Wii isn’t really "shit" admits flip-flopping games developer

March 9, 2007

Wii isn't really “Everybody loves the Wii. ‘Oh, God, the Wii, we love the Wii so much’… The Wii is a piece of shit,” Chris Hecker, the sarcastic Technology Fellow at Maxis/Electronic Arts, told the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. He complained that the Wii is underpowered and that Nintendo doesn’t know how to make artistic games.

Oddly, the next day, during a presentation about the Spore animation system, he retracted his comments:

“I was trying to be thought provoking and entertaining and fun, and a lot of the stuff went too far over the top on the entertaining and fun side, so that it was no longer thought provoking, just inflammatory. And in the process I hurt a bunch of people I care about. And so, I want to apologize now,” said Hecker. He also congratulated Nintendo on producing an innovative game controller and user interface, and on the Wii’s low price.

His original speech, which contained the word “shit” several times, offered a lot of interesting insights. The highlights being that:

  1. The Wii is made by taping two GameCubes together with duct tape
  2. The Wii is a “piece of shit underpowered computer”
  3. Nintendo doesn’t care about games being an art form, because it doesn’t mention “art from” on its web site.

His advice to Nintendo was that: “Number one: recognized and push games as a serious art form. Number two: make a console that doesn’t suck ass.” 

According to his conference bio, Heckler is an “outspoken advocate for pushing the current boundaries of design and interactivity, in the hope that games will achieve their full potential as an art and entertainment form”. Hmmm…

It’s well and good for Hecker to talk about games being an art form, but at the end of the day the games industry is a business. 

The technological specifications of a games console need to be balanced against the cost implications to the end user. It’s a balance that’s sometimes hard to get right, as is evidenced by the high-powered, but troubled PlayStation 3. Sure, Nintendo might not be as powerful as the PlayStation 3, but its nifty controller has allowed developers to come up with some really fun games. 

Next time Hecker feels tempted to lash out about games needing to be an art form, he might try to remember that it’s fun that sells games, not art or processing power.

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9 Responses to “Wii isn’t really "shit" admits flip-flopping games developer”

  1. Billy Shears:

    It isn’t that his opinion has changed, it’s that his job was probably threatened. He still thinks that the system is shit. And any way the Wii being more fun than its competitors is just a marketing illusion. The average pro-Wii arguing point is that you can play bowling with your grandma. hahaha. Give me a break. This developer shouldn’t have retracted his statement since it was the first honest, unbiased, truthful and accurate thing said about the Wii to date. Wii is the most over-blown and over-rated electronic to ever be released.

  2. Me:

    It’s a gaming toy, relax.. take a deep breath.. everything is gonna be okay.. okay?

  3. johnymo:

    Hey Billy: you’re fanboy whining is actually kind of funny! Trying to condescend to the Wii by making a post with a basis found upon your pathetic denial of Wii’s success. Shame shame.

  4. Stefan:

    Nintendo Wii is designed for “the masses” as one Nintendo Spokesman put it. It’s designed to allow people greater interactivity with their games and to pull in a variety of gamers, including many new ones who don’t care either way how ‘artful’ a game system is. Trying to turn ‘gaming’ into a higher art is this guy’s own unique wish, not a practical demand made by gamers. Gamers play games to enjoy them – they don’t worry as to whether it’s art or not. Artsy games are fine, but without the fun an artsy game is going to find itself in a discount bin in no time. Fun is the main issue. If a game (or gaming system in this case) isn’t fun, then why play it?

  5. DMunny:

    I thought Nintendo killed themselves with the release of the Gamecube. Now THAT was a piece of shit (except for a few GREAT games). I thought they would have to resort to Sega’s plan of only developing games (which they would have done well at). Then they have the Wii. When I READ about it, I thought “great, another lame ass Nintendo system that falls WAY short of what people want. We want nice graphics like the other guys have!” Then I played the Wii. I now thought “same lame ass graphics, but THIS ROCKS!” I have a 360 as well, and they are played equally. Zelda is just as cool as it always was, but now its funner! My first system was an Atari (Sears Video Game System), and Ive had most every one from then til now. This is a revolutionary game system, even if only because of its controllers interactivity.

    Now all they have to do is KEEP THE GAMES COMING!!! Need more deveolpers signed on to make games!!

  6. CJ:

    Why do people feel the need to rip on the Wii, anyway? Why does the success of a game company make or break their day–as if somehow, Wii’s success is a little black cloud hovering over their heads? It has nothing to do with them! I mean–if you don’t like the Wii, then simply don’t buy it. But don’t rant about how the Wii is this or that, because frankly, people don’t care.

  7. you're a dick:

    Johnnymo, go back to school.

  8. Scott:

    This man’s just wrong. Nintendo is the most artsy, beautiful, and fun system I’ve ever seen. They make cool new things and every other company just clones the old system, adds buttons to the controller, and makes the graphics better.

    Well, I am glad Nintendo took a stand to be themselves. Sounds like this man is jealous cause the things he argues are the exact things that is making Nintendo a success.

    One last thing before I really get into it. Nintendo isn’t even talkin trash! What an idiot this guy is. Don’t play it, go play your xbox or ps3, no one cares what you think. But, since you started this.. this is what I think:

    [quote]1. The Wii is made by taping two GameCubes together with duct tape[/quote]
    That is absurd. Anyone with eyes can see that’s the dumbest thing ever stated.

    [quote]2. The Wii is a “piece of shit underpowered computer”[/quote]
    That’s your opinion. They seem to have a perfectly balanced system so your argument really makes no sense again. Look how tiny it is! It’s smaller than a standard cd-rom for a computer. I wouldn’t expect it to be a powerhouse and they didn’t sell it saying “best graphics ever! super powerful system! beats all the rest” they just put it together to do what they wanted and sold it. It’s beautiful and you’re jealous and I really hate hearing these uneducated people talk like this. Nintendo isn’t new man, they know what they’re doing. I think they had a pretty good plan before putting the Wii together and I’m sure if they wanted a bloated powerful system that cost a bunch of money with a regular controller, they can do it. Everyone hates that one company did something different and people noticed. That’s why Nintendo doesn’t have shit to say, they know they’re all jealous.. and should Nintendo decide to put out another system that rocks all the rest, they could anytime. They got one one up on them all.

    One last thing.. for such a piece of shit underpowered computer.. it has some of the most amazing and beautiful games I’ve ever played. Talk about creative. They are brilliant.

    [quote]3. Nintendo doesn’t care about games being an art form, because it doesn’t mention “art from” on its web site.[/quote]

    Are you serious? That’s really one of your arguments. You were so mad at them you went surfing around looking for the words ‘art form’ and got really pissed you couldn’t find it? How stupid? Nintendo doesn’t need to state that their games have art in them. They just show you a game and you know. I mean I’m not going to stop using the internet because my computer doesn’t have a label on it anywhere that says “Internet Ready” I’ve seen my computer use the internet and I know it’s power. I’ve seen Nintendo, used it, I know it’s power. No ‘art form’ necessary on the website.

    Man, that guy is an idiot. Was he drunk when he said all that stuff? I just can’t comprehend where his ignorant words came from.

  9. David:

    “The Wii is A Piece of Shit!

    Sorry but it is, the Wii is underpowered because nintendo dont wanna pay IBM or ATI to make their stuff for them again, actually the Wii is more a game cube 1.5 than anything else. Developers could do a lot better but why would they when everyone else is making colorful pieces of crap that only kids or fan boys will appreciate, whoever says power doesn’t matter is talking out their ass, most people i know who have a Wii say it don’t matter and it doesn’t need to play dvd’s, Jesus the Atari jaguar played Cd’s the Wii cant even do that, People want one thing to do more, like play dvd’s, listen to music etc, that’s the point. Nintendo isn’t doing anything and have decided to just stay where they were and make a controller with basically an acceleromiter in it which is by no means amazing.

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