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Feature: Staff Memories of the Wii Launch

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

Being part of the Revolution

As E3 2012 and a Wii U bonanza looms ever closer, we're currently in the middle of a series of features that explore previous Nintendo console launches. We've already written about the magic of console launches, while editor James Newton was joined by Joe Walker in our most recent podcast, When We Were Excited About Wii. We're sticking with Wii today as it was a console launch, in some ways, unlike any other. It wasn't just a new system to enjoy, it was a new way to play games, truly a Revolution, even if Nintendo ultimately decided to go with a different name.

Four of our staff members have decided to look back on the launch of Wii and share their stories.

Joe Walker

The Wii was the first system I ever bought at launch, so the whole thing was a lot of fun for me. From the tease at E3 2005 to the blowout the following year, I was like an internet bloodhound, sniffing out the tiniest morsels of information as often as I could. At the time, I was working at GameStop and I was staff on a large Animal Crossing message board, so I was constantly surrounded by people who were as excited as I was which only intensified my own impatience.

I waited all day in my store, from 8 AM to midnight for my console, spending the entire day buzzing around and being impatient with my friends. We’d look at the clock constantly, pass the time with the demo console and sessions of ExciteTruck and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, and scarf down inhuman amounts of junk food. Although the name of the console had changed, it was still the harbinger of a gaming revolution, and we’d be the first to take the plunge.

I bought my system at midnight and drove home far faster than I should have, savouring the experience of opening the box (which I may or may not have smelled) and placing the system on the empty spot on my entertainment center I had cleared out weeks before. I only lasted a little over an hour before I passed out from exhaustion, but the entire next day was spent diving into the system with my two roommates. Looking back at my Wii message board, we clocked in over nine hours of gaming that Sunday. We had been playing games together for years, but I don’t think we had ever been as transfixed on anything the way we were with the Wii.

I was an incredibly devoted Wii fan for quite a while, and while other consoles were eventually added to my arsenal and the amount of time I spent with it started to dwindle, my affection for the little white console never diminished. Popping in a new Wii game always felt good and brought me back to the times of excitement so palpable I could feel it in my stomach. I'll always love it.

Christopher Ingram

At Wii’s launch, I was actually at a point in my life where I was in my mid-twenties, making a lot of money and my main hobby at this point in life was actually fast cars and even faster motorcycles, instead of gaming. Even still, in the year before Wii’s launch, many weekends were filled with laughter and fun, as I played games like Dance Dance Revolution and Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube with friends.

Then Wii launched. While I initially didn’t preorder the system (mistake), my brother-in-law got lucky and scored a Wii at launch without a preorder. He quickly gave me a call while I was at work to let me know the great news. As soon as I finished my route at work that afternoon, I blazed over to play it for the first time.

Walking in and seeing everyone laughing and smiling while playing Wii Sports is a memory I’ll never forget. We played Wii Sports until every arm in the house was in pain that night, and stayed up far later than I should have. From then on, many nights and weekends found us all trying to best each other at tennis or bowling in Wii Sports, or flinging around controllers in Rayman Raving Rabbids. One night, in the heat of a Raving Rabbids baseball minigame, my sister-in-law smacked my brother-in-law right in the back of the head with the Wii Remote. At launch, Wii Remotes didn’t come with their gel encasing and, well, as you can probably guess, it hurt, but it was still extremely funny nonetheless.

In the months following launch my lack of a preorder cost me. I frequently found myself standing in long lines around the city for hours on end, and was about to shell out a significantly large amount of cash when a friend of mine gave me a call with a tip, and I simply walked into a GameStop and purchased a Wii like there was never even a shortage.

Even before I acquired my own though, Wii had instantly become a part of our lives from the first second we put our hands on a Remote. So much so that, seven months after Wii’s launch, my wife and I were married by a friend of ours who’s a pastor and, unbeknownst to us, she worked in a quick Wii joke in our wedding ceremony right before we said our “I do’s” and I kissed my beautiful bride.

I’ve helped Mario rescue his Princess over and again since I was a child and I guess he decided to return the favour, and helped me to find a Princess of my own.

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User Comments (40)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#1

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Wow, that was a interesting read I wasn't expecting that. I found it hard to imagine going from the GC and PS2 controller to a wiimote and nunchuck. Once I tried it though I was hooked right up till now (and beyond). Prefer it to old controller set up to my great surprise. Most importantly, it brought my family into gaming like never before. The ultimate social gaming experience. All time greats have appeared on this console and I've played more games on this console and the DS (each) than any other in history.

hydeks

#3

hydeks said:

I picked up a Wii about 2 years after and absolutely loved it! Than it died, I decided to go PS3, I still own it but I don't care to use it other than for fighting games and blu-ray movies. So, than I just bough a new flat no-gamecube wii with NSMB Wii and I've been playing the hell out of it every day since I got another one. The PS3 is collecting alot of dust :(

Yanchamaru

#4

Yanchamaru said:

I disregarded the launch because I thought the Wii was a horrible name, the motion controls seemed like a gimmick and the graphics were not very good. However, I fell in love with the white box after playing Wii Sports at my aunt & uncle cottage. Then I found out about the Virtual Console and knew I must have this system.

WingedSnagret

#5

WingedSnagret said:

The Wii was my first video game console (got it as a birthday gift in 2010 actually) and thus began my journey into Nintendo fandom!

cecesigue

#6

cecesigue said:

I remember buying the thing on Saturday and went to the store by walking. I carried the box for like ten blocks and i was almost running. I smell the inside of the box, and I also remember the hurting arm and shoulder of every person that owned it. Good care free times!

Emaan

#8

Emaan said:

I got the Wii one year later, in 2007. It was the first game system to really get everyone in my family to play together. I have great memories of Christmas day playing non-stop with everyone. :)

KLZ

#9

KLZ said:

My first wii game was metroid prime 3 and it was awesome.

armoredghor

#10

armoredghor said:

I remember the launch day was spent in front of walmart, basically having a DS lan party. It was a good time.

MAB

#11

MAB said:

Pre-ordered mine and went to a midnight launch. Waited for 2 hours outside EB Games with my ticket in hand in anticipation for my number to be called. My number was not called and the clerks told everyone that is it shows over I almost had a heart attack. The Mad Aussie Bloke came out of me at that point, I said 'are you effing for real mate I've been waiting 2 hours for a system that was paid for months prior and now I'm effing not gonna get it, you for real bro'. After that the clerk gave me the Wii he had put aside for himself so it worked out well in the end. I went home, set it up and played Red Steel and Wii Sports all night then went to work all bleary-eyed but energised to plough through work just to go home and get back into Red Steel again. Great memories :)

aaronsullivan

#13

aaronsullivan said:

I remember waiting in line at Target and talking to people in the line. They were completely non-traditional gamers and yet they were anxiously waiting to get one and excited about the possibilities. When I got home, the power adapter DID NOT WORK. Fortunately, my brother got one, so we were playing before we knew it.

I'm still amazed at how the initial experience of Wii Sports was never quite matched. The feeling of Tennis was almost holographic as the game encouraged you to imagine exactly when the ball was hitting your "racket." So few developers really tried to tap into the best parts of the controller. Wii Motion is a fantastic improvement, but so few games have taken advantage and important games that could have used it came and went (Metroid Prime 3, for intense.)

I really hope that the Wii U sort of pushes Wii Motion Wii remotes along with the new controller. The plan for the next Zelda seems to include it, so maybe there's hope. Could the Wii U come with a Wii motion controller packed in so everyone gets one? I doubt it, but it might be a good idea.

CanisWolfred

#14

CanisWolfred said:

I remember getting Nintendo Power around that time. I remember it, because nearly every Launch game except Wii Sports turned out to be utter crap. I was never more disappointed in my life. I still had hope, though. Metroid Prime 3 was still on the horizon, after all.

Mercury9

#17

Mercury9 said:

Had my Wii since launch. Literally jumped up off it's stand after spitting out Brawl. Got it fixed. Years later, same thing. On both occasions, the lens had blew out.
I haven't used the VC as much as much as I should have. I could count on both hands the number of my downloads. :P

In the years after it's launch my use of it has dwindled so much :( I still like it but, I don't know. I've grown detached from it. I had dozens of games for it and It was always online but now it just sleeps beside the TV waiting for it's big brother to take over.

I'm mostly about handheld gaming nowadays. I loved the craziness at the beginning but when it settled down, for me at least I lost interest with the casual direction Nintendo went in. But it has it's AAA classics and gave me some great memories :)

Thank you Wii. You came. You saw. You conquered.

MrHandsforth

#18

MrHandsforth said:

i remembered the time my brother came from college, and he brought his Nintendo Wii, i expected it to be big, but it was small and light, ah good times.

RevolverLink

#19

RevolverLink said:

I remember waiting 26th in line at Best Buy for launch, only to just miss the cut when the store received only half of their expected 48 Wii shipment. That was a cold morning. I did end up getting my own console just a couple weeks later, though, thanks to my pre-order with Game Crazy.

In hindsight, I should've stayed to true to my personal "wait a year" rule that I have for all consoles, especially because the PS2, my then primary gaming system, was still going strong with high-quality software at the time. The Wii exclusives didn't really start getting good until at least half a year later.

Jono97

#20

Jono97 said:

When the release of the Nintendo Wii cam out on the news, I was a total newbie. So I'm like "HOW's this possible?"... Too bad I only started being a fan of nintendo when the DS i came out in Japan

Jon2

#21

Jon2 said:

I bought my Wii in February 2008 soley for the VC. I have since downloaded way too many VC games but I've had good fun and most of them will never get old. It took almost a year before I bought a Wii game. I have bought a few Wii games since and I play occasionally but not as much as I did when I first bought the system.

TKOWL

#22

TKOWL said:

Ah, the Wii launch. Back when I was excited to wait in line for 20 minutes in the freezing February 2007 cold in front of a Target just to play some crappy baseball and boxing, having to wait another year until the only reason to own the system, Brawl, came out.

Dark times, it was.

Randomname19

#24

Randomname19 said:

@EvisceratorX Same here,I was too busy keeping up via emulators with all the games that I missed when i didn't knew Nintendo.And the're still some game that I haven't played*curses himself for getting a Playstation instead of a Nintendo 64*

TKOWL

#27

TKOWL said:

Everyone guys, hold the phone, end my life

Someone has an opinion about a game.

Knux

#28

Knux said:

Twilight Princess was utter cr*p, and that's a fact of life.

Ironically, I bought my Wii sometime after launch from eBay because it was selling like hotcakes back in the day. The first game I played was Wii Sports and some VC games.

It's far from being a perfect console, but it certainly has some good games.

MrWu

#31

MrWu said:

I played Twilight Princess on the Wii and liked the sword mechanic. If anything I wish there was an option for Twilight Princess controls for skyward sword.

I remember the Wii launch, it was something very unique indeed. Waking up at 5am in the morning, arriving at Zellers (Canadian discount dept. store) and literally see someone walk out of a car up to the door just as I arrived.

The store had 1 Wii to sell that day, I didn't get it.

Not-Another-Ad

#32

Not-Another-Ad said:

I got my Wii in spring 2008 with Mario Kart Wii,Cars Mator National and Pirates of the Carribean At Worlds End.
Good Times.

ADaviii

#33

ADaviii said:

I got Wii back in 2006. It was the console that kept me in gaming for one more generation!

I'll never forget it. My mom and I ended up staying the night at Meijers all night long to get one of the first Wii consoles (yes, I got my Wii on launch day). Even though it gets a lot of hate on the internet on non-Nintendo related websites, I found Wii to be the most fun I had in a game console (probably because I could play older games on it, but still!).

Fast forward to now, and I am back in the situation I was in before. This is going to be the first E3 I'm really not the excited about. Yes, Wii U is on the way, but I'm not really expecting a lot from it not because I don't think Nintendo can deliver on it, but because I don't believe 3rd parties will. I love my Mario, Zelda, and such, but this trend of 3rd parties making movies rather than games doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon :( . And if I am going to buy Wii U just for Nintendo games, I may as well wait a few years and pick it up for cheap.

And I still have no interest in what Sony and Microsoft have to offer.

But Nintendo has changed my mind before with Wii. If they can do it again with Wii U, I'll be more than happy!

Burning_Spear

#34

Burning_Spear said:

Wii awakened me from a gaming slumber and provided a great outlet during a difficult personal time. IMO, Nintendo has delivered a great set of games over the past six years while providing a system that gave third parties the ability to reach nearly 100 million gamers. Sure, some things could have been done better, but every console has room for improvement. If there was a failing, I believe it belonged to third-party developers who were adverse to using their imagination. I'm sad to see the Wii ride off into the sunset, but I'm looking forward to the future.

kdognumba1

#35

kdognumba1 said:

Very good read. When I first heard of the Wii and first saw the controller I was NOT excited at all. But then E3 2006 came and I saw what the controller could do and became very interested. Not to mention the trailers for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Twilight Princess and Red Steel had my mind blown. When I finally got to experience the system at retailers before it launched, I knew I wanted it but by that time, it was too late to pre-order it so I actually went to walmart with my 2 cousins and a few friends and waited 12 hours to snag one at launch.

The wait wasn't bad, a bunch of other friends shown up and somebody with a GC and the screen brought Melee and Double Dash and a bunch of got to throw down. People were waiting with their DS's too though at the time I didn't have one but they were all playing together. When the time finally came and I got my system I picked up Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Red Steel 2 that day and Twilight Princess and Rayman Raving Rabbids later that week however when I got home all I played for the next few days was WiiSports with friends and family. It was a lot of fun and a lot of good times.

CanisWolfred

#36

CanisWolfred said:

@Burning_Spear It's not that they didn't have imagination - they honestly didn't know how to properly use the Wii remote, and by the time enough of them got the hang of it, too many gamers had moved on that it was no longer profitable to make big games on the Wii anymore.

ReindeerDasher

#37

ReindeerDasher said:

I really didn't care too much about gaming until the DS. Then with the Wii, that was GREAT, and now I'm completely inyo it with the 3DS

Rawk_Hawk

#38

Rawk_Hawk said:

I was so excited and hyped when the Wii launched. I picked mine up about 5 months after it was released.

FonistofCruxis

#40

FonistofCruxis said:

Although, I played Wii sports a lot when it launched and a bit of Twilight princess, I actually played on my DS a lot more at the time as there so many more interesting games to for it to play at the time but the Wii kept growing with so many great games and I now love it and its definitely my favourite console. I still have many games that I need to get for it.

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