Among my friends, many of them professionals in the video game industry and therefore extremely hardcore gamers, the Wii has a very, very bad reputation. Bad graphics, stupid control scheme, no good games, annoyingly family-friendly, etc. It's not hard to come up with a quick and dirty list of all the Wii's problems. And it's a common complaint to hear these guys say, "I haven't touched my Wii in months," after which they usually make a joke about how dirty that sounds.
And I get it. After Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and maybe a handful of other hardcore games, there just aren't a ton of truly next-gen Wii games to appeal to the fan of Fallout 3 and GTA. I've experienced it myself: I was recently trying to buy a Wii game as a gift for some friends, and I found myself in Best Buy wandering the aisle really not able to find anything remotely "respectable" (from my perspective as a former game critic). It was all this casual crap and Nintendo games they've already played. So I get that it's hard to see the Wii as the savior of the game industry that the rest of the world views it as.
But if the Wii phenomenon isn't something special, then why, during my recent Christmas visit to my old home town, where I stayed with a few different friends, was the Wii turned on in their households, with various combinations of family members playing games on it, for hours and hours at a time? I was shocked. My friends who don't even use cell phones were playing Mario Kart with their kids all morning long. They even asked me to help them hook their Wii up to the Internet. My other friends who only play PC games are obsessed with Animal Crossing -- but they're not using the snazzy new multiplayer. No, instead, they sit there as a group watching each other run around town picking up shells and writing real letters to buddies in town. They even correct each other's spelling in said letters that will only ever be read by computer-controlled characters. They do not seem to mind the fact that the game has not genuinely been upgraded in the 6 years since it originally came out, and that its graphics have hardly changed. Members of both households went out in the days after Christmas searching for more Wii Remotes.
These Wiis are not collecting dust, and their owners aren't complaining about the lack of good software for the platform. They may not buy quite as many games per year as the hardcore crowd, but I was excited to see over-30-year-olds who haven't touched a console game since the 80s eagerly opening up their (or their kids') shiny new video games on Christmas morning and popping them in their Wiis. The other strange thing? I don't think it occurred to any of them to make a joke about how dirty that sounds.