Thinking of buying or renting a Nintendo Wii system? Wondering what to expect? I will tell you my experience and then you will be more prepared...everything from setting it up to the new kind of controls to physical injuries you may suffer!
The Nintendo Wii has been available to the public for a little over a year now (released in late 2006). I had heard of it, and was interested by how innovative it was supposed to be in terms of control, but to be honest, I didn’t really care all that much. I’m "old"…over 30 and video games aren’t that important to me anymore.
Well, I am happy to say I am now gaming again, thanks to the surprising Wii system!
Extraordinarily easy to use and fun to play, anyone can pick up a controller and within minutes be playing like a pro…it’s that easy!
The Wii (pronounced "weee!") console itself is surprisingly small and light. It is only as large as about 3 DVD cases put together, and it can be placed either vertically or horizontally while in use. I am no electrical engineer, but I found it to be extremely easy to hook up to the TV and was ready for play about 30 seconds after I got it out of the box.
The Wii controllers are just like a TV remote. They are about the same size and shape as a remote control and are wireless (FINALLY! No more wires!). Depending on the game that you are playing, they can be held vertically or horizontally and it can detect movement in 3 ways (up & down, left & right and turning/rotating). There is a second control (called the nunchuk) that can be attached to the remote for certain kinds of play, but I found in most games you did not need this second controller. The remotes do have a cord that slides around your wrist (a safety feature). You do have to make sure that you have an area around you that is clear - so that you won't accidently hit anything or anyone. It is easy to get carried away in your movements.
One of the features that I liked was the ability to make a "Mii" (pronounced "me") which is a character that you can design to look like yourself, if you choose. You can make up a whole group of family and friend doppelgangers, then play games using those characters. By doing so, I felt even more involved in the games I was playing…as I could see "myself" on the screen.
The game that came with the Wii system is called "Wii Sports". I am not a sports-buff, and I especially do not like sports video games, so I thought I would be disappointed with this game. However I think it is now my favorite! You can play alone, play against the computer, or play against up to 3 other friends. The 5 games you can play are: Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf and Boxing. I found the training mode to be very useful. Each of the 5 sports can be broken into 3 different skill areas and you can practice just those areas to help you improve your game.
As a "real-life" bowler, I found the games graphics, sounds and controls to be very realistic and very responsive. It really did feel like I was bowling and I found that the "Wii ball" responded very much like my "real ball" would during an actual game. All of the games in the sports pack were similarly enjoyable and easy to use. My parents (over age 50) who never play video games, found Wii Sports to be very fun and very easy to control and to use. I have heard that young kids (under age 7) sometimes find the control difficult if they have never played sports before.
A word of caution though: you may have heard of something called Wii-itis, and this is something to be careful of when you first start playing Wii Sports games. Basically, you can suffer a "sports injury" from using the Wii remote too often or too vigorously. The day after playing Wii for the first time, I had a sore shoulder and back (from too much virtual bowling, batting practice and golf). Please remember to take it easy when you first get a Wii, and take breaks often. If you experience pain, the best thing to do is to turn off the game for a day or two and let your muscles recover. You really can hurt yourself if you overdo it.
Another note of caution: you may think that if you can suffer a sports-injury from playing Wii Sports, then the game must be a good form of exercise. Well, not really. Playing video games still does not count as good exercise. If you enjoy the sports available on Wii, then why no go out "into the real world" and play those same sports for real? That would be much better for you! But to be fair, non-official experiments have shown that if you play a Wii Sports game very actively for about 15 minutes, that you can burn an average of about 90 calories (that’s about 360 cals an hour). I would say that Wii is still 95% an entertainment game, but may provide about 5% exercise as well. It can be used as a way to break up a boring work-out routine, but it’s still just a game.
I hope that you found my review to be interesting and informative. I wanted to help you out, in case you were thinking of getting a Wii but was not sure whether or not it would be right for you. If you found this review helpful, then please take a moment to vote "yes!"