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Wiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!

Nintendo World Bag

As previously mentioned, I had pre-ordered the Nintendo Wii many moons ago and since it's now the end of November, it was time to collect and flip it on eBay play.

Obtaining the unit was a story in itself as I think the Nintendo World Store here in NYC did a pretty bad job of handling preorders. It all started the Thursday of the week that the Wii was to be launched. I called up the store to ask when they'd be open on Sunday (launch day) cause I figured I'd just saunter in, pick up my preorder, and be on my merry way. Was informed that they would be opening at 8am but after I mentioned that I had a preorder, the guy also said that they'd be open at 6am for preorders.

6am? Uh, ok. Never one to shrink from really early mornings when it comes to gadgets, I dutifully got up at 5:30am Sunday morning and putzed around till 6 before giving the store a call to confirm that they were actually open. And they were, so we zipped into Manhattan; probably the easiest commute into NYC I've ever had. At the corner of 48th and 6th, I see the line. Now the Nintendo World Store is located basically smack dab inbetween 5th and 6th Avenues. The line that I saw stretched from the front door west towards 6th Ave, and then north to 49th Street. It probably went farther than that but I couldn't see around that corner. No problem I thought, I preordered! This line was for the pinheads who weren't prescient enough to do so.

So I found a parking spot on 48th between 6th and 7th Ave and we walked to the front where I looked around for an employee or somebody to ask what the deal was with preorders. The store was open, and there were a couple of non-employees within so I assumed it'd be a quick affair. WRONG. The first guy I spoke to had just gotten his Wii and he told me that even with a preorder, you had to wait in line. Are you f**kin' kidding me?!?! Apparently every so often an employee would make his way down the line to pull out preorder people. The guy suggested I just hang around near a break in the line (parking garage entrance) but I didn't want to look like I was cutting. Especially since the people near the front probably had been waiting there since the prior afternoon. After confirming with a store employee that I did indeed have to wait in line, we decided to just go home. It was relatively cold that morning and Erin wasn't dressed for an extended outdoor stay. I figured I'd just come back the following day before work and pick it up then. But still, what the hell's the point of preordering if you still have to line up a day before? They should have at least had a separate line for preorders.

So not being able to get my Wii on launch day wasn't particularly critical but Nintendo World should have been better organized. If I had preordered at a local store like Gamestop, they would've just called me to let me know the unit had arrived and I could just show up and get it. No waiting in a two-mile line crap. Anyway, I arrived back at the store Monday morning at around 9:30 (they opened at 9), and while there was no line outside the store (yet), there were already two lines in the store, one leading up to the first floor cashiers, and the other winding up to the second floor cashiers. And again, they weren't differentiating between preorders and joe schmoe. Good thing I showed up when I did cause they actually locked the doors about 10 minutes after and restarted the line outside. Took me about another 30-40 minutes waiting to get to the front and pick up my Wii (along with another Wiimote, a classic controller, and Zelda) but at least it was finally over. The Wii, despite it's diminutive size, comes in a rather hefty package. Not sure what the hell they crammed into this thing but it's no featherweight. Plus it didn't help that the bag they were using had string handles that were waaaaay too long.

Wii Loot

So, was it worth it?

Wii Box

As you can see, the outer packaging is pretty clean and basic.

Other Side of Wii Box

It's relatively attractive with the white and blue colors. Although the Wii may be a tad boring color-wise with its total whiteness. I mean c'mon, at least throw some other color in there for trim or something. Sure the area around the slot-loading drive glows a nice blue occassionally but still, even the progenitor of all current fashion gadgets isn't completely white.

Side View

Obviously they kept the packaging relatively clutter free except for this one side panel that they just shoved everything onto.

Box Opened

Unpacking the Wii was relatively straightforward but a little bit different as Nintendo had gone with a stacked approach internally. Helpfully labeled "1" and "2" with icons depicting the contents of each stack.

Stack 1

Stack 1 contains 1 set of controllers (Wiimote & Nunchuk) and the infrared sensor bar that relays your Wiimote movements to the Wii along with a big bag of instruction manuals and other assorted paper materials.

Stack 2

Stack 2 contains the Wii itself, its AC adapter (nowhere near as big as the XBox 360's), and a composite cable (boooo, hissss) to hook the Wii up to your TV of choice. Since the Wii has crap graphics compared to the 360 and PS3 and no support for any level of HDTV I suppose it makes sense that a component cable wasn't included (360 connector has both composite and component). But, there is a component cable available for the Wii. That is if you can find it. Nintendo severely underestimated the demand for the blasted things and the third-party companies haven't stepped up to the plate yet either which leads to the insanity that is eBay auctions of said cables going for around $150. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY US DOLLARS. For a COMPONENT CABLE. How much is the Wii again? And it's not like the Wii is unplayable through composite. People just don't have any patience at all these days apparently. And are utter morons.

Wiimote

I also picked up an extra set of controllers since that's generally a good idea. Even though I usually play mostly one-player games, it's just polite to have an extra set in hand when the rare company does stop by. The Wiimote is aptly named since it definitely looks more like a remote control than a gaming pad. Though it'd be a really stripped down remote compared to the multi-function, multi-component behemoths available on the market today. For the most part you hold it like a normal remote and it comes with a (apparently extremely flimsy) wrist strap that Nintendo is constantly reminding you to use. Not sure why some people just can't seem to keep their Wiimotes in their hands but it hasn't been a problem for me yet.

Nunchuk

The somewhat misnamed "Nunchuk" is a separate accessory that pairs with the Wiimote. I say it's misnamed because by itself, it's not really nunchuck-like. It's just an analog stick with two index buttons and a length of cable. I guess "Nunchuk" is just more catchy. Plus when combined with the Wiimote I suppose the entire unit then looks more like something Bruce Lee would bash your head in with.

In use though, it actually works really darn well. In Zelda, you use the analog stick to move around and with the way the "Nunchuk" is designed, it feels quite natural in your hand. More natural than how the left analog stick usually is on a more traditional controller.

Classic Controller

And then there's the Classic Controller. I bought one just in case but I haven't even removed it from its packaging yet. Ostensibly it's for use with Gamecube games and other games you may download from the Wii Shop Channel. I don't think I'll ever do either so may wind up returning it. For Wii games, the Wiimote + Nunchuk is where it's at.

Sensor Bar

Now the one extra piece that the Wii has that has no equivalent for either the 360 or PS3 is this sensor bar. Without it, your Wiimote won't work as it contains the infrared detectors that the Wiimote needs when it's in pointer mode. It's pretty thin and has a really long cord. Plus it also comes with an optional little stand. Or you can just stick it onto any flat surface. It's unfortunate that the pointer functionality doesn't work over Bluetooth since with infrared, you need clear line of sight between your Wiimote and the sensor bar. Anything that comes between the two (like say, your foot) will cause the Wiimote to stop pointing.

Ready for Action

As for the Wii itself, it's pretty unexciting. Looks like a slightly oversized external optical drive. So far the slot-loading optical drive has been functioning flawlessly, sucking in and spitting out discs firmly. The SD card slot as well as the 4 wired controller ports and 2 Gamecube memory card parts are neatly hidden away behind panels. It's definitely quiet during operation, unlike the 360 which starts sounding like a mini-vacuum after an extended period of play time. Really not much more to say about it, it's just that bland.

Zelda!

So all this hardware is nice and all but the million dollar question is, of course, how does it play? And my answer: it plays pretty darn great. I had the Wii set up in my parent's basement during Turkey Day and my cousin and I had a blast with the included Wii Sports game. A lot of fun and pretty simple to pick up and just play. Hell even my Dad played a few rounds of golf. Although I did notice a potential problem when real golfers play Wii golf. A lot of the motions detected by the Wiimote in the sports games are highly dependent on wrist motion. Pitch speeds in the baseball game for example is dependent on how quickly you can flick your wrist. In real golf, you're not supposed to flick your wrists at all. However, in Wii golf, you sorta have to, especially when putting. So a lot of times my Dad would be trying to soft putt and nothing would happen cause he wasn't moving his wrist at all. So, virtual golf trainer the Wii is not.

Boxing Match

Also, while it's not necessary to play the sports games with exaggerated arm motions, it's a lot more fun (and natural) if you do. Not to mention it's also much more highly amusing to people who are watching you play. Of course, it's also a lot more tiring that way as well. Baseball and boxing being the more strenuous events; bowling, the least.

As for Zelda, you have to play it with the Wiimote + Nunchuk controls and truthfully it didn't take that long to get used to it. Really not all that many buttons to memorize. Analog stick controls movement, and most of the time you'll be using only 2 buttons on the Wiimote. Plus it helps that 2 attack moves are mapped to physically wiggling either the Wiimote or the Nunchuk a little. It's quite easy to pick up and is a pretty entertaining game.

So while the 360 and PS3 absolutely crushes the Wii in terms of graphics, the Wii is definitely more of a fun, party console. Something that non-gamers can pick up and run with in no time flat. I'm not entirely sure what other game I'll be picking up for it once I finish Zelda (I hear there's a Cooking Mama game coming down the pipes ;-) but obviously there's no point in picking up any multi-platform games since they'll always look better on either the 360 or PS3. But we'll see, so far the Wii is proving to be a pretty fun system. What remains to be seen is how soon I get bored of it, Wiimote + Nunchuk and all.

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Comments (3)

Kim:

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the post on the Wii! Rob and I just returned from Japan, where the ads for the Wii were all over, and I have been dying to get one since. We have the opportunity to purchase a Xbox 360 so I guess that's the good buy at the moment. I'll wait till I see some games from Nintendo that I'm interested in before we buy the Wii. Although it's soooo cute!!

Rob got introduced to the 360 last Saturday night and it reignited his interest in games. Especially shooting games such as Gears of War.

Hey, remember when we used to room with Tim and Suzy waaaay back when?? We lived in Halawa Valley with them? Suzy's daughter, Kari, is a hard core gamer now. Google her. Her name is Kari Toyama. It's wild to see kids grow up ...

Ben:

Heya Kim! Tell Rob not to get the 360! Microsoft, baaaadddd.... ;-) I guess I shouldn't be saying that since I have one already. =p But if he does get one along with Gears of War, tell him to sign up for XBox Live too and let me know what his GamerTag is so we can play co-op, it's pretty awesome. But you should get the Wii too. Zelda's pretty good and I've heard lots of good things about Rayman too.

Tim & Suzy? I _barely_ remember you guys living there. But that's cool. Halo tattoo though, eh. ;-p

轟炸機 B52:

Ben, you are so lucky, you have modern game

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 27, 2006 5:23 PM.

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