So after hearing about the thing from coworkers and friends since it came out, I finally decided to get my own. I saved a few bucks, and some patience, and picked up a used unit over at Gamestop in Middletown. The system, plus an extra controller, a copy of Mario Kart Wii, and the steering wheel peripheral, came to just under 4 bills.
I am pleasantly surprised by this game system – if there was any doubt, after a string of less than stellar consoles – Nintendo finally got it right again. For starters – the unit itself, no bigger than a small stack of DVD cases – was designed with convenience and usability in mind. Controllers are wireless, but if you’d liek to use your Gamecube controllers, an SD card, or any other type of supported peripheral – they’re hiding conveniently behind one of several easily accessible covers.
The controls are extremely intuitive. One thing I’ve absolutely HATED Nintendo for was the direction they have taken controllers since the SNES was replaced with the N64. It was like they didn’t want to do the Xbox/PS route, but they wanted their own design – which they already HAD – and thankfully with the Wii – have returned to.
A simple rectangle with a D-Pad and minimal buttons. A “nunchuck” can be added on for further functionality, and a few more buttons. The controls are simple, they make sense, they don’t look like the bastard child of MC Escher and a universal remote.
Not sure how they pull off the full motion controllers, I’ll wager a guess at precision accelerometers – but whatever they do – it works. The driving controls in Mario Kart rival that of any major mainstream racer on the market today. That it is aimed for kids and those of us who are kids at heart and fondly remember the past few Mario Kart titles – is a bonus.
Wii Sports actually had me break a sweat! Normally the only time I break a sweat while gaming is if the windows are closed. Between Bowling, Baseball, Golf, and Boxing – I felt like I was pulling off some serious cardio at the local gym. The simplicity of the sports games is what makes them so addictive. Back in the day of Atari and then the original NES – the graphics were horrid. The sound effects were horrid. The music was horrid. The gameplay SOLD THE GAMES!
The Wii has brought that simplicity back, with a port and polish for good measure. Swing, pitch, punch, dodge, etc… Simple, exciting, and INVOLVED. Within minutes of firing the system up I was an 8 year old in the basement wearing out my big brother’s Nintendo again – that’s how great this system is.
Not to mention – you can actually buy a pretty good number of those classics through the system itself. No need for wires either, it can work itself in to any wireless access point (although punching in a 60 character WAP key was a little strenuous) – I recommend you use encryption if you plan on buying anything over the wireless connection. Never know who is listening.
Back to Mario Kart – Cheers, Folks.