Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Wii for me

I got a Nintendo Wii over the past weekend for my birthday. I heard on Friday that Tesco were doing a good deal on games consoles, offering 25% back on consoles. A good deal, no doubt. The package came with Wii Sports (as do all Wii consoles), Wii Play, an extra controller and a copy of Rayman Raving Rabbids.

It was a birthday present for Sunday but we didn't manage to hold out on opening it till then. We broke it open though on Saturday night and had some great fun creating our Mii's. For those who don't know what a Mii is, it is a graphical representation of the gamer, i.e. an avatar. It offers a great variety of control over the look of your Mii. I think mine actually bears a good resemblance to myself. I like the way that they appear in the games like Wii Sports and Wii Play, it gives the games a real personal touch.

As for the games themselves I'm quite happy. Now there is nothing here that totally blew me away like Gears of War did when I first booted up the Xbox 360. Having said that it is common knowledge that the Wii is a less powerful machine and comparisons are unfair. It offers a totally different gameplay experience. You just have to have your first round of bowling done on Wii Sports to realise just how different this machine is to the Xbox. I've had great fun with all the sports in Wii Sports. I think the bowling is my favourite but then tennis is really good too. It is a shame thought that the game is not wifi enabled. Still we can't have everything.

Wii Play is a little simplistic for my tastes but some of the mini games offer up some fun, such as the cow racing and the duck hunt style shooter. It does also offer great value for money as you basically get the game free with the remote. The third game Rayman was surprisingly good. It boils down to a bunch of mini games but there is a huge variety of them and the majority are good fun. It really does put the remote to good use as there is such variety in the moves you need to pull off to complete the games. It is also quite addictive to boot.

I like a bit of retro gaming and I was looking forward to testing out the Wii's Virtual Console. It is just like XBLA but it specialises in old consoles games. I downloaded Super Mario Bros. 3 from the site, it is the original NES version from 1990 and not the updated version from Super Mario All Stars. The game does look dated but that is to be expected. What is unexpected is that I am remembering all the secrets of the game. It feels like I was just playing this game yesterday for the first time. It really is one of the very best platform games ever developed and I will download Super Mario World later.

These are just my first impressions of the console and thus far I'm happy. It is a more simplistic machine than the Xbox, no more so than in it's online implementation. Still simple isn't necessarily a bad thing in gaming. I think the Wii is a good complement to the Xbox and I can see why so many people have room for both. I look forward to my first full proper game on the system, which at this point is looking like it will be Super Paper Mario.

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