2006: Johnny Depp was all the rage as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest topped the worldwide box office, Google bought YouTube and Pluto received a demotion from planet to dwarf planet.
Meanwhile, Nintendo were about to change the way that many looked at video gaming, with their Wii console hitting the Australian market just in time for Christmas.
While the console itself was so unassuming that it looked like it could be a computer disc drive, it was the controllers that made people take notice. The system used motion controls – plastic bars that you strapped to your wrists (more to save potential TV smashing or animal wounding than anything else) and then waved about in the air like you just did care.
The Wii didn’t take long to permeate places that games systems generally didn’t, aided and abetted by the packed-in game, Wii Sports. Featuring simple motion controlled takes on baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis, it was embraced by many to whom games had previously been some total waste of time for lollygagging whippersnappers. As well as acting as the perfect demonstration of what the Wii was all about, Wii Sports got many a sedentary type off their bottoms and getting active, even more so the following December when the infamous Wii Fit board and game package hit the Japanese market.
Another console to hit in the December period – not usually considered the ideal time to launch – was the Neo Geo X in 2012. As the name suggests, it was based on the highly-regarded SNK arcade system and console of the 1990s, and it delivered many of the classic games – mostly beat ‘em ups – from the period, via emulation. Ultimately quite a disappointment, it’s fair to say that it never saw the same market penetration as Nintendo’s nearly 102 million-selling waggle box.
Notable games released in December
Phantasy Star (1987)
Mega Man 5 (1992)
Mario Kart 64 (1996)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (2002)
Beyond Good and Evil (2003)
Guitar Hero: Van Halen (2009)
The Last Guardian (2016)