Wii U, New Consoles, and Forever

What gets me excited? New system purchases!

Ever since I can remember, buying a new video game system always felt like a big deal to me. Whether or not such an experience actually means anything remains up for debate, but I always find myself associating various periods of my life with some system purchase or another. Probably that’s why I never developed much kinship with the PC gaming scene: impersonal personal computers don’t hold the same wistful nostalgia. It also doesn’t help their case that I use them for work and pleasure alike. Sorry PC!

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Heck, I even had one of these things, and I still don’t remember it fondly.

Regardless, new systems fill me with quite a sense of joy. Originally received as gifts, now I find myself needing to buy one every couple of years. And yet, the joy of owning something brand new (this makes me sound like such a materialist) also comes with its horrible qualms: notably, that of money.

I would call my game collection “large enough to entertain me for the rest of my waking life in the physical realm”. I own games from the SNES up (after a mishap involving a sold Master System, NES, and Genesis – curse you, foolish younger self!), and my Steam library grows close to a breaking point where I sorta wish I could unload my backlog guilt to any and all passerbys. Frankly, I think it’s a little absurd that I would buy any new video game system.

And yet, that temptation continued to plague me since I knew Bayonetta 2 loomed on the horizon. The Wonderful 101 looked…well, rather Wonderful, and I see no reason to deny myself more PlatinumGames goodness, right? But does plugging down three hundred dollars for Nintendo’s semi-failure of a system constitute a rather good investment? I often need to justify these purchases, simply because I’ve become more frugal over the years regarding my spending of disposable income.

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Although really, doesn’t this game justify itself?

However, if I can find a good price on something, then I’ll take the plunge. If people give me money for my birthday, I can call the investment basically “free” and move from there. Furthermore, Nintendo’s system represented the best deal just via backwards compatible peripherals and games (Wiimote, Classic Controllers, etc). Even so, should I dump three hundred dollars?

No way! A smart person buys a refurbished system directly from the manufacturer; for whatever reason, Nintendo sells such products right off its website. It comes with Nintendo Land, and that’s good enough for me. Saving one hundred dollars right off the bat helps a lot in making such decisions (heck, I paid fifty more dollars for a Wii when I finally FOUND one).

Additionally, none of the pack-in games really lit my fire. I didn’t particularly like New Super Mario Bros., so why would I enjoy its pseudo-sequel? I already played Wind Waker enough times, so why buy an HD remake? Mario Kart always seems a wise investment, but the 329.99 bundle sold out everywhere, and also came with accesories I already owned (notably, the red sterring wheel and controller). Of course, Mario Kart 8 is actually worth about double its price right now, given that Nintendo offers a free game just via purchasing it.

So, knowing all the facts, I obtained Mario Kart 8 for about fifty dollars brand new, give or take. The Wonderful 101 sold poorly, unfortunately, but that means a cheaper price! As well, I always wanted to try Monster Hunter for real, and the Wii U gives me a perfect opportunity to do that. When all’s said and done, I spent about the same price as one of those bundles Nintendo sells while getting four new games at the same time. Clearly, it pays to do your research.

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Especially if that research leads to monster hunting.

And now I wait, as those games arrived far before the system will. Great! That happens all the time, though.

This whole process always gets me giddy, mostly for reasons of wistful nostalgia. A new video game system always presents an exciting opportunity for new, unseen video game experiences and the possibility of having your mind blown at a new console’s sheer awesomeness. Although I certainly spend a lot more time making sure it’s worth the price than the impulse buys of the past, that doesn’t make it any less invigorating to my love of video games. In effect, it points to a seeming future of unlimited wonderful possibilities – at least when it comes to digital entertainment, anyway. Don’t want to overstate my case now!

We look forward to a future of new stuff, somehow not realizing that those old things hanging around were once new. I always wonder about our excessive optimism at new things: we continually undergo this same experience in just about every facet of our lives, and yet we never stop feeling that sense of awe and wonder about new things (unless you’re particularly cynical, and if so please get out). Maybe God designed us to see all things new, and we’ve sort of lost it over time.

Obviously, all things in the realm of video games turn into something rout and predictable over time. New things become old things, and no matter how many times you imbibe on the new video game smell (yes, they’ve got one, try it for yourself), it still won’t satisfy forever. Such a business operates on a model of endings and beginnings, over and over again, so that you empty your wallet onto some corporation. Even a new system turns into an old one over a period of time, no matter the anticipation or excitement. It can’t go on forever.

And yet, there is someone Who does and Who can. Christians follow a God whose attributes, qualities, and existence last forever, and He deigns upon us a gift of everlasting life should we choose to follow Him. How does it all work? I’m honestly not sure, but that does not mean He doesn’t deserve the praise all the same. God endures forever, and that’s not just warm fuzzy feelings talking:

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who made the heavens with skill,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who spread out the earth above the waters,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting…

Who remembered us in our low estate,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
24 And has rescued us from our adversaries,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
25 Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 136

Where other things may fail, God endures.

About Zachery Oliver

Zachery Oliver, MTS, is the lead writer for Theology Gaming, a blog focused on the integration of games and theological issues. He can be reached at viewtifulzfo at gmail dot com or on Theology Gaming’s Facebook Page.