I seem to have been letting Wii experiences build up; time for a dump. I’ll probably forget some things, but hopefully I’ve remembered most of the things I want to say.

  • I’m not planning to go out and buy more minigame compilations, but I’m definitely glad I got Rayman. The minigames vary in quality, but are almost all fun. Some are pleasantly wacky (I like the rabbit boy choir where you have to figure out which one is singing out of tune at any given point), and the on-rails shooters that are the end stage of most levels are really good. I’m not going to turn into a devotee of the genre, but the Wii controller works exceptionally well with it: just point and shoot. It’ll be interesting to see how good FPS’s (and variants) work on the machine; looking forward to Metroid next year. Another pleasant control experience there was reloading by shaking the Nunchuk; I’d been expecting to control games by pointing, by tilting, by swinging, but the idea that you could trigger an action by simply giving the controller a gentle shake had never crossed my mind, and it works very well.

    So that’s the games from the point of view of gameplay, but what really makes it is the presentation. Hard to say what’s best: their varied use of plungers? The deftness with which they wield a feather duster? Their screams and excellent dance moves (too many examples to post to here)? I didn’t watch trailers for it before buying the game, but now I’m hooked on them.

  • We finally got more controllers, which Miranda, my father, and I put to good use with Wii Sports. Bowling was pleasant enough; a bit weird to be bowling without a weight at the end of your arm, but we liked it. Miranda got frustrated by golf, but I expect to go back and play it on my own. (I wish it were easier to tap the ball, though: gentle swings often don’t register at all.)

    And then we got to tennis; my oh my. There were three of us playing, so it set us up as doubles with player 1 controlling both characters on one side. Player 1 was Miranda, using the Zippy mii that she’d created. And that was really silly, really fun, I was grinning the whole time watching us swing wildly at the shots, dive across the screen, and basically act ridiculous. (We, fortunately, managed to avoid hitting each other with the controllers; we did hit furniture a few times, but not too hard.) A good time was had by all.

  • They’ve updated the system with a web browser and a weather channel. I’ve played with the former a bit; works pretty well for a web browser on a game console, but I’m not about to use it with any sort of regularity. The weather channel has some definite flaws: the current temperature is several hours old, in particular, but there aren’t as many cities listed as I’d like and the pictures aren’t so good. Having said that, I’ve wasted more time than I’d care to admit going to the globe view, spinning it around, looking at the weather in various places (Antarctica! But Anchorage is rather colder, at least this week: one day with a predicted high of -19F and low of -43F. Ouch.) And it’s not just me: Ravi and Alice were over a couple of days ago, too, and they were amused by the weather channel as well. I like the physics model that spinning the globe uses, too.
  • Other games I’ve played: Super Monkey Ball sucks: an amazing number of small flaws, awful awful music, and neither using tilt sensitivity instead of a joystick nor adding jumps is an improvement. Zelda is good but not wonderful.

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