Jarrett (jarrett) wrote,
Jarrett
jarrett

Best. Wiikend. Ever.

Before I get into all the details, I have to make one point right off the bat. If you have ever enjoyed playing a video game, you need a Nintendo Wii. Whether you're a hardcore fragging Halo geek, or someone who used to drop a few quarters in Donkey Kong 25 years ago, the Nintendo Wii will remind you what gaming is all about.

Of course, it is a shiny new toy, and I do get overly-excited about shiny new things. But there is no denying that much fun was had yesterday. I'll even admit I'm a little sore from playing.

Mike and Blaire decided to come up this weekend. Saturday we all went to see the new Bond movie, Casino Royale (with cheese). While the flick could have been a half-hour shorter, it did not disappoint. The story was coherent and engaging, and the excellent action scenes served the story very well. My biggest complaint: it's rated PG-13. Sure, the film is plenty violent, but I would have enjoyed more profanity and nudity. I really wish they'd make more movies for grown-ups.

On to business: I'm anxious to share our experiences with the Nintendo Wii. Mike and I went to our local EB Games Saturday night for the midnight launch. Unfortunately, no one stayed awake late enough to play any games. But I was up until two enjoying my own private unboxing ceremony, setting up all the controllers, tweaking all the options on the console, reading the manuals, and hooking up all the wires and doo-dads.

Come yesterday morning the Wii was ready to go, and that's pretty much all we did all day. The console comes with one game, Wii Sports, and I also picked up The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (yeah, I am that hardcore).

After we started playing Wii Sports it was very, very difficult to switch to a different game. Some of the sports games are a little hard to learn to play well, but everyone loved bowling. The controls for throwing the bowling ball feel so intuitive and natural. It takes two minutes to learn, but it's very difficult to master. You hold the Wii remote and just go through the motions… backswing, release, follow-through. And if you're good, you can twist your wrist as you release the ball to give your roll a mean hook. As I hoped, the girls enjoyed the game as much as the boys, and they quickly proved to be very worthy competitors. I managed to roll a 213 one game, and I think Danielle is consistently rolling in the 170s.

Then there's boxing. Danielle is already becoming a pro, while I just can't seem to get the hang of it. She likes the training mode where they time you while you punch one of those big bags. Somehow, she just destroys them with a vengeance. A word of advice: I'd seriously think twice before brawling with that girl.

After playing game after game of bowling, we finally switched over to Monkey Ball, which I purchased mainly for the 50 "party" games. We only got a chance to try six or seven of them, and they're sort of hit-and-miss. The control scheme doesn't seem to work at all in one of the games we tried, which frustrated everyone. But some of the others had definite potential for interactive party fun.

I haven't even played Zelda yet, but I'm really anxious to try it. Unfortunately, I haven't found component cables for the Wii yet, so for the time being we're enjoying our new games in standard definition, like primitive cave people or something. The component cables will bump the resolution to 480p (no hi-def on the Wii, sadly), but that doubling of the screen detail makes a noticeable difference. I have to remain patient because I really want to see Zelda in all its "EDTV" glory.

I wasn't totally sure I'd like the Wii. The controllers are so much different than any other video game I've ever played. But I'm a fan now. I'm hooked. Danielle seemed able to do the moves without special effort or physical strain, even though she's grown quite large with my baby Ethan inside her. Standing and sitting started to wear her out after playing forty or fifty frames of bowling, but she really seemed to be having a blast (as were we all).

And that is my absolute favorite thing about the Wii—I just love that it's something Danielle and I can enjoy together.
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