In this Talking Point, our colleague Andy Robertson — who runs FamilyGamerTV — explains why The Wonderful 101 is a game perfectly suited to families and, in particular, the young teen audience; it's an age group rarely catered to directly. Andy regularly works with families and appears on radio and television to provide advice and analysis of video gaming for families.
The Wonderful 101 has been praised for many things, and for good reason. It's part of a growing catalogue of Wii U games that wouldn't be possible on other systems, and it's another triple A game from Platinum Games that looks as good as it plays. It's as unique and quirky as the controller you wield to play it.
But I'm excited about it for a reason usually off the gaming radar, its PEGI rating. If you didn't know it, and it’s likely you didn't, Wonderful 101 is a PEGI 12 (ESRB Teen in North America) game. Nothing unusual in that you may think, but actually this is the least populated of the age ratings for full price console games.
Study the weekly game sales charts with an eye on the rating of each game and the pattern emerges; it's not surprising when you look at the rating details. A touch too much realism, or a loose alcohol reference will tip a PEGI 12 into a 16 (ESRB Mature), and with good reason. Also the opposite can be true as developers are cautious to hit the lower age rating they end up falling into the PEGI 7 age group, and are likely no worse for it.
Not a big deal? Talk to families or friends with children and you quickly realise that the PEGI ratings are a really useful tool for navigating the often complex world of video games. Not only to avoid games that are unsuitable but finding the right games that work best with the ages of their children.
I often talk to families, and did so on the BBC's The One Show recently, to suggest that they play games together in the family room rather than in bedrooms. This leads to talk of getting younger children off the older PEGI 16 and 18 games.
As you might imagine, those that are honest soon suggest that many other children seem to be playing these games or that there aren't any alternatives that are as much fun or as exciting.
Finding genuine alternatives to the older rated shooting games is harder than you imagine. I have a handful of PEGI games I regularly suggest, games like Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Gravity Rush, Motorstorm and Mario Strikers Charged. This list now has a new game at the top of it, The Wonderful 101.
It's as exciting, exuberant and as boisterous and high impact as any Call of Duty or Battlefield experience. But more than that, like my other PEGI 12 picks it offers something unique rather than simply a toned down shooter.
The other killer feature for families is multiplayer, not online as you may imagine but good old local multiplayer; here the Wii U comes into its own with that special controller. Not only does that create new ways to play together in the same place, like with Nintendo Land and Game & Wario, but it turns four person local co-op into five player.
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed was one of the first to offer this with five player racing and many more have followed. It's surprising the difference adding more players locally can make to the experience; even Microsoft seems to be adopting Nintendo’s approach with its recent announcement that the Xbox One will support eight controllers locally.
While there is no easy answer to getting the right games into the hands of the people who will get the most out of them, more games like The Wonderful 101 in the PEGI 12 age bracket will certainly help.
Are you a parent or perhaps a gamer that's 10 years old to early teens? Let us know what you think about the challenges of finding entertaining games rated for that age group, and your thoughts on The Wonderful 101 as a new entry in that category.
Honestly, being a dad and on a budget, if the game is single player only we rarely buy it. (3DS games being the exception) Local multiplayer ftw! Local coop even better!
Multi-Player in this game is awesome, first weekend i took it over to my brothers house and we played through all the wonderful missions 4 player. Online multiplayer is great and convent when you can't get a group together but nothing beats the joys of local co-op .
I guess he will be adding Super Mario 3D World to that list.
The Wonderful 101 completely blew my expectations out of the water. It's a really great game & any extra selling points that go along with this great game are an amazing bonus. It did shock me when I saw it was only PG (Parental Guidance) & not M (Mature) but in a good way. I'm totally not into blood or anything like that so this game is perfect for me. I'm sooooo glad I downloaded Pikmin 3 to enjoy it but even more so to get a discount on the Wonderful 101. I really can't say enough great things about the Wonderful 101
This has been my most anticipated game of the year....i plan on mastering it on all difficulties!!!!
Hopefully it sells well in NA.
@Dark_Link Same here. Games like this need to sell well for more variety. I'll definitely pick this up during the Christmas season.
Stupid the way rating's work these days.
When I was young if something was on Family Gamer or anything like it then I wouldn't want to play it.
(I bought Duke Nukem 3D myself at about that sort of age with no problems even with the 18 on the box they just weren't bothered).
If a parent decides that a child shouldn't have something it just makes them want it more.
(The 'I only play Mature games' crowd is sort of what I was like when I was 13. Probably those people are that age still I don't know).
I will say that the local multiplayer aspect of any game is usually under rated. My wife has just recently gotten hooked on pikmin 3 with me. Every night she asks me " Wanna play some pikmin?" For any game to be able to do that is great in my eyes. And my kids, 7 and 4, use the map on the gamepad to guide their parent of choice to the needed fruit to win the round. It's great fun that allows the whole family to feel engaged without alienating anyone. I'm really looking forward to TW101 for more local MP action! Looking forward to next weekend!
A big omission from this piece is what controllers are required for multiplayer in W101. My understanding is you need either Classic Pro or Wii U Pro, not the Wiimote and nunchuck combo that most people have lieing around the house. I was really looking forward to playing this w/ my kids but despite owning a Wii for 6 years we don't have any of those, we got by with several Wavebirds for Mario Kart and SSBB and Wimotes for all the rest, and I am not buying 2 additional controllers for 1 game.We have been playing alot of 2 player Pikmin 3, and 3 player Trine 2, and we're looking forward to SM3DW, but if we need extra controllers we probably won't get that either.
Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong about the W101 controller options.
My son is 4 and actually requests to watch me play the demo! He LOVES these guys and really the action is pretty cartoonish so I see no issues with that at all. In fact, my son loves these guys so much that I can't help but wonder if a cartoon shouldn't be made about these super heroes? I know he'd watch every week!
I for one, cannot wait to download this game next weekend on the 15th... I'll probably push my Wind Waker HD purchase into October to make room for some Wonderful 101 goodness
"Not a big deal? Talk to families or friends with children and you quickly realise that the PEGI ratings are a really useful tool for navigating the often complex world of video games. Not only to avoid games that are unsuitable but finding the right games that work best with the ages of their children."
Also for all you "I hate Nintendo because of region locking" ... Region Locking allows them the most flexibility in hitting their targetted ratings, and is actually the major reason if not the only reason why Nintendo does it.
@WiiLovePeace really enjoying it too! I waited for ages for it, hated the demo but bought it regardless and not looked back. Great game, unique game play and a true Wii u game. Would have loved too see a few snipets of the early darker artwork as I prefer that style but wouldn't change a thing! (Exept maybe the handglider physics?)
@element187: That ridiculous. Region lock is a technical barrier. Of course you still release local and localized versions of your games where it makes sense.
It has nothing to do with ratings or anything of the sorts. Otherwise other companies, not to mention the entire PC game market, wouldn't do fine without it. Do you actually believe what you're saying?
You don't play any virtual console games? You can use Classic Controllers (Pro) for that so it won't be "just one game". Other games like D&D Chronicles of Mystara also use Classic Controllers. If you buy them you will find many uses to justify the expenditure
Wii U Pro controllers are a different story, as those are expensive.
@rjejr Correct Classic Pro or Wii U Pro pad is needed for additional players. I recommend picking up the Wii U Pro pad, its solid and useful for guests as well as an alternate control method.
I personally don't mind M games, but I'll admit, I've seen a lot less T, and a lot more M on shelves, in comparison to previous gens.
JRPGs are THE haven for teen gamers, though. I read an article awhile back, pointing out that they're the "Young Adult Novels" (like Harry Potter or Eragon) of the video game world. Tales centered around discovery & self growth, they resonate strongly with that audience, and usually the JRPG's you play at that age, will cement themselves as your favorites, largely for that reason.
Not to mention, most of them fall between E10+ - T territory. If JRPGs by & large started tipping to the M side of the spectrum, things would really be dire for teen gamers, IMO.
@rjejr Thankfully you can get those pro controllers for the wii mote dirt cheap. I paid $5 a piece for the 3 I purchased last month.
@Emblem @sinalefa - I played several VC games, all using my wireless GC controllers. We have a bunch of those. If we need new controllers for SM3DW, Mario Kart 8 and SSB then yeah I'll pick them up, but I'm not buying them now just for W101. Everything else has worked just fine mutiplayer w/ the Wiimotes and nunchuck - Pikmin 3, Trine 2, Pokemon Rumble U and Nintendo Land. I guess we'll see what happens w/ Donkey Kong and Sonic as well.
@element187 - I've only seen the Classics $5, I haven't seen the Classic Pros for less than $19.99. I looked after I found out about W101 b/c we do want to play it, but I didn't want to spend $40 for 2 extra Wii controllers. I'll keep looking though as I suppose eventually we will need them, rather than just want them. And I have a feeling W101 will be $15 before long. Well either that or $79 "vintage" at Gamestop.
I've actually seen a number of reviews bring up how it's NOT suitable for kids. Eurogamer said that's the one big shame, as you glance at it, and it seems perfect for them, but you get a few one-liners that range from being stuff that would simply go over a kid's head and maybe lead to an awkward question, to more blatant stuff like references to the size of a male character's genitals. Thomas addressed it in the comments of the review and said they weren't a big deal, but several reviews have mentioned them now. Plus, there's some pretty strong sexist elements in there too. I'm not sure how many Moms would want their daughters seeing Wonder Pink and getting ideas.
I've not played the game, so can't make a fair judgement myself, but Eurogamer in particular felt it was a big enough deal to bring up in their review, saying they wouldn't feel comfortable giving it to a kid.
For eight-year-olds, this might be one of the best games ever made. That's why it's so disappointing that Platinum has included content that isn't suitable for children, and ended up with a 12 rating.
Most female characters are introduced with donkey and boob shots, which I can just about get over - with these character models, such assets are basically triangles anyway. There are sub-surface sexual tensions, too, particularly with the 101's base, the Virgin Victory, and its pilot Alice, but these will arguably sail over the heads of children. The mind-boggling inclusion is a female boss whom the Wonderful 101 refer to as a 'cougar' and who makes several jokes about the size of Wonder Blue's penis.
I'm not the morality police, so take this as you will; that boss is such a minor part of the overall experience, and yet it ruins the gleeful innocence of a game that would otherwise be perfect for children. I would love to pass The Wondeful 101 on to my eight-year-old nephew, but I don't want him asking his mum what a cougar is. This is not edgy, or clever, or cool. It is Platinum cutting off its nose to spite its face for a joke that isn't even funny.
@Peach64 That's something I've been thinking. Games get suggestive themes for a reason and it's probably not things that little ones should hear or see. A cartoony style doesn't make a game family friendly if you still put other things into it. Many T games aren't appropriate for a younger audience.
So I guess you will spend on the controllers you did not buy for the Wii. Still great that you can use the Wiimotes, and most other Wii controllers and accessories on the Wii U.I love that, it has saved me a lot of money in extra controllers.
@Peach64 Possible spoiler ahead...
If i recall correctly Wonder Pink calls that female boss a cougar when they encounter her and get into a cat fight. The penis joke is very tame, the boss asks why Wonder blue carries such a large blade then says that he must be compensating for something. Thats it, any kid who picks up on either of these jokes has already lost their innocence or been previously exposed to those themes. However i can understand some parents may not want to expose their kids to this, hence the 12 guidance rating.
Possible spoiler end.
There is nothing in the game that hasn't already been in a Pixar/Dreamworks movie. Any innuendo will go straight over a childs head and there is nothing blatant in the whole story.
For the record the game is not sexisit towards Women. The female characters are all blatantly satirical as are the males, no child is going to take Wonder Pink saying she needs to shower and fix her make up before a fight seriously. If you believe the game to be sexist towards females that means the game is also sexist to males as well as racist. Females, males and nationalities get the exact same treatment in this game.
That said, the close ups of Wonder Pinks rump when she is first introduced did make me wonder how appropriate it would be for a child younger than 8 to be viewing.
Oh my God, Nintendo Life; it doesn't matter how many articles you publish where you sing the praises of The Wonderful 101 - nobody wants this game. Nobody's buying it. Nobody cares.
I know Nintendo gets dinged for not doing new IP, but maybe they could focus on making a new F-Zero, Star Fox, and Metroid Prime first. Excluding the 3D re-make, they have not made a good Star Fox game since 1997. Come on, Nintendo. You have so many good IPs that you're just sitting on right now.
But apparently you do, Ludwig-like individual. Wouldn't explain your presence in such articles otherwise.
I like the idea she said about making a cartoon with them. It'd be worth Nintendo investing in something like that.
@Emblem Even if a kid knows something it doesn't mean further exposer is good for him.
@Pachterkid So... we can't talk about the game anymore since the game isn't selling? Is that some kind of new rule here? No game can be talked about in a news article unless it sells a katillion copies!
Some of your favorite games won't be even on your possession if this follows.
I'm not too worried about age ratings here since I'm over 18. Although I go hide my M-rated games from my mum (minus COD) from time to time whenever she's home after i was denied Resident Evil Revelations. heh.
@Jaz007 The UK seems to have a problem with binge drinking more than say France where kid's start drinking much earlier. Trying to reduce exposure doesn't always work or makes it worse later on. (Kid's from Private schools seem to go much more off the rails when they get to university for example as well.)
Only things kid's shouldn't be exposed to is advertising. (Anybody else should try to avoid it as well).
Even though 101 IS the best game on the U so far, I wouldn't let my 8 year old nephew play it. It's violent and there are a few sexual references here and there which I think are too much for kids. Plus it is a fairly difficult game. Kamiya has create a really unique game that has trouble finding its audience. think this is one of it's problems- it's too old for the kid market and very few 18-25 year olds want to play a Nintendo cartoon game. It's brilliant- but possibly only for OAPs like me.
And no one tell me video games, the internet, TV, films, music and sports stars and don't influence kids. the whole point of growing up is learning by imitation. Bombardment of sex, violence, swearing, drinking and drug use gives kids a bad idea of how they're supposed to act. And total immersion in an artificial world with low morals will confuse anyone, let alone 8 year olds who don't even know what they want for tea.
About the Eurogamer review, maybe it's also a cultural thing, jokes of the sort and sexual innuendo are quite common in Super Sentai or some animes aimed at children/teens in Japan, so I think a 12 rating it's fair... But perhaps that makes it even more niché
@MrGawain Agreed. Look at how prevalent sex is in the media and among kids. The idea that kids aren't being influenced is crazy. Kids need to be taught morals, not do it now so you don't do it quite as bad later
No, I'm almost certain you are correct. I scored 2 Wii U Pro Controllers for $35 each on a Newegg Flash sale, one for me and one as backup for a 2nd or possibly 3rd player. They're not a necessity, but I will say this- for certain games in which I'm not using the gamepad, I always prefer the Wii U Pro Controller. Not only is it the most comfortable controller I've ever held (even better than the Xbox controller imo), but it runs for 80 hours of actual gameplay time on a single charge, which is outrageous.
If you ever have the opportunity to scoop one up for a discount, I'd highly recommend it. You won't have to worry about charging it but once a month (maybe less), and you'd be surprised how comfortable and natural it feels with any game you're not using the second screen for- NSMBU, Sonic Transformed, Rayman Legends, Injustice, etc... sometimes the gamepad just feels too cumbersome when you're not using the second screen at all
Nobody wants this game? Speak for yourself. I want it, and apparently most of the NintendoLife community who own a Wii U do as well. It's a great game. Doesn't have to be a smashing commercial success to be a gem of a new IP.
This second part is not directed at you Patcherkid.
I don't get some Nintendo fans. I hear relentless complaining about "Nintendo never makes a new IP". Wonderful 101 comes along, and is everything we could hope for and then some. But those same people who were screaming for something new, they're not excited about it. Now they want something else. Sometimes I think there are Nintendo fans that don't care about fun games, they just want something they can throw in the Sony and MS fanboys' faces and say "See, we have a flashy game too". Or "see, we have a new IP that's not Mario" or "see, we have games with amazing graphics that are hardcore too". It's GOTTA be the case, cause all those Nintendo fans that were complaining about not getting a new IP, aren't buying Wonderful 101.
These are the fans that say the ONLY good games from Nintendo's E3 were Smash Bros 4, Bayonetta 2 and X. Hmm, why is that? Is it a coincidence those just happen to be the games that can most easily be bragged about to a MS/Sony drone? DKC Tropical Freeze looked like the best game on the entire menu, but no one wants to talk about that game, cause it's a platformer, and you can't take a platformer to a fanboy to brag about Nintendo. You can't take DKC TF to a Sony drone and say "see, we have hardcore games with awesome graphics too". Sometimes I think it's not even about fun games to these people, it's about defending Nintendo's image to the gaming community. Am I alone in this suspicion?
I find it funny how some people are commenting negatively about this game when they never played it or played the demo and then quoting a bunch of reviews…
As a parent I will play the game before I consider allowing my son to play the game but from what ive read it doesnt seem as different as the way most kids movies sneak in these adult jokes references.
My son and I loved the Wonderful 101 demo an am buying this when it comes out on the 15th but if choose to allow him to watch me play or if we play together I will talk to him about anything he wants to ask me about.
Children learn at an alarmingly fast rate and as a parent im there to help answer any questions.
Isnt it funny though that now with popularity of tablets and ipads most kids have one and watch youtube and hear or watch inappropriate videos…wonder if the same people complaing about the Wonderful 101 will discuss or quote the internet about this?
WONDERFUL 101 SEPT 15th!!!! I CANT WAIT!!!!
Region locking has nothing to do with ratings, it has to do with protecting retailers in the pal region from competition from cheaper us imports and from protecting japanese retailers from cheaper us and european imports......
@JaxonH - "but it runs for 80 hours"
So, a little bit longer than the Gamepad's 3 hours?
Somebody was on here recently complaining about the Gamepad and I have to say it is a bit wide and heavy. I have a messed up left shoulder and after about an hour it bothers me. I don't like the Xbox controller though (15 years of excessive Dualshock usage) so you aren't selling me with that bit of news.
We'll see how it goes, maybe Santa will leave a Pro in my stocking. So many multiplayer games the next few months I guess we'll need more than just Wiimotes and nunchucks eventually.
Now if only that expanded gamepad battery Nintendo talked about would release soon...
Thanks for the Wii U Pro tip. I find it a bit expensive still, but nice to hear that it is that comfortable.
It still looks like Pikmin on crack. Other than that 'giant whatever' formation, the mechanics seem exactly the same: Collect as many characters as possible, throw them at some random bad guy. Repeat until done.
I come from a PC gaming background so I seriously wonder: Is this (and Pikmin) "great" by Console standards? Because man, I watch my son go through that linear drudge that is Pikmin and I seriously can't see the gameplay at all. It's pretty and funny and cute and all, but that is really it.
It's so linear, it practically plays itself. It's like the player is an afterthought. Collect Pikmin and throw them at the only things by and large that offer any possibility for interaction. How is that even a game? Because there's a time limit? And W101 seems the same. Like dumping a bucket of ants onto a cookie and waiting for them to finish it off.
Family friendly on WiiU so far I've found parts of Nintendoland (although not everything), The Cave (three player coop, but dad can take over in the hard places), Disney's Planes (once you get past the tedious intro levels), TNT Racers (a bit hard for all ages though), Trine 2 (three player coop if kids are older to handle the complexity. Possibly the best game on WiiU anyway).
I have high hopes for Mario 3d world, but other than that, what is there? I'm seriously desperate. I got this console because the whole world seemed to be raving about the family friendly Nintendo, but so far, as far as Nintendo goes, that label seems to be mostly an excuse to release mediocre and/or shallow games featuring some classic 'family friendly' character.
New IP, old IP. I don't care, but give me some actual games. Something that doesn't vaguely remind me of a game I had on my phone for five minutes but refunded.
@JaxonH I think this is because people on communities like this make up such a tiny percentage of the market, we're irrelevant. Pretty much everyone on this website is going nuts over this game, but it's flopped badly at retail, because everyone here, and everyone at all the other Nintendo fan sites aren't really enough people to make a difference. So we can all say we want new IPs, and we can still all go buy it, but there's only a few hundred of us here and that doesn't matter when game sales are counted in millions.
It was the same when the Rayman delay was announced. People were getting excited that they had 700 names on a petition to reverse the decision. 700 people is nothing. The game came out, it did well, all those people on here they have decided to boycott Ubisoft didn't affect it.
I read somewhere that 101 is the top selling Wii u game in France right now.. I'm glad to hear that people are actually buying this in other parts of the world, It's a great game.
@rjejr It does need classic controllers or pro controllers but you need two sticks to play it properly. SM3DW though just needs wiimotes.
@Cohort Has anyone noticed how many French people are online on Wii u?! I remember going to France when I was in my teens and making friends with a bunch of kids of which only one had a console; which was an Atari 2600! Bearing in mind this was the mid nineties and as the videogame market was so bad I got chakan the forever man and rocket knight adventures from a super marche for less than £10. My how things have changed, went over with my kids this summer and checked out the Wii u games (which had big displays in store) just in case they were cheaper, but no, more expensive and yet most of the people playing need for speed or cod on Wii U seem to be French. I love this console it makes me feel more European!
@ICHIkatakuri Not sure but every time I boot up my Wii U there's a lot of French/German comments from Miiverse that seem to show up..
I've had the demo for a few weeks now and played it a few times, but I just can't get into it, the full game has been out now for about 3 weeks or so in the UK and I have been slightly tempted to buy it just incase I'm missing something. But I'm still toying with the idea.
@JaxonH - But where would we put a bigger battery? Oh yeah, in all that empty space surrounding the little battery in the back of the Gamepad;-)
I removed my battery when the touch screen stopped working - apparently the Gamepad screen is very finicky about screen protector attachment - and I was surprised how much space there was going unused in the battery compartment.
I guess at some point they'll start shipping with these installed.
@rjejr I got mine from Craigslist... There is a,most always selling something Wii related.
@element187 - I always forget about Craigslist. Which is weird b/c I'm always thinking of putting stuff for sale on it. Mostly old kds stuff, not vdeogame stuff.
@ICHIkatakuri - I think it would play just fine w/ 1 nunchuck stick to control your group's movement and use the Wiimote to draw a line or circle or squiggle or angle on the tv screen to do the formations. Of course that would need to be coded in. Works pretty well in Chick Chick Boom though.
@rjejr Although I thought that too, I am a bit skeptical it would be as easy to do. Especially as the shapes aren't drawn across the screen but across the in game floor and effected by scenery. It would be too easy to draw a quick shape with the remote and it not be possible. Either that or change the whole mechanic and give remote players an advantage?
@rjejr I know Nyko or someone made a super long lasting battery, but it was defective in over half of all batteries sold. Which ifs why I think I'll wait for Nintendo. Although I bought Energizer Wiimote battery packs that charge on a base, and haven't had any problems. Couldn't stand switching out any more double As
I think it's good that there are ratings, but people also have to judge for themselves!
For example: I disagree with many age-ratings for dutch movies! Movies that are full with bad language and violence are just rated 12! If I had kids, I wouldn't show them those movies, even if they where 12! But maybe I am old-fashioned?!
Even doing it Solo i great fan.
I buy Nintendo consoles majory because Nintendo only can provide me that Japanese feel that on witch i fell in love since i was a little stupid brat.
In the past i bought even the PS1 and 2, but since the PS3 i don't see much of a return in term of support for japanese developers as before, it was massive back then.
The Wonderful 101 hits all the right spots for me: arcade, amazing use of points with the internal store, corky story, massive action...slurp
Xbox has always supported multiple controllers, but the software never supports it. Unless they have something to show, no one cares. Just another 'It also cooks waffles!'
@rjejr In the demo I was able to do multiplayer with just a regular classic controller.
@Jukilum - Thanks for the info, thats the 1st I've heard of that, should be able to pick up one of those somewhere for a buck.
Played demo crap,bought Disney Infinity.much better family game.
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