Monday, December 11, 2006

Wii Want to Play

My WiiSports outing and playing Zelda: Twilight Princess
My lovely Latina says I'm an open book. WiiSports, perhaps because I always have my children to play with, has been incredible for me. Yesterday my daughters let me borrow their Wii so Papa could take it to some friends' house. They had two computers, a PS2, (I brought my PS2 games as well) and the Wii.

We (myself, Christian & Jay) got onto WiiSports Bowling and Christian's teenage sister, Jossie, dominated us. All the guys had played bowling before, but the newb schooled us. She had the most spastic moves that ended up in strikes. Really it was because somehow she was curving the ball, but it only started to curve at the last possible second, right before drilling the pins. How she did that she didn't know, and we couldn't replicate it. A grudge match didn't help, because she still won 2nd place out of 4.

We then played some Tennis and Baseball. Jay figured out that the time to strike a ball was about two seconds, after which I was able to use my sense of timing (I remember beating teenagers on the Atari 2600 playing "Target" when I was 6 years old) which hasn't played into my success in videogames in, oh, 15 years (mattered, but not game-busting importance), suddenly I was the only one batting balls into the field or netting 3 home runs.

Then Christian fired up his copy of Zelda, even though he doesn't have his own Wii yet, and Jossie and Jay quickly went to the computers and played World of Warcraft and I tried to stay awake, but literally fell asleep (I'd tried to camp with them the night before for Christian's Wii but the store managers told us at 2AM that there were no Wiis - I've had friends who work at Best Buy/Worst Buy, I know they sell to their staff and pretend not to, so my guess is the tip was correct, they just didn't know the Wiis were "already accounted for").

Zelda is, of course, immaculate. The attention to detail in this game is incredible. Yes, it's got some small start areas and small areas with limited mobility like Fable. Yes, Oblivion's Radiant AI kills Zelda's NPCs. But when you see the cute pregnant girl holding her belly and breathing differently after a walk, you think "My God, that's actually what my wife did when she was pregnant." The game flowed beautifully and shined. I can see why it gets great reviews - it's not all nostalgia.

We disliked that you have to shake the Nunchuck left and right to do a swing attack, when we all wanted to wave the Wiimote around, but whatever. It was not a party game; Zelda is the Wii game for folks who have no friends living with them, and see their friends on weekends. Unlike the Nintendo President Iwata said, it's not a game folks will stick around and watch either. I would, if I wasn't so tired at the time, but I'm abnormal.

When we started playing Tennis again, Jay, who almost got a college scholarship playing Tennis, but wanted to leave Puerto Rico for the U.S. instead, couldn't believe he couldn't beat me. Everyone wanted to play me, and after five games my right arm started to give out. I got a break and played two more and then it was time to go home.

At home I played against my 9yo daughter, Maria, who enjoys competition with me. She's my tiger - we play wrestle, play fight (she knows about hooking out eyeballs) whereas my 2nd daughter, Dulce Maria (Sweet Maria), is a tender sensitive girl who yelps at any mild pain. Every child is different, and you can guess which one cuddles dad when he's sick, so they all have their strengths. Anyway...

Maria couldn't beat me at tennis anymore. She'd beaten me twice, but now I was impossible. Far from disheartened, she just wanted to know what she should do to learn to beat me again, so I told her to play the computer more often than her sisters, and to make a new Mii to start her score over because the computer (seeing her score), was owning her little sisters when they played together against the AI.

I can say that the Wii is the most fun I have had with a game console since my Nintendo Entertainment System. Remember when you'd get together with your friends and play NES games all evening? All day was a bit much for my outdoorsy self but all evening was fair game.

I bought an XBOX in Christmas of 2004 and got four controllers and as many four-player non-sports games as I could, since most of my friends aren't into football, soccer, etcetera. That left us with Gauntlet clones like the Dungeons & Dragons romp. After the initial party bash, there was no other. When my friends came over they were more interested in computer games.

Since my kids have gotten their Wii, plenty of friends of mine have come by more than once to play it again, all in a two week period, not two year.

The gamepad is dead. Finally. Nintendo brought it into the world, and it's taking it out as well.