This week the Nintendo Wii turns 13 years old, which makes me feel super old because I got one the same year it launched. Anyway, I’ve been reminiscing about the console, how great it was, and all the games I enjoyed for it. But instead of telling you about my favourite game, or treasured moments, which many others have already done on Reddit, I’m going to tell you why I bought a Wii before I purchased what was a vastly superior console at the time, the PlayStation 3.
Nintendo Wii vs PS3
In 2006 there were two consoles that I very much wanted to buy with my Christmas money (that’s the only indicator for how old I was that you’re getting). One was Nintendo’s next generation console, and since I’d had a great time with the GameCube I was really excited to give it a go, particularly because of the weird and wonderful controllers. However, the PlayStation 3 was a console with better graphics, and a host of games from prolific developers that I also loved. Resistance: Fall of Man was one game that I was intrigued to play because of both the story, and the fact that it was developed by Insomniac Games.
To make things worse, I had two friends with very strong opinions for each console at the time, and they would both take every opportunity to talk to me about why I should invest in the console they had. Joe had a Nintendo Wii, and I’d played it with him loads of times, it was part of the reason that I was so excited to get one for myself. He argued that the Wii had games that were widely accepted as fantastic, such as Wii Sports and Sonic Rings, but they didn’t really interest me. What did interest me, a game that Joe didn’t care about, was Metroid Prime 3 Corruption. The Metroid Prime series was one that I’d played a lot of, completing the first two games multiple times on GameCube, but I didn’t know if Metroid Prime 3 was enough to buy a Wii for.
My other friend, George, was a PlayStation advocate. While he had some strange habits, like making me wash my hands before playing his console, he did show me that the PS3 was fantastic. The launch games, Assassin’s Creed and Resistance: Fall of Man, were amazing. I was engrossed by the world of Assassin’s Creed, and ended up borrowing the console for a week just to finish it, something he never did because it was ‘too boring’. He pointed out that I loved the PS2, and he and I had played thousands (not an exaggeration) of hours together on various games, sometimes with just one of us playing and the other watching. I wanted more of that, because we did have a great time playing games together, but if I got a Wii then there could be a divide between us, since he wasn’t a fan.
When it came down to it, and I walked into the local GAME store, which was a good 30 minute drive away that I had to convince my mum to do (I swear I’m not that old) just to get there. I was paralysed with indecision, which wasn’t uncommon for me, and still isn’t today. My mum spent a couple of hours pottering, but when she returned to collect me and get out before the multi-story car park charged her another £2, I still hadn’t made a decision.
With the added pressure of the parking, I forced myself to think about what was important to me about each console. When it came down to it, I knew that George would let me borrow his PS3, and we could still play together anyway. The truth is that we never had two consoles on the go at once, so it made little sense to buy a PS3 just for him. Instead, I bought the Wii, bundled it with Metroid Prime 3, and got out of there as fast as possible before my mother murdered me over the cost of a cup of coffee.
That’s how I ended up with a Nintendo Wii before a PS3, and do you know what? It was worth it. I love the Metroid Prime series, and if you’ve not played it you really should. The games put me into a sci-fi universe that I couldn’t find anywhere else, and inspired me in so many ways. Metroid Prime 3 was the first game in the series that I completed without a guide, and even though the final boss is incredibly difficult, I managed to do it after about one hundred attempts.
If you’re still curious about the £2 parking charge, the car park tried to make my mum pay it. Unfortunately for the member of staff who had his head inside the car, my mum is a mean driver. She promptly paid up to the added £2, revved like a maniac, giving the poor staff member just enough time to retreat, before she sped off into the distance. We never used that car park again.