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Thursday, October 18, 2007

So You May Have Heard Of This Wii Thing

So my Wiibay purchase arrived on Monday, just on schedule, and in perfect working condition. I'd say people looking for the console who can't find it, consider looking for a used one for auction. You might save a few bucks from the Wii + Wii Games bundle for $400-$480 which is still common.

For about $100 over retail, I've got two full controllers (wiimotes + chucks), a charging station, and an extra game. Granted that extra game was Red Steel. More on that later.

I've only had a handful of hours with the Wii so far, but even just playing around with the channels and jumping into Wii Sports has been fun. Largely, Sports is a strange affair. We hopped into Wii Golf first - which was probably a mistake as the controls mostly got us to toss the ball back and forth fifty times. If you've got to jump into any game - Wii Bowling is definately the way to go, the controls are simple enough to get the hang of right away and complicated enough to get a decent amount of play.

And the training exercise which continually adds pins until you're bowling like a 100 at a time? Excellent.

My second fave is probably Wii Boxing - which even though The Girl refuses to play because "you look like you're have a spasm" - it's a game where the dodgy controls are actually somewhat fun. Tennis and Baseball have tighter, simpler control schemes - but they'll also take a good deal of practice.

Then we get to Red Steel. Basically if you're reading this and you've played Metroid Prime: Corruption, I wouldn't read any more of this paragraph. My understanding is that Corruption has excellent controls that really makes the wiimote stand out. Red Steel is like the inverse of that. If it weren't for the wiimote, it would be a subpar shooter with decent visuals, lousy art direction and some fairly glaring bugs - which happen to include the controls. Red Steel likes to confuse right from left and have you pointing at the ceiling at regular intervals. I also managed to start a mission with no weapons at all and at one point a bad guy looked to be frozen in 3D Max (arms spread eagle and all) and constantly rotating to stare at me.

Granted - as an exercise to play around with the wiimote within a shooter, there's mild measures of success. But if you have Metroid Prime at your disposal - you don't need it.

The Virtual Console has a lot of hopefuls - I tried "Dungeon Explorer" and enjoyed it, although mostly I got it because of the five player mode. Lode Runner has perked my interest for similar reasons - and also because its just one of those fine games out of gaming history. I need to get a GameCube controller, though, because Sin and Punishment is really staring me down.

All in all, the Wii scores high. Other channels, like the News and Weather, are excellent additions. I didn't have much luck with Opera last night, when I tried to check my meevee account I couldn't find any listings and Gmail functioned, but honestly was a bit of a pain. The ability to use a USB keyboard is nice, but I haven't tried it yet. At MAX one of the speakers was bullish on the fact that the Wii was a vastly untapped platform for targeted web services ... and he is completely right. If the Wii had gotten the treatment the iPhone has, with specific interfaces and all, there'd be a lot more functionality for the device already.

And Nintendo needs to work on their marketplace. Sure, the VC is neat - but Microsoft and Sony have much better downloadable offerings, with playable demos and indie titles galore. If the fact that over half of Wii owners haven't been recently playing is true - this is the kind of thing Nintendo needs to reverse that. I'm browsing old Sega titles here while the guy in the cube next to me took BioShock for a spin.

Not to knock the VC, mind you, I think the implementation is pretty brilliant overall and is the kind of execution that makes me not terribly care about what kind of emulation software I can shove onto my Mac.

Finally - Nintendo needs to have real multiplayer offerings. Everyone Votes does not count.

In summary, though, I'm wiitastic. If you send me your Wii Code, I'll send you mine. And our Miis can mingle and go on parades.


Tony said...

Okay, now I'm real jealous. It seems like everyone but me has a Wii. I need to get one asap. Not being able to play Metroid Prime 3 is killing me!

Josh said...

In the course of getting this, The Brother has raved about Metroid Prime 3 no less than a hundred times.

Sadly, I'll probably hold off on it until the holidays :| But there are gameplay videos you can download to the Wii, and I'm already drooling.