Well, after years of overview, previous experiences, reading endless reviews, and finally gathering enough money, I managed to buy a Ninetndo Wii last week.
I was afraid as for the past of the time I was too late to buy one because we are on the second half of the lapse of this generation, but I think I still have the chance to enjoy it and seeing how the sales and reception go, the system could stand for yet a little while more. I would give it 3 extra years maximum.
I was very lucky to be in Walmart and find one of the bundles that also included Wii Sports Resort with Motion Plus all in the same retail price of $199.96 (plus taxes).
So. What do we have to see on this little "toy"? Most of you must have a general perception already. I mean, for a three and a half year old console I am the one who is (fashionably) late over here.
So let's start.
Unboxing and Installation
First things first, I got to take it out of the box to play. The bundle came out to be mother-fucking heavy! I could not believe the difference on just picking up the raw console and the bundle.
The bold box of Wii Sports Resort was just literally next to the regular white Wii box you can find in any other stoe, so there are no tricks or any actually relevant differences aside the convenient price.
Setting the system to my huge twelve year-old SONY Trinitron TV was no challenge at all. There was no deal with the A/V plugs of course so all cool, all cool. The story might have been different if I got an XBOX360 or PlayStation 3 for the lack of HDMI entrances on it.
The controllers, instruction booklets, and even the box had THAT delicious smell. You know it. Like when you pop up open a brand new game and you can smell the fresh rubber and ink layers on the booklets? Not really relevant, but it's like enjoying the new car scent. (I suppose that can happen in every other console, but please correct me if I am wrong!)
Ok, enough cultural fetishist techno-porn, let's go with the system.
System, Presentation and Applications
Impatiently, I pressed the power button from the console and strapped my Wiimote to start my ride. When they started to ask me for data like the date and time, I realized I was having a hard time to get used to the pointing in the screen. It was not like wolding your remote control, you really had to point STRAIGHT and STEADY with the whole arm extended as if you were pointing someone with a fencing sword, or saluting the Führer. I felt a bit forced at the beginning, but just some time later it became natural to me. Not important, but I thought it was strange it asked me to give my Wii a nickname. Why is that important? So I just named it as "Wii [my last name]", obviously replacing the placeholder.
After finally adding the data, the loading screen appeared and a jingle welcomed me to the menu. My first impression? "Woah!! It's so.... white..." Yeahhh... the presentation was not so big. The GameCube menu was far more exciting with the background music and a feeling of emptiness. That emptiness was great for a relaxing feeling that I was playing something from THE FUTURE!!! But the WIi... it... was okaaaayyyyy but not as exciting or soothing.
Here are two videos to compare.
First the GameCube. Everything felt too interactive for being the first Nintendo console with a default menu (excluding the Famicom Disk Drive and Nintendo64 DD), and the few but yet enough options were nice.
Now with the Wii menu. The Wii channels are a bit weird in my opinion, they make the screen look too saturated. The Weather and News channels... I doubt I will ever use them. Seriously. The fonts and gradients in the buttons are yucky in my opinion, they look very odd and not so Nintendo-ish. But yeaaaaahhhh this is a "casual" console, so I gotta give it that point for being too default. Is just it doesn't feel very videogame-ish. Why is my system wanting to prentend to be a TV? I got a TV.
Well, naturally I went straight to the Mii channel and created my character. No problem, I already did that with other Wiis, so moving on!
The Internet Channel is a nice application, but typing with the Wii pointing is a bit frustrating and slow. I am aware I can plug an USB keyboard to use, but I have none at my disposition right now, so we could work on that. The Opera browser is not perfect, but it does the job. Destructoid looks a bit funny on it with the banner menu at the top broken. YouTube and other flash applications do work, so props to it.
Nintendo Channel is great, I like to watch trailers and the corny, but silly Nintendo Week show. The buffering could be better but I like to stay in direct contact with exclusive feeds (which then get uploaded to YouTube, but that's besides the point). The DS demos are cool too, it just should get a wider amount of demos to try or get updated more often.
The Wii Shop Channel is lovely, but I got no points yet. Still I was free to browse in it. It is very user friendly, so props I guess. As I was downloading some applications I liked the detail of Mario collecting coins and jumping in blocks as a loading progress bar of three points.
Now with the disc channel, I love how it detects the game you put in the slot and has an even better reaction than the GameCube for showing just the logo. I just wish GameCube discs reacted too, at least showing the game logo as well instead of a static GameCube logo.
Maybe I already covered enough for what is the presentation, time to play VIDJEWO GAYMSZSZ!!!
What better game to try first than the original basic. I have played Wii Sports
before, so there is not that much to say. I love the boxing game (Fun Fact: Punch-Out!! was going to be my first pick, but I didn't have enough cash! Damn!) and golf is also fun. I have already played bowling and tennis before. I remember having a terrible experience with the bowling game for being so damn strange, but still not given it a new chance. Gotta try the baseball one.
My problem with this game is that it didn't cover the precission very much. Especially in boxing, it is hard to aim your god damn punches! Come on!
Wii Sports Resort
Ok, this is the exciting part. Wii Sports Resort
is a full demnstration of what the Motion Plus attachment can do. But it's not only that, it takes the original Wii Sports
and makes it WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY much better! I was amazed by how the thing actually worked! It has more games, a better use of your Mii and well.... IT'S FUN!!!
Where do I start? I LOVE the sword games. The duels, the slashing, and the assaults are addictive. The contrincants become harder and harder, and I like a challenge. I am glad this is not all random waggling to win, you need precission and strategy, especially in high levels.
Archery is great! It is not a whole workout, but it IS strangely challenging! The deal of using the Wiimote in your opposite hand is a bit awkward, but it starts to flow into you. My mother picked it up and made some great records. Beginner's luck, or natural ability? You make the call.
Power Cruising was... aaaahhhh!! Great memories of WaveRace BlueStorm
! Not as good, but I just can imagine a new WaveRace for Wii with the option of adding your Mii. It could work great! DO IT NINTENDO!
Everything else was overall good, but the only game I cannot understand to make it work is Basketball. I don't know if I am doing it right, but there IS a difference on how I throw the ball, even if I am using technically the same positions. So apparently I suck at both virtual and real basketball. FML.
So, I guess that's it. My hands hurt a bit after typing this, but I still need to give some points.
This is my first direct encounter with the deal with motion controls that is not in store demos or in someone else's console. And over all... yeah, I like the deal of motion controls, I guess.
The Wii is not perfect, it has some layout design issues and the control as 1:1 it is, its not 100% accurate with your actual movements, as far I can tell with Wii Sports Resort
at least. I mean... they detect where you move your remote control with impressive accuracy, but it still could need tightening some bolts.
The features and additional gimmicks actually caught my attention. I am not going to use all of them but I can imagine checking them every now and then.
As for the family dedicated experience, it sort of lures my family, but not as I expected. I always wanted my sisters and parents to play with me sometimes, but since the GameCube era I became the game loner under the roof as everyone else was too busy with their boring lives with jobs or super serious school assignments. Fortunately most of my family members picked it up to try a bit and make a Mii. Mom was very impressed by the table tennis and archery games, and she is not easy to impress when is about videogames because everyone always goes like "well, it is your stuff and you know more about it than we do, so whatever ok". Hopefully when I go back to my apartment, my family will keep playing and not just forget it is there in the living room. I want them to play even if it's for a little moment certain times a week. But maybe it is also because I still need more controllers. Better find some and cheap.
As for me, I can see a lot coming now. I am much more excited about Red Steel 2
now if the controls manage to be tight enough, the trope of japanese spaghetti western is already covering my excitement. I should also check out No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
, Super Mario Galaxy
, and every other awesome game out there.
The Nintendo Wii, again, is not perfect. It has some minor flaws in presentation, but the fun is there. The features are handy even though not entirely necessary, friend codes... are not good, we NEED an account system like the Steam, XBLA or PSN. The library, of course, is flooded with bad quality, don't be a dumb ass picking up any title you see in the shelf like in any console or your PC.
I also want to ask: whyyyyyy is everyone so melodramatic about motion sensing? I am liking it so far. I sure could get tired, but we also got titles with optional movement, so there is no actual excuse to negate its philosophy.
Don't be fooled by the extreme negativity! It is a great system, give it a chance! You could miss a lot of stuff with the exclusives too. Definitely deserves some space in your living room.
PS: Give me yo friend codes, guys! I added mine to the column on the right!