Saturday, November 25, 2006

First impressions of the Wii

On November 19, 2006, the Nintendo Wii console was officially made available to the public. I had my console preordered at my local GameStop, so I didn’t make a fuss about rushing out to pick mine up when the store opened. At around 2 PM that day, I made my way up to the store and finally picked up my Wii console. Excitement rushed through me as the clerk went into the back room and brought out the small white box containing the object at the root of much excitement and anticipation over the past few months.

The Wii remote itself is everything I remember from my experiences with it before. In hand, it’s one of the most comfortable controllers I’ve ever used. It’s got a good feel to it in terms of balance and weight, and it fits naturally in your hand. The nunchuck attachment is incredibly light (almost to the point of feeling a bit cheap) but is well designed, and is comfortable for long playing sessions. I also noticed the analog stick is a bit smaller than the one found on the Gamecube’s controller, but that’s neither here nor there. The only gripe I have regarding the Wii remote is the speaker. The sound quality just isn’t that good. The sounds are tinny and lack the clarity you’d find from most good quality headphones or speakers you’d find today.

The Wii console’s interface is well designed and is easy to work around. Flipping through the Wii “channels” is oddly reminiscent (in a good way) of flipping through channels on a television. Due to the similarities (at least in a physical sense) between the Wii remote and a traditional television remote, the channel interface was probably intentional. It’s simple, it’s easy, and very intuitive.

After playing my share of Wii Sports (the only game I have at the moment), I have to say that I am very pleased with how this game turned out. It’s pretty much every thing I expected and more. If you recall, I had a chance to play it last September at the Nintendo Fusion Tour event. After that small taste of Wii Sports, I was itching to play more. Wii boxing and Wii bowling are easily my two favorite modes, and boxing is great fun with a friend (but then again, all these games are great with a friend).

So far, the Wii has lived up to my expectations. I’ve had a ton of fun with it so far, and the only way I can go is up. I’ll be picking up some additional games soon and I’ll post my impressions on those as I get them. Has the novelty of actually swinging my arm (or flicking my wrist) to control my games worn off yet? No, not yet. In time, it probably will. It’s up to developers to come up with innovative and exciting ways to use the Wii remote’s motion sensing capabilities to keep the gameplay fresh and keep gamers and non gamers alike coming back for more. It’s certainly got me intrigued.

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