And they were doing so well

The Nintendo Wii, I ask you. Pronounced exactly like you think it is.

Revolution was actually a pretty good name, all told, for what that particular console represented. Revolution represented a change: it wasn't going to win because it was as grotesquely overengineered as either the Xbox360 (a tri-core monstrosity) or the PS3 (with a processor with seriously untried architectural design and a Blu-Ray drive that probably costs about as much as a launch PS2), and in fact it wasn't even going to be that much faster than the current generation.

It was going to win with innovation. The controller is one of the most ingenious ideas I've seen – motion sensitive, push sensitive, wireless, with the ability to stick it in a GameCube controller attachment if you needed such a thing or attach an analogue stick if you needed to. It's the kind of innovative idea that's been working magic for them with the DS, a console whose simplicity and success shows that there really is no need for PSP-style overengineering in real life.

And then there was the Internet game download idea – which Nintendo refers to as "Virtual Console", an ability for the Revolution to emulate other, older systems. The iTunes Music Store-style Virtual Console ability is a brilliant idea – if you want to play Super Mario World or Chrono Trigger nowadays, you've got to play through a PC emulator and it just isn't the same. Some of the best modifications for other consoles have been to put emulators on them – especially the PSP, which with its dearth of decent actual games (yeah, Lumines, Wipeout Pure, GTA only so you can do the firmware hack, uhm…) has forced Sony into serious rearguard manoeuvres involving its media capabilities in order to stop people from running homebrew, of which the current 2.7 update is merely the most pathetic example. (It plays Flash now, but stops the GTA hack. That's it. I can imagine a Sony executive, looking at the downloads, going "…wait, are the sheep actually upgrading? Wow!")

This legitimisation of classic gaming could be a fantastic coup by Nintendo. If you could pay, say, 99p for a legit ROM of Super Mario 3 you could save to a SD card and keep forever, that would reduce ROM piracy considerably and bring an entirely new revenue stream into Nintendo's coffers. It's no surprise that Sega (who are bringing Genesis/Mega Drive games) and Hudson (who are bringing TurboGrafx games) are joining in the party. I'd probably still get a 'special' Xbox, but that's definitely not for everyone.

No, the Revolution was all there – innovative new games, accessible old ones, creating entirely new genres the way the DS has. Shame about the name, really – it kinda puts a damper on things. Nintendo aren't really a company to joke around about this kind of thing, so there's no hope of changing it to Nintendo GO, or (my personal favourite) leaving it as Revolution.

So it'll be the butt of juvenile geek urine jokes for a long, long time – let's hope Nintendo proves them wrong.


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