Finally thereís the Wiimote and the included nunchuk attachment. We have held one at E3 and just briefly a few days ago in New York City but now that we have held it for more than a few minutes at a time itís a slightly different experience. For one thing after a lot of activity playing the various games in the Wii Sports title my hand got sweaty in a hurry which almost never happens when we use the normal PS3 and Xbox 360 controllers. Wii Sports doesnít demand too much of the controller; you basically use the A button (the large one on top) and the B button (the finger trigger on the bottom) and thatís it. The nunchuk attachment is only used in one Wii Sports game (boxing) and even then you just move them rather than press any buttons. We havenít gotten the big Wii launch titles yet (Zelda; Excite Truck, Madden 07, etc) so we will be putting them through their paces soon to see how the controller works on more advanced titles. As far as Wii Sports itselfÖ.well we predicted this from the get-go; itís a game thatís mostly used as a way to get people to get used to the controller and in that aspect it works very well. But itís just not that good of a game in of itself. The ďcuteĒ graphics are a little too primitive and the gameplay itself gets old really quick. Thereís not a lot of challenge to be had here. The remote does seem to respond fairly accurately to the gameís action but overall it reminds us of the games including in the first PS2 Eyetoy product; itís fun and different for five minutes to swing a controller as if it was a real bat or a real golf club but in the end you will be putting this on the shelf really quick as the more advanced Wiii games come out.
Using the controller to do more mundane tasks like setting up the Wii for its first launch is actually kind of a game in itself as you point the controller at the screen and the cursor on the TV reactions to, say, the virtual keyboard that you can use to type quick ďPost-itĒ like notes on screen. Overall, however, the UI and features of the Wiiís menu is, well, too cute for us. Itís stuff like he overall white themed UI to things like the typeface and even the perky but elevator music Ėlike sounds on the menu screen. The Wii presents itself to the user as something that a kid, and a kid only, would use and enjoy and not the whole family. Thereís nothing wrong with marketing a game console for kids; we just thought the idea was that Nintendo was going for a much broader marketplace. The Wiiís overall presentation just seems to be going for a much younger mindset. Of course, it could be trying to maintain the family image by making sure itís aimed at the lowest common denominator.
This is certainly true of the feature that gives people a chance to create cute 3D cartoon avatars for themselves that can be incorporated into things Wii Sports and other upcoming games. The options are relatively few and the end result is a process that you can use to create an avatar that only sort of looks like you if you squint at it. Nintendo has added a feature that sounds a little like what Will Wright wants to do for their upcoming game Spore; namely use the Wiiís Internet features to have your avatar travel to other peopleís Wii if you allow it as well as other folksís avatars to come show up on your console. (you have to register your friendís Wii console in your address book in order to do this). The Wiimote can also store an avatar you create so you can take it to a friendís house and add it to his or her console. Another feature adds the ability to add photos and movies to the Wii via the SD card slot and do some simple manipulations on them like dooles or make simple puzzles out of them (you canít save these changes on the original SD card, though).