New consoles are always a delight. But before you head out in a mad scramble to buy a shiny new Xbox Series X or a PS5, consider a less popular option: the Nintendo Wii. It’s mostly been forgotten by the passage of time, but the Wii is still a fantastic console with a great game library and innovative controls. Plus, it’ll only cost you about $50.
Beyond convenience, the Wii holds up extremely well. Yes, there are caveats — you’ll need a specialised dongle to run it on your TV and gameplay hits about 480p — but for the most part, the Wii is still a great console.
The Wii library remains impressive
When I first got a Wii in 2008, I had four games playing on repeat (Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Sports, WarioWare: Smooth Moves and Animal Crossing: City Folk) because the exorbitant cost meant I couldn’t afford new games. By the time they dropped in price, I’d outgrown my Wii and moved onto greener console pastures.
But recently, I bought a TV dongle and started looking at all the games I’d missed. And boy howdy, there were a lot of great games.
In 2021, you can grab Wii games for $5 and $10 on eBay. (The console itself goes for between $40-100, depending on whether you want a modded console or not.) Even first party Mario games are no more than $20-30 — and there’s some absolute bangers in the Wii-exclusive library.
Yes, you’ve got hits like Super Mario Galaxy, Xenoblade Chronicles, Skyward Sword and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz on Switch, but the actual list of ports is surprisingly small.
Comparatively, the list of Wii games that deserve ports is incredibly long. Here’s just a few choice hits you can only play on Wii:
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Super Paper Mario
- Monster Hunter Tri
- WarioWare Smooth Moves
- Mario Strikers Charged
- Metroid: Other M
- Rune Factory: Frontier
- Wario Land: Shake It!
- Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
That’s not to mention less critically-acclaimed (but still fun) games like Wii Sports Resort, Cooking Mama: Cook-Off, Tamagotchi: Party On! and the various Naruto adaptations.
The bottom line is the console is packed with incredible games, many of which you can only experience on Wii.
The Switch still isn’t great for party games
The Switch launched with mini-game collection 1-2 Switch, and that was basically it for mini-games on the console. Sure, we also got 51 Worldwide Games, but arguably that’s more a traditional board game collection than a true ‘party’ game.
While it isn’t strictly necessary for the Switch to focus on mini-game-games, they can be a bunch of fun, and Nintendo used to launch them by the batch.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Wii Sports and the Wii versions of Mario Party are all great party games, and they’re perfect for whipping out at a party or for a quick bit of fun. They’re all great for keeping groups of people entertained.
If you’re looking for the perfect console to whip out at a party and entertain your friends, the Wii is still the champion for multiplayer fun.
It’s also great for keeping fit
In 2020, everyone became flat-out obsessed with Ring Fit Adventure. So much so that the game still frequently sells out in stores. But if you can’t find Ring Fit and you still want to get in on the games-as-fitness craze, you should absolutely buy a Wii.
There’s so many great fitness games on Wii because Nintendo embraced movement-based controls. Beyond Wii Sports, there’s Wii Fit which encourages users to stretch, build their balance and stay active daily. There’s various boxing games, as well as titles focusing on building skills in archery, Zumba and biking.
You’ve got the entire Just Dance library. The series started on Wii and every entry until 2021 has appeared on the console. That includes the Disney editions, Kids editions, Greatest Hits spin-offs and specials. So if you want to get fit while grooving to your favourite jams from 2008-2019, the Wii has you covered.
Just Dance is fun no matter what age you are, or how ashamed you are of your skill level. If you’ve never tried it, now’s the perfect time to discover everything the franchise has to offer. (It also functions extremely well on Wii since the franchise has retained the same gameplay since the beginning.)
Wiis are cheap, and very fun
$749 is a lot to pay for a new console and requires deep thought (and savings). But if you’re just looking for the serotonin rush of new games, buying a Wii is a better, cheaper option. It’ll cost you less than $60, and for that you’ll get access to a brilliant console with a hearty library of games. If you get lucky, you can even find hefty console bundles packed with used games online.
Whether you’re looking for party games to play with friends, longer RPG adventures, JRPGs, multiplayer bonanzas or something in between, it’s likely you’ll find it on the Wii. There’s so many great experiences waiting on the console, and plenty of games that deserve more attention.
You will need the aforementioned dongle to play the Wii on a modern display and the quality isn’t stunning, but who needs next gen graphics when you’ve got such an excellent library? It’s a small price to pay for greatness.
There’s so much to love about the Nintendo Wii, and it’s absolutely still worth buying in 2021.