The Wii is in most likely in it's final year now, and the question begs to be answered on how will the "little console that could" be remembered? No doubt motion control and waggle come to mind, but what about experiences that couldn't be had on other consoles? The term "hardcore" is now placed on just about any Mature rated game these days without much of a second thought. Times have changed a lot in the last six years in gaming and that term means a lot more to me now than ever before. Why? Games like Modern Warfare, Gears of War and Halo that are considered "hardcore" are really turning into casual games that everyone seems to play now and not much else.
These factors have forced me to re-evaluate what a hardcore game is and what a hardcore gamer is. The Wii had two shining examples of a hardcore game that not very many people knew about but in the end many ended up playing based on word of mouth. The first was No More Heroes in 2007 which was the most wacky and out place game you would ever lay your hands on and yet the charm, craziness and gameplay were very addicting and it turned out to be one of the most unique games I've ever played. The game is so much on the "inside" and obscure that people didn't even know or understand that many of the elements of No More Heroes was the basis for the movie: Scott Pilgrim vs The World (which explains the low box office numbers). For true hardcore Wii fans that played No More Heroes and understood it, that movie was an amazing experience for them.
Then in 2009 the Wii had MadWorld, which also became a word of mouth "have you seen this game?" type of affair that was only on the Wii. A friend of mine who is a PC/Wii gamer was hell bent on proving just how deeply hardcore the Wii could actually be, did something really amazing with MadWorld. A friend of his lived right next to one of the freeways in San Diego and behind his apartment building there was a huge cement wall that you could easily see from the freeway and walking down the street. My friend had this screen projector and.....you can guess what he did next. They would hook up the Wii to this projector and display MadWorld in all it's gory glory, ripping enemies to shreds so all on-lookers could see that the Wii was not just for playing bowling and tennis. People were actually amazed and couldn't believe that he was playing this game on the Wii. This example is what a true hardcore gamer is in my mind. Amazing.
Just because a game has blood, violence, guns and late teens to adults play it, doesn't mean it's really a hardcore game. It's really what the person will do with the game and what actions they take to make a game get known all by themselves is what makes the game hardcore and thus makes the gamer hardcore. True hard core gamers really appreciated No More Heroes and MadWorld because they actually added something new and different while giving them some of the most violent and gory gameplay ever in video games. To top it all off both games were also not First Person Shooters.
Based on basically word of mouth:
No More Heroes has sold 500,000
MadWorld sold nearly 700,000
The Wii had it's share of developers that were just cashing in for a quick buck, but there were those few that made a game for the Wii that was their game and they gave us an opportunity to share in their imagination with them.
In my opinion No More Heroes and MadWorld were the only two "real" hardcore games of this console generation.