August 17, 2007: Why Wii?

My plan had been to sleep in this morning a little as it is my late day at the office but I ended up having to log in from home so that I could work for several hours before even being able to head to the office. So much for a light morning. It was so late by the time that I was heading to the office that I was able to walk over to Food for Life and get breakfast while I was waiting for my car to get brought around.

I didn’t get caught late at the office today but was there until six which is good for a Friday for me. It was a busy day and I had to skip lunch due to the volume of work that I had coming in all day.

I got home and Dominica had already ordered in pizza for dinner. We watched some of the seventh season of Full House which Dominica had picked up the other day while out shopping and then we played the Nintendo Wii for a little bit. This was my first opportunity to actually get to play the Wii and not just watch Dominica play it.

My first impression of the Wii is that it is incredibly difficult and unintuitive to just pick up and play – this is not the system for casual gamers that they toute it to be. People who have not played a Wii before will have a difficult time just picking it up and having it do anything that they would want it to do. The system does not register input from the controllers easily or accurately and often does very unusual things based on the accelerometer in the remote which is very difficult to predict. Because of the strange and limited input devices all of the games for the Wii are based around the controllers and the only games that appear to be really suited to them are either extremely simplistic or extremely violent because of the remote’s feedback capabilities making this a system very poorly suited to the younger set to whom it is often marketed.

The first game that I tried to play was Wii Sports. It took a bit of time and several tries to get the game to work as the Wii’s DVD mechanism is shoddy and apparently doesn’t read the discs very well. And, unlike a normal computer, instead of just telling you that it can’t read the disc it brings up the “black screen of death” and forces you to pop out the disc, power off the Wii, wait and start back over at the beginning. This process is long and frustrating especially because the console is supposed to be easy to use for casual gaming. That is exactly where it fails the most.

After hooking up the component video cables that Dominica managed to buy today for the Wii the graphics are definitely better now that we can set it to 480p rather than 480i output but the image is still very far from impressive.  This video system is another example of how the Wii fails to be appropriate for casual gamers as it is much more complex and confusing to hook up component video (five cables) rather than HDMI (one cable.)  I tried playing Red Seel and we noticed that the graphics, being analogue, are all messed up – just with that one game – and don’t fit onto the screen.  Talk about poor testing.

Overall the Wii is a sad and embarrassing piece of junk from Nintendo.  I can’t believe that they let this thing out of the door.  But nothing compares to the horrible selection of games for it.  So far nothing that I have seen or played on it makes me want to spend any time with the thing.  Wii Sports is silly and boring.  Possibly fun for a few friends, once in a while, if you have a large living room to play in which we don’t.  Red Steel is hard and crashes too often.  Zelda crashes and might be okay.  I have looked online and can’t find any games that picque my interest at all – not available now or announced to be coming for the system.

My recommendation is stick with the PS2 if you are considering a Wii.  It is cheaper, better and has tons more games.

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