I am constantly hearing more and more reports on gaming podcasts from journalists and general enthusiasts alike saying that their Wii is doing nothing more than collecting dust. Meri and I both have moments of guilt, ourselves, where we verbally note that the Wii is basically just sitting there for the sake of sitting there and looking pretty.

Why aren’t we using it more? Is it the particular games we own that simply bore us? Is it Nintendo, themselves, driving us away with things like Wii Music? Why aren’t I going back to all those Virtual Console games I purchased?

Let me toss a couple ideas out there.

Something I’ve heard pop up a few times (and more recently Rym & Scott did a GeekNights episode about it) is that instead of playing new games, we just keep going back and playing the same old games from the past over and over again.

I am totally guilty of this (but is “guilty” the right word to use if I don’t feel bad about it…?). Despite owning tons of games (some even unopened) that I’ve never played, I will go back and play through the original Legend of Zelda on NES at least once every two years. There’s also never a bad time to decide to sit down and beat Super Mario Bros. 3 or even the original Kirby’s Dream Land, which for me is almost like a brainless activity at this point. Then there are all the times I’ll hook up the Saturn and play a few races in Sega Rally Championship or Daytona USA. Meri has played through Ocarina of Time at least once in recent memory, and while she’s just now finishing up the first Phoenix Wright, you’ll see Super Mario World sticking out of Slot 2 down there. Then there are “new old games” like (the obligatory mention of) Rock Band. It’s basically an expansion upon Guitar Hero (which is itself an expansion on previous rhythm games), which means we’re really playing the same game that we’ve been playing for years and years and years, only with new content every week. That brings in the whole idea of a single game being its own platform, but I won’t bother getting into that, again.

So I suppose the real question is: am I not playing the Wii, or am I just playing old games and thus inadvertently not playing the Wii?

For people my age and older (anyone post-college, I suppose), another big factor is disposable income and the sheer amount of games. Unlike when I was younger and onwards into college and could only afford one or two games at a time, now I can pretty much own anything I want whenever I want it (for example, buying Dragon Quest IV because it was $20 this week, despite the fact that I have a row of other RPGs to get through first). There’s no need to justify a purchase for myself by forcing an entire play-through and trying to convince myself that a game is pure art when it’s really nothing more than just another game. If I get bored with it or see something shiny elsewhere, I move on.

Pulling the Wii back in, let’s look at Super Smash Bros. Brawl versus the previous Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Gamecube. In the previous game, I not only unlocked every character, but made it a point to beat the game with every character in both single-player modes to get each version of their trophy. I would spend those coins to try and get more trophies, spin them around to look at them, read up on their history, etc. I’m not sure how much time I put into that game, but it was certainly a lot…! However, with Brawl, I only went so far as to unlock all of the characters and stages. I never actually finished Subspace Emissary (I think I got about 75% of the way through), and I didn’t put any time into creating any of my own stages (or collecting all of the parts to be able to do so). That’s not to say I never play the game ever again, though. There are instances where I’m craving some Nintendo fanboy catering, or have to laugh at how incomprehensibly bad the online-play integration was, and I pop it in for a few minutes. A get-together of friends is another great time, since I do have four Wavebirds… The point, though, is that despite dropping the $50 on the game, I simply don’t feel the burning desire or any real compelling reason to attach myself to that game solely as I would were I twenty years younger.

How about straight-up dropping games? Personally, I’ve dropped just as many games on the Wii (sorry, Super Mario Galaxy) as I have on other systems, so there’s nothing inherently there to jump on and pick apart.

So am I really just playing the same games over and over? Let’s take a look at what I’m playing just in the last week and see if there are any trends:

– Rock Band 2 (360): Mentioned above; basically just Guitar Hero evolved, so yes, the same game over and over.

– DragonBall Z: Infinite World (PS2): A mash-up of Budokai 3 (which I played through twice; US PS2 & JP PS2), Shin Budokai (which I own and dropped) and Burst Limit (which I own and dropped), so yes, the same game over and over.

DragonBall: Origins (DS): Whoa, a totally new game! Fancy that. I’m quasi playing it “for work“, though.

Final Fantasy VI (GBA): New to me! Classification is up in the air on this one, though, since it’s an evolution of games I’ve played before (III & IV) and a predecessor to ones I’ve also played (VII, VIII, X).

How about a game I only recently kicked the bad habit of? That’s right, Pokemon. Well, FireRed was an enhanced remake of a game I had played when it first came out (in my case, Yellow) and Pearl is really just another evolution of the same game (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).

So what does that say about me? Am I just playing it safe? I will admit to starting to unfortunately feel that apprehension and insecurity when I start playing an entirely new game, something I never expected myself to feel with regards to any technology.

How does that relate to the Wii? Shouldn’t I be right at home since it’s basically a Gamecube and all my old games are there on Virtual Console? I’m totally ready to go with Shining Force II (again, another old game I’ve played through multiple times) but I really need to finish some of these other games I’m playing, first! Our Wii actually gets used like clockwork every time Andrew and Jeff are over, if only to mess around on the Everybody Votes Channel. I know, I know… it sounds ridiculous… but it’s an event in our household. We even have our own lingo to go along with it, talking about who’s the biggest “conformist” when their choices are closest to the general population, and so on and so forth.

I also wonder if it seems like I use the 360 more than I actually do because I use it as a media center for displaying programming up on the television. Combine that with the Rock Band constant state-of-being, and I suppose it would look like I’m attached to it.

What about you all? Does your Wii collect dust, or is it at the center of your gaming experience? Does any of that other nonsense I’ve spouted relate to you, or is it just the gibberish of yet another ranting lunatic on the intarwebz?