November 23, 2006

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Wii Sports, Wii
Nintendo, 2006

If tech demos were this much fun across the board, Iíd be a whole lot broker. Wii Sports makes it hard to start playing any other game.

Nintendo, you screwed up; you could easily have sold Wii Sports separately and made a quick buck. Instead, you chose to package your stripped-down arcade-style sports menagerie with every new Wii. Kudos, my already stellar brand loyalty has gone through the roof; might I interest you in an unborn child?

Simply, Wii Sports shows off the versatility of the wireless, motion-sensitive Wii controller (or Wiimote, as itís called) with quick-playing versions of baseball (here more a home run derby than an actual game) tennis, golf, boxing and bowling (sorry, regular not weirdo candlepin style). Each game uses different controller grips (be it down and sideways for golf or double-fisted with controller extension mayhem for boxing) and motions to play. These control schemes are intuitive, often elegant (as with the different spins an angled wrist can put on a bowling ball) and rarely disappointing (even in boxing, which is so hectic that it seems your punches and blocks arenít being faithfully translated ó not to say that it still isnít wild amounts of fun.)

Tennis seems overly simplified, as player interaction is limited to timing your swing while your automated avatar does all the jumping, diving and maneuvering necessary to put you in front of the ball. And at times the Wiimote seems a tad over-sensitive, as in golf where small variations in backswing can produce wildly disparate strokes. More often than not, though, Wii Sports is a perfect example of the easy yet deep fun than Nintendo is shooting for. For lonely boys, Wii Sports may not seem so hot but with a four-person tennis match going the appeal skyrockets.

An exceptionally well-designed game that shows off the robust potential of Nintendoís new system. One can only hope that the other Wii titles live up to this intro. A
ó Glenn Given