Monday, March 26, 2018

The Beginning Of The End Of Wii Shop

Well, it's come to this. The end of an era... or rather, the beginning of the end.

Today marks the end of Wii Points; from this point forward, Wii owners will no longer able to procure additional Wii Points so that they can purchase games from the Wii Shop, thus obstensibly killing Wii Shop. From this day forward, the only purpose of Wii Shop is to spend whatever points you have left over and eventually download all your purchases to your Wii or SD memory card before the Wii Shop eventually closes shop for good next January.

The beginning of the end of an era, indeed.

Wii Shop was Nintendo's digital service for the original Wii console and was perhaps a vital component to the overall package. Sure, the system's main gimmick was its motion controlled Wii remote and nunchuk accesories and that was the main selling point for that generation, but Wii Shop provided owners with a little more meat to the package if that gimmick didn't do much for you. And it certainly didn't do much for me. Sure, playing Wii Sports and a couple other party games were all fun and dandy, but after a while, it loses its appeal. Not to mention my somewhat shaky nature meant  that some games like The Conduit wouldn't be good experiences for me, which is a bit of a shame because that looked like a good game that would've benefited from a better pair of hands.

And that's where Wii Shop stepped into the mix and offered the one aspect that appealed to me personally more than anything; the growing selection of Virtual Console releases. For a few bucks, you could download classic titles from not only the NES, Super NES, and N64 libraries, but also games from former rival consoles such as the Sega Genesis, Turbografx-16, Sega Master System, and for a short time, there were even Commodore 64 titles available on the market. And this had a certain appeal for me because not only would I be able to replay classics from my youth that I haven't played in years, but also have access to a library of games that I've never touched before.

It was through Wii Virtual Console that I was able to experience many of the great Turbografx and PC Engine games like the multitude of shooters, the original Dracula X, the one Street Fighter II game with the black bar, other titles of note... It was through Wii Virtual Console that I got to experience some of the better 16-bit titles that I missed out on the first time around, like Secret Of Mana, MUSHA, Wild Guns, Axelay. Even import titles like Uforia, Pulseman, and Bomberman '94. Generally speaking, I got quite a bit of mileage out of that Virtual Console service.

And then there was WiiWare; the original games section of the Wii Shop, which I didn't get as much value from because most of them were pointer games and things of that nature, but there were some games that appealed to me that I'm happy to have bought and played. Naturally, the two Mega Man games come to mind - with No. 9 being the trigger that made me fork money over for a Wii - the Konami Re-Birth series of titles like Contra Rebirth, Gradius Rebirth, Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth (which, by the way, wasn't available on the other consoles, so that's a plus for me), the Blaster Master sequel/remake/spin-off... I even got Final Fantasy IV: The After Years on Wii (but none of the DLC because the game turned out to be shit.)

As a Wii owner who still games on his Wii to this day, it's sad to see a significant part of the console go away in short order. While the service is still active for another year, you really can't call it a "Wii Shop" if you can't buy anything. And since I have back-ups of everything (not THAT kind of back-up), I don't see myself going back to the Shop for the foreseeable future (unless something gets updated at the last minute or something and even then...)

Thanks for the memories and the empty wallets, Wii Shop. It's been a fun ride.

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