo gear, but it disappoints me that the device than can do it all, the Wii-mote, needs a lot of help from friends.

-ctp

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