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Lazy Sunday Review: Nintendo Wii

By GhostOfTiber in Technology
Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: Wii, Nintendo, Review, Videogames (all tags)

What do we do on the weekend with $250 and enough beer to drown a horse?

Buy a Nintendo Wii.

The decision was actually a bit more fleshed out: My buddies owned one so it was a simple choice to buy. However, I would not have spent the money had I not liked the system. That being said, I have a few gripes about it but I've found there is also a lot to like.

Out of Box
The first thing is that setup is damn easy. Since I don't watch much TV anymore I own an older Sony with a breakout box feeding the cable. No high def picture or surround sound. This is also why I'm OK owning a Wii, the graphics might not be top notch but with this TV, I'm not going to notice anyway. It can do 480p, but my TV has things like anti-aliasing by virtue of the fact that it's old. So the Wii works on just about any hardware and the AV cables they give you work great. There's no interference whatsoever which is impressive given the amount of junk behind the TV. You plug in the Wii, you turn it on, it works. The Wii even lets you skip customizations like WiFi router configuration if you want, which is good because I don't want yet another computer. I want to put in a game and I want it to work. That begins the first gripe: Putting in a game doesn't start the game, it merely makes it available in the "games channel" which is reminiscent of the Playstation 2's "media space" with the memory card display and floating disc. If I had any Wii Points, the games I purchased would also show up here. A special note: If the Wii is not online, you will be prompted to either connect it to the internet or setup the internet connection. It's a straightforward process although advanced WiFi options like encryption and connecting to cloaked SIDs are missing until the first update from Nintendo. Once you are connected, the Wii will prompt you to update the OS which takes from 30 seconds to 5 minutes and does not include a readme file for what exactly is being fixed.

The Wii centers around the Wiimote. Setting this up is easy: Hit the red button on the front of the Wii (covered up by a panel which also has the SD slot here) and press the similar button in the battery case of the Wiimote. Bluetooth magic happens and they find each other. From then on it's magic. Make sure the "sensor bar" is visible and centered under the TV screen and everything from that point on is point and click literally. I've found it helps to actually put it on top of the DVD player which is above the TV and I'm not sure why -- suffice to say its a bit fickle but once you find the sweet spot it works nicely. My initial impression was to hold the Wiimote like an old school Nintendo controller, but this is incorrect. The Wiimote is held like a golf club or tennis racket in your hand with the black window forward. There's pictures if you're old like me and make the wrong move. Point the Wiimote at the screen and start to drag it around and I've found it to be intuitive. The Wiimote rumbles for tactile feedback and also includes a small speaker. Missing from the controller is a battery meter, so when it starts acting weird it's time to change those. Usually it can't find the nunchuk despite being firmly attached and then a half hour later it simply turns off. To check the battery status, the player must suspend the game and hop out to the Wii menu. It would have been much better for Nintendo to include a way for the Wii to pause the game (something it does anyway when it loses a wiimote) and warn about the batteries going dead. On the bottom of the Wiimote is a USB-style connector which accepts either the nunchuk (joystick) or classic controller (Super Nintendo Controller). But, for the menus, you will always use the Wiimote.

Classic Gaming
The Wii also plays GameCube games. I don't own any. The GameCube games require a GameCube controller. The ports for this are on the back of the Wii, which is really infuriating. My take is to buy a WaveBird when or if I finally buy any GameCube games. Games which require a Classic Controller also seem to be a mixed bag with the GameCube controller. GameCube games all use the GameCube controller and cannot be used with the Classic Controller, so it just makes sense to buy the GameCube controller and be done with it.

The Wii comes with Wii Sports and one Wiimote and nunchuk. This might seem like crap but the Wiimote includes AA batteries (it requires two) and the batteries last for about 100 hours. The games also all seem to honor the idea that you can pass the Wiimote between friends. If you're playing Wii Bowling on the Wii Sports disc, for instance, the game pauses between frames and asks the next player to press the A button to begin their turn. This is a nice touch and it carries through other games. Wii Sports also goes a long way towards showing off the motion control of the Wiimote and when games do it badly, going back to Wii Sports restores your faith in the system.

I own Madden and Rayman, and I will toss in reviews of a few other games I've played with friends.

Wii Sports
The debut Wii title, it also serves as the "party game" by being flexible for up to four players simultaneously and teaches players how to use the Wiimote. Each sport simulated requires a different gesture. If the Wiimote cursor leaves the screen (perhaps the player is examining the new controller), the game will helpfully pause to show a map of the controller and gestures required to play that specific game. While the games are fairly shallow, the games are simple enough that they provide a quick Wii-fix without taking up an hour and are still fun. Bowling serves both as a display of the Wii's physics and graphics (the wood on the lanes looks fantastic) and the game picks up every nuance you could possibly place on the ball. Other sports follow suit and I rarely felt like the Wii was at fault for a bad putt or slice on a tennis ball.

Red Steel
This game is crap. It was probably a port from a GameCube title in development. The graphics are so-so with crap textures and plane clipping problems including walls and doors. What really kills it is that the Wiimote control is done extremely poorly and it makes precision shooting impossible. Reloading and other actions require shaking the nunchuk but the game misses this so often that it simply opening doors or picking up objects becomes a chore. Combine this with claustrophobic multiplayer maps and loose hit detection (an easy way to avoid grenades is to be standing above or below the plane of the explosion) and it's not even worth owning. Rent it if you must, otherwise skip it. The only high point is that you can twist the Wiimote like using a key in a door and hold your gun gangsta style. I just wish I could turn it around and jam the Wiimote in my mouth to end it.

Madden 2007
This game shines, even if you don't like football. There is an option for playing with "classic" controls if the gestures don't light your fire and I think other games will follow suit. This is not fully realized and the game still requires motion, but people using classic controlls will need less of it and can direct the menus with the nunchuk or D-pad exclusively. The manual begins with "Full Controls: Please see the 'training' menu in-game" and proceeds to give a brief overview of each gesture. The middle of the manual has a map of gestures to events and actions, with the end of the manual covering minigames. Minigames let you set records and tweak skills you learn in training while training mode covers the basics.

In it's own way, this is an excellent format for the motion based game since the Wii affords the player enough precision that sloppy use of controls will lead to sloppy playing. A good example of this is the kickoff. Players use an arrow to generally direct the ball and the kicking gesture is swinging the Wiimote from your knee to your shoulder quickly. The speed at which the player swings it changes how high the ball is kicked versus distance while rotating the Wiimote like a key causes the ball to spin or tumble. Furthermore, raising the Wiimote to one side or the other causes the ball to hook or slice as represented by a second arrow. If it all sounds complicated, it is, on paper at least but the tutorial walks the player through each bit of it and explains it fully. Once you get the hang of it, you can put the ball anywhere you want with passing and kicking. Tackling is similarly tactile, with a forward and level push committing a simple tackle but an upward push goes for the shoulderpads and a low push goes for the legs.

All of this is fantastic and the presentation is tight but I've found that players who don't spend time doing the training or skip it entirely quickly become frustrated. Even things as simple as passing require a flick of the Wiimote and people new to the Wii may not intuitively pick up the gesture. Tacklers who fall under the player control will brush up harmlessly against opposing players with the ball without a player making the tackle gesture. Playing against the computer is forgiving and there are on-screen hints about gestures in single-player but the learning curve can be a bit steep for Wii newbies. If they can hold on or team up with more experienced players, things improve considerably and it's a great way to spend an afternoon.

Wario: Smooth Moves
I haven't had a chance to play this one extensively but from what I saw, it was a rehash of Wii Sports and not terribly inspired. The game isn't terribly polished in the graphics and feels more like a collection of movement demos with a game tacked on. Once the movement gimmick wears off, I don't know how much staying power this one will have. While some of the gestures required are interesting and unique (the hoola-hoop requires you to hold the Wiimote on your waist and gyrate sinfully), things quickly get repetitive even with four people playing. I would say skip it in favor of Rayman.

Rayman: Raving Rabbids
It's hard not to like this game from the opening title which includes this bulbous gross looking thing looking at you crosseyed making a noise that only a severely retarded rabbit would make. The closest parallel I could draw is South Park without feeling like South Park. The manual does a good job of explaining the single player game's background while each game itself is prefixed with a short tutorial on how to play complete with a rabbid demonstrating. This is important because some games require you to listen extremely closely to the Wiimotes speaker and the description of "listen closely to the pig" doesn't quite convey the idea. And yes, there is a pig, and you have to get cuddly with it to survive. This typifies the humor in the game, which is bizarre and sometimes gross. Another game involves rabbids using an outhouse at the beach and the player must shake the nunchuk to keep the doors closed. The soundtrack is the noises you would expect rabbits to make if they ate a truckload of fiber. If the door swings open, the rabbid is horrified and clutches his crotch and screams before shooting the screen with a plunger. There's no gore and no violence minus some giant robots shooting missiles at the player but potty humor abounds.

Games range from simple children's games such as duck-duck-goose and red-rover to more arcade variations of choplifter in 3D and Pac-Man clones. The presentation stays fresh and highly polished so things don't feel old. The Wiimote gestures provide the bulk of the interface (including a "fitness mode" where the game goes out of it's way to make the player do some pretty amazing gestures) but they are simple enough that new players can pick up quickly. The multiplayer mode is both sequential and simultaneous with icons next to each game on the map to explain the mode. The only quirk is during the Time Crisis style shooting games where two players can play at once with two Wiimotes but one, three or four players have to take turns. During the shooting games, if the other Wiimotes fall asleep or lose sight of the Wii, the game pauses and asks the player to correct this. There is no reason for this.

Wii Quirks

  • The Wii pauses during disk reads after two hours of playing or when it gets warm. Nintendo really needs to update the fans as this tends to happen during times when it really shouldn't. A good example is that Madden has to load the field after selecting a play and the pause gives the opponents time to study each others plays while things spin. This is a minor gripe and can be prevented by making sure the Wii is clear on all sides.
  • Putting the GameCube controls on the back is annoying.
  • Multiplayer games don't play over the internet yet.
  • Wii games in the games channels are expensive. Paying $5 to $10 for 'classic' games seems steep for the content there. There is no demo.
  • No Blu-Ray or HD-DVD support or 1080p. This may not rub you wrong and I personally don't miss it compared to friends with PS3s and XBOX 360s since they do not own the TV that can support it.
  • Wiimotes are susceptible to bluetooth crosstalk. My cellphone and my wife's laptop try to peer with the Wii and Wiimotes constantly. While it's an annoyance, I would have appreciated Nintendo using the privacy bit or somesuch.

Final Verdict
If you can live without blu-ray/HD-DVD support and don't need bleeding edge graphics, the Wii offers up some strong innovation in a market that remains largely unchanged since Atari wired a controller up to a console. Channels of content are nice with a few freebies like weather which snap in nicely with daily life. Wireless controllers feel right and are accurate. If Madden and Rayman are barometers of sports and twich games, the coming lineup is going to be strong and offer up quite a bit of fun for the console gaming platform.


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Your next-gen console?
o Wii 51%
o Playstation 3 13%
o XBOX 360 6%
o New videocard for Vista gaming 27%

Votes: 29
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o WaveBird
o Also by GhostOfTiber

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Lazy Sunday Review: Nintendo Wii | 68 comments (59 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
The Wii is cool and worth the asking price (2.50 / 1) (#1)
by zenador on Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 07:12:42 PM EST

I only wish there were some more games. I bought the Zelda game with mine and have given up on it. It's cool and all, but I think I've had enough of the Zelda formula for one lifetime.

Excite Truck is not as awesome as I thought it was going to be. The controls are pretty bad.

Once Smash Bros. and a new Mario Kart come out (they both better have online play) then it will be the ultimate system for me.

I should add that Raving Rabbids (none / 0) (#2)
by zenador on Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 07:16:20 PM EST

is the most fun of all the games I've played so far.

A friend of mine bought it, and I was like "That shit sounds gay", and he was all like "No man, it's cool and it got good reviews.". So anyway, after I tried it I realized that it is fun.

[ Parent ]

what turns you off about zelda? (none / 0) (#3)
by GhostOfTiber on Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 07:21:39 PM EST

The last time I played Zelda was on Super Nintendo and really liked it.  I never got into Windtalkers.  Does it make use of the motion control and all that good stuff?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

It's not a bad game (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by zenador on Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 08:05:47 PM EST

I think I've just grown tired of the Zelda style of gameplay.

The dungeons in Zelda all boil down to: find item X to solve puzzle Y and then use item X to kill boss Z. Tons of lighting torches and bombing cracks of course. It's the same old shit since the very first game, if you've played the last couple of Zelda games like I have, it's just too familiar at this point.

The way combat works in the 3D Zelda games is also just too easy, it's boring.

It makes good use of the remote I guess. But you can also win in combat by just shaking the thing.

[ Parent ]

lol, "bombing cracks" (none / 0) (#49)
by HyperMediocrity on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 03:19:08 PM EST

gotta be good for some sort of innuendo.

[ Parent ]
I'd buy one if I could get one. (3.00 / 0) (#5)
by xC0000005 on Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 10:54:20 PM EST

They're still flying off the shelves here.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
if you're comfortable ordering online (none / 1) (#6)
by GhostOfTiber on Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 11:06:53 PM EST

do a google search for "wii tracker".  There's a few out there which just RSS feed shops and when one has Wiis in stock, it shows up in the RSS.  

Although I bought mine from Sears.  It seems Nintendo ships them Sundays so if you go to Sears/Target/Walmart/GameStop Sundays around 11am EST, you can usually ask the clerk if they got any.

The same goes for the wiimotes, call around.

What I did find, however, was that you need to be insistent about talking to the electronics section for Target/Walmart/Sears.  The front desk will try to be as helpful as possible but the answer will always be "out of stock".  The electronics person is usually more helpful in both telling you if they have any, if they expect to get any, and when the truck comes.  There's a dearth of Wiis but the games and accessories are much easier to find.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

+1, wiideo games (3.00 / 4) (#9)
by United Fools on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 03:43:50 AM EST

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
Batteries (none / 0) (#12)
by jolt rush soon on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 09:07:03 AM EST

When the batteries are low, the Wii tells you — you don't need to change them every time you lose at Wii Sports Tennis.

(my wiiview)
Subosc — free electronic music.

How does it tell you? (2.50 / 0) (#13)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 09:17:35 AM EST

So far I have run them down only once but for Madden it just went stupid and started complaining about the nunchuk.  No interruption or anything, just dead Wiimote.  We had a moment of panic until we realized that the batteries just needed changing -- it had not been filled with delicious hops and barley.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Come to think of it, (2.50 / 0) (#14)
by jolt rush soon on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 09:22:34 AM EST

it might only be on that pile of old TVs called the Wii Menu.
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
Right, but this isn't something (none / 0) (#15)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 11:12:01 AM EST

which interrupts you during the game to say, "HEY IDIOT, YOU NEED TO CHANGE THOSE BATTERIES SOON".

Hopefully sometime in the next update Nintendo will have the Wii menu pop up during the game and remind you to change the batteries instead of letting you guess why the Wiimote just died.

I just checked, you can manually check the status of the batteries by hitting + in the wii menu as you said, but this isn't something I plan on making a habit of every time I turn the damned thing on since the batteries last so long.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Funny story (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by jolt rush soon on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:12:21 PM EST

So, I'm playing Zelda earlier today (since posting that message) and suddenly the game stops and says something along the lines of "You're out of batteries, press A to reconnect." I hadn't seen this before with the other controller that needed new batteries but then there's always the chance that it could have been changed in one of the system updates that my Wii's done.

After reconnecting, it still had enough energy for me to save the game.
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]

did you just update it? (2.50 / 0) (#36)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 10:30:21 AM EST

I haven't done mine in... two weeks maybe?  I don't know if theres any new updates for it.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

At a guess... (2.50 / 0) (#42)
by jolt rush soon on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 05:29:34 PM EST

About a week ago. The news channel hadn't been rolled out here (UK) and when trying to access it, it would suggest that you perform a software update. So I did.
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
there's a pretty easy way (2.00 / 0) (#52)
by qwertyasher on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 03:09:56 AM EST

hitting the home button will bring up a pause menu that will have the batteries for all four wiimotes listed at the bottom of the screen
The party says there are five, how many fingers are there, winston?
[ Parent ]
Batteries (1.50 / 0) (#16)
by QuantumFoam on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 12:59:25 PM EST

I think that you are presented with a three-bar battery meter if you hit the home button. It's on the screen where it asks you if you want to pop back out to the OS.

I immensely enjoyed playing the Wii, and I have searched in 6 major cities in two states for one for the last three fucking months, without success. I've already played the games that I'm interested in to death on friends' machines, and the launch games will be cheaper in a month or two. At this point I think I'm going to wait until the second revision comes out.

I already had 4 wavebirds from my 'Cube, and I really like that Nintendo included the ports, though I don't see why they couldn't have just built wavebird receivers into the console.

I'm envious, Tiber.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!

I'm going to change the article (2.00 / 0) (#19)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 01:40:06 PM EST

Several people have pointed it out.  The gripe is more aimed at the fact that the Wii will let the wiimote go dead mid-game with no warning why it went dead.  I would have much rather had the game paused and gave me a warning about the batteries instead of having to pop up to the wii menu (which isn't the same as pausing) and checking it myself.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

EBGames had some yesterday (none / 0) (#40)
by Eccles on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 05:19:41 PM EST

EBGames in Columbia, MD had quite a few in stock yesterday. I bought one, but others remained. You might call them if there's one near you.

[ Parent ]
Try itrackr.com... (2.50 / 0) (#44)
by supersocialist on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 06:49:32 PM EST

That's how I got my Wii at the local Circuit City. For $2, it'll email and/or text message alerts to you when local stores get the Wii in stock. It will tell you how many other people in your area are also tracking the items you are. The day I got mine I got the notice as I was getting into my car after class, and I drove ten minutes to the store and picked one up. It took me a few weeks to get one, since I took an hour or more to respond to early notices.

[ Parent ]
Wasn't impressed (3.00 / 0) (#17)
by HackerCracker on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 01:17:55 PM EST

I played baseball on the pack-in when I went to visit a friend and was less than impressed. It seems that connecting with the ball is more or less random and the gameplay just plain sucked. At least it seemed to belt the ball when I swung the remote fast.

Hardball on the Atari 800 was more fun. Srsly. Maybe I'm just TFO (too fucking old) to get it.

you're TFO (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 01:38:18 PM EST


Although I agree, hitting the ball is tough and certainly tougher then wii tennis.  Although I think it has a lot to do with perspective.  The trick seems to be waiting for the balls shadow (not the ball itself) to almost cross the plate.  Swing then and you should be able to smash it out of the park.  The general advice might be to "keep your eye on the ball" but the perspective is just weird enough that the shadow is a better indicator of position.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Gets stale fast. (2.00 / 0) (#20)
by V on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 01:43:10 PM EST

Mine is collecting dust because there are no good games for it. The only one half decent is a gamecube game that had the wiimote shoehorned at the very last minute and it shows.

The idea of making gestures to play may seem cool at first but it is really retarded. There's a better way to play tennis swinging something: get a fucking racket and go play tennis.

All the third party games and non-games suck ass, specially Ubisoft's. And with the low resolution graphics and gimped processor it can't really hope to compete with the xbox360 or the ps3. It might sell a few millions but as soon as some little kids says that the emperor has no clothes it'll bomb.

Or not, maybe the customer is really as retarded as Nintendo is betting it is.

What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens

wow, someone read xboxfanboi.com forums (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 02:22:06 PM EST

First -- UBI's games are OK as I said with Rayman.  If you wanted hawt man-gymnastics in Splinter Cell, yeah, the Splinter Cell for Wii was a bolt on from the GameCube.  Given that Metroid Corruption is the same kind of "run the person around" game and looks a hell of a lot better, SC is another Red Steel.

Second -- Games can opt out of the motion control and my guess is that there will be a good amount of future titles which choose to be classic controls only.  On the other hand, the Wii is also the only console to come closest to having a mouse (it is convenient to conceptualize the wiimote as a 3D mouse), so my guess is that the RTS community will be in for a treat.

Your argument about sports games is hardly Wii-centric.  Shit, even I admit to playing Deer Hunter for the other 50 weeks out of the year when the season is over.  Considering that it's 7F out as I type, it's a bit cold for tennis.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Zelda: TP is the gamecube game (2.50 / 0) (#45)
by V on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 07:05:00 PM EST

shoehorned for the wiimote. Only half decent with derivative gameplay, low resolution graphics, stale characters and storyline, etc.

Ubisoft has just been putting turds in wii cases: RedSteel, Rayman sucks ass compared to rayman 2 in the dreamcast, far cry looks and plays horrible, splinter cell is also crap and so on.

But all of this is to be expected. Nintendo is going after the lowest common denominator, Joe Blow, Grandma Rita, Jessic SoccerMom, and Timmy Pokemon. Give them a crappy system at a premium price with pokemon and non-games and you gain market share at the expense of quality.

Thanks, I'll pass. The xbox and the ps3 are spoiling me too much to be able to return to last gen graphics and gimmicky gameplay. There's where you have to go to get games made for gamers.

What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens
[ Parent ]

LOLLLLLLERZ (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by kbudha on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 10:04:47 AM EST

360 and PS3 spoiling you?
With what? Overpriced hardware and games that didn't need to be ported to next-gen consoles anyway?

The only reason ayone will even buy a 360 is for Gears of War and the rare hope that Halo 3 will come out later this year.

And don't even get me started on PissShit3.
Yeaaay, Blue Ray.

Who gives a fuck.

[ Parent ]

I was excited about the Wii... (2.00 / 0) (#25)
by jmzero on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 06:20:22 PM EST

...until I owned one for a few hours.  Both Wii Sports and the Monkey Ball game (the two I picked up) had unforgivable control problems.

The first game I tried was Wii boxing.  After about 10 minutes of fiddling around, I still had only vague ability to control what I was doing.  The kids I've seen play it don't care - they just wing their arms around as fast as they can and hope to win.  But when I play a game I would like to have some input on what's happening beyond "punching" and "not punching".  It seems like you're supposed to be able to do all sorts of different punches, but I couldn't do much of anything - despite some real effort to figure out what kinds of motion it was looking for.

The Monkey Ball games were hit and miss. Some were playable - but some (like the trombone game) were absolutely unplayable because of control problems.  I tried playing with each of the 4 controllers and at a variety of distances from the sensor bar.  The sensor bar was configured correctly, and the cursor was very stable in menus.  I can forgive a lot of things in a game, but fighting with controls sucks all the joy out for me.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

Wii Sports Boxing. (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by jolt rush soon on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:20:21 PM EST

Try using short, sharp wrist movements rather than any big sweeping punches.
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
Boxing is crap (3.00 / 0) (#62)
by kromagg on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 05:15:01 PM EST

I think the boxing is really the most crappily done. All the others are not so bad if you invest some time in learning them though. I guess that's the point to some extent.

One game not mentioned is COD3, which does the controls almost decently but suffers from severe porting issues. You'll be entering a firefight and suddenly the fps drops down to like 2 so you just sit around behind a wall and hope your buddies die (increases fps) or kill the enemy. Yeah, great fun...

[ Parent ]

A friend has one... (none / 0) (#29)
by dissonant on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 08:00:53 PM EST

...and has Rayman, Zelda, and Tony Hawk's Downhill Whateverthehellyoucallit.  The latter is far and away the best game I've played for it so far, and makes great use of the controller.

Personally, I'm going the route of a new PC and possibly a 360.

describe how the wiimote works? (none / 0) (#30)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 08:01:54 PM EST

should I start building little wheels for it?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

You hold it... (none / 0) (#41)
by dissonant on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 05:25:37 PM EST

...much like an 8 bit NES controller.  Tilt the control to the right or left to turn (or spin in the air).  Flip it up to perform flips in the air.  Tilting the remote also keeps your balance while grinding.

[ Parent ]
I'm still not sold on the Wii... (2.50 / 0) (#32)
by Psycho Dave on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 05:19:39 AM EST

Played it several times over at a friend's house (and already have Wii-related injury after my wife racked me against the knuckles playing Wii-Tennis).

For one, the wiimote isn't as intuitive or precise as they make it sound. Playing Wii-Sports feels like the equivalent of button mashing, only with you flailing your arms around. Excite Truck wasn't that much fun.

While I've long been excited about the Wiimote and nunchuck's possibilities with first person shooters, Red Steel cured me of that real quick.

The most fun I've had so far is playing Trauma Center, but I'm sure it would get old. And why do Japanese games insist on having reams and reams of pointless bizarre dialogue to skip through before you get to the next level? Only fat otaku-nerds go for that shit.

It's too early to tell, but when the hype dies down, the Wii could easily be the Snakes on a Plane of consoles. Personally, I leaning more towards a 360.

FUNNY YOU MENTION THAT (2.00 / 0) (#33)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 09:14:24 AM EST

and already have Wii-related injury after my wife racked me against the knuckles playing Wii-Tennis

One of the cats will leave the room when we play any games on that thing now.  Tricks sees the white wiimote and books.  Apparently my wife was playing Rayman and dropped the wiimote during a swing.  The nunchuk came around and clocked the poor cat.

Can I sue Nintendo?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

No, but the cat has a strong case. (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by xC0000005 on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 10:50:20 AM EST

He's going to settle out of court though, and while you're thinking cash, he's thinking "Semi loads of tuna." You wouldn't want him to get money anyway. The sudden rush of power would go to his head and he'd wind up cruising the streets in a low rider, playing awful music at sound levels that shake your molars, and coming home after midnight without so much as a "meow". Best to let it go.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
lol (nt) (2.00 / 0) (#38)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 11:49:00 AM EST

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Wario (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by nebbish on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 10:07:58 AM EST

Give it a chance. It's quick-fire reaction gameplay and fast pace make it very addictive. The only criticism is its similarity to older Wario games - if you haven't played any of those, you're in for a real treat.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

Ach, apostrophe abuse. Apologies (none / 0) (#35)
by nebbish on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 10:08:33 AM EST

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Leads to sex among fat people (2.50 / 6) (#39)
by mp3sum on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 03:20:38 PM EST

Hey just prefacing with a friendly hello, as this is my first post on K5.

My rotund room mate purchased one a few weeks ago, and now whenever his girlfriend comes from afar to visit, all they do is dance around like two non-aquatic robotic whales. Also, if ant any point during a game their bodies make contact, sex will almost always immediately ensue. There are no conclusions to be drawn here. Let us simply observe.

We'd really rather not. /nt (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by asret on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 05:36:08 PM EST

Be happy. You're cute when you smile.
[ Parent ]
Please post Video (2.00 / 1) (#46)
by givemegmail111 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 09:14:45 AM EST

McDonalds: i'm lovin' it
Start your day tastefully with a Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle, only at McDonalds.
Rusty fix my sig, dammit!
[ Parent ]
Alright, I have to update this (3.00 / 3) (#48)
by GhostOfTiber on Wed Feb 07, 2007 at 10:15:02 AM EST

My buddy talked me into turning all the security goodies on my router off so I could get the firmware updates for the Wii.

Needless to say, some of the bitching in the previous article was answered and the disaster of an interface that is the "Wii Home" has been drastically fixed.

Most importantly:  The Wii now does WPA+PSK+TKIP correctly.  They added the battery bar.  Wii messaging now actually does The Right Thing instead of being this weird half-ass interface.

Next up will be "Nintendo Wii:  The Lost Manual".

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

Can't take this any more.... (none / 1) (#50)
by pornosheep on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 09:52:39 AM EST

It seems that companies like Apple and Nintendo are blessed with infinite good karma. I'm not saying that their products are bad, but I honestly feel that their broad appeal goes beyond the actual intrinsic value of what they sell. Compare this with Bill Gates, who has donated quite a few billions to help the poor and yet is somehow portrayed as satan himself.

Reminds me of the cute (but not hot) chick that somehow manages to get any guy she wants.

Nintendo and Apple somehow "get it". I don't. But, even though I feel attracted to their products I can't rationally justify buying them. I could try to rationalize the fact that I like them, but I won't.

karma? (none / 0) (#51)
by GhostOfTiber on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 12:22:00 PM EST


[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

WIPO: A used PS2 (none / 0) (#53)
by rodoke3 on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 12:39:36 PM EST

I grew out of staying current with video game generations the day after I bought a Nintendo 64 at launch day.

I take umbrage with such statments and am induced to pull out archaic and over pompous words to refute such insipid vitriol. -- kerinsky

WIPO: Playstation 5 (none / 0) (#54)
by TDS on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 02:10:12 PM EST

...be available in the shops long before Nintendo pulls its corporate elbow out of its arse to actually send them out to this hellish backwater.

Street price: £325 (~$650)
Theoretical retail price: £135

Still, nice to see game retailers forced into the most stupid actions evah. Because they actually sell display space these days they had to give over 1/4 or so of their shops to Wii software over Christmas/New Year sales. Losing a quarter of your shop over the busiest period the year with nary a single sale is capitalism at its finest I think.

Still, not quite as evil as the PS3 release scams. The best one I've seen recently is one place that makes you buy a PSP before you can go on the waiting list...

And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.

niiiice (none / 0) (#55)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 03:35:52 PM EST

I've only barely read about them but you seem to have a street level view of things.

How exactly do the sale scams work?

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Its not a scam (none / 0) (#56)
by TDS on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 03:59:52 PM EST

as such, its being run by one of the biggest high street players, who, coincidentally had a terrible last quarter and IIRC had to issue a profit warning.

As to the supply of Wii, I haven't heard of anyone finding them at retail, there was supposed to be a place that was offering them with a bundle of crap at an inflated place. If I was Nintendo, I'd be investigating this urgently, I think they are arriving in stores in small quantities, being bought by the staff or confederates before the shops even open and going onto Ebay/Amazon.co.uk ("New/Used from £309") within the day. If I was an assistant at one of those places on 11k or whatever, I might be prepared to risk my job to double my money as well.

Supply and demand. Although not exactly without collusion from the manufacturers, I'm thinking here of Sony shutting down Lik-Sang.com which is where many of us would by now have bought PS3s from.

Kind of risky for Nintendo I think given the Wii is marketed around a gimmic. Now it might be an enduring gimmic but if it does turn out to be all mouth and no trousers for consumers who maybe give it a go at a well-heeled friend's house they might have missed the window through their failure to be able to manufacture in sufficient numbers.

And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.
[ Parent ]

I don't think nintendo is worried (none / 0) (#57)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 04:15:34 PM EST

The Wii's gimmick works quite well for what it does.  While some of the initial offerings have been lukewarm, either people "get it" or they don't.  When/if I publish the Lost Wii Manual, I am going to mention my brothers criticism of the thing since he's not impressed with it in the least.  He's saving for a 360 and Gears of War last time I checked, so he's purely an eye-candy man.  

As far as profiteering is concerned, I don't know how it works in the UK.  In the US, retailers have an MSRP which is the suggested retail price.  They don't have to abide by this, although for the Wii I believe the markup is only like $25 from the last time I saw the "leaked list".  Back when the N64 was new, I had some friends making ends meet working at an Electronics Boutique.  They wouldn't even bother to purchase and resell the system, they would outright steal the thing off the truck.  Nowadays the Wiis, XBOXen, etc are kept behind the counter in thick glass displays at the local EBs.  The idea being that it makes it much harder for an employee to purchase all 10 of them if the customers have to be watching or "put one aside".  A manager supervises the stocking.  This doesn't prevent, on the other hand, you giving someone $20 to call you.  The kid is still making minimum wage, after all.

But Nintendo doesn't give a shit.  By the time the Wiis or whatever make it to the retail store, they already have their cut...

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Well sure (none / 0) (#58)
by TDS on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 04:37:42 PM EST

I'm just thinking for myself that in early January if I'd seen one in the shops for retail price, I'd have probably picked one up out of curiosity more than anything. I think the price point was supposed to appeal to that kind of buyer. And two years later I'd have blinked and realised I wound up with extra controllers etc and a library of games. Now I'm not so sure. Thats the thing with toys, nobody actually needs them if they don't feel good about the whole thing. And given Nintendo's really small market share here (similar mistakes were made as far back as the 8-bit days, Nintendo are very much Japan first, USA second, everyone else whenever we feel like getting round to it, Mario is not exactly a household name) they are just going to get drowned out by the Sony hype machine.

And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.
[ Parent ]
How is the Sony hype machine in the UK? (none / 0) (#59)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 04:43:37 PM EST

And funny thing about your opinion:  That's exactly what Sony said.  Everyone was incensed about it but "impulse buy" is not a new accusation for the Wii.  Which is to say that for adults, it probably is.  For children, which I think the Wii is probably aimed at for the release (read "until resident evil"), the Wii is pricy when you also factor in a game or three and enough wiimotes for all their friends.

Although I'm suprised that Sony would invest much more in Europe then in the US especially considering your comment earlier about Lik Sang.  Given that the UK seems to have a lot in common with another small island nation (Japan), I would have thought Nintendo would have marketed the fuck out of it easilly.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Well I dunno (none / 0) (#60)
by TDS on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 05:04:53 PM EST

if its investing more in Europe more than the USA, its more like they invest more than Nintendo who have very little presence. Nintendo got their arses handed to them by SEGA back in the 8-bit days which shows you how bad at this they really are. The only success they've ever really had was the original monochrome Gameboy IMO which was a rare occasion where they actually good levels of supply on launch.

I don't know if this is actually true but my feeling is that we are affected by how businesses structure their overseas approach. For some people we are "Europe" which means we have to wait, pointlessly, for American stuff to be translated into French, German and Italian. I think Sony Europe are a little smarter than that and tailor things to each market within Europe.

A historical problem was PAL and Nintendo really dropped the ball there because of something to do with the way their graphics rendering worked. Basically when the PAL release arrived, the speed of the game would often be wrong (55Hz vs. 60Hz?) which is why there has been a slightly unusual tendency towards buying Jap grey imports.

I have no love for any corporation really, but Sony Europe has an exceptionally slick PR machine. When the original PlayStation came out I couldn't go anywhere without being given PS branded stuff and public machines being set out (nightclubs, music festivals, car festivals, social areas in universities etc). They sponsored loads of stuff as well. I'm getting a bit old now, but I think whoever they've been hiring is pretty good at "cool". Nintendo give us stupid cartoon characters we have no connection with because we never bought their stuff in the past and hardware shortages. Not hard to see who wins.

And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.
[ Parent ]

well, that and censorship (1.50 / 1) (#61)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 05:41:14 PM EST

Gotto remember the Japs are really polite and socially conscious people.  Red Alert for Europe, for instance, had all the soldiers replaced with robots, which seems like a strange concession for a wargame.  I would like to think that the Japanese make an effort to conform to the local social standards.  Virtual Console ports also have all the PAL/NTSC stuff 'corrected' as I understand it.

Having been to Germany, I can say the entertainment over there is generally saturated (by American standards) with sex or nudity while violence is nowhere to be seen.

Although this doesn't really seem to be applicable to something like Mario Brothers, that's probably the only explanation that seems reasonable for me in terms of delaying a game.  Nowadays the timing isn't tied to the refresh rate of the display format so I agree that the PAL/NTSC bit is moot.  Star Wars Legos was released in Europe before the US version, and the European import I have plays quite nicely on my PS2 despite having to be converted by the chip for NTSC.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Differences of opinion and factual corrections (none / 0) (#63)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Feb 19, 2007 at 08:35:59 PM EST

First, let me correct a couple of factual errors/unclear comments (I'm sure it's an honest communications clarity mistake).

The GameCube controllers don't plug in "on the back" of the Wii.  The Wii can be mounted vertically (as shown in store displays and most advertising), or horizontally.  The GameCube ports are behind a plastic door on the top or right sides of the cube, respective of the orientation.  This door can be removed (and needs to be if one uses a wireless GC controller, since the reciever will not fit otherwise).

The "Classic" controllers are not for the GameCube mode.  Rather, they are for downloadable games for the Wii's emulators.  One can download N-64, SNES, NES, and TurboGraphix games (and something Sega I think, but my memory fails me).  

There is a battery meter for the Wii remotes, but not on the device itself, sadly -- pressing the "Home" button on the remote will display a screen that indicates the battery status for all of the remotes currently communicating with the Wii.

On the more recent Wii devices (including the one I just purchased), no update is required to use SSID selection and WPA-PSK/WEP/etc..  It was a problem on previous runs of the device, and I'm glad to see it fixed.

The "USB-style" connector on the Wii remote is, to be clear, a proprietary connector.  The connector is slightly "U"-shaped, and is designed for accessories' plugs to clip in fairly securely.

Those clarifications on record, I share the general opinion of the author: the Wii has a lot of potential, but there are definitely places where the annoyance factor is high.  Many of these are lazy developers of game software, but some are fundamental issues with Nintendo's design choices.

I'd go a bit further than the author in criticising Red Steel.  First, the ads have precicely naught to do with the actual gameplay -- by way of example, the limited occasions where you fight with a sword involve only limited gesutures to attack your opponent; and you never get to choose the sword as your weapon (it's chosen for you).  It doesn't even feel as though it was originally a GC game -- it plays as though the designers really didn't like or understand the Wii controller.

As for the lack of high-def... well, that seems to be getting more attention than it deserves.  480p capability can be had with a component adapter (sold separately, of course), but the standard composite video is quite sufficient, and the system supports 16:9 TVs admirably.  I have two HD sets, one CRT with full 1080i resolution, and one LCD with 720 vertical lines; both are 16:9.  On both sets, the Wii graphics are acceptable, being slightly better than the GameCube.  Nintendo made a choice to stay in a lower price range and focus on gameplay over graphics; while this will probably alienate some hard-core gamers, Nintendo is after the other 90% of the population.  I think they made the right design choices for that goal, but it remains to be seen if that goal is achievable.

As for the Bluetooth in the Wii remotes, I'm of two minds. On the one hand, certain devices that will try to auto-pair can cause issues with the Wii remotes -- that includes cell phones and PCs in certain configurations.  Mostly, the issues are interruptions during syncing, though with 6 phones present, I did note some gameplay "stutter".  On the other hand, the modding community has already written software for the Mac (and PC can't be far behind) that can accept the Wii remote as an input device, so there is an advantage to Nintendo's choice.

Surprisingly, the author missed one key annoyance of the Wii design: while most of the Wii remote functions perform over Bluetooth, the pointing behavior relies on IR -- and this requires a small reciever bar to be placed on top of (or in front of and below) the TV set.  Nintendo provides double-stick tape, and the bar is small and indistinct enough, but if you want to move your Wii between sets regularly...  A small plastic stand is provided, but it doesn't have enough weight to keep the receiver from tipping over unless you stick the stand to something.  Using "ticky-tack" is a reasonable hack, but I find it idiotic that Nintendo didn't consider that many people would want to transport their system -- especially during this phase when availability is low.

So, overall, I think Nintendo did a good job -- they've avoided competition with the PS3 and XBox360, while potentially attracting many more people to gaming.  They've made some pretty good tradeoffs, and developed a truly novel control system with some real potential.   Still, the Wii is not a good choice for those times when games are a chance to relax on the couch.  For gamers, I'd say that the Wii is a good addition to the living room, but certainly not a replacement for more robust systems.
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

stuff (none / 0) (#64)
by GhostOfTiber on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 06:44:43 PM EST

The GameCube controllers don't plug in "on the back" of the Wii.  The Wii can be mounted vertically (as shown in store displays and most advertising), or horizontally.  The GameCube ports are behind a plastic door on the top or right sides of the cube, respective of the orientation.  This door can be removed (and needs to be if one uses a wireless GC controller, since the reciever will not fit otherwise).

They are in the back because the fucking stand mounts the wii at a weird, maybe 30 degree angle.  After you plug them in, the plug is pointed away from the user.  It's "in the back" as far as "in the back" goes for anything misshapen.

The "Classic" controllers are not for the GameCube mode.

No shit, just like it says in the review.  In fact, I pointed out that the classic controllers don't do a whole lot for you in VC mode either.

There is a battery meter for the Wii remotes, but not on the device itself, sadly -- pressing the "Home" button on the remote will display a screen that indicates the battery status for all of the remotes currently communicating with the Wii.

But not until you update the firmware.

The "USB-style" connector on the Wii remote is, to be clear, a proprietary connector.  The connector is slightly "U"-shaped, and is designed for accessories' plugs to clip in fairly securely.

It still speaks the USB protocol, much like the wiimote is a proprietary device and still speaks bluetooth.

Surprisingly, the author missed one key annoyance of the Wii design: while most of the Wii remote functions perform over Bluetooth, the pointing behavior relies on IR -- and this requires a small reciever bar to be placed on top of (or in front of and below) the TV set.

Factually incorrect.  For the menus, sure, but for games the wiimote will still work as a pointer even when the bar is not visible.  Warioware has games which require you to stand the wiimote verticly, etc and the wiimote still works.  This actually is a result of the accelerometers.

Otherwise, nice writeup.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Blu-ray or HD-DVD? (none / 0) (#65)
by sethadam1 on Mon Mar 19, 2007 at 08:14:43 AM EST

Without Hi-Def out, what would be the point of Blu-ray or HD-DVD?

What we really ought to have is the ability to add DVD decoding to play DVDs on this thing.

it's coming out in another update (none / 0) (#66)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Apr 02, 2007 at 02:00:39 PM EST

Nintendo already confirmed they will have a media-wii thing coming out.  When?  no idea.  better HD/DVD/Blueray?  sure.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

nice review (none / 0) (#67)
by chrisranjana on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 11:33:00 AM EST

It was nice reading your review


says $399

btw where did you buy it for US$250 ?

chris,Director, Chrisranjana Software and Solutions PVT LTD,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India,
Custom php Mysql programming and Internet web development

Target (none / 0) (#69)
by GhostOfTiber on Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 04:22:06 PM EST

The bundle they sell with games costs more but if you don't want anything with it ("roll your own") you can buy the system with only one controller set and wii sports on the cheap.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Lazy Sunday Review: Nintendo Wii | 68 comments (59 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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