Nintendo drew equal amounts of criticism and praise when they released the original Wii console back in 2007. Yet the influence across the industry forced Sony and Microsoft to incorporate what is now standard: motion based controls. Without DVD playback or ultra high definition graphics the Wii titles focused on inclusive and interactive gameplay. The Wii U has since replaced the Wii, but there are plenty of original Wii titles worth revisiting (many of these games are still playable on Nintendo's latest console and usually available on discount).
Super Mario Galaxy 1 - $22.68
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - $51.48
Each of the Galaxy games are strong contenders for the best Mario games ever in my opinion, a bold claim considering past all-time classics, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario 64. Everything about each of the Galaxy games take advantage of the Wii's motion based controls, partnered with the gameplay and smile-inducing graphics that put Mario on the map. The only question is where does Mario go from here now he's ventured out into space?
Wii Fit - $19.86 (Game Only)
Nintendo took on the "gamer couch potato lifestyle" stigma with the release of Wii Fit, challenging a whole nation to get moving while gaming, including a special board peripheral that challenged players by adding a physical element connecting virtual gaming with real life body fitness. Activities include yoga training, scenic jogging in one spot, or heading soccer balls. Do you remember when you first played Wii Fit and actually felt healthier after gaming? It's not a bad idea to give it a try again to see if you're up to the challenge six years later.
Punch-Out!! - $31.85
Speaking of serious fitness, no Wii game has ever made me sit back and take a break quite like Punch-Out!! The remake of the classic boxing game originally released on the NES utilizes the Wiimote and the nun-chuck add-on for each fist; the sensor bar tracks players movements to dodge attacks. Although it doesn't match the original in my opinion (no Mike Tyson!?), Punch-Out!! is still highly recommended as an active gaming title, extremely fun to watch or play in groups.
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon - $19.99
I find video games are capable of delivering a wholly unique brand of storytelling that movies, graphic novels, or even literature can't quite emulate. Take Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon for example. The game centers around a boy named Seto who explores the abandoned wasteland of post-apocalyptic Earth, possibly the last person on the planet. This game screams atmosphere and begs to be enjoyed by players at their own pace to fully absorb and appreciate the dark, ambience painting this title. Players adventure as sleuths, avoiding lingering spirits, uncover the back story behind scavenged items, and discover how people used the items in the days before the apocalypse. Fragile Dreams' cut scenes are fantastic, the game can't be found on any other system, and is proof there are many original concepts still waiting to be explored.
The Last Story - $29.99
Fans of the earlier Final Fantasy games will recognize elements of their beloved franchise in the Last Story and for good reason. Produced by Hironobu Sakaguchi, with music composed by Nobuo Uematsu (two big names from the original Final Fantasy's creative team), The Last Story is a Nintendo Wii exclusive, filled with a cast of well written cast of characters and an engaging plot revolving around Lazulis Island, rather than the trope of an entire virtual planet, which is a welcome change from the 'saving the world' cliche that RPGs tend to fall into.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - $50.40
This list would be incomplete without an entry including the Hero of Time. Skyward Sword is a fantastic entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise, a unique addition with a full grown Link to play. The game still borrows some colorful visual elements from the Wind Waker game, however the updated motion controls are what sets Skyward Sword apart. The Wiimote responds to waving vertically, horizontally, or diagonally translating sword play on screen. Players can strategically attack enemies' weak spots in a way that had never been seen before in gaming. It's difficult to explain, but Nintendo gets the formula right, making gameplay feel fluid and physically immersive.
Kirby: Epic Yarn - $18.99
You can have a system with all the graphical power in the world but it doesn't mean much if the game looks great, but isn't fun to play. Despite the Wii being "underpowered", I personally find games like Kirby: Epic Yarn more memorable and engaging than the slew of Call of Modern Battlefield titles available. Kirby takes his charming flavor of platforming and doubles the fun with a textile theme that's enjoyable to interact with. Rather than sucking up his enemies and stealing their powers like in previous games, Kirby now winds up yarn outlining each enemy, then turns them into balls to hurl them at foes. Epic Yarn also has one of the best 2-player co-operative experiences I've played ever, making it an excellent game to revisit with a friend or family member.
Trauma Team - $16.67
Atlus really took advantage of the novel possibilities of adding motion control to gaming, offering a surgeon simulator back in 2010 called Trauma Team. Famous for the outrageously dramatic storyline and difficult-yet-addictive gameplay, Trauma Team testedgamers with stressful surgical situations, including treating hemorrhages and removing foreign objects or tumours from patients bodies. Players are also able to explore more fields of medicine such as diagnosticians, EMT, orthopedic surgeons, endoscope technician, or medical examiner.
Rhythm Heaven Fever - $10.84
Music title Rhythm Heaven Fever is one of those games that is very simply to learn, but can get quicklu challenging (especially if you have no rhythm like me!). RHF is a mini-game bonanza based around the theme of – you guessed it – rhythm. Players with a Wiimote will be urged to press the A, B, or both simultaneously to the beat of several catchy musical numbers while matching visual queues. The songs, adorable visuals, and sheer ridiculousness of these mini-games are what make Rhythm Heaven a cult classic that will have everyone tapping their feet and singing along long after the Wii has been turned off.
Xenoblade Chronicles - $79.99
Currently the most sought after Wii game among fans of JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games) and the center of controversy for GameStop's questionable business practices, Xenoblade Chronicles offers gamers a beautiful and grandiose world to explore. Addictive gameplay, fascinating characters, and a mind-blowing score flesh out the world. When virtual adventurers look back at the Nintendo Wii, this will be the game they'll be remembering.
(Many) Honorable Mentions
Super Smash Bros. Brawl - $26.93
Muramasa: The Demon Blade - $24.99
Boom Blox - $33.99
Monster Hunter Tri - $17.85
Wario Land Shake It! - $43.97
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn - $29.99
Animal Crossing: City Folk - $17.99
Okami - $15.69
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - $39.20
Mario Kart Wii - $34.65
Sonic Colors - $17.78
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition - $13.49
Wii Sports - $15.31
(Images: Mario, Link, Kirby are Copyright of their respective owners; all other titles as linked above)