For lo, a voice in the wilderness is calling, “Prepare ye a Wii for the Lord!”
Leigh brought his long awaited Wii with him to the party on Boxing Day to show how marvellous it is. After all the many jokes based on the name (“playing with Leigh’s Wii”, “wii-ing in the living room”, “wii-ing all over the house”) we got a fairly comprehensive tour of what Wii can do.
And it is quite impressive. Leigh is fully kitted out with Wii, Wii-motes and nunchucks coming out of his ears, Wii-branded bags, games from Sports to Zelda, so it could well be a more impressive experience than your average out-of-the-bag Wii.
First we got to check out the army of WiiMiis he has created – there was already an avatar for everyone at the party, plus most of his extended family, and a handful of Star Trek NG characters. We did get a bit of a say in improving some choices he’d made for our characters – “Why is my mouth like that?” and so on.
Then we got to play. The whole point of Wii is that you have a controller, the Wiimote, that isn’t physically connected to the machine, and is very sensitive to movement. So playing involves tweaking the bits around in hundreds of different complicated ways. It’s deliberately aimed at all sorts of people and not just the usual games console suspects. A quick look at Flickr suggests many – from old to young – are enjoying the Wii’s charms.
We all got a good go on WiiSports – I got strikes in Wii Bowling, which is more than I get in real bowling! Baseball was interesting, although I’m still not sure how you play the game. Baseball all the more interesting because although it only has two human players, it drafts in all the WiiMiis on the system to play as fielders etc. I was caught out by Worf on more than one occasion.
But WiiBoxing was the real killer. There’s a short video of two players WiiBoxing on the Wiibsite – I didn’t realise you could do it sitting down! I was boxing C, both of us with a Wiimote in one hand and a nunchuck in the other. And the various Wii moves – punches to the head, punches to the body, and defensive moves – are all designed to be similar to actually hitting people. So we got in a bit of a frenzy fighting, and it was pretty physical. I managed to keep my end up in the first round, knocking C to the ground, only to be KO’ed myself in the second. By which point I was gasping for water, wishing I’d thought to bring my inhaler, and C had to pop outside for air. Days later, and my muscles are still killing me all around my back and shoulders!
It was rather good fun, and we’re half sold on getting one ourselves. We can rationalise it in all sorts of ways, including it being good for our physical fitness! They are not all that pricey, just at the moment, they’re pretty much unobtainable except by paying well over the odds on eBay. So, in the few months before another consignment reaches these shores, we can probably manage to save up for one. And by then there will be more games for it – I’m intrigued by Animal Crossing for one.