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Friday, March 09, 2007

Wii Will Rock You

Yes, I finally managed to get a Wii. And, yes, it is as much fun as everyone says.

I've been really impressed by how well the Wii Remote actually works. It's surprisingly responsive and accurate, and I think it may really be a good indicator of one new way that we'll play games in the future. At the very least, it's great that Nintendo is willing to try new approaches, and the effort seems to be paying off for them in spades.

I do have some problems with Wii Sports, which comes with the system, but they're entirely personal. First, let me say that all the Wii Sports games are really fun. Even Heather Marie enjoys some of them, which is interesting, since she doesn't particularly like most sports, and the only video games she's consistently interested in are fighting games. That preference (especially in light of her affection for Hurling and Gaelic Football) is sometimes mildly disturbing, but I try not to think about it too hard.

There are five sports included: tennis, boxing, golf, bowling, and baseball. Really, tennis is the only one I'm really struggling with, and I think it's because I actually play tennis. In fact, tennis is the only sport that I've ever been really, genuinely any good at, and those skills definitely work against me. In real tennis, the direction of the ball is controlled primarily through a combination of foot position and follow-through. In Wii tennis, it's controlled by when you hit the ball (for right-handed players' forehands, hitting early means hitting to the left, late to the right, "on time" is straight).

You also don't have any control over where your on-screen player moves, so he often lines up for backhands when I would've moved around the ball for a forehand. It's incredibly frustrating when I can see the opening, and I know where and how to hit the ball, but when I do exactly what I know I need to do in order to make that happen, the ball goes off in some seemingly random direction.

Still very fun, but it helps if I don't think of it as tennis. I suspect that if I were any good at golf or bowling, then I'd have the same problem with them. At least I'm in good company, though, since one of the Williams sisters lost to Conan O'Brien.

Several people have written about using the Wii for exercise, and I can see how that might work, but in my case, I think it may be an indirect benefit. That's because playing Wii Sports has made me want to go play tennis and go bowling and maybe even try golf. Those sound like healthy compulsions, so maybe I'll follow through on them since the weather is warming up.

Likewise, if Zelda makes me want to grab a sword and save the world, I'll be sure to mention it here.

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