Happy birthday, WiiWare

Nintendo’s downloadable games service WiiWare celebrates its first birthday today. As well as offering updated classics such as the new MegaMan adventure, WiiWare gives smaller developers the chance to get their games out to a wider audience, with over half of the 81 available titles created by independent startups.

One of the best-known titles to hit WiiWare, World of Goo, was created by 2D-Boy, a studio comprised of just two former EA employees. Despite the fact that “their swanky San Francisco office is whichever free wi-fi coffee shop they wander into on a given day,” World of Goo won a shedload of awards and made it to number two in Metacritic’s top-rated Wii games of 2008. Okay, so it was up against gems such as Petz: Crazy Monkeyz and Action Girlz Racing (stop with the z’s already!), but that shouldn’t take anything away from it.

In the coming year, we can look forward to titles such as:

  • Super Meat Boy, in which players take control of a cube of raw meat to save a princess. I kid ye not.
  • BIT.TRIP CORE from Aksys Games, the follow-up to the well-reviewed BIT.TRIP BEAT.
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years from SQUARE ENIX, the long-awaited sequel to Final Fantasy IV that takes place over a series of nine episodes.
  • Cave Story, a classic freeware side-scroller where you’re plonked on an island full of rabbit-like creatures called Mimigas, who you must save from a crazy doctor.