Wii Tennis

Yesterday evening four of us took the chance to test the Wii console. A little art gallery here in Munich takes part in the “Wii Crib” promotional event, which we take to be quite clever. The gallery is situated on the ground floor and has large display windows facing the street. For the passers-by we must have delivered a strange picture, four people waving around like mad in an almost empty room for no apparent reason. What we liked best was “Tennis” from the Wii Sports suite [see above, and note my—second from left—tennis-pro stance ;-]. The first apparent reason for this preference is the fact that all four of us could play together. The deeper reason is that the game perfectly matches the input technology of the Wii Remotes. It takes you just a couple of minutes and you intuitively grasp what is to be done and how. From then on it’s pure fun, and I have to confess that my arm still hurts a bit today. “Golf” and “Bowling” is fun as well, but as it has to be turn-based not as much as “Tennis”. “Boxing” completely falls flat in our opinions, as the correllation between input movements and resulting avatar actions seemingly is completely random. Rayman: Raving Rabbids tries to capitalize on the peculiar input qualities, but can’t stand up to “Tennis”. Nevertheless it indeed is funny sometimes, but has almost no replay value. It’s more of a half-hearted, not succesful attempt at a demonstration of the Wii’s qualities. And then of course we tested a shooter, Red Steel, what you always see in the television commercials. This actually is a catastrophe. First of all “Red Steel” clearly is a Max Payne clone without bullett-time, meaning it’s not at all an original game—in this case I fully second Chris Crawford’s opinions. Secondly the input via Wii Remote is absolutely not suited for first-person shooters—the lack of accuracy and the latency simply are too high. Thirdly, and that’s true for all the games we played yesterday, the graphics do not at all stand up to contemporary games. All in all the Wii is fun, but everything but a revelation to the “real gamer”. It’s a great party item, and can develope to be real family entertainment, converting living rooms into lively arenas. Sometimes yesterday night I felt myself reminded of the days when I was a kid and friends of mine had gotten their first Atari console. Things may well change when the input technology advances [think ↵lightsaber duels]. I had a dream of a LAN-party where everybody jumps around with remotes in their hands. By the way, the Fighternight 9 is looming at next year’s horizon.

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