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Matt’s Lite Impressions: Wii Edition

posted on November 7th, 2006 by matt

Apparently the Gaming Gods have smiled upon me once again, because I got to take the Nintendo Wii out for a spin today at the Nintendo World Store in NYC.

The first floor contained 3 Wii Sports kiosks. After a very short wait, I was given the go-ahead to try out the almighty Wii. I was about to play Tennis, but remembered they had Baseball as well, so I opted to go for the all-American pastime instead. The attendee helped me get setup with the game, and strapped the Wii-mote on me with it’s sleek little hand strap.

It’s been almost a year since I first saw it, but I finally got a chance to hold the Wii-mote. First thing I noticed was that it is completely encased, both the remote and the nun-chuck, in that shiny clear plastic that is becoming a staple of Nintendo hardware these days. I love that Nintendo chose to do this because it makes the entire system package extremely sexy. So sexy, in fact, that I’d like to have sex with it. But anyway…

Second thing I noticed was the size of it. The controller is actually really small. All those blown-up pictures of the Wii-mote have warped my mind, so when I first saw the thing, I was pleasantly surprised at its minuscule stature. The big A-button and the D-pad are very easy to access, and feel great. The D-pad feels just like the DS Lite’s one, so most of you should have no problem adjusting.

Wii Sports Baseball was a blast to play. The attendee let me play three full innings, which included both pitching and batting. Batting was the most enjoyable part. Just imagine yourself hitting a ball in real life and you’ll understand how easy and intuitive it is to bat in Wii Sports Baseball. Pitching was also fun, letting you choose what type of pitch to throw and having you actually throw your virtual baseball. Matt Cassamissina over at IGN Wii has voiced concern over the fact that you can’t manually decide a pitch by how you throw the ball. And I’ll agree, to an extent. It’s not horrible by any means, but it would have been interesting to see how the game could have been with that option. As it stands, Wii Sports Baseball will definitely be a sport that I can see being played with a lot of my friends.

Upstairs they had a bigger selection of games. Rayman Raving Rabbids, Excite Truck, Dragon Ball Z, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, and Madden were there, strutting their “new-generation” stuff. I tried out Excite Truck and Madden. Excite Truck was really fun, and amazingly nice looking. There’s just so much detail in each of the levels, with a huge open horizon and tons of trees on screen at once. I got the hang of the controller very easily in this game, even when I’m pretty sure the attendee told me the wrong directions. He told me to use it like I would if I drove an 18-wheeler, when it responded better when holding it like a normal steering wheel.

Madden was a little harder for me to grasp, only because I rarely play Madden. I will say, though, that EA did a good job incorporating the Wii-mote into the same-old Madden gameplay. To hike the ball, you actually do a hiking motion with the Wii-mote. To pass the ball, you have to throw it like you would a real football, but I think Wii Sports Baseball screwed up my head, as I kept making too big of an arc with my hands. The game rarely thought I was throwing the ball, and I was sacked repeatedly. But I’m 100% sure that this was based on user-error. You just have to give it some time, and maybe a run through the tutorial mode. Other motions like stiff-arming someone while running and blocking a pass came very naturally. I was actually never told there was an interception motion. It just came to me when playing, showing that EA has done their homework with the Wii-mote.

All-in-all, my time with the Wii was short, but sweet. The games were a blast to play, and the Wii-mote was everything I hoped it to be. The PS3 put a tear in my eye, but the Wii put a smile on my face.

Oh, and I have it on good authority that Popular Science is going to have a public conference showing off future technology, which includes the Wii, in Grand Central Terminal, from November 7th to the 9th. So if you are in the area, you should check it out. It’s going to be in the Vanderbilt Hall, and I’m assuming only Wii Sports will be on hand. Most commuters are middle-aged people, which is exactly the type of people Nintendo is trying to accost into buying the Wii.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Nintendo did not have a kiosk at the Popular Science: Best of What’s New mini-convention in NYC. I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused. Apparently, Popular Science had a press junket on Monday, November 6th, to show off what they thought were the Best of What’s New tech items of 2006, which had the Wii as one of the items.

8 Comments

  1. pat said on November 7, 2006:

    wait a minute…grand central’s vanderbilt hall.  i dont think i could avoid that if i tried.  my walk home from work routinely takes me through there and i am frequently (today included) rerouted by something or another.  maybe this is an event at which i should waste a few minutes.  i almost even look like a grown up in my work clothes.

  2. Christian said on November 7, 2006:

    Pat, try to sneak away with a Wii.  Listen to TV, and tell them you’re just "there for the Bud Light".  Then make off like a bandit.

  3. Christian said on November 7, 2006:

    So I saw the Wii at EB today.  Couldn’t play it but damn -that’s a sexy console.  So small, I wanted to coddle it like a baby. "Who’s a cute widdle console? " 

  4. pat said on November 8, 2006:

    reason for failure day 1: despite my manhattan address i’m still registered to vote on staten island and made the trek back there to fulfill my civic duty. reason for failure day 2: oversleep and stay late at work to catch up.  don’t make it there by 7 when they stop letting people in. reason for failure day 3: yet to be determined.

  5. Matt said on November 8, 2006:

    Wait, the Nintendo World Store stops letting people in at 7? I was there at like 7:30 when I got my impressions, and it was still open and letting people in. I’m pretty sure it closes at 10PM. 

  6. pat said on November 9, 2006:

    no, the popular science thing was closed at 7.  

  7. Matt said on November 9, 2006:

    Oh, dude, did you read the update? They didn’t have the Wii there. They only showcased it Monday for the awards ceremony, those bastards.

  8. pat said on November 9, 2006:

    ahhh hadnt seen that.  i may try to get to the nintendo store instead, since its close enough to my office that i really have no excuse not to.

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