Initial Wii Impressions

I’ve had the system for a couple of days, and have only been able to play with it for two or three hours so far. Here’s some first thoughts. Just keep in mind — it’s all still new to me, and I haven’t invested a load of time in the system just yet. I’m sure I’ll learn more and get better as the weeks go by.

Wii consoleI look at this system as a long term investment. Games are just being created for a new control system now. It’ll take some time for the “killer app” to be released. (Some say it’s “Zelda” already. And some think the XBox 360 just is getting its killer app with “Gears of War.” Will PS3 ever have one?) It’ll take time for developers to learn how to take full advantage of the system. I only bought one game at launch, and I’m fine with that. I have a couple more on my Christmas list, and I’m sure I’ll pick one more up around Christmas time if none of them come through. But I’m patient.

Setting things up was easy enough. There are a few parts to plug in (sensor bar, power brick, video out to the TV), but nothing different from anyone else. I realize now that I need to get behind the TV to make order out of the spaghetti bowl of wires I have back there, but that’s not Nintendo’s fault.

Since the box is next to the TV, I had no problem with the wires being too short at all. Most are all still mostly twist-tied up. I think I would have preferred an internal battery pack to the external brick, but I’m not complaining.

I’m a taller guy with larger hands, so I was worried at first about the remote. Since this isn’t a button-masher kind of system, it turns out not to be a big problem. With the batteries inside the Wiimote, there’s enough heft to the thing to make it feel comfortable in your hand, neither tiringly heavy, nor so light that you flail about, forgetting it’s there.

Speaking of controllers, I need to invest in a couple of those Wavebird wireless controllers so I can play all my old GameCube games, too. Those controllers don’t have a long enough wire to play comfortably while sitting six feet away from the TV.

Wii Sports is a great pack-in game to start. Everything is simple, yet functional. You get to use the wiimote in a variety of ways, in very natural motions, with few buttons to push. I like that.

Tennis turns out to be the most addicting game. I have a lot to learn about the controls on it yet, though, I fear. While I can impart top spin and back spin on the ball, I still can’t get it to go in the direction I want it to all the time. That’s a matter of timing, I think. The hardest thing so far has been picking up on when I need to do a forehand as opposed to a backhand swing. And if you don’t decide fast enough, that fast action to get your hand/arm in place will often result in a swing the wrong way.

The most disappointing game is boxing. The controls are just a pain in my butt. Game play is tedious. I don’t care. It’s no MIKE TYSON’S PUNCH OUT!

That’s also the only game I’ve used the nunchuk with so far. I haven’t needed it for anything else, and I’m fine with that, particularly with the nunchuk shortage out there. Eventually, I’ll get a game that requires it to move around a 3D world, I’m sure.

Bowling comes in second on the Wii Sports favorites list. It’s the first thing I played Monday night, even after just getting back from my weekly bowling league. I’m pretty good at it right off the bat, too. I’m working on the hook now, but the straight ball is very simple and effective.

Golf makes me yearn for a full-fledged golf game, and we have one of those coming out in mid-December, thankfully. The controls are a bit off to me, still. When putting, in particular, you have to make a much larger back swing than makes sense, physically, to get the Wii to pick up on it. This is likely just a matter of getting used to the controls. Not everything is going to be mapped 1:1 from movement to game play. I understand that.

Baseball is OK, but almost too repetitious. I won easily and I know it would get harder as I go along, but I just don’t care that much. Plus, I nearly hurt my shoulder for no good reason playing it. Remember, all: subtle movements are best.

Super Monkey Ball Banana BlitzSuper Monkey Ball is the one game I bought. I breezed through the first level in single player mode already. These controls will definitely take some getting used to. The arm strain was a little annoying, too, but that’s a learning curve issue. I was often overcompensating for what I saw on screen, and the camera movements around the character were throwing me off. I’ll adapt.

I’m thoroughly addicting to the Disc Golf mini-game, though. While the controls are simple (pick direction and angle), the motion you make to throw the disc is very familiar to me, as a one-time Ultimate Frisbee player. I have a lot to learn to finesse the game, but my first impression is favorable. Again, I’d like to see an entire game by itself for this. These nine holes are going to get boring quickly.

I wonder if Nintendo will get to the point where they — or a third party — can start developing smaller games like Disc Golf for download only? Or will they maintain a strict wall between Virtual Console for Classic Games only and physical discs for modern games? We’re probably at least a year away from knowing the answer to that one.

So far, so good with the Nintendo. I’m a patient man, so I’ll overcome any initial bumps in the road. But my first round has been a good one. I can’t wait to get another person or two involved at the same time, to see how much of a party game this system can be.

2 thoughts on “Initial Wii Impressions

  1. My understanding is that Wii Sports really comes alive when you get other people involved. I wouldn’t know. I’m still bitter about not getting my Wii.

    It’s funny. I’m calling the same stores every day about their Wii shipments and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the same answer twice. Even at the same store. I’ve been told everything from “Wednesday” to “2 weeks” to “after Christmas.” All at the same store. The only solution I can see is to call everyday. Every day until someone finally says, “We got ’em.” It all really makes me angry that Nintendo did a Sunday release.

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