My First Love

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It was my fifth birthday when I got my first video game system. Mom and Dad had an old Atari, but that wasn't mine. They knew how to play the games better than I did, and none of my friends even seemed to know what it was. So on my fifth birthday, I opened my presents and there I found the device that would occupy more of time than any of the other gadgets that populate my world. The Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. What a glorious invention. It came with two controllers, a gun, and TWO games. Can you imagine a system coming with even one game now? Both of the games have become some of the most beloved of all time. I'm talking about Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, here.

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What really sets it apart from video games these days is that it brought the whole family together. Mom and I would spend hours playing Mario, and Dad shot more ducks than I ever could. Countless hours were spent trying to beat The Legend of Zelda, and Bionic Commando with my buddy Micah. He got the Power Pad, and I got the Power Glove, so we'd go to his house to play Track and Field and my house to play Punchout!

It was about five years later that the Super Nintendo was released. This time I got it for Christmas from Nana and Papaw. For the next several months if I wasn't in school, I was plopped down in front of the tv playing the latest Mario adventure or Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (my favorite in the series by the way). I also got the Nintendo 64, the Gamecube and almost every iteration of the Gameboy. Standard, Color, Advance. I even got the Virtual Boy, the semi-portable that gave 3-D graphics but only in red and black. That was weird.

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The point of all this is to say I am a Nintendo nut. So for the last year or more I have been waiting with baited breath for the next Nintendo system. Codenamed The Nintendo Revolution, the idea of the system is to change the game, literally. Sony and Microsoft are both touting the High Definition capabilities of their next generation systems. If you've read the blog before, you know I'm as excited by HD as the next guy. I love the idea of playing games that look as beautiful as a Pixar movie. But that's not really why I play games. I can tell you it's definitely not what made my Mom pick up Super Mario Bros. or keeps her playing Dr. Mario on the Super Nintendo even now. Graphics weren't what made Dad sit with me and play Duck Hunt until Mom yelled at us for staying up too late. Nintendo knows it.

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The Revolution is played with a controller that looks like a TV remote. The system can sense the controller's position in 3 dimensional space. It knows if you raise it up, lower it, push it forward or pull it back, even turn it side to side or twist it. If you're playing tennis, the swing the racket. If you're playing The Legend of Zelda, swing the sword to attack the bad guys. You want to play a new version of Duck Hunt? Just take aim and fire with the trigger on the back of the controller. Playing Madden Football? Then pull back the controller to take the snap and throw to pass the football, the harder you swing the remote, the faster the pass.

The possibilities for gameplay are literally endless. If this were the only great feature of the next Nintendo it would be enough, but the coolest, in my opinion is the ability to play games from every Nintendo system ever made, as well as the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. Nintendo calls it the Virtual Console. The system connects to the internet and you can download full versions of all your favorite games. Speaking of retro gaming, turn the Revolution remote sideways. Looks a lot like the NES controller doesn't it. It can work like one, too. Sweet, I know. For the first time in 20 years or so, I can imagine my parents buying a video game system. And I absolutely can't wait to kick my Dad's butt in Duck Hunt. I've only been practicing for the past twenty years. So why all the excitement today about this technological wonder?

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Well it's coming-out party is only days away as it is officialy unveiled and showcased at the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 (for more on E3, read my recent post a List Before Dying). But even bigger than that is that fact that the next Nintendo now has an official name. Revolution has been a very cool moniker, but Nintendo was always adamant that it would not be the final name of the system, and today they proved it.

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Introducing...Wii...as in "We." But what does it mean? Nintendo says this:

Wii will put more people in touch with their games...and each other...Wii sounds like "we," which emphasizes that this console is for everyone. Wii can be easily remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion, no need to abbreviate. Just Wii. Wii has the distinctive "ii" spelling that symbolizes both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play...So that's Wii. But now Nintendo needs you. Because it's not really about you or me. It's about Wii. And together, Wii will change everything."

Holy crap! Can you believe that a multi-million dollar company put that kind of thought and care into the name of their system. They didn't go for the sexy, sleek name like PS3 or the technological implications of XBox 360. They want to hearken back to people playing games together. That's freakin' cool. If you want to check out the neat trailer that came out with the announcement, look here. If you are interested in more info about the Nintendo Wii, I'd suggest checking out IGN It's my favorite place for video game news, and yes they cover the other guys, too. PS3, Xbox 360.

It's a good time to be a video game geek. For those that really enjoyed my last post and want more job-related stuff (Ellie), I'll try to get back to that soon. I just had to gush today.

My new love has a name. And it's Wii.