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The Essential Wiiware List

This week we return to the essential downloadable games of this generation, shining light on the newest titles that no gamer should miss.

Last year we outlined some of the best games across the life of the major console download services, with an eye towards including the important early games on the service as well as the latest and greatest hits. This week we're taking an updated look at each platform, adding in all the great titles that came out since last year. We continue today with a couple new list entries for the Nintendo Wii’s WiiWare.

If the PlayStation Network holds the silver medal compared to XBLA’s shining gold trophy, WiiWare clutches firmly to a tarnished, bronze third-place prize. The Nintendo console’s digital catalogue is composed mostly of rehashes of classic games buried under a virtual landfill of garbage motion games. To be frank, there’s not a lot to choose from here. We dove back into the WiiWare library and surfaced with one old title we missed during our first Essentials list, and one 2011 title that deserves credit.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for our updated Xbox Live Arcade Essentials List.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
Developer:Square Enix
Release Date: May 2008

Do you remember the feeling of relief mixed with wonder each time you came across a town in your early Final Fantasy quests? Somebody had to commission those weapon shops to be built and inform your new quest-givers. My Life as a King allows players to boss around adventurers and do the town-building for a change. My Life as a King helped fill out the Wiiware’s young stable of games and offers players a unique perspective in the Final Fantasy universe.

Lost Winds
Developer: Frontier Developments
Release Date: May 2008

This motion control-enhanced sidescroller was a great early example of the creative feats the Wii could pull off. Players guide an improbable protagonist through a vibrant world reminiscent of Okami, using the Wii remote to guide the wind itself. Sweeping gestures are used to aid jumps, slam enemies into the dust, and even blow fire onto obstructing brambles. With its great motion controls and beautiful visuals, Lost Winds provides an experience unlike many Wii games.

Toki Tori
Developer: Two Tribes
Release Date: June 2008

This puzzle/platformer is a remake of an underappreciated Game Boy Color gem. Players control a portly chicken named Eggbert as he strives to collect his eggs which have been scattered across 70 different levels. Eggbert remove floor panels to destroy ghosts, teleport to access new areas, and suck up slime monsters with a vacuum. Toki Tori offered a fun downloadable distraction to early Wiiware enthusiasts, and is still worth checking out today.

Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: August 2008
Also on PC

What better way to end a marathon on the Homestar Runner website than by strolling through the world of Strong Bad? Donning the e-mail junky’s luchador mask and solving Telltale’s creative puzzles is a hilarious experience for fans of the series. The series’ ridiculous voice acting and absurd sense of humor translates into the adventure game format perfectly, and players loved experiencing TurboGrafx and Trogdor jokes in an interactive experience.

World of Goo
Developer: 2D Boy
Release Date: October 2008
Also on PC

Sure, the PC version of World of Goo is great, but most folks’ TVs are way bigger than their monitors. Relaxing on the couch while you assemble gelatinous pals into a bridge or tower is a way better experience than hunching over a keyboard and mouse. 2D Boy’s unique downloadable engineering game scratched an itch many gamers didn’t even know they had, and the early downloadable title helped the burgeoning indie scene gain even more notoriety.

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