As a Nintendo fanboy, I must of course comment on the Wii launch news. Packing in Wii Sports makes sense for their market-broadening strategy; wouldn’t it have helped if they could have included a second wiimote, though? The controller prices are exorbitant. I wish I didn’t have to wait until November 19th.

The news that surprised me the most, though: the Mii Channel. When you turn on the system, you can do various things other than play games; one of those is create an avatar of yourself, called a “mii”. Here are some movies; the avatar editor looks pleasantly accessible, enough so that, when I buy my Wii, the first thing I’ll do will probably be create a mii instead of, say playing a game.

And this avatar can be used in games. (Not all, of course, just those where it makes sense.) So all of a sudden, the low-quality graphics in Wii Sports make sense. As Scott McCloud has taught us, sometimes you can identify better with less detailed representations of people than with high-fidelity ones; a tennis game sounds more fun with four cartoony representations of the people playing. I’m sure the Wii version of Animal Crossing will use this as well, and this will encourage the development of other friendly titles in new genres targeted at non-traditional gamers.

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