I got a Wii! My Review.

My 27th birthday is next week but we have plans to head out of town right after, so I’m super lucky to have the world’s greatest man, who not only thought of giving me my gift a week early so I’d have enough time to play with it, but the gift itself is on a level of greatness all its own. Lucas managed to secretly get me a Wii, Nintendo’s latest (7th generation) gaming console, which I was given last night. In no time at all, we were up and running and trying out Wii Sports, the default game bundled with Wiis sold in North America. I don’t think my jaw left the ground all evening, and my head is still spinning today at its sheer level of awesomeness. Pics of us playing it in our gallery.

The Wii suddenly makes all of those other consoles where you sit down to play with a measly controller in your hands incredibly boring and SOOOOO 1980s.

If I want to sit down to play a game, forget consoles, I’m just gonna go downstairs and sit at my computer and play a PC game. I don’t need a console to sit down and play a game, and the graphics on my computer are better than my TV. However, if you truly want to get INTO the game, then the Wii is the only the way to go, and it has brought new life to consoles for me. It is the only reason why I’d ever feel the need to play a console game over a PC game.

I’m a Nintendo girl. I remember getting the first 8 bit Nintendo for Christmas when it was new, and I’ve owned it, the Super Nintendo, and the Nintendo64. The Nintendo64 was all the rage in my first year of college, and up until now, was my favorite Nintendo console. The last year or so of my four-year college career the hype was suddenly all about the new GameCube vs. the “amazing” Playstation 2 that had been around for a bit longer already. Everyone I knew was raving about the Playstation 2, so I decided for the first (and last) time to go non-Nintendo on my console purchasing decision for a change. I later regretted it a lot. I never should’ve strayed from the perfection that is Nintendo and its Mario Brothers. I missed my Mario games too much.

By the end of college and my first year in “the real world” as an elementary school teacher, I had started playing games on my PC. I’d played Wolfenstein and Duke Nukem forever ago on PC, but this was different. It started with Nintendo emulators on my PC, actually. When I discovered that I could play classic Nintendo and Super Nintendo on my PC, I spent more time playing those than my shiny Playstayion 2, which quickly collected dust. My disappointment with the Playstation 2 probably helped facilitate how easy it was to suddenly be turned off from consoles and prefer PC gaming instead. I could play classic Dragon Warrior or Mario Kart against online friends via emulators and that made me a happy gamer again.

It was then an easy transition to online MMORPGs, where I first started to consider myself a real “PC gamer.” My first experience with those was Star Wars Galaxies, which will always be near and dear to my Star Wars loving heart. I played it for over 2 years, some off and on along with trying out “old” MMOs I had missed: EverQuest and Ultima Online, (very briefly) and then EverQuest2 for a couple months. And then World of Warcraft. I’ve now been playing World of Warcraft for nearly 2 years off and on. I occasionally return for a month or so to Star Wars Galaxies to say hi and see what’s new, also. Once I got hooked on SWG and WoW, I figured consoles were a thing of the past. I doubted I’d ever own another one because I really enjoyed the MMO experience and genre. And for serious, what’s the difference besides where in the house you’re sitting to play the game? PC games had better graphics and I could play with millions of other people at once. In the end, regardless of whether I was playing a console or playing on my computer, I was just sitting around playing a game, though.

Then came the Wii.

Now I am a part of the game unlike any MMO can get you into the game. Sure I’m not playing with thousands of others at once in the same game like my favorite MMOs, but games are suddenly ALIVE. My boxing punches matter. How I hold the remotes and twist actually determines whether I hook or jab and how hard I punch my opponent in the face. My movement also determines whether or not I’m able to dodge or block their shot at me, which when done successfully, gives me a few extra crucial seconds in which to deliver a knock out blow. With a twist of my wrist I can change the outcome of my bowling match and put just enough spin on the ball to hit that last pin and pick up a spare. If I flick my tennis racquet too late and my swing angle is too sharp, Lucas will win the tennis match because I just hit my ball out of bounds. It is utterly fantastic. Who needs Taebo when you’ve got a Wii?

For the skeptics who worry about a repeat of the Power Glove distaster of 1989, never fear. The controllers really are as amazing and motion-sensory powerful as Nintendo claims. Being completely wireless is not only great, but a must have due to all of the movement you’re doing. The remote is able to process three dimentional motion and rotation seamlessly. No doubts about its capability or lack of sensitivity, and it also supports traditional button pressing/classic controller style when turned on its side. As far as movement, how you hold and move the remotes really and truly effects what’s going on on-screen. Our Wii bowling actually imitates our real life bowling. Just as in real life, Lucas’ bowling ball throws are much more powerful than mine, and thus the ball shoots down the lane faster and with more power than mine in-game as well. I was amazed at how the turn of your wrist and how you throw the ball affects its spin just like real life, but was even more amazed when we realized that it also detects how hard you throw the ball, which has the same effects on-screen as when we’re at the bowling alley.

Features about the Wii that I like? Miis. Sounds silly, but I love the fact that I can create a little “mii” avatar reflective of myself that I will see about in various Wii games (hey, look, there’s me over there!) and then I can play as “myself” (my mii) when I play Wii Sports, for example. It’s almost like creating your own character in any MMO game – you name them whatever you want and select between tons of customizable aspects like eye shape, color, hairstyle, height, weight, and favorite color, just to name a few options. You can truly make your mii look just like you or anyone else you want them to look like. As if that wasn’t enough, you can transfer and store your miis on your Wii remote, so if you go over to play on someone else’s Wii console, all you need is to take your own remote and your mii goes with you. If you set the “mingle” option on for your miis, they will travel and visit other Wiis across the world, as long as they’ve got an active internet connection and are on the WiiConnect24 network. So my “amidala” mii can wander off to someone else’s console, and when someone views their mii plaza or chooses to watch a mii parade, they’ll see my little mii hanging out and mingling with their miis. Also with WiiConnect24 you can send messages or exchange pictures with other Wii users, read news, get updates, or check your forecast. Talk about social!

I also love the alternative gaming platform usage I can get out of the Wii. Remember how I chose to get the Playstayion 2 over the GameCube? No longer an issue. The Wii doubles as a GameCube. You just plug in GameCube controllers and it’s completely backwards compatible with all GameCube games and hardware. I am so excited about getting to finally experience all of those fabulous Nintendo games that I missed out on by going Sony. You better believe I will make up for lost time with all of those Mario games. Not only that, but the Wii’s virtual console ability lets me download and play classic Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Nintento64 games. Why sit in the cold basement on my PC when I can sit in the comfort of the living room upstairs on the orange couch and turn my Wii remote on its side? The graphics are the same as the old systems no matter if I play them emulated on my computer downstairs or for real upstairs, but they’re much bigger on the 27inch flat screen TV vs. my 19 inch flat screen computer monitor. We currently have the original Mario Brothers game and Solomon’s Key for NES on our Wii. And the virtual console doesn’t stop there. You’re able to download and play more than just Nintendo brand games? Yes, you heard me right. Not only is the Wii backwards compatible for Nintendo games via the virtual console, but you can also download games from old former rival systems such as Genesis and TurboGrafx-16, and (soon) Commodore 64 and MSX in addition to Nintendo. Third parties like Tecmo, Sega, and Hudson already make use of the Wii’s virtual console, with many other supporters like Midway, Capcom, Square Enix, TOMY, Sunsoft, and Konami on the full-support-plans-of-coming-soon list. Sold!

Now don’t get me wrong. The Wii has not single-handedly stopped me from playing MMOs on my PC, because that’s just silly. I adore the MMO genre and will continue to play them because they offer that… well, massive multiplayer online experience that I can’t get anywhere else. I’m just a social kind of girl. However, I no longer look down on consoles as being inferior to my PC gaming. The Wii truly has breathed new life into consoles and makes me excited about the future of gaming. I can only dream at this point about a MMO with Wii-like action, but somehow I suddenly feel like it’s not that far around the corner and that much of a stretch anymore.

What was that?

I couldn’t hear you over the sound of how awesome the Wii is.