Yesterday, Nintendo held a launch event for Wii Sports Resort in New York City’s Times Square, allowing the public to try out the game three full days before its launch on Sunday, July 26th. They went all-out for this one, trucking in fifty tons of sand from across the Hudson River in New Jersey and turning Military Island into the game’s fictional tropical paradise, Wuhu Island. (Get it? “Woo-hoo”?)
When I first read about the event, I didn’t really know what to expect. The invite promised “a sandy beach, swimming pool and tropical lounge,” all in the middle of Times Square, but how was Nintendo going to pull that off? By dumping a layer of sand on Military Island, of course. I was initially apprehensive about trudging on the “beach,” since I was wearing sneakers -- after all, no one likes to get sand in their shoes -- but the sand wasn’t particularly deep.
Staff members wearing flower-themed shirts handed out leis while a band serenaded the crowd with reggae and salsa music (the dude on the steel drums was fantastic, especially during a brilliant rendition of Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” that even got some people dancing). Throughout the day, professional athletes stopped by to play crowd members -- that is, athletes who play sports that the Wii Sports Resort games are based on. I saw Frisbee master Bradford Keller take on a young girl; earlier in the day, ten-year-old table tennis whiz kid Alston Wang and archery pro Martin Vezzuto came out.
CactarCrush and I tried out the Archery and Swordplay games. This was my first time playing Wii Sports Resort, and I was highly impressed by the degree of fidelity in the controls. In Archery, you press A and hold the Wii Remote in your left hand while holding Z and pulling back on the Nunchuk with your right -- as you would the string on a bow -- and then release Z to let loose your arrow. It feels great, and the game ramps up the challenge by forcing you to compensate for wind and distance. By the way, I proved my sports prowess, scoring two 9s and a 10 in three shots (out of a possible 10 points per shot). Oh yeah.
Everyone who played a game got a drink ticket; Nintendo was serving virgin strawberry daiquiris and piña coladas in the back. I had a strawberry daiquiri, and it was delicious! Overall, I must admit that the event was -- no offense, Nintendo -- surprisingly not lame. In fact, I had a pretty awesome time checking out Wii Sports Resort in Nintendo’s makeshift resort, and the game itself is a lot of fun to play. It was all rather surreal, to tell you the truth. Keep an eye out next week for Destructoid’s review of Wii Sports Resort, which will be out on Sunday, July 26th.