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My thoughts after two weeks of Wii ownership

Nintendo’s Wii was launched over a month ago and has been selling out at most retailers around the country. While this is typical with most holiday launches, the Wii is still in short supply post-Christmas. Sony’s PS3 on the other hand hasn’t been well received. It’s not that hard to obtain a PS3, at least in Washington State where I live.

A walk through Fry’s showed two unsold PS3 60GBs sitting there locked up without anyone caring. GameStop gets a few in every now and then but are able to keep them in stock for at least a day. There are no lines forming for the PS3 anymore while people will still camp out for a Wii. Nevertheless, enough about the Sony PS3 talk I want to talk about the Nintendo Wii and its appeal to gamers and non-gamers.

I managed to obtain a Nintendo Wii two weeks ago. After the initial parade of “Wii” jokes the overall experience has been positive. While the console is no graphics powerhouse it doesn’t bother me too much as game play is key here. After years of writing reviews, playing with the latest graphics hardware and running game benchmarks, the search for ultimate eye candy has gotten a bit old—especially when the games look good but the game play is terrible.

I managed to pickup three additional Wii remotes and four games including Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super-Swing Golf and Call of Duty 3. The experiences with the games have been good. Single player games like Trauma Center: Second Opinion and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is quite enjoyable with the Wii remote. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is currently my favorite game right now. Although it has Game Cube-esque graphics, the game play and story line has kept me hooked longer than any Xbox 360 game I’ve owned. It’s hard to put the game down.

But single player games on the Wii are really no different from the Xbox 360 and PS3, aside from the fancy new controller. Nevertheless, the Nintendo Wii does a few things better than the Xbox 360 and PS3—offline multiplayer and is easy to get into.

Offline multiplayer is one thing the Xbox 360 and PS3 haven’t gotten down. It would seem Microsoft put too much effort in Xbox Live that it forgot about offline multiplayer. Sure it’s fun to yell obscenities at some 12 year old kid on Xbox Live in Gears of War, but it’s no fun when you have friends over. This is where the Nintendo Wii beats out the other two consoles. While most Xbox 360 games are limited to two player tops, with the exception of a few abysmal four player titles, the Nintendo Wii is a blast with offline multiplayer games.

It’s easy to invite three friends over and get a couple rounds of Wii Tennis or Wii Bowling going. Everyone has fun and gets entertainingly competitive. Super-Swing Golf is also a blast with the Wii remote as well, you actually get to swing the remote and it works according to how you hold it, angle, how hard you swing it, etc…  Upcoming titles such as Super Smash Brothers Brawl and the next Mario Party should be a blast.

Nintendo’s Wii is also very easy to get into in addition to the fun offline multiplayer game play. Wii Sports is by far one of the easiest games to play and get into. It’s a game people of all ages can get into. It was also a major hit during Christmas with my family. Adults and kids of all ages were able to play without any problems; I mean it’s a pretty simple concept, swing the Wii remote. This isn’t to say the Xbox 360 and PS3 don’t have family appeal, but unless your family is composed of gamers it’s pretty hard to teach everyone to play Gears of War or Gran Turismo.

In addition to the game play the Nintendo Wii also has two nifty novelty features—a web browser and the Wii Weather Channel Live. While they’re both novelty features they do come in handy at times. The web browser is very well designed for the Wii remote and TV displays. It works great with YouTube for those lazy moments where you don’t want to get off the couch and go to the computer to be entertained by YouTube.

The Wii Weather Channel is entertaining for a few moments, although you can only spin the 3D globe around so many times to look up weather reports for random destinations. It’s a nice novelty feature for those moments where you want to check the weather on the TV and impress non-techy friends and family.

Nintendo got it right this time around with the Wii. It’s a fun console for you can enjoy with family and friends whereas the Xbox 360 and PS3 are more or less consoles you enjoy by yourself or playing online with random people online. The novelty features are entertaining too.




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