If you're a Wii owner, you might envy the Xbox 360 and PS3 people like Dr. Venkman — fans of Microsoft and Sony's systems already have many major games announced for those consoles. Nintendo owners still have to wait to find out what the biggest games of the year are going to be. But there are at least some upcoming, announced Wii games that I expect to be amazing — here are my five most anticipated Wii games of 2009:
5. "Cave Story" You can already play this game, for free, on your computer — but this Internet sensation is getting a visual makeover for the Wii without shedding its old-style graphics. It's an old-school 2-D game that plays a bit like a "Metroid," and it's already one of our other gaming reporter's favorite Wii games. The game is slated to be released on Nintendo's download service, WiiWare, sometime this year.
4. "MadWorld" This game is not going to be for everyone, so be warned: It's a dark, dark comedy of over-the-top violence that will be lucky to get "only" an M rating. "MadWorld" matters not because it is a beat-'em-up action game set in a black-and-white world drenched in red blood, but because it is the first game from Platinum Games, a group of maverick Japanese developers responsible for some of the most creative titles coming from their home country in the last five years. Oh, and it features a character with a chainsaw arm.
3. "Sin and Punishment 2" A game title like that makes the imagination run wild and is dangerous to type into Google. What is this thing? Here's some backstory: The first "Sin and Punishment" was released for the Nintendo 64 more than eight years ago, all in English, but only sold in Japan. It played liked an old-school arcade space-shooter like "Galaga" or "Space Invaders," but was set in three dimensions instead of two, starred human characters instead of spaceships and had more things to shoot down and blow up in a few seconds than those old arcade games had in a minute. Last fall, Nintendo announced that a sequel would be coming to the Wii. If it comes out in 2009, as expected, it should be something special.
2. "Wii Sports Resort" This game isn't just the inevitable sequel to the world-famous "Wii Sports" — this is the game that upgrades the Wii remote. Each copy of the spring-scheduled "Wii Sports Resort" will come packed with a Wii MotionPlus accessory. The add-on plugs in to the base of the Wii remote, its added sensors enabling the remote to more accurately sense the controller's position in space and more sensitively interpret every gesture of the person holding it. I tried it in July and it made the Wii remote work like it always should. As for the game itself, it includes Jet-skiing, Frisbee-throwing, an excellent sword-fighting mode and other apparently resort-oriented activities.
1. "Punch-Out!!" The Wii is getting a new "Punch-Out!!" this year. Nintendo hasn't updated this historic boxing series since the Super Nintendo sequel a decade ago. Now, no one expects Mike Tyson to be back for this one, but everyone knows that the Wii should be great for a boxing game. Consider the boxing mode in "Wii Sports" to be a rough draft. This sequel has huge potential to be one of the best Wii games of the year.
Wondering where the "Mario" and "Zelda" games are on this list? That's because Nintendo is keeping very quiet about its 2009 Wii plans. New "Mario" and "Zelda" games are in development, and the latter is due for a sequel — but until these games are announced, there's no use getting too excited for them.