They can’t get enough of my Wii

Nintendo Wii Last Friday, the 8th of December (aka European Day of the Wii) I found myself standing outside the local Game computer games shop. It was a wet Friday. It was also a dark Friday at 06:30 when I arrived. I was, initially, a queue of one.

A few shops, in a few areas, had a midnight opening, some six and a half hours earlier, to celebrate the launch of the new Nintendo Wii games console. I too would have turned up at a midnight opening but here we had a 7AM opening instead which, I think, is preferable. For one thing I didn’t need to wake up any earlier than usual to be there for 06:30 (though I did defer my morning shower to save a bit of time – I didn’t think poor personal hygiene would mark me out from the others queuing up!). Another plus point being I had a full day to play with my new Wii before collapsing of exhaustion.

So, there I was, huddled in the doorway of the shop to avoid the rain. Sadly there was nobody around the town centre that time in the morning to mistake me for a homeless person and throw money my way. I was surprised how late the queue was added to, 06:48 – I would have had time for that shower after all! The shop manager and an assistant arrived some ten minutes or so before that, I don’t know what they were expecting but I wonder if they weren’t regretting getting out of bed to open early for one person! Those last ten minutes saw the queue really form, by 07:00 there was no doubt the early opening was a success. I didn’t count the people (I was too focused on staying in the front as it wasn’t a queue so much as a huddle around the front doors) but it must have been 20 or so. That may not sound like much but for such an early start (and on a work day) it looked quite impressive. They weren’t kids, either, they mostly appeared 20 or 30 somethings. I expect the children and their families turned up later, trusting their preorders would be honoured.

Eventually the doors opened (pretty much spot on 7, I think). We all charged. I was at the front and that’s where I was determined to stay. Victory! Bypassing the usual queuing mechanism I went straight to the end till. Preorder 1004. Wii console, Wii Play game (with second Wii Remote controller), The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess game, second Nunchuk controller. Check. No Component cable – they’ve been held up in customs. Customs? Dangerous things those TV connection cables, they could be used by trained assassins to throttle innocent members of the public. Anyway, the most important parts of my preorder were there and waiting. I’m not sure if they would have held back the accessories and games for me or not but the Wii itself had a 1004 note stuck on the box, I’m glad I played it safe.

So, what’s the Wii actually like? It is as good as everyone has been saying. Back before they gave it the slightly ridiculous name of ‘Wii’ it was known by the codename ‘Revolution’. It’s only been around a few weeks worldwide (just one here, in the UK, of course) so it is hard to judge what impact it will have long term but it really does feel like a revolution in gaming. The motion sensitive ‘Wiimote’ controller adds an extra level of fun and does away with those increasingly complicated and obscure button covered controllers of old. I really think it is the dawn of a new age of gaming interaction (and maybe wider machine interaction). Time will tell on that but certainly using the wireless controller like a tennis racket, a rounders bat, a golf club, a sword, a snooker cue, a bowling ball, etc., is extremely good fun and that’s what it is all about. The Wii also appears to be trying to make a return to the old days of multiplayer games, friends or families gathered around a screen sharing the experience. This is a console designed for the living room rather than a child’s bedroom. Internet multiplayer is coming for the Wii (we are just waiting on the games that use it) but that just isn’t the same as playing together in the same room.

In truth I haven’t had nearly as much time to use my Wii as I’d like, the Christmas Staggering Stories update (for one thing) is taking up most of my spare time now. Nonetheless I did take Wii Day off work to give it a good test. Wii Sports, the pack-in game, was certainly the immediate highlight, particularly the tennis game. Wii Play is quite good too, particularly the clay-pigeon shooting and the billiards. Rayman: Raving Rabbids is certainly amusing though can be a little frustrating, I need to do more of the single player game to open up the multiplayer aspects (an unfortunate design decision). The ‘triple A’ launch title, Zelda, is taking longer to warm to, for me. For one thing it looks quite bad scaled up on my TV (hopefully the component cable will help with that when they finally arrive) and, well, it looks like a big game (it’s an RPG type game) that will require more time to fully appreciate. So, apart from Zelda, all my games are really collections of mini-games. Those are particularly well suited to multiplayer, which is good as I was rather hoping to use the Wii as a party machine as much as anything else.

A good few people have now had some of my Wii and all appear eager for more. That, more than anything else, is a testament for just how good the machine is. Since my Atari Jaguar, over a decade ago, I have had no interest in games consoles. The Wii has changed that. I still have little or no interest in the likes of the XBox and Playstation – they’ve just lost that sense of fun, instead concentrating on improving graphics and letting the gameplay stagnate. How many more Doom clones do we need? I’ve never owned a Nintendo machine before, never had any interest in owning one before, but their (new?) emphasis on fun, engaging gameplay for everyone has changed that. I’d recommend everyone takes a Wii.

2 Responses to "They can’t get enough of my Wii"

  1. Ian Mc says:

    So how many bad Wii (wee) puns can I come up with…

    Hope you didn’t smell of Wii after skipping the shower and cueing on a wet Friday morning.

    Wii hope you enjoy your new games console.

    Naah… can’t be bothered.

    Have fun… oh and Wii wish you a Merry Christmas!

  2. Andy Simpkins says:

    My screen avatar was a little too like me.Rather unusual to see a virtual lookalike up on the screen playing golf at Pebble Beach or playing tennis on a full size court.I found the Wii to be a lot more interactive and fun to use than just sitting in a chair with a game pad linked up to a console.I must confess that I am rather cack-handed when it comes to modern video games but I was very surprised at the ease of use of teh hand controllers.I might even invest in one myself…….

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