Unlike the thousands of disappointed children this year, for Christmas I received a Wii (found in an HMV in late November.) It being Christmas, I was also presented with a unique opportunity to christen my new console with a real litmus test: entertaining my gaming averse aunts, uncles and cousins.
We started with the easygoing Wii bowling, but that proved to be a bit too slow to be entertaining. Furthermore, they blamed every missed strike on either controller detection error or programmed randomness. Next up was Wii boxing, which was a big hit with my father. To most, however, it was too chaotic for them to tell what was going on and therefore their successes and failures felt like pure luck.
Wii tennis, however, was loved by all. They really got into the game, jumping around much more than necessary in their attempts to return the ball. Watching my mother and aunt laughing and playing against each other just warmed the cockles of my heart. It took some serious prompting to get them to leave the system when dinner was ready.
When I had time on boxing day to finally explore the system for myself, I had fun making Miis with my sister. She in particular enjoyed the process, and insisted that I had her eyes/face/hair/etc wrong and grabbed the remote to correct them herself. I ended up with the handsome fellow you see at the top of this post, lacking only my trademark sideburns to be complete.
The rest of today was spent exploring the world of Super Mario Galaxy. I've completed the first galaxy, and what has really struck me so far is the sheer variety of gameplay. So far I have seen concave planets, convex planets, Mario 64 style areas, 2D platformer areas, and the manta races from Mario Sunshine. The boss of the first galaxy, Megaleg, was a terrific monstrosity twice as large as the planet it stood on and was lots of fun to fight (check out a video of the battle).
Beyond that, I was deeply impressed by the selection of titles available for the Wii Virtual console. While the arcade titles available on Xbox Live might make some older gamers nostalgic, it's the NES and SNES games that have made me reflect fondly on my younger days. Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong Country, Mario Kart 64 and Paper Mario all look extremely tempting.
While I'm a little new to how exactly this friend code system works, drop me a comment or an e-mail if you'd like to be Wii friends. My beast of a code is: 4831 9046 9295 2783.