mario__s_magic_mushrooms_by_citizenIt seems the plumber has gotten a taste of absolute power, and is reveling in it.  With his cheaper price tag and familiar name, the plump Italian has outdone his competitors by a large mushroom sized margin.

Over 29 million XBOX 360’s sold to this day?  Pennies.  Wii has shipped over 50 million units despite hitting the market a year later.  And PS3 is even a lesser blip on Wii’s radar.  The sales battle is still owed to Nintendo in the console war too.  Nintendo’s little “gimmick” system is even currently outdoing the quarterly sales numbers held by its ancestor, the Super Nintendo, during its peak period in the early 90’s.

Microsoft lays claim that they still dominant the top of the software sales charts, but that doesn’t necessarily hold true.  While there are fewer Wii titles on the sales charts than PS3 or Wii, first party Nintendo titles stay on the sales charts for YEARS.  And the large sea of third party titles for the system, while lower on the totem pole, gain respectable sales for themselves.  The problem with third party titles (and even recent first party titles for that matter) is that they suck.  They are cheap to produce and are absolutely shit to play through.

Check the rest of our thoughts after the jump.

Wii-Make of Mario Tennis
Wii-Make of Mario Tennis

So while big-name publishers like Electronic Arts or Activision Blizzard are pushing Sony to cut the price on the PS3, which they hope will increase software sales, Nintendo has no plans to lower the price on neither its top games nor its console.  Even first party Gamecube games (which, for those that don’t know, are backwards compatible with the Wii) are selling at a higher price at your local Gamestop/Ebgames because there is a demand for them.

Nintendo has even decided to release “Wii-makes”, simply rereleasing Gamecube titles with the Wii control scheme.  That means that Nintendo simply thought that these games were good enough last time and that they should tide us over for another go around.

The 360/PS3 get the critically praised Street Fighter IV, and “wii” get the Dracula-ugly Castlevania Judgement.  The 360/PS3 get the highly anticipated Resident Evil 5, and “wii” get Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, a rail gun game that rehashes old textures and character models from the PS2.  The rest of the year, the 360/PS3 get Ghostbusters, Chronicles of Riddick and countless other titles.  The Wii is expected to get the poorly done port of Ghostbusters and most likely another Sonic/Mario Olympic gaming event (which takes place in a world where Sonic could lose to Bowser in track).

The underwhelming promise of the Wii Virtual Console
The underwhelming promise of the Wii Virtual Console

Why you ask?  Other than the fact that it is cheaper to produce many Wii titles at the chance of higher sales, it is also that Nintendo has lost the will to support anyone outside the mushroom kingdom.

A few examples:  CAPCOM programming framework, which it uses to create its top of the line titles, is not compatible with the Wii hardware.  Most publishers are denied use by Nintendo of utilizing Miis.  Nintendo, up until E3 last year, had kept its third party support in the dark about its microphone support and the Wii MotionPlus.  Rare, who Nintendo was once a stakeholder in, left Nintendo for Microsoft after issues over intellectual rights and money drove them apart.

Wii online users have few options when setting up a game online if they don’t have any friend codes.  The Virtual Console, that showed such promise prior to the system’s release, is extremely slow to offer titles that gamers would actually want to download.

While the system’s hardware, nor its online features, are unlikely to change, will 2009 be a better year for hardcore gamers?  Or will Nintendo continue to flip these customers the birdo?  Some 2009 game highlights are below along with my expectations:

Release Date: Out Now
Expectation: High
Influenced by Frank Miller’s Sin City and more violent then any of his graphic novels, MadWorld seems to have a lot going for it.  A mature title on the Wii, which is already drawing controversy, and heavily stylization, set it apart from other action titles.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
Release Date: June 2009
Expectation: Low
Remember when Lucasarts showcased a new Indy game years ago that was meant to take advantage of the processing power of the 360 and PS3?   Well, Lucasarts tinkered away at that game for years and, more recently, gave smaller developers the job of porting the game over to PS2/Wii and assorted handhelds (You know, the crappy ports).  Eventually the 360/PS3 struck a wall and was cancelled, leaving only the ports.  Now the Wii is the showcase, but should it be?  While the game will have the original PC game Fate of Atlantis unlockable, who’s to say the main game is any good?

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
Release Date: TBD (most likely Q4 2009)
Expectation: Moderate
Why no Resident Evil 5 on the system?  According to someone from Capcom, this is a lot cheaper to produce and Resident Evil fans should be satisfied anyway.  Though not much different from the first game, Umbrella Chronicles, the game should still have fairly faithful recreations of Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica, among others.  Plus, it lets you look at a digital backside of Claire Redfield for hours.

Wii Sports Resort
Release Date: TBD (Q2 2009)
Expectation: Moderate
In all honesty, this will most likely be fun for the masses.  But it’s not like there haven’t been dozens of Summer games for the Wii.