I got my hands on a Wii. Long search. Big surprise when I finally got it. In fact, I walked into a GameStop and said “I know you don’t have any Wii’s but I was wondering if you know when the next shipment might be coming in.” The guy replied, “Actually, we do have a Wii. Just one. You want it?”
I was floored. My search had ended. I could hardly speak. I mumbled and fumbled, giddy as a 7 year old on Christmas morning, and said “Yes, I’d love to have it.”
I brought it home and set it up on my 40 inch Samsung LCD and home theater system. Here are my impressions.
The Wii translates well onto a widescreen television. Unlike my old GameCube (I am a nintendo fanboy btw), the graphics look crisp and unstretched on the widescreen. In fact, on the Wii, you are given the choice of a variety of screen configurations.
To be honest, I’m only using the standard composite cables that came with the Wii. I hear that the component cables make the picture look that much better. But even now I’m happy. I suppose the graphics threshold on Wii Sports isn’t very high, so the component cables will probably come in handy down the road when prettier games come out.
The Wii is a marvel of production quality. Everything is exquisitely simple to setup. The Wii-mote controls are spot-on. Nintendo really nailed this. I was skeptical, but the controls are brilliant.
The Wii Menu is also another marvel to behold. The Wii menu alone gives me a vision of how Nintendo could control of our living rooms. Broken into “Channels” the Wii mote makes channel surfing easier than ever – of course at this point you aren’t surfing through TV channels but Wii channels such as the Opera web browser, the Wii Shop channel (very excited about this), the News channel (not quite operational), the Weather channel (actually very accurate and pleasant), the Mii channel (my wife and I had a blast creating our Miis – in fact, my wife accuses me of being a neurotic SOB for picking a face with painted stripes that looks like a crazy man on a rampage).
Of course the Wii is all about the games. At this point I’ve only played two. Wii Sports and Super Monkey Ball. Thumbs up to Wii Sports and Thumbs Down to Super Monkey Ball. Since this is the “Good” section, I’ll focus on Wii Sports.
The best overall game in my opinion goes to boxing because it most fully integrates the entire body. However, the game with the best controls, and probably the easiest to learn, goes to Bowling. Tennis is fairly fun as well, although I’d prefer to have control over where my guys move. I also have the sense that it lacks precision and control over ball placement. Baseball, in my view, is a total throwaway. Not fun at all. Golf is somewhat enjoyable, but quite difficult to learn the precision you need for good shots.
Wii sports is a great game because it satisfies the fun factor, especially with more than one person. It doesn’t have good graphics. It isn’t a deep game. But it sucks you in because it is fun. That’s what Nintendo is all about. And they deliver here.
One final note: if you play Wii Sports at least 30 minute a day, expect to lose weight and tone your body. It reallly is amazing that you can get exercise from such a fun game!
To be honest, I’m a little underwhelmed by the games on the market for the Wii, especially fun, interactive games. To be fair, the library for new console systems is always sparse for the first six months. But what disappoints me most of all is the total lack of good sports games, aside from Madden 2007. Where’s EAs Fight Night (a perfect match)? Where’s the pirate game with sword fights? Sure Zelda has some of these elements, but I just don’t understand why games with fairly simple mechanics haven’t been released yet. Maybe developers didn’t realize how amazingly popular the system would be, or maybe development is hard? I don’t know.
The graphics on the games I’ve played leave something to be desired. In fact, since I haven’t played Zelda, I think that everything so far could have been done on a GameCube. From what I hear, Zelda is the best looking game so far on Wii, so I’ll have to wait and see how that looks.
Lack of online play. I think Nintendo dropped the ball on this one. I expected to be able to play online straight out of the box. What a disappointment. Wii could be so freakin fun online.
Slow downloads, slow loads. When I first started up the Wii and browsed through the various channels, I was prompted to update my Wii online. Getting online was easy. But once I got online, I had about 30-40 minutes of downloads to make. That was a real bummer as I just wanted to start playing. I could have avoided this by simply not setting up my WiFi connection, but alas, I had to leave my system to its downloading devices while I went away and surfed the net for 30 minutes. But that was a one time thing (hopefully!). What concerns me more is that there is a noticable delay (not more than a few seconds) when browsing between channels and menus screens. I don’t like this. That’s precisely the reason I upgraded to broadband on the net: to avoid load times. Shouldn’t a piece of hardware without the need for network communications beable to outperform a web browsing experience?
One last note: I bought Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz for the Wii and I couldn’t be more disappointed. My wife and I loved Super Monkey Ball 2 on the Gamecube, especially the mini-games like bowling and billiards. But Banana Blitz totally flops here. Sure, there are something like 50 mini-games, but they are all major flops. None of them are nearly as fun as the mini-games in Super Monkey Ball 2. I’ll never understand why developers let their game franchises take steps backwards.
In general, I’m very siked about the Wii. However, my being siked is conditional on 1) the introduction of online play and 2) the introduction of fun and interactive games. Right now, the only game that’s perfectly Wii-suited is Wii Sports. Let’s hope that there are plenty others in the pipeline.