Random Wii thoughts one week later:

  • I would have expected to feel stupid saying “Wii” all the time, but I actually don’t mind. I guess Nintendo wasn’t completely insane when they decided on that name.
  • Zelda is very good so far, except for the early fishing sequence. (I’m seven hours in, I think I’m a little more than halfway to the second dungeon. Of which there are apparently something like ten?) Darker than previous games; there were bits that I was happy Miranda wasn’t watching. Tougher than other recent games in the series – even in the first dungeon I was quite happy to have Liesl giving suggestions for how to proceed when we got stuck. But the puzzles have been fair. I’m still not sure it lives up to Okami‘s standards, but I’m cautiously optimistic that the series’s downward slide has been halted.
  • I wish I hadn’t gotten Super Monkey Ball. There probably is some solid gameplay there, but there are some basic playability issues. My experience with it: Miranda tried the single player, got a bit frustrated, and gave up after three levels. No problem there, maybe she’ll get back to it, maybe not. So then I went to play the single player game: it wouldn’t let me start from the beginning, but made me start on level four! Or rather, it would only let me play the earlier levels in practice mode; I tried that on the first one, and couldn’t figure out how to stop practicing the stupid level. (Eventually I found that in the manual, but I shouldn’t have to look there for something so basic.) After resetting (yay home button), I started from the fourth level on non-practice mode, and made it through the first group of eight levels. At which point I was confronted with some credits, which had an acceptable enough way to amuse yourself by collecting bananas, but I wasn’t in the mood for that. So I tried pressing all the buttons, but I couldn’t find a way to skip it. (Maybe that’s in the manual too; I haven’t looked, and I shouldn’t have to to.) I’m pretty sure I spent more time just watching the credits than playing through the levels that preceded them. Also the name entry screen only allows 6 letters (what is the point of economizing on that?), so you can’t, say, enter “Miranda”. And the method of entering your name is really annoying, worse than either the Gamecube method or the Wii screen keyboard method. The core gameplay is probably just fine, so I’ll probably get back to it, though I’m not convinced that adding jumps is an improvement. (Actually, I’m not even convinced that using the wiimote instead of a joystick is an improvement.) But there’s so much basic playability stuff they got wrong… I got it mostly for the minigames, but my inability to get a system and controllers before having friends over for Thanksgiving put a kibosh on that, and things I’ve heard since make me think that it doesn’t live up to its predecessors on that score.
  • Speaking of minigames, I’m enjoying Rayman. Good presentation, most of the games are decent. I’m not thtrilled with the ones that require you to shake one or both controllers up and down very quickly. (Doing that for a minute solid on the carrot juice level was not fun at all.) I did not realize what fine dancers rabbits are.
  • Still only one controller; Nintendo says that they are “preparing my order” for more, but who knows when I’ll actually get them. They claim that they’ve shipped my component cables, but UPS doesn’t acknowledge the tracking number; no big deal, games look fine to me. (I hear that component cables are more important on non-CRT displays.)
  • Miranda made a cute mii of Zippy today. Or as close as you can get to Zippy, given that it only lets you make humans, not dogs. I need to invite people over and force them to make miis. (Once I’ve got more controllers…)
  • WiFi is nice, but would it have killed them to include an ethernet jack as well? (I need to figure out why my WiFi is so flaky.) I see no evidence so far that the console is really online while it’s off/sleeping – no automatic downloading of system updates, no overnight store updates.
  • Zelda has a nice sensor bar calibration mechanism – why don’t they have that on the main system menu?
  • The controller might actually be a little worse in terms of RSI than a standard controller, but not a big deal either way. At least for my right hand; it’s kind of nice having my left hand be positioned however I want.
  • Using a shake of the left hand to accomplish something (e.g. the circle sword attack in Zelda) works really well; I hadn’t expected that.
  • I like the daily play record. (What, I spent 2:54 playing Zelda this afternoon? It felt like minutes…)

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