There has been a lot of talk about the PS3 and the Wii recently. Obviously Nintendo is doing something right, because one look at the tally on http://nexgenwars.com/ tells you that Nintendo has twice as many Wii's in homes as Sony has PS3's, and the poll puts Wii heavily in favor to win the "war".
Everyone has their own opinions, and I have mine. So here we go.
Basically the Wii itself is like any other system out there. Sure, the technology inside the box is unique, as well as the GUI interface. But at the core, it's just a console. The one thing that really sets Wii apart is the controller (ok, and the name...there I said it). The Wii remote supports an astonishing degree of motion sensitivity, and it is very precise in the point and click area as well. The controller is light, and comfortable no matter which way you hold it.
The console itself is very small, about the size of the PSOne mini or smaller. It runs quiet, and never gets warm. The auto-feed disc loading is done well, and the console gives you plenty of room to get your finger in the center hole of the disk for safe removal. It is also very easy to hook up, as Nintendo systems always are. I took it out of the box and was playing Wii sports in no time.
The controller applies well to an in-game environment. In Wii Sports, the Wii remote acts as your baseball bat, bowling ball, golf club, tennis racket, etc. For each sport, you hold the remote like you would the real equipment. Unfortunately, the boxing segment of the game is the only part that uses the nunchuck. The two handed gameplay is exactly the right step in the direction of interactive boxing games. A new Punch-Out would work famously with this control scheme.
Wii Sports has been called a demo to some, but it's not really. It is more like the limited gameplay these same titles would have had back on NES. Wii Sports really feels like Classic Nintendo. The game inspires people to get off their lazy ass and actually PLAY with your system, and for that I love it. There are even a training mode and a fitness mode (think Brain Age) to keep you busy. There is stat tracking, and to keep your score, you have to stay consistant in your skill. Yes, you can lose points.
Also I should mention that I played with my mom, sister, and wife. We all had a blast as a family. I think the fact that the Wii can bring people together like that is something that more people should talk about.
As for the Wii online, there isn't much as of yet. I really like the way their marketplace is set up, and I think the pricing of classic games is fair. I like the fact that the Cube controller works well with almost all the classic games, meaning that you won't have to track down one of the elusive classic controllers this holiday. Cube controllers are cheap and abundant. I suggest a Wavebird.
The Wii does support the USB dongle for wireless access, but be cautioned that the dongle won't work for all PC set-ups. For the same price as the USB adapter, you can get a wireless router at Wal-Mart. The Wii was surprisingly easy to set up for online with a router, and I give kudos to Nintendo for making it so simple.
I have two complaints. One, Wii Sports should have came in a clamshell DVD case. I know it's not much of a big deal, but the first time I removed my disk from the package, the staples on the instruction booklet made a small scratch. This pissed me off of course, so I keep my disk in a seperate clamshell right now. Second, they promote ease of hook-up with the USB adapter, yet if you have problems getting hooked up, the website is not a good place to go for help. You are better off calling Nintendo directly. Microsoft definately has the edge with their website, but that really doesn't hamper the Wii system one bit.
Overall, the Wii is an impressive hardware. We all know that it's graphical power isn't as high as the competitors...who cares. Nintendo did one thing that the other guys did not. They give you a new way to play the same old games. Gaming hasn't evolved (graphics aside) in a very long time. I think the last evolutions that were as significant as the Wii's controls would be Super Mario 64 and the SegaNet/XBL online infrastructure. Finally gaming can feel fresh and new again.
If you can find one of these systems this holiday, please do yourself and your whole family a favor. Buy it, and perhaps pick up Red Steel, Zelda, and/or Excite Truck.
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