I’m going to resist the urge to write a ten-page detailed review of the thing since those are available elsewhere. Just google “wii review” and you’re likely to get something more professional. I already wrote about the Wii controller back when the Wii was still called “Revolution.” Now that I’ve had a chance to play with it for over a month, I want to say a few more things. I apologize if this seems a little thrown together. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking this through or scaffolding a logical series of statements because I’ve been having too much fun playing with the Wii.
I think the Wii is the most compelling video game system I’ve ever laid hands on. It’s easily the best gaming system I’ve ever owned. There are many reasons I say that, but the primary one is simple: everyone wants to play. Playing is much, much more fun when it’s with the people you love. I’ve already had three little parties at my house that mostly centered on the Wii, and everyone loved it. I’ve heard countless stories of people’s non-gaming parents and grandparents picking up the controller and using it successfully on the first attempt. These are people who usually find it difficult to even use a computer mouse, let alone a game controller.
The gameplay, as exemplified in the included Wii Sports game, is so completely intuitive that no one really has to tell you how to do it. When you’re playing Tennis, for instance, you just swing your arm as though you’re holding a real tennis racket. There are absolutely no buttons the player has to push. Your character’s feet move automatically, so there’s nothing left to do but think about your forehand and backhand, timing them properly. It’s also realistic: if you swing your arm harder or more softly, the ball will react appropriately. If you put spin or angle on the ball in a realistic way, it’ll happen on screen.
And that’s just Tennis. We haven’t even talked about Golf, Bowling, Baseball or Boxing yet. All of them are smash hits at my house. Last week a very fit friend of mine was panting and sweating like crazy after defeating eight or so opponents in boxing matches. This system is about something much more interactive and fun than pushing buttons. Something that will reach a lot more people.
Aside from the Wii games (and I must point out that I’m skipping a lot of things that could be said there), the system itself is a ton of fun. Creating Miis, (which are little caricatures of yourself, your friends, your family, favorite celebrities, etc) is a blast. I created my Mii, one for Steph, and a few others before I even began playing any of the games I bought for the system. The best part of all is that in Wii Sports, you can play using your Mii! So you essentially play as yourself, seeing a little cartoon of yourself on screen as you swing your racket around. Your friends and their Miis are oftentimes in the stands cheering you on, walking by in the bowling alley, or playing center field in baseball. The fact that the Wii has built-in wifi makes it easy to get it online and share Miis and send messages to my Wii-owning friends, too.
As if all that wasn’t enough, you’ve got the Virtual Console to top it off. Nintendo is re-publishing some of its best games from its previous systems (NES, SNES and N64) and the games of other, previously-competing consoles like the Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx 16. And they’re offering these games in a sort of iTunes-like a la carte system. What this means is that I can download the original Super Mario Brothers from 1985 and play the game in all its glory on my Wii, on my widescreen TV, for $5. Worth it? Yes. Oh, yes. My goodness, yes. The original Zelda from 1987 is on there. Sonic the Hedgehog from 1991 is on there. They add more titles every single Monday.
So in short, I’m incredibly impressed with the system, and I hope that even people who haven’t previously enjoyed gaming will seriously consider picking one up. I mean, I need more people to send my Miis to!