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Wii the People: A Review of the Nintendo Wii
I had heard about it before, but I thought it was for kids; the brightly colored images and characters were surely not meant for someone my age. I had even heard it was being recommended for the elderly, but certainly my interests and theirs were not the same. I had never expected to see it in my friend’s living room, but there it was: the Nintendo Wii. My friend had purchased a Nintendo Wii console and, in the days following, had virtually bowled, batted, and boxed so much that he insisted he needed to check-in to Wii-hab. He tried to convince me that I needed the only personalized, fun, and healthy new gaming console. Incredulous, I stepped up to bat and was completely sucked in.
I had caught Wii-Fever, and I wasn’t the only one. Since being released in 2006, the Nintendo Wii has sold over 50 million copies worldwide, with nearly half being sold in the United States and Canada (“Global Sales of Nintendo’s Wii Top 50 Million”). Potential players may be turned away by the $250 price tag, but when compared to other popular consoles, like the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, which can cost up to $500, the Wii seems unusually cheap. Whether it is the lower price or the unique game play, customers can’t get enough. Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, says the average time a single console spends on a store shelf is only an hour (Kohler).
Aside from its sleek, small, and attractive white console that measures only about the size of three DVD cases stacked together, the Wii offers a variety of accessories. Included with the Wii console is a Wii Remote, a Wii Sensor Bar, and a Nunchuk. The Wii Remote “mixes the familiarity of a remote control with the latest motion-sensing technology.” The Wii Sensor Bar is placed on top of the television to work with the “Wii Remote to turn those arm waving moves into game-winning moves.” The Nunchuk is held comfortably due to its curved shape and “allows you to move characters around while performing specific actions with the Wii Remote, like throwing a pass to your team.” Want more? There are many other accessories offered separately, like extra Wii Remotes, additional Nunchuks, and extensions for the Wii Remote that turn it into a tennis racket, golf club, baseball bat, steering wheel, and gun (“Wii Controllers”).
The Wii can be tailored to fit the players’ wants and needs. On the Wii menu, players have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of channels, or applications. Some channels come standard on the Wii, and others can be downloaded by connecting the Wii to the internet. When browsing through the channels, players will be satisfied to know that many are free or low in price. Once the player decides which channels to display, those channels will be accessible from the Wii menu at all times. With channels like weather forecast, news, and photo, players can make their Wii menu unique and personal. By using the Wii Shop Channel, players can even download exclusive software called Wii Ware. Wii Ware cannot be played on other consoles and cannot be found in any store. Players purchase Wii Points and use them to download Wii Ware games.
When playing many Wii games, the player needs to first create a character. This character is called a Mii, and can be customized to look like a 3D version of the player by using the Mii Channel. The player is given the opportunity to make the Mii look however they want; the Mii can be easily customized by styling its hair, shaping its nose, choosing its eyes, and giving it a name. Once the Mii is created, the player is represented by the Mii in games such as Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit. My Mii has wavy brown hair, brown eyes, and freckles, and she perfectly demonstrates my lack of baseball skills. Want a challenge? Try creating a unique Mii for the Check Mii Out Channel, which has Mii-creating contests and encourages players to make Miis that look a certain way, like a 3D Benjamin Franklin or Garfield the cat.
The Nintendo Wii console offers very unique gameplay.
Along with a large selection of channels to download, the Wii offers a wide variety of games. Some are exclusive to the Wii and cannot be played on different consoles. This includes “Super Mario Galaxy,” which was rated 9.5 out of 10 on gamespot.com (“Most Popular Wii Games”). This game takes the beloved character to new galaxies, combining the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk to make Mario jump and spin his way through gravitational fields and new planets (“Experience a Gravity-Defying Adventure”). Another high-scoring Wii game is “de Blob,” which scored 8 out of 10 (“Top Rated Wii Games”). This game uses bright and attractive colors and images to encourage players to help de Blob save his world from a black and white future. The Wii Remote is again combined with the Nunchuk to make de Blob flip, bounce, spray and splatter around his world, adding color to everything he touches (“de Blob”).
There are many games that take the fun of games played on older consoles, like Super Nintendo and Game Cube, and put a new spin on them. A popular example is “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” which brings the old legend that we fell in love with as kids to today’s gaming world. This game scored 8.8 out of 10 (“Most”). The player controlling “Link will use his bow and arrows by aiming with the Wii Remote controller, fight while on horseback and use a wealth of other items, both new and old.” The Wii Remote is also combined with the Nunchuk in “sword swings, spin attacks and shield shoves” (“A New Legend is Born”).
Another unique upgrade that’s been given to an old game is found with “Mario Kart Wii,” which scored 8.5 out of 10 (“Most”). This game comes with a Wii Wheel Accessory that attaches to the original Wii Remote for an exciting feeling of playing an arcade game. “The intuitive Wii Wheel Accessory immerses players into the circuit of their choice and offers even the novice player a fighting chance” (“Wii Wheel”). Mario Kart Wii has exciting new tracks to race, new characters to play, and offers some old ones as well. Players can also play with up to 11 others online for added competition and fun. Enjoy the Wii but miss the old stuff? Head to the Wii Shop Channel and download old favorites like “Super Mario Brothers.”
Most Video games are fun; that is what they are made for, after all. What makes the Wii stand out is the hidden, but excellent, health benefits. By requiring controller movement, the Wii gets players off of the couch and moving around. Scoring 7.8 out of 10, Wii Sports, included with the purchase of all consoles, offers bowling, tennis, golf, baseball, and boxing, all of which require active movement from the player (“Most”). Activity is tracked using the Mii the player created. This charts and helps improve the player’s balance, stamina, and speed. There are also opportunities to unlock new ways to play, motivating players to continue playing and improving. Using the Wii a few times each week can lead to weight loss, and some gyms are integrating the system into their amenities. A gym in Manhattan is even charging $110 for personal training classes involving the Wii. Trainers are claiming that playing games like Wii Sports can be a full body workout, getting the player’s heart rate up to 150 beats per minute (Olshan).
If that’s not enough action, try the Wii Fit. It can be added to a Wii Console for around $89.99. The Wii Fit package includes the Wii Balance Board, similar to a weight scale, and the Wii Fit game, which scored 7 out of 10 (“Most”). The Wii Fit encourages players to “get fit with more than 40 activities and exercises, including strength training, aerobics, yoga and balance games” (“Step onto the Wii Balance Board and into a fun way to get fit”). With daily body tests that track BMI, weight, Wii Fit Age, and fitness credits, players can see their progress from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. The player’s Mii is shown doing certain exercises like running, hula hooping, and boxing, and the shape of the Mii is determined by the player’s own BMI and weight. For encouragement, players are assigned a personal trainer who gives motivational tips and shows how to do each exercise. For motivation, there are opportunities to log enough minutes to unlock new moves, exercises, and games. If players do an activity outside of the Wii Fit, like stretching, gardening, or swimming, they can record the activity in the Activity Log and get credit for doing so.
With so many unique parts and features, the Wii is certainly a display of advancing video game technology in which everyone should partake. The highly rated games with unmatched game play are sure to catch the attraction of gamers across the globe. Even non-gamers should be enticed by the user friendly interface and the idea of getting fit while having fun. The Wii is making its way into more living rooms every day, but still more people should experience the personalized, fun, and healthy new gaming console. More people need to be Wii’d.
- "Wii Wheel"
- "Top Rated Wii Games"
- "Step onto the Wii Balance Board and into a fun way to get fit."
- GYM'S WII-ZY MONEY - New York Post
No game, no gain. A Manhattan gym is charging customers $110 an hour for a personal training session - with a Nintendo Wii. Super Mario's rotund physique may not be what most gym members...
- "Most Popular Wii Games"
- The Associated Press: Global sales of Nintendo's Wii top 50 million
- “Experience a Gravity-Defying Adventure.”
- "de Blob"
- "A New Legend is Born"
- Nintendo: Average Wii Sits on Shelf for Just an Hour | Game | Life from Wired.com