Wii-Useless: Impulse Purchasing 101

Ever wish your controller had a screen on it? No? Not even a little? Come on man...

Even during this age of information, in which empowered consumers supposedly exercise scrutiny to make informed purchases, I still find myself buying things simply because they exist.  Sometimes, this works out for the best (Forever Lazy), and sometimes it does not (Doritos Locos Tacos).  Jon does the same thing.  Even though Sony has a less than reputable history of handheld consoles, he still bought the Vita on impulse.  His reasoning was that he would play Persona 4 for at least 80 hours, so that, alone, made it “worth the price.”  To me, four dollars an hour seems a little steep for a game about attending high school again.  I have not actually played it, but I have heard him debating whether to join the drama club or the band, and I know for a fact that he spent hours last night studying for virtual midterms.  Ahem… his first article should be coming any day now.

A few weeks ago, when I mentioned that I would be purchasing a Wii U, my friends asked me which launch title sold me on the system.  I vaguely said, “Mario,” because I figured he would be represented in some shape or form, but I honestly could not name one title.  I just as easily could have said, “Zelda,” and my friends would have all shared a snicker at my expense.  Thankfully, a Mario game was scheduled for release, so I suppose I dodged a conversational bullet.  Still, it is a little troubling that I was uncertain.

What is even more troubling is that, now armed with an awareness of my ignorance, I still allowed my uncertainty to continue through launch day.  That morning, at the game store, I scanned the shelves of white cases like an explorer might examine a wall of ancient hieroglyphics, attempting to look through the foreign characters and unlock their hidden secrets.  I was already holding Mario, because fuck it, but my real intent was to walk away with two games in hand.  Two is a number I picked, because I consider myself a smart guy, and a smart guy would not spend $350 on a new system if it only had one good game.  Thus, it must have at least two good games, right?  I bought the one with the zombies on the cover.  You have the internet, so you probably know by now that I made the wrong decision.

As it turns out, there was no right decision to be made, because none of the launch titles for Wii U are worth buying.  ZombiU is no Left 4 Dead, and Mario’s contribution is basically the same as his last one, with the addition of a fifth player whose job is to act like a guy who plays with his cell phone during a date.  Using the gamepad’s touchscreen, the fifth player can place blocks on the screen and temporarily hinder enemies, which is useful for the four adventurers, but is not inherently fun for the person stuck doing it.  Handing your friend the gamepad is the modern day equivalent of telling the fat kid to “keep score.”  To make things worse, unlike Captain Scoreboard’s role on the playground, the devs have gone out of their way to make this job useful, meaning someone has to do it.  This also means it is possible to do it wrong, though I highly discourage anyone from criticizing this individual.  Berating the gamepad user for missing a block is like cussing out your office’s janitor for missing a spot on the carpet.  Just smile, say thanks, mention something about the weather, and maybe he will spare you when he finally goes off the edge.

Nintendo Land is not bad, but the single player games grow old quickly, and the real fun is designed for groups of four or more players.  There are only three players in my household, so at any given time, I am underneath the preestablished threshold, by default.  Even if I did have four roommates, the Wii U feels a lot like that big, cool landmark in your town.  You always show it off when people come to visit, but no one who actually lives there gives a shit about the first Starbucks or the Coca-Cola bottling plant.  I plan on pulling the Wii U out when my friends come over, but they do not come over that often.  Maybe I should invite them over more.  Maybe I should branch out and find new friends.  Maybe I should stop wasting money on garbage.

Things could be worse.  I have not had a Wii for a while, so I missed out on Xenoblade Chronicles back in April.  I picked it up yesterday, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Even though buying a Wii U to play a Wii game feels a lot like paying a call girl to watch me masturbate, at least I am getting something out of the equation.  Unless you throw nightly dinner parties or you run some sort of Daddy Day Care operation, I highly recommend you examine that equation before you take the plunge.

Thomas Shamburger
Thomas is one of the original creators of "What's Jump?" As a lifelong gamer, writer, and comedian, his goal is to provide readers with humorous, entertaining, and thought-provoking perspectives on current gaming news and culture. His early career successes in the business world helped to pave the way for the site's launch in 2012. As the Editor in Chief of "What's Jump?" he combines his passions for gaming, writing, entrepreneurship, and comedy.
Thomas Shamburger
Thomas Shamburger

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