One year ago today, the Wii became a little bit more like its next-gen brethren when it got WiiWare, a download service that offered original programs from game developers of all sizes.
Now the library has grown to 81 games, and with the recent upgrade to support playback directly from memory cards, Wii owners can finally download to their hearts’ content.
WiiWare removes barriers that make console game development expensive, and helps developers connect directly with consumers. WiiWare games have been created by more than 40 different development studios, from large companies to small startups. In fact, more than half the games in the WiiWare library were created and self-published by small independent studios, many with five or fewer employees.
“The first anniversary of our WiiWare service is a milestone that marks how far the service has come and how much great content is currently available,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing. “We encourage everyone to get their Wii consoles connected to the Internet so they have access to the full range of WiiWare games.”
Nintendo’s roster of quality WiiWare games stands as an example of what creative minds can accomplish. Titles range from completely original creations to names that are instantly familiar and beloved. Just look at a small sampling of what has been accomplished in just one year’s time:
- World of Goo from 2D BOY won numerous industry awards after showing that a small development team with a big idea could make an incredible physics-based goo construction game.
- Tetris Party from Tetris Online, Inc., introduces a new version of the classic game, complete with multiplayer options, new game modes and support for the Wii Balance Board (sold separately with Wii Fit).
- Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People from Telltale Games, the first episodic series on a console, is a hilarious five-part adventure game series featuring the popular Homestarrunner.com characters.
- The critically acclaimed retro-styled BIT.TRIP BEAT from Aksys Games and Gaijin Games reminds longtime video game fans of their gaming roots.
- LIT from WayForward Technologies is a stylish horror action puzzle that has players fending off creepy – and creeping – darkness.
- The beautifully enchanting LostWinds from FRONTIER lets players use the Wii Remote controller to control the power of the wind.
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King from Square Enix brings a unique adventure from the hugely popular franchise to WiiWare.
- Mega Man 9 from Capcom returns a classic franchise to its old-school, retro looks and lets players relive the glory days of gaming.
- Dr. Mario Online Rx from Nintendo brings online multiplayer game play to everyone’s favorite virus-busting puzzle game.
- Bonsai Barber from Nintendo is the first-ever first-person grooming game that requires players to give haircuts to a colorful cast of oddball and demanding plant-based characters.
Looking ahead, consumers can anticipate yet another year of interesting WiiWare games, including:
- Cave Story from Nicalis, arguably the best-known indie game of all time. Cave Story takes players into a world where a race of rabbit-like creatures runs free on a serene island.
- Icarian Kindred Spirits from Over the Top Games, where players control Nyx, an enigmatic winged girl, who must descend from heaven in search of her missing friend Icarus.
- Super Meat Boy from Team Meat, an indie game in which players take the role of a cube of raw meat who must save his princess from the clutches of evil.
- BIT.TRIP CORE from Aksys Games, the follow-up to the well-reviewed BIT.TRIP BEAT with a similar graphic style and rhythm component, but featuring a completely different retro game mechanic.
- Final Fantasy IV: The After Years from Square Enix, the long-awaited sequel to Final Fantasy IV that takes place over a series of nine episodes.