Wii Report

I went over to Travis and Susie's yesterday evening to play with a Wii for the first time. Overall verdict: fun! My arms and back are actually sore today...

I spent a bunch of time exploring the user interface and all the various options that the Wii has. If people can actually buy it and get it into the home, entire families are going to get hooked on this thing. From Internet access to "Miis" (virtual avatars for each user) to email in and out of the system...lots of different ways to use this system that *aren't* traditional gaming.

I started by building my Mii. There's enough variability that you can build a pretty good clone of yourself. Apparently, the Wii Remotes can actually carry your Wii around. I can see people customizing their Wii Remotes and carrying them around. 

The Internet access is based on the Opera browser: one thing I was surprised was how long it took to "boot up" the Internet browsing app. The system does have Flash support...so this means it's a YouTube browsing front end. I navigated over to Rathergood.com to show off some of the funny songs/movies there, and the Flash videos only loaded intermittently...might be an issue just with that site. The Internet channel is in "preview" mode, and Nintendo isn't sure if they are going to charge for it or not. I think charging for the Internet would be insane...there are SO many other ways they could make money by allowing this for everyone.

As well as this full browser, there is also the News channel: it sucks in news from AP and displays it on top of a virtual globe that you can rotate, zoom in on, and click on news stories in the locations they are happening. Is this what we mean by hyperlocal? The Everybody Votes channel is even going to allow people to fill out polls and various questions. Hmmm...I'm *really* hoping that Nintendo continues to open this up: I can't wait until a local news organization integrates with this...

When we finally started playing actual games, we started with the Wii Sports games that are bundled with the system. Tennis, Baseball, Golf, Bowling, Boxing. Yes, you do have to play these games standing up, and yes, they do make you sweat. Not much else to say here...lots of fun to play with multiple people, and even the training and fitness items are "fun".

The only other game we played was Rayman Raving Rabbids. It reminds me a bit of Conker's Bad Fur Day, although less "adult" humour, but just as many bathroom jokes. There are many different puzzles / mini games which you have to complete in story mode, but then can play vs. another player. Shooting rabbits with a plunger gun, throwing a cow that you spin around your head, or the uber strenuous pumping carrot juice game. Actually, one of the most fun is having to drop rabbits in time to the beat from different songs.

My previous favourite party game was Super Monkey Ball for the GameCube. It's available for the Wii as well, so I'm looking forward to seeing what they've done with it. The Wii controller is going to open up a lot of different options, obviously. 

So, the Wii is going to continue to be a big hit. Rather than an XBox 360, I'm now thinking that I'd rather like to get a Wii. I've currently got a desktop machine hooked up to my screen here at home: the Wii could perform a bunch of the things I currently use the computer for, although I would be looking for a DVD player and a keyboard. It's going to be interesting to see how Nintendo continues to evolve this platform.