Hardcore Nintendo: why the Wii isn't just for casual gamers anymore

Nintendo is running away with the lead in this console generation, but if you ask hardcore gamers, they'll paint a very different picture.

Punch-Out!!

Developer: Next Level Games

Publisher: Nintendo

Release: May 18, 2009

For the Hardcore: From the very beginning, the prospect of playing a boxing game with the Wii's motion controls has attracted gamers to the system. The smash hit Wii Sports included a simple boxing game, and Wii Fit advertised itself with a Rhythm Boxing aerobic activity.

Punch-Out would be Nintendo's first attempt at creating a complete boxing game, reviving the long-dormant name that was once considered a must-have. This is a game to tug at the nostalgic heartstrings of anyone old enough to remember the heyday of Punch-Out in arcades and in the NES.

Not much about the game is known, but a few things are certain. The developer has confirmed that the game will use motion controls, and several sources have pointed toward Balance Board support making the cut.

All of the revealed opponents appear to be characters directly from the 8-bit NES Punch-Out: Glass Joe, Von Kaiser, and the infamous King Hippo. You even appear to be playing as series protagonist Little Mac again. The characters are all depicted in a cartoony, cel-shaded style.

For the Casual: This might be the rare Nintendo game that can please both hardcore and casual gamers equally. The original Punch-Out games were never difficult to play, and the bright cartoony graphics are sure to keep the violence amusing rather than appalling. Motion controls usually appeal to the casual player, and Balance Board support would be a major plus for those millions of casual Wii Fit owners, too.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time

Developer: Square-Enix

Publisher: Square-Enix

Release: AVAILABLE NOW!

For the Hardcore: Wii owners have been left almost entirely out of the loop when it comes to RPGs and multiplayer online gaming. Considering that these are two of the most popular game genres at the moment, Echoes of Time couldn't be coming to the Wii at a better time.

Developed by the highly respected developers at Square-Enix, and residing in the popular Final Fantasy universe, Echoes of Time would be the Wii's first true online multiplayer RPG, enabling fans to play with other Wii owners from any region. The hack-and-slash, action RPG elements will also appeal to fans of the Diablo series - another hardcore favorite.

For the Casual: While most casual Wii owners don't even know that their system is capable of online gameplay, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time has a few aces up its sleeve. For one thing, it's compatible with the popular DS version, which opens up the potential audience in a big way. Also, the Crystal Chronicles spinoff games have proven to be more casually accessible than the at-times esoteric Final Fantasy titles. We can see Echoes of Time giving a few casual gamers their first taste of Diablo-style RPG play.

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