Wowed by the Wii
90 minutes with Nintendo's new console left us begging for more
January 22, 2007 —
A & E Editor Pat Herald and Staff Writer Alex Kohut devoted 90 minutes to experiencing the new Nintendo gaming console, the Wii, focusing on the game Wii Sports, a collection of mini games including boxing, baseball, bowling, golf, and tennis.
Pat: Creating a character to serve as your personal Wii avatar is a necessity. I made one that looked nothing like me, but a perusal of other characters created by Vanguard staff members showed the capacity of the Wii to readily make hilarious likenesses of real people.
Alex: Like Pat, I opted to make a video game version of myself that looked nothing like me. Considering elderly women could stomp me in most video games, I saddled my character with the appropriately descriptive handle "Garbage." I slapped a big grin on his face, which made him look more absurd when he was getting beat down in half the world's existing sports.
Pat: The controller felt like having a TV remote strapped to my wrist. A sensor connects it wirelessly to the onscreen happenings, so swinging the controller swings a tennis racket or golf club, or hurls a bowling ball.
Alex: With the ability to detect motion in three dimensions, players can control a game using physical gestures. This means that for the first time in history, gamers have a reason to sweat while playing a video game.
Pat: For the boxing game, I had to attach the second part of the Wii controller which is held in the left hand. Holding the controllers up held up my onscreen avatar's hands, and swinging the air swung my fists toward my opponent.
Alex: Perhaps the most physically demanding of the mini-games, the boxing game left me more winded and insecure about my donnybrook abilities than ever before. Just when I thought I had Pat on the ropes, my character went down for the count, idiotic grin and all. My lone victory came after I had sent Pat to the mat on two occasions, just to watch him rise like Jason Voorhees before the 10-count. Only on his third trip to the mat was I able to secure victory. I expected a Rocky Balboa-style celebration, but all I got was the knowledge that video game boxing had just given me the most intense cardio workout I'd had in months.
Pat: After decimating Alex with my outlandish Wii boxing ability, we moved on to tennis. This, to me, was the best of the Wii Sports games we played, with the controller acting like a racket. It's like playing tennis without running, which is pretty appealing, although I'm told someone lost weight using Wii Sports, so it can probably get rather intense the better one gets at it.
Alex: Moments into the first Wii tennis match, I wondered if my dream of pitching for the Chicago Cubs would be dashed by a rotator cuff injury instead of the fact that I haven't played baseball since I was 13. Anyone watching me play this without my apparent lack of any reflexes would wonder how I had made it this far in life without being struck by a car while crossing the street.
Pat: Baseball was up next. I successfully used a multitude of pitches, although I was pretty lost as to what I was doing to create each one. Nevertheless, my unpredictable tactics resulted in yet another Wii Sports win for me.
Alex: The baseball game leaves the most to be desired, since there are essentially two things you can do in the game: hit and pitch. Running and fielding are taken care of by characters that could best be compared to Fischer Price's limbless Little People. While I was able to dominate on the mound, my inability to do anything offensively made it difficult for there to be any result other than another Pat victory.
Pat: It was then on to bowling, a game Alex claimed to have a good grasp on. True to his word, he played a good game while I had the unfortunate tendency to throw every ball wildly to the left. Needless to say, I was disappointed, not with the Wii, or myself, but with Bartatua, my onscreen character.
Alex: Bowling was one of the few games I wasn't embarrassingly bad at, so anything less than a victory wasn't going to be acceptable. I quickly learned all I had to do to defeat Pat was to make sure the ball actually went towards the pins and not in the direction of the guy eating nachos at the snack bar, whom I think I could take.
Pat: Golf was the last of the mini games. Like bowling, it lacked the intensity of the other games, because each player took turns rather than reacting in real time to each other. Apparently all Alex needed was a warmup in order to embarrassingly beat me.
Alex: After taking hacks like Happy Gilmore without the resulting long drives, I found my stroke in the golfing game. Well, not really, but I was less terrible than Pat, snatching a rare victory for Garbage.
Pat: I had so much fun with the Wii that I requested we go back and try the games again. I can't imagine multiplayer gaming being much better than this.
Alex: Wii Sports is probably the most accessible Wii game. Emphasis on utilizing the unique controllers over crazy graphics, online play or any other traditional attribute make it a game novices could have fun with and almost certainly beat me at.