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Q4 PLATFORM BATTLE PART 2: Nintendo

Q4 PLATFORM BATTLE PART 2: Nintendo
Who doesn’t want Wii to win this Christmas? It’s the most joyous, innovative, honest, uncynical games machine we’ve seen in years.

It’ll fly out of stores – and continue to sell out well into 2008 – largely because of Wii Sports, and the simple-yet-completely-irresistible appeal of its ‘play tennis in your living room’ genius.

But this Christmas there’s also the sublime Super Mario Galaxy – quietly earning the 10/10 scores that Halo 3 got by just shouting everyone into submission. It’s so good I’m forced to see if I can get away with saying ‘ABSOLUTELY FUCKING INCREDIBLE’ in MCV.

There’s the beautiful Endless Ocean. There’s Pokémon Battle Revolution. There’s the Zapper. There’s the best version of Guitar Hero III. There’s Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games, which Sega is confident will sell four million copies.

There’s more. Simply, more variety and more fun than Xbox 360. (Wii beats PS3 simply by virtue of actually having some games.)

I guess the fact that HMV is only getting enough stock for 37-minute bursts of frenzied consumer meltdown is a concern. But from the perspective of Man On The Street, that only cements Wii in his mind as the new iPod, the new Tickle Me Elmo – something Microsoft and Sony can only dream of.

And this Christmas, Wii’s caught up with a full range of franchise games of its own – Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, Tomb Raider Anniversary, The Golden Compass – that gives people lots more reasons not to bother with any other console.

And DS? Selling 27,000 units a day in the UK – thanks in no small part to the best-targeted TV ad campaign I’ve seen in years. Yes, games like Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Pokémon make the entire PSP catalogue instantly redundant, but, more importantly, DS is a highly sought-after Christmas gift. Games like Sight Training, Myst, MySims, Nintendogs and doctor drama LifeSigns make it a viable under-the-tree present for family members who’d sooner receive a sack of coal than a ‘boy’s toy’ like PSP.

You probably think I’m biased. And I am. But only because I care about video games. Nintendo want to wallpaper their offices with £50 notes as much as any capitalist company, sure: but in the space of two years, they’ve single-handedly changed our business forever.

Wii’s remote and DS’ stylus are genius concepts that people instantly understand – which is why they’ve touched people we thought were forever out of reach. Nintendo deserve to win Christmas. And, by God, they’re going to.

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